Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mama Loves Glamping

When I wrote my last camping story on our camping style, I was torn between our real style and what I wish our style could be. We just took a tour around the Kootenay Rockies of British Columbia, through the Okanagan, and home through Mt. Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks.  We didn't stay in a tent once.  We did however glamp in a lakeside yurt in Nakusp and stayed in a camping cabin at Canyon Hotsprings.  The rest of the time I have to confess we stayed in lakeside motels since it was a vacation after all. 

Rock Island Resort's Yurt

Glamping is the term being used for luxurious camping that's very far from the traditional idea of "roughing it in the woods."  Fans of glamping might stay in yurts, tepees, raised tents that sit off the ground, tree houses, cabins, and even comfort RVs.  Alberta Parks are even jumping on board with comfort camping options available in a few of their provincial parks.  Search the Discover Camping website for British Columbia and you will also find yurts or cabins located in several of their campgrounds. 

We enjoyed true comfort in our yurt at Rock Island Resort, Nakusp.  We had a full kitchen along with a barbecue for our meals, we had a comfortable queen sized bed and a futon bed for our son, we had a fancy composting toilet, and best of all we had a fire pit with wood right on the lake.  We lit a fire and sat beside the lake watching the sun go down in complete privacy.  The resort has two other cabins but the yurt sits alone in a private little forest of trees.  Even at the lake you are well separated from the cabins.  (read, this would be an awesome place for a romantic retreat!)  On our second night we were treated to a meteor shower and got to see many stars shooting across the sky.  You don't get experiences like this every day!

The kitchen

Bedroom/kitchen - as you can see, it's a very open concept (great for a small family)

What it looks like when you open your eyes in the morning and look up

Evening on Upper Arrow Lake

The highlight of staying at the yurt was being able to take the resort's tandem kayak out on Upper Arrow Lake for morning and evening paddles with our son.  It was a brand new experience for all three of us.  We had been canoeing before but none of us had ever ridden in a kayak.  And it should be mentioned that kayaking has been on my to do list for pretty much every vacation we've ever taken!  This was the first time were the stars aligned and we got the opportunity to try the sport.  Our opinion?  Awesome!!  Our son didn't stop talking about kayaking the whole way home.  Every lake we passed, we'd hear "go kayak" from the backseat. 

Hard to get kayaking photos when there's nobody else with you so this is it.

Bringing the kayak in from our paddle

Now while we would love to buy a kayak we are realistic in the knowledge that we've had no lessons, we have no experience, and that taking a child with you on adventures when you are a beginner to the sport just might not be the smartest thing to do.  Therefore, after enjoying our backcountry canoe trip  this summer as well, we decided to buy a canoe.  It's a 16 foot lake canoe and will nicely fit the three of us on all our future paddling adventures.  We already took it out last weekend here in Calgary and it tracks beautifully.  It's also rock solid for stability and didn't fill tipsy at all when we encountered some rough water on the Glenmore Reservoir. 

Our new canoe on our first trip out at the Glenmore Reservoir - paddled all the way to the Weaselhead and back

From the comfort of our yurt, we were also able to explore the local area of Nakusp.  We explored the town beach, swam in the lake, played in the sand, and did a balance bike tour of the waterfront pathway.  We found an awesome playground right near the beach (the Rotary Club should be commended on their playgrounds!  They are always the best ones in any town!!).

Biking along the waterfront path

The Rotary Playground

Throwing rocks in the lake

Playing at the town beach

I also found my new favourite Hot Springs Resort while in Nakusp.  To know me is to know that I hate crowds.  I love hotsprings but I really don't like sharing them with tons of speedo wearing strangers.  Enter the Nakusp Hotsprings - isolated, quiet, and a local secret perhaps?  We got there early so that we were the first people in the pool.  After an hour there were still only a handful of people in the pools with us.  It was magical and I'll skip the popular resorts of Ainsworth and Halcyon in future trips.  We did visit Ainsworth but it wasn't very peaceful or restful.  They don't even provide chairs to lounge beside the pool in.  Nakusp however has beautiful loungers all along the pool for bathing in the mid-day sun.

Nakusp Hotsprings

Sunbathing at the hotsprings

A final thing I have to recommend if you're in the area is the Cedar Grove hiking trail.  We stopped for the short easy walk on our way to Nakusp from the village of Kaslo.   It's located just off Hwy 31A  at Retallack on the left hand side (approx. 30 minutes west of Kaslo).  We stopped in at the tourism info centre in Kaslo to get information and maps.  They were very helpful and provided plenty of suggestions for our next visit as well.

The Cedar  Grove Trail

Hiking through the Old Growth Cedar Forest

We only spent two nights in Nakusp but could have easily spent a week in the area.  I have a pile of tourism magazines here beside me with hiking trails and sites circled for next year.  We can't wait to return with our canoe and our new stand up paddle board (check back later for our Okanagan adventures story for more details on how this mountain mama is becoming a true paddling chick). 

A final photo from Kootenay Lake at the Kootenay Bay Ferry Crossing

I'd love to hear about your glamping experiences and suggestions on where we should go for our next glamping adventure.


  1. Glamping? I had never heard that term but it looks like it was fun. Sometimes it is nice to enjoy the scenery, relax, and be a bit more comfortable.

    The Cedar Grove Trail pictures are amazing. I haven't seen trees like that in a long time.

  2. Great pictures. Certainly looks like a great place to spend some more time in. The yurt looks great too. You are right it probably is a great place for a romantic getaway.