Strip away the hustle bustle of the Columbia Valley’s sun-seeking boaters and powder-cruising winter visitors and you’re left with the slowest months of the year. After the hiking boots and golf clubs have been put away and before Christmas visitors arrive, Columbia Valley locals take a deep breath and you can too.
Sink into the soothing waters of Radium Hot Springs or Fairmont Hot Springs, the wind rippling through snow-dusted firs the only noise as steam floats into the autumn air. Afterwards indulge your muscles with a massage. Pleiades Spa & Wellness and Natural Springs Spa both offer treatment packages and in slower times, a better choice of appointment times.
Stretch out your muscles by meandering along walking trails – most bears have gone into hibernation this time of year- and bereft of crowds it’s easier to strike up conversation with locals or let your thoughts unwind.
Pick up a puzzle at Invermere’s Main Street Fun & Games and unplug in front of the fire (many valley accommodations offer fireplaces in guest rooms or common areas). Leave time to rediscover the art of napping and let your psyche reconnect with nature’s simple rhythms.
Cooler weather may make you hungrier but a lack of crowds means faster time to the front of the line at coffee shops and restaurants. Sniff roasting coffee beans at Kicking Horse Coffee Café while you choose an organic, fair trade bean. Tuck into whole foods prepped in-house at the quirky Blue Dog Café or for more upscale dining head to Copper Point Resort’s Elements restaurant and gaze over the valley as you order from the seasonal menu.
If you’re not ready to turn in as the sun drops behind the Purcell Mountains check out The Columbia Valley Pioneer listings for local events or see what Mother Nature has on offer. The bighorn sheep that wander the Village of Radium Springs mate and butt heads through November and December. With approximately 150 sheep calling the community home, you have a good chance to see sheep without ever getting out of your car — perhaps the world’s easiest access to one of nature’s biggest spectacle. Even in low light you can hear a gunshot-like crack as males bang heads.
Regardless of where you end your day, take time to look up. You can gaze into a carpet of stars, the fresh mountain air tickling your nose, your ears ringing with the sound of silence and realize the off off season is what you need to turn your happiness meter back on.