Executive Summary Sophie and I drove about 650 km with the Jeep, much of it on logging roads. We determined that access to Harrison/Meager was still being blocked by a locked gate at km2. Sophie required that we visit a hotspring before she flies home in a couple of days, and we were able to supply two hotsprings.
The Long Version, Purpose of the Trip Access to Harrison Hut has always been “interesting”, partly due to the geological instability of the area. Though the Authorities had explained that we would not be allowed access to the start of our Harrison Hut Trail until mid-June, we were interested in finding out if there really was a locked gate at km2. If the gate was open, we could then find out if there was another locked gate at km24, and find out if the second gate would interfere with access to our trail head. We were also curious to find out if a recently built road would make the first half of the Harrison Hut Trail redundant, by providing some sort of access to the Meager Hot Spring. And I do like hotsprings.
I wanted to do this mid-week because there’s not much solitude at hotsprings on weekends. Finding people to go with was a problem. My wife doesn’t like hotsprings, but I had a short list of people who I was not able to accommodate on my previous hotspring expedition, so I thought they would still be keen, but no. At the last minute Sophie said she needed to go to a hotspring before she flew home, so we had crew. What’s it like going on a trip with somebody you met when you picked them up at 8am on the day of the trip? Well, it works for me! Getting through Lions Gate Bridge traffic is the first challenge, but we know that. We arrived in Pemberton Macdonalds too early for lunch so we had breakfast again, then set off to find the gate at km2. Took pictures of the locked gate.
Drove back to Macdonalds in Pemberton again, and had lunch. Pemberton Macdonalds is an interesting place, a cultural experience. Management seems to be Indian, and I don’t mean First Nations indian, I mean the ones from India. Here you may encounter customers with extensive tattoos, small children with nice hair, and people who carry on intelligent conversations about what is the plural of “moose”. Eventually we started the long drive to Skook which was once called “St Agnes’ Well”, then “Skookumchuck Hot Spring”, and most recently,”T’sek”, pronounced “chek”. Part way down the rather long Lillooet Lake we decided to explore the bridge over to the W side, and went through a couple of almost-villages where there were dogs and sometimes people. After a very long drive we found three very sturdy men taking apart chain saws, and asked them in general terms if we were getting near the Sloquet Hot Spring, and we were, so we dropped in for a quick soak before proceeding to do some more driving. We got lost, found another First Nations village, a lady there told us that the bridge we needed was at km 72, and so it was. A quick side trip to photograph a church, where we met a guy who had spent 12 years in a Residential School and didn’t go into the church himself, but he could unlock it for us if we wished. We didn’t.
Shortly we arrived at Skook. Pools were not crowded at all, solitude was available. The dress code seemed to not be in effect. Sophie wore my bath robe, which is a good thing to have at hotsprings.
Sophie and bear
Car-camping was fine. Next day we drove home, stopping again at Pemberton Macdonalds, where they managed to mix up our orders rather badly. But three Macdonald stops in two days is rather extreme.
Conclusions Two hotsprings visited. I still rate Meager as #1, Skook as #2, Sloquet as #3. Sophie sort of prefers Sloquet, which offers too-shallow but natural pools instead of nice deep re-purposed septic tank halves. Trip was good. I regret that I’ll probably never see Sophie again as she’s flying home in a couple of days. Didn’t learn anything about Harrison access. Mid week at hotsprings is definitely worth while.