Spring Break at Harrison Lake

Posted: April 12, 2014 in Ramblings

A natural hot spring exists at the base of Harrison Lake, and a resort town of sorts has grown up around this. So we decided to visit it for five days over wet, cold spring break.

We were all afire with plans for hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, and taking a boat tour around this rather large lake. The day before we left, I telephoned to find out the name of the ranches that offered trail riding, and was told that they don’t offer it in this season because the weather is too wet. Well, this was not enough of a damper to stop us going. We went.

Day 1: Recce in the town, found the marina where the canoe rentals are, basically poked all around the place and went swimming in the hotel pools, which are fed from the hot spring. That was really nice. There is an indoor big hot tub, an indoor sort of spa pool, an outdoor thigh-deep ‘family pool’ (mostly full of adults sitting around resting, while their kids played), an outdoor lap pool (not a single person in it the whole time we were there), an outdoor baby pool (empty of water), and an adult pool restricted to people over 18. We went to the pools every day and spent most of our time wandering between the indoor spa pool and the outdoor family pool. Dinner at an awesome German restaurant called the Black Forest. Alex had linguine 🙂

Day 2: Discovered Chris hadn’t brought a memory card for his camera, so we drove the 20 miles back to the nearest shopping town, located a Target, and got a memory card and a new waterproof for Chris, and then found an English café across the street where we sat down to a full English minus the fried slice. (Alex had strawberry-rhubarb pie with custard.) Chris and the owner had a long chat about carbs and meals. Alex bought some sweets. After this, we went back to the hotel and loafed around until it was time to go wait for the tour boat.

Well, we sat at that dock from 2:45 until 4:15 (the boat was supposed to depart at 3:30) and finally gave it up. Later, I contacted the tour boat people, whose ad said “April through September – tours daily at 1 and 3:30,” and they said they’d stopped offering April tours due to lack of interest. Nuts. Went for a little walk/hike to the building that houses the source of the hot springs, and then off to the pools again. Just to be safe we then checked to see if the canoe people were doing rentals, and they don’t do them in April due to lack of interest. BLEAH!

Day 3: Took a really nice long hike. Well, it wasn’t that far but it took a long time! The guidebook said “goes almost straight up for the first 150 meters” and they weren’t kidding. It took us about half an hour to do the first 500 yards, and then an hour to do the rest of the 3-mile round-trip. We ended up at a little place called Sandy Cove, which is…a cove…that is sandy…and then floundered around in the woods trying to find the trail to come back. By the time we did get back, we were all footsore, and it would have been a perfect time to reward ourselves with some ice cream, except that we’re all on this damn diet! We tramped all over town trying to find a lunch place that wasn’t limited to sandwiches, and couldn’t. We ended up getting boxed salads from the hotel café, because the hotel restaurant closes between 2 and 5. This is a pretty serious black mark against them, and I mentioned it in my post-visit survey.

Day 4: We had gotten a tour brochure from a town called Hope, some miles to the East, with several attractions we were interested in seeing. We drove all along the Trans Canada Highway through majestic scenery (but not much else) where Alex fell asleep, and ended up at the Hell’s Gate tram, which we thought, from the brochure, was a gondola that went across a deep ravine. Unfortunately it was not. It was a gondola whose path mirrored the mountainside, down into the ravine itself. A very short gondola ride. But we would still have done it, except that…they do not open in April, due to lack of &^@%# interest! Argh. Chris took some pics and we drove back to the hotel, quite disgruntled at the way this was turning out.

Rather than staying the fourth night in the hotel (because the beds were very wobbly and every time Chris or I even blinked, the bed wobbled), we decided to have one last dip in the pools and head for home. We did this, and got back around 8pm, to a couple of happy cats.

Lesson: don’t go anywhere cold and wet over spring break!

Panorama from our hotel room.

Panorama from our hotel room.

View from Sandy Cove back towards the hotel.

View from Sandy Cove back towards the hotel.

Alex investigating the water's edge at Sandy Cove.

Alex investigating the water’s edge at Sandy Cove.

The base of the ravine for Hell's Gate.

The base of the ravine for Hell’s Gate.

Yum.

Yum.

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