My boyfriend and I had somehow managed to score the same day off together, and we knew we had to make the most of it by exploring the outskirts of Revelstoke. We thought, what better way to explore Revy in the middle of our first snowy winter, than to strip off and dive into a natural hot spring? St. Leon’s Hot Spring to be precise. What could go wrong, right?
A lovely lady I worked with at the time had been to this hot spring before, and by coincidence was driving that way. She guided us to its whereabouts, and said ever so simply “just hike up that hill, it should take about 45 minutes, or an hour if you’re not rushing.” Optimistic as we are, we said our goodbyes and hooked it up the deep, snowy hill as fast as our fashionable Dr. Martens would let us.
Up the hill we go
My partner and I thought the season of snowboarding got our fitness levels up, but this hill seemed to take us longer than an hour. I remember what seemed like half way through the hike, we got delirious… I’m not sure whether it was the stunning 360 degree view we were surrounded by, or the sweat underneath our 6 layers.
We started taking it in turns walking behind each other, making it easier to hike in the snow because we could step in each other's footprints. We would see a stick up ahead and think that’s where we would call it, and walk back to the car. This is when we started thinking, “Did we somehow take the wrong path?” We trace back our hike, and remember that we came to a fork in the path. “Should we go left and down the hill, or right and up the hill?” “I’d say right, it makes sense because it's continuing on the path we're already on!”… That seemed like a plausible decision at the time. At this point, we stopped walking, and had found ourselves looking around, as if someone would scream out “It’s that way! You’re almost there!”.
We made it!
To the left of the path, was a downhill forest that looked almost appropriate. Trusting us, we thought why not, and slowly made our way down, latching onto any tree we could to guide us down. It was only 30 seconds down, and we heard running water. “It can’t be, we must be delirious.” We picked up the pace and before you know it, we noticed the adorable man made hut we saw in the YouTube videos! We hurry over as fast as we can, and there it was, two beautiful natural hot springs, and a hut for us to leave our clothes and bags. We stripped off, got out our can’s of Fernie IPA, and relaxed until we knew the sun was about to set.
The hard part is getting out
The St. Leon Hot Spring was one to rave about. We were accompanied by a cute husky who is apparently “The Hot Spring Local”, as well as the fact we were in a snow filled forest; a scene we would never see back home in South Australia. Getting out was the hard part. We put it off for as long as we could, because it would just be rude jumping out of the 30 degree water, into -10 degree conditions. As it got darker, we called it. Into the hut we ran, where our clothes had frozen over and hair turned to ice. Man, was that an experience though. Now we don’t feel cold when we get out of the shower!
There and back again - stopped in our tracks
As we trek back through the snow to get back to the car, we take the husky with us to find his owner who supposedly parks in the carpark. We had walked for about 3 minutes, until we were stopped in our tracks… literally. A massive mother Moose and her baby were standing ever so tall, completely blocking any path. The husky must’ve tried to get past before, but was too scared. We had no choice but to hike up the face of the forest, to walk around the moose. That, with the sound of the Moose protecting her baby was enough of an adrenaline rush to keep anyone warm! We got past quite easily, with husky leading the way all the way back to the carpark… which might I add, took just under 45 minutes. We started up the car, set our GPS to the closest McDonald’s, and the rest is history.
I can say however, that visiting the hot springs was one of the most breathtaking and rewarding experiences I’ve ever done, and I would recommend it to anyone, especially in the middle of winter.
These types of adventures are ones you could only have in Canada and ones that you will certainly remember forever! If you would like to go exploring yourself and get to the Rockies ASAP then hit the link below!