As Artem Bylinskii put it in his trip description – “it is the off-season, when our climbing gear is stored, and ski gear hiding from rocks” – so really, what else is there to do other than spend the weekend soaking in hot springs? And so this is what 16 VOCers decided to do on the lovely, wet weekend of October 13-14, 2012. We all met at Mt. Currie Coffee Co. at 8:30 a.m. and discussed the plan. The original intention was to head up to Meager Hot Springs, with the hopes that the longer hike would allow us to have the place to ourselves. However, with the heavy rain forecasted for Saturday night (50 + mm), we were unsure if the road would flood, preventing us from leaving on Sunday. Some members will still keen on getting in a longer hike, but in the end we voted for the more cautious, relaxed option of Keyhole hot springs. The next stop was the liquor store, as a 6-pack becomes a much more realistic packing item for a 15 minute hike as opposed to a 3 hour one.
We got to the trailhead for the Keyhole hot springs around 11:30 or so, and decided that we should do something else with our day before heading in. So, we attempted to follow the logging roads to some waterfalls that Artem thought were nearby. We stopped a couple times along the way and some of us tried our luck at gravel pile tobogganing. We eventually reached a spot where we could no longer drive along the road, at which point we got out and started walking to the ‘waterfalls’. After about five minutes, the logging road ended and became overgrown with small alder trees. The trip temporarily became ‘bush-wacking 101’, and we proceeded to follow Artem and Phil through the shrubbery. After about another five minutes, we had another vote and decided that although bush-wacking was fun, we were clearly not headed towards any waterfalls and so we decided to turn back. We made another stop at a canyon, and due mostly to the lack of other activities, proceeded to bush-wack once again. Some folks went for about a half other adventure; others were feeling about ready to hop into the hot springs! So, feeling like we now deserved to head to our real destination, we dawned our backpacks and made the 20 minute journey down a fairly steep trail to the Keyhole hot springs. Unfortunately the forest pool we were hoping to climb into was occupied by a bunch of hooligans, so we set up our tents and decided to check out some pools near the river, which were awesome. We spent the afternoon down there.
We then headed back to the tents for some dinner, by which point the hooligans had moved on out; this left us with the one forest pool all to ourselves for the evening – score! Luckily the pool fit 16 people pretty much perfectly. We lit a fire, and the night ran its course. The rain really didn’t stop, but it made for a pretty magical evening. Highlights of the night included: massage train-ing, story-telling, folk-song singing, other song singing, port-drinking, hookah-ing and one minor fainting incidence. Some folks decided to retreat to their dry(ish) tents early(ish), while others soaked until the wee hours of the morning. Having no sense of time, we didn’t really get up and going until after 12:00, but some folks had the opportunity for another morning soak. We hiked back to the cars with our saturated backpacks and got some awesome burgers at Splitz Grill in Whistler. It was here that we checked the water levels to see if we had made the right decision about going to Keyhole rather than Meager and it turned out the water level had risen from 2.1 m to 3.55 m, which likely would have been high enough to leave us unable to come back down the road from Meager! Props to Phil and Artem for making the right choice, despite the temptation to stick to the original plan! Overall, it was a wickedly wild and wet weekend with an awesome assembly of people!
By: Carolyn Prentice
Left: View from one of the bush-wacking adventures prior to heading to the hot springs (Photo: Scott MacPherson).
Right: The river-side pools, where we spent the afternoon (Photo: Google Images).