1) What’s new. The road is still long and includes highway driving along Highway #1 until you get to exit 135, then up through Agassiz where you shouldn’t pick up hitch-hikers because the federal prison is up there, and then through the village of Harrison where you might want to buy gas, then about 35 km and about a million campsites along the E. shore of Harrison Lake. By then Pegah was driving and she successfully avoided two oncoming logging trucks. She is getting way too much practice driving logging roads. Up Clear Creek Main we saw many signs saying keep out, active falling, but no actual logging. There’s a new sturdy gate which was fortunately open, otherwise it might become a “bicycles only” road like Meager. Four creeks to drive through, but way easier than the “one log bridge creek” at Phelix. Apparently there’s a plan to heli-log the whole area, maybe next year, and you will suddenly find that you just did a lot of driving for nothing because the gate is locked.
At the pools we found that the deck had been rebuilt by volunteers, the plumbing was arranged so that the three tubs were “way too hot”, “pretty hot”, and “just right”. Not a lot of abandoned clothes; none in my size. There was a lot of bear poop around and we saw a place where bears had made a “nest”, maybe for a nap.
2) People. Hot springs are a good place to get to know people. You are probably not out of breath or trying to remember how to walk on rough ground. When you are naked, you may not be hiding much. If you are all alone up there you may get to know yourself.
We met one guy, lets call him Don, about 60 years old. In a short while we got to learn that Don hated his dad and his dad hated him. His dad was a military guy and I’ve never had much respect for people who are trained to kill. Don said that he would have killed his dad happily except that his mom liked the guy. Don had a small dog up there with him. He didn’t treat the dog very well. The dog kept visiting us at the tub and saying “please can I have some food”. Pegah was mostly trying to pet the dog because that’s what she does. Don got jealous and put the dog in the tub with us. The dog didn’t like that and it looked like Don was trying to drown the dog; at least the dog thought so. Don wasn’t a very good conversationalist. If you tried to start a benign conversation, like what was the weather forecast for tomorrow, Don was soon talking about how evil big pharma was trying to get us to take a lot of drugs so they could make more money by killing us. As time wore on, we decided we had had enough hot tub and enough Don, and we went off to prepare our car-camping food. Later of course we returned to the warm water and found a much-quieter Don.
Then there was this other guy, we’ll call him Chris because that was his name. He could talk about whatever you wanted to talk about and he left us with the feeling that we had just participated in a discussion, we listened to each other, and we may have learned something from each other. He told us about a secret warm pool nearby and asked us to not tell anybody about it. He had a nice Nissan Xterra, a compressor for fixing tires, and a fridge. He was well-groomed insofar as you can be well-groomed when you aren’t wearing anything. He seemed to be the sort of guy you might want to sleep with if you were into sleeping with random guys that you found at hot springs.
One thing I’d recommend bringing to hot springs is a glow-stick. Chris brought a glow stick. Green is the best color. They are better than expensive headlamps because headlamps blind people and show too much detail. You can play Trident Nuclear Submarine and launch the glow-stick out of the water or play torpedo and shoot it at people. You can pick it up with your toes when it sinks to the bottom of the tub.
Later, after it was dark, a truck with an “N” on it arrived and three younger people got out and spent the entire night in the pools playing their ghetto-blaster rather loud. One of the girls had a nice bath robe, but she smoked a lot and had a terrible cough.
3) What did we learn? Definitely avoid weekends. As we were leaving we saw many rugged vehicles arriving. Solitude wasn’t going to happen, maybe fights would happen. People asked of there was an attendant to pay and I told them that I’d be happy to take any surplus money they had. Several carloads of people asked if this was the way and were they getting any closer, and I was able to help them and recommend that they not park on the rusty nails which is all that is left of Ruth Larsen’s cabin. The drive down past the lake was interesting. By noon all the million campsites were full and cars were lined up at the side of the dirt road. I saw a big truck selling firewood. Highway #1 was pretty full of cars trying to enjoy the weekend, all going 20 kph above the speed limit.
I heard that the road on the west side of Harrison Lake is once again open, as the missing bridge was replaced last weekend. It provides access to a lot of driving, and two actively managed hot springs, Sloquet and Skookumchuk aka T’sek, but don’t go on a weekend! See https://www.ubc-voc.com/2017/07/14/advanced-hot-springs-soaking-and-car-camping-july-11-13 If you want to do this, email me and we can make it happen.
Lucy, I believe we qualify for skinny dipping points.