The Plan: When you have several days available, and you bring lots of food, it must be an expedition. Weekend warriors have trouble getting more than just Saturday + Sunday, but being retired, I have a different problem, which is finding people who want to do stuff mid-week, and not too strenuous, please. So Pegah and I had a whole week and we had several possible objectives in the Pemberton area to justify the driving.
There are several “secret” cabins, open to the public in the west-coast tradition, but not well-advertised, to prevent them getting full on weekends. We could visit one.
Keyhole Hot Spring is closed by the Authorities in the summer because tourists have been feeding the bears, and in the winter by snow, but others have gotten in there with snowshoes or skis and not too much effort, before the bears wake up. We wanted to see the “run of the river” power plant up there, diverting most of the Lillooet River down a big pipe past the hot springs. There’s a pool that holds six people which I couldn’t find last time I was up there.
We could do the “double dipping” combo of visiting both T’sek Hot Spring (Skook) and Sloquet Hot Springs. But we weren’t sure if the road to Sloquet was drive-able.
We figured that Lizzie Cabin is strenuous. The VOC Phelix Hut is strenuous, and cold.
What We Did:Monday we left Vancouver not too early and we were in the Pemberton McDonalds in time for lunch. The drive to the “Secret” cabin was uneventful and when we got to choose between skis and snowshoes we chose skis but I think snowshoes would have been easier. The weather was beautiful, bluebird sky, hot, no clouds, spring skiing like we used to do up at Garibaldi Lake, long ago. We had several “fukawi moments” where you stare at the GPS while reciting the magical words “We’re the fukawi”. Initial progress was slow and we calculated that we would arrive at the cabin around 2am, which didn’t sound very good so we went faster, and got there well before dark. The cabin is quite lovely, nicely furnished with a heater and a big firewood supply, and a sign which said “please don’t tell others about this cabin”. OK.
Tuesday, not too early we skied back to the Jeep. I really wanted to go to Keyhole Hot Spring, but we had already done quite a lot in the snow so we picked Skook Hot Spring as our second choice. A month ago there was scary ice on the Skook road but this time there was only large potholes and huge mud pits, so no problem. We got there well before dark and the place was strangely empty, maybe five cars total. We put up our tent and chatted with the neighbors, cooked our car-camping food and hit the waters. The “pool of Solitude” was our favourite, and our neighbors joined us after a while.
Wednesday we weren’t sure what to do. Keyhole was in the other direction and we’d had enough snow. So we drove to Sloquet. There was one other couple at the campsite. The guy wasn’t having a good time. His wife didn’t seem to want to come out of their tent. He had a nearly flat tire and no spare, but he had a compressor. And their dog had wandered off and not returned. We hit the waters. Sloquet was even nicer than I had remembered it, and we were the only people in the pools. To use up the rest of the day we drove to Port Douglas, which used to be the terminus for the boat that went up and down Harrison Lake, but is now mostly a ghost town complete with geese, beavers, and water too cold to swim in. We returned to Skook and the Pool of Solitude. There was a full moon!
Thursday, after another dip in the Pool of Solitude, we drove home. Steam rising off the pools was very beautiful.
Regrets: We still didn’t get to Keyhole. VOC tele gear is OK for getting to cabins but is not great for the steep and deep, and sometimes the boots eat your feet. Sorry you are all Weekend Warriors, because it’s so nice mid-week..