I am very blessed to have family in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains – easily one of the most beautiful places in the world.
My aunt and uncle live in a little town on the edge of the Kootenays called Kimberley, while their two sons live with their families a couple of hours in opposite directions – one near the US border, and one in Banff. And let’s face it, you can’t get better than Banff.
After our five days in Vancouver, we took a long bus ride over to the other side of British Columbia where we met my aunt & uncle for a week of relaxing by a gorgeous lake – at their holiday cabin on Lake Christina. And yes, it’s as magical as it sounds.
The weather was glorious the entire time we were there.
Every day was spent kayaking, reading on the deck, helping out with some maintenance on the cabins (has to be done, unfortunately! It’s a hard life!) and chilling out with chipmunks. And wasps. I even saw a snake!
We were completely off-grid for the week – no phone, no internet, limited electricity, and no flushing toilets, however they have upgraded quite considerably since my last visit in 2006 because they now have a shower block! (hello spiders)
One of my cousins came out one day with his two kids and we went tubing, which is about as much fun as you can have on a lake! Or at least it is until the tube flips over – y’all know what I’m like with water!
Most people (not me) had a go at wakeboarding and cliff diving too – my cousin’s kids are pros!
And so, all too quick, our week was over and we were headed to Kimberley, where we’d spend just over a week housesitting for my aunt & uncle.
Kimberley is a super, super cute, quaint town, full of character and full of deer.
We literally saw a deer EVERY TIME we went out. We even had to stop our bikes to let two cross the path in front of us.
There isn’t a lot to do in Kimberley – it’s primarily a ski resort town with lots of golf resorts dotted around, too. Before that, it was home to the biggest lead-zinc mine in the world until it closed in 2001 (you can still take tours around some of the mine). Now, it’s a thriving community-driven town.
But if you’re passing by, it’s well worth a stop.
The main street is even called the platzl!
You can put a dollar in and Happy Hans (real name) will come out and sing/yodel! (random fact of the day: this is the largest cuckoo clock in Canada! Now you know.)
There are tons of biking trails around, and my aunt & uncle are hugely active, so we biked to some lakes and through parks with them, and explored a little on our own while they were away. We did not, however, ride the 30km trail out to Cranbrook, which we’ve heard is a really nice ride but unfortunately the day we thought of doing it, the weather turned pretty sour.
You’ll definitely see deer, you MIGHT spot a black bear, or if you’re lucky, you may see a moose.
If you don’t fancy walking or biking (it IS very hilly), you can take a little train to the ski resort at weekends, and take the ski lift up the hill, both of which I did last time I visited.
Oh, and these guys are everywhere:
We mostly used our time in Kimberley, honestly, to catch up with things – I had barely been online since March, and Stranger Things came out on Netflix the week we were there, so with all the hype there, that had to go on! We watched it in under 24 hours! (HOW good are the kid actors?! And that ending. :'( Not sure what they’ll do with the second season, but we’ll see how that goes.)
We also kept an eye on my aunt & uncle’s fruit & veggie patch – partly to gorge ourselves on fresh strawberries, partly to stop the zucchinis growing to the size of my arm (seriously, we discovered that’s a thing) but also to keep them from predators’ harm.
It was a really good couple of weeks and just what we needed. It probably sounds silly, but travel really does take it out of you sometimes, and we had been going non-stop since May! And that was after I’d worked without a day off for six weeks.
We couldn’t have asked for a better place to wind down, either – their cabin on a lake where it was so hot that we kept having to go for a nice swim, and their beautiful house in a stunning little mountain town. I’ve grown an obsession with antlers. We had the most delicious Chinese takeaway we’d had in a while (Australia just doesn’t do them right). It was pretty perfect.
It did, however, mean that we only had around a week left of our travels, which was terrifying to think about. My family had very kindly decided to make it extra special for us – we were about to go off-grid again, camping through the Canadian Rockies to Jasper and back down to Banff. Stay tuned for some posts on our absolutely epic road trip – expect lots of lakes, mountains and glaciers! Because who DOESN’T love those?!