A visit to Lake Windermere & Kootenay National Park
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A visit to Lake Windermere & Kootenay National Park

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The Columbia Valley (including Lake Windermere, Invermere and Radium Hot Springs) British Columbia is a beautiful area to visit! Since Lake Windermere is so lovely, we thought it would make a perfect last summer evening in Canada. Well, we were wrong.

A quick bit about the area and a visit to Lake Windermere.

Visiting Lake Windermere

Although we had a bad experience here, we would happily return to this lovely lake in British Columbia. The town of Invermere is adorable. If you are into the outdoors, there is tons to do around here. Visit here for more info.

Kayaking.

Hiking. Take your pick. From easy to moderate to challenging.

Kootenay National Park.

Hot Springs. Fairmont Hot Springs Resort and Radium Hot Springs are both nearby.

Golf.

Boating. Kayaking and stand up paddle board rentals are available. You can kayak the river also from Lake Windermere to Radium Hot Springs. It is calm with gorgeous scenery.

Craft brewery. Visit Arrowhead Brewing Co. for delicious beer, fun atmosphere and a great place for an afternoon rest. The signs are entertaining and the labels on the beer are hilarious.

Locally roasted coffee. Kicking Horse Coffee roasts their beans in Invermere and the aroma is delicious. They also have a small cafe to enjoy a drink with a bite to eat.

Invermere Bakery. Cookies, breads, pies and more. This place offers up tasty treats. We enjoyed a pretzel, a cronut and an apple fritter, but honestly everything looked great.

Wildlife. Radium Hot Springs has bighorn sheep literally walking around town. We even saw a ram at our campground.

Need I go on?

The Story

Now onto our story and experience. After almost a year on the road we are happy to say that most people we have met or interacted with on the road have been nice or at least friendly. Well, that all changed at Lake Windermere. I mean this person was completely irrational and over the top rude.

Here’s the story and how we dealt with it.

Paul and I set out on our last night in Canada to a local lake for a kayak and picnic. Keep in mind it is summer and in the 90s. It felt so great to be near the water in our swimsuits. We have inflatable kayaks and Paul is inflating them while I take our dogs for a quick cool down swim.

A man was apparently having trouble inflating a floating raft and asked Paul to use our truck for powering his car pump. Paul replied no problem, but give me a minute to finish what I’m doing. If you know Paul at all, he is always willing to offer a hand and usually goes above and beyond any good samaritan duties. 

For whatever reason this man didn’t want to wait. He found the one other person around to help inflate his floaty with his car pump. Apparently, he couldn’t wait the one minute or less for Paul to finish up. We learn from his outbursts that he was struggling with a blown fuse in the car and had spent almost 2 hours trying to inflate his raft. Maybe this is why he didn’t take nicely to Paul’s “wait a minute for me to finish.” So you’re having a bad day. No need to take it out on us, right? 

Anyways, he kept ranting on and on, belittling Paul and calling him names. He then proceeds to kick one of our kayaks and threatens to punch Paul and steal his hat and his “old lady” (me, not that I’m old at all).

I had come back by this point and was scared of this guy. Thankful this other person was around as a buffer and witness. The rude guy soon took off on his little inflatable raft. We put our kayaks in the water and started off. Well, immediately I knew my kayak wasn’t right. It was losing air and I was struggling with moving. So I took it out at the nearest safe location and Paul followed me to shore. He then walked back to the car while I waited with the kayaks. 

Police are involved

At this point Paul thinks the guy took a knife to the kayak and is terribly upset since they aren’t cheap kayaks. On his walk back to the truck he runs into a police officer and stops the officer to report this. The officer is upset this happened to us and extremely nice. He takes down all our info including the plate for the car of this man. I guess in Canada they have phone numbers of all car owners and can use them. So now the officer has vowed to file a report and get this guy in line. It is no way to treat anybody let alone someone who offered to help you. 

Needless to say I’m still on the beach with one of our dogs and our kayaks and it is HOT. Thankful for the water to help keep us cool even though the dog is NOT a fan of the water.

All I want at this point is to move on with our evening and put this rude man behind us. So we pack up and take our picnic dinner to a local park where we can sit in the shade. After we eat we take a little walk through the downtown and discover a tasty gelato place. I say let’s treat ourselves and turn this evening around. Who’s going to argue with gelato, right!?!?

Gelato and nice people

As we’re tying up the dogs to head into the shop a nice man comes over and offers our dogs some fresh water in a cute dog bowl. He tells us how much he loves dogs and they are the best friends. At this point I knew our evening had turned the other way and our dogs and us are happy again. All it takes is a nice friendly person, gelato and fresh cool water for us to be happy. Simple, right?!?

I’m so grateful for kind people and for trying to see the best in life and move past the bad. Sad that this was our last night in Canada since our experience otherwise was wonderful. Oh well. You can’t always have the best experiences, but turning the night around and making it happy is always good. 

So this is how to NOT make friends on the road. Be rude. Call someone names. Threaten them physically. Damage their property. Got it?