My blog posts this summer have been the Most Sporadic Ever. I can only offer excuses, excuses, excuses. So I’ll skip them and move on to my most recent nature break in Windermere, BC. Being from British Columbia myself, you’d think I would have heard of this place, but it took moving to Calgary to put it on my radar.The lake retreat on the western side of the Rockies is only a quick 3-hour zip from Calgary, which takes you through Banff and its famous animal overpasses. I took this photo while driving — please ignore the bugs on my windshield. Or don’t. Those are Rocky-sized bugs.Back to the beauty. Turns out the lake isn’t really a lake, it’s actually a wide part of the Columbia River. It’s also part of the Columbia River Wetlands, one of the longest undisturbed wetland ecosystems found in North America, stretching over 180 km. Sorry, my American friends (I say in that passive-aggressive Canadian way) you’ll have to do the conversion yourself. I’m feeling especially bad at math tonight.
Meanwhile, the rugged, natural beauty shines beyond metrics. I saw a few developers’ signs claiming ownership, but so far the hills are forested and “community” free.There are no schedules in Windermere. Nor any hotels that I could recommend. It’s the type of place where, if you’re lucky enough to be invited to a friend’s cottage, you go. And if a thunderstorm scares the butterflies away for a while, there’s always a good board game to keep you busy.The Hoodoo Hike on the west side of the lake was my favorite. Thanks to the Nature Trust of British Columbia, this conservation property provides a vital migration corridor for all kinds of critters, including grizzlies, badgers and woodpeckers. I didn’t see any of them, but I did spot the most gigantic juniper trees. Until this hike I thought my gin martinis came from bushes, not trees.But even at the foot of the Purcell Mountains, it’s not all nature all the time. In the nearby town of Invermere (no one could tell me why all the towns end in mere here) the stacks at the Book Bar are wonderful to stock up on dock and deck reading.Your BBQ will never go wrong. German settlers in the area still make an impact with the incredible quality of their grillable items.And tucked in behind the tall grasses and trees, it’s the Kicking Horse coffee factory.The fair trade organic roast is so popular with the locals, they don’t waste any time getting in line. Pausing to remove your bike helmet could delay your extra-bold cup of Kick Ass.Hopefully my one-woman movement to bring the bandana back from burglary chic to boho style won’t be successful. I’m going to have to imbue more passion for fashion into my sunblock statement. Shirt, Michael Stars. Shorts, Mossimo Supply Co. Hat, Calgary Polo Club.Miss you already, Windermere!