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By Gina McMurchy-Barber
For Travel Writers' Tales

Over the last year we've been venturing out on our own-mainly because our youngest son has made it clear that he no longer wants to 'hang out' with us. This foray into the world without children has been fraught with plenty of Blondie and Dagwood Bumstead moments-like putting together the new bike rack and learning how to steer a two-person kayak.

Our adult independence-time recently flourished when we decided to take a short holiday. Sun Peaks Resort, just four and a half hours from Vancouver offered plenty of recreational choices, plus all the pampering and perks any newbie relationship, sans kids, could ask for.

The Sunburst Express up to Mount Tod was a great place to start our Sun Peaks experience and literally get a new view on life. During the ten minute exhilarating ride, we soared over meadows painted with dainty wildflowers, sighted a pair of eagles that drifted above in the cornflower blue sky and were entertained by chickadees that flitted from tree to tree. At the top, hikers of all skill levels were making their way along one of the fifteen trails. We choose the Crystal Bowl Loop, a moderate hour-long ascent that offered us a picture-perfect view of the village below and the neighboring apex of Mount Morrisey.

Over seventy kilometers of mountain biking trails are also offered at this great vacation escape and, like a game of snakes and ladders, they scroll down from its heavenly crown. But instead of challenging ourselves and endangering others we stuck to the lower paved paths. Our winding routes meandered around different subdivisions, skirted a few manicured fairways and trailed to the European-like village, the main hub that hosts a menagerie of shops, restaurants and lodgings.

Horseback riding was another 'new lease on life' adventure that we enjoyed during our two-day stay. And being guided by German-born, Hubert, was a real hoot. While listening to his cowboy stories, we were led through the back country that looped around the village. The highlight was seeing a small black fox that darted into its den and a couple of black bears that were wandering up a hill. Though a little unnerving, I kept reminding myself bears don't want to come face to face with me any more than I do with them.

After this bum-numbing experience, we were ready for something slow and easy. There were still lots of choices available. Would it be a round of golf or a little self-indulgent spa time? This is the one and only time where we parted ways. While my husband paired up with Sun Peaks golf pro, Chris Seeley, for a challenging game on the six kilometer mountain course (that he'll never forget), I made a beeline for the Sun Peaks Spa in the Kookaburra Lodge. This Zen-like haven is located on the edge of the forest where nature's sights, sounds and smells seep into the peaceful setting. And while under the experienced hands of Tauhnis, all my cares melted away. The ninety minute full body massage, complete with hot stones and the green tea body butter was the nicest thing I'd done for myself in years!

Feeling fully satisfied, we later re-grouped at Mantles Restaurant, a cozy diner in the Delta Sun Peaks Resort Hotel. We were happy to learn that their menu was not only organic, but entirely ocean friendly.

"This restaurant is a member of the Ocean Wise menu program, using only sustainable farmed seafood, and they use local organic fruits and vegetables too," said Melanie Simmons, of Tourism Sun Peaks. "The entire resort is an industry leader in protecting the environment and has been certified by the International Organization for Standardization."

While gazing out at mountain peaks we could see that this philosophy was a good fit. Grazing on creamy corn chowder, succulent scallops and scrumptious chocolate mousse, we reflected on our past two days. A lot was packed into this short new twosome vacation, but there was lots left to do. We hadn't checked out the farmer's market, we wanted to learn about geocaching, and the kayak that we'd lashed to the car top was still bone dry! But in a few more months, there'd be another line-up of fun stuff when winter rolled around. It's sure a good thing that the Bumsteads now have Sun Peaks Resort in their GPS-they'll be back!


Sun Peaks Resort
Where to Stay:
Nancy Greene's Cahilty Lodge
Phone: 1-250-578-7454
Fax: 1-250-578-7451

Photo Captions and Credit

1. Hiking among the wild flowers on Mount Tod ; Sun Peaks Resort/Adam Stein Photography
2. Strolling in Sun Peaks village; Sun Peaks Resort/Adam Stein Photography
3. It's all in the swing; Sun Peaks Resort/Adam Stein Photography
4. A pleasant bike ride around town; Sun Peaks Resort/Adam Stein Photography
5. Trail riding in the back country; Sun Peaks Resort/David Andrew Photography

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