Greetings to all!
Let me first thank all of YOU, the folks who follow the Green Jeep Adventures! I never thought I’d be interested in writing a blog, but here I am, over 3 years later, still writing, taking photos and sharing adventures, 3 things that I love to do.
Spring has FINALLY arrived in the northwest of BC and with it, the opportunity for warm adventures! This new year has seen some changes, including Fiona getting a (vehicle) sibling, who may have her own adventure story here and there. I bought a commuter car to get to work, almost 2 hours of driving each workday on a less than perfect semi-remote highway. Poor Fiona has been getting worn out from the incessant bumping and jostling on the highway so I bought a Subaru Impreza. Her official name is Calypso Gypsy but her nickname is Shark Fin. Fiona will take on the role of official adventurer.
Then, last week I had 3 very special visitors, my eldest daughter and my 2 eldest grandkids, aged 11 and (almost) 13. They haven’t been my way in many years as I usually go to see them on Vancouver Island.
We had plenty of adventures during the week that they were here but we made a special a trip north to the Nass Valley hot springs and brought a friend of my daughter who she hadn’t seen in many years. It was a great way for them to catch up and a great way for me to make memories with my grandkids.
We set out early on a Thursday morning in hopes of being alone in the pool, at least for a little while. There are a few scenic stops that I like to visit along the way, but because it’s still spring, everything was different. The lakes weren’t their usual pale aqua glacial colour, the snow pack in the mountains hasn’t melted and the creek that runs in and out of the forest along the highway was empty, including my favourite little waterfall. It was quite the ravine without the swirling turquoise water to hide its rough craggy lava rock.
What hasn’t changed are the beautiful moss covered Nass Valley Memorial Lava beds. We even saw a wolf who stood proudly up on a big lava rock for us to take photos! Such a treat to see!
Last fall there were some upgrades done to the hotspring and to the trail leading to it. This was my first trip since the changes. Previously, we had to pull ourselves up a short, semi vertical rock face with a rope that was tied to a large tree at the start of the trail, then hike up and down through the forest, traversing over tree roots and gnarly rocks, through muddy holes and swamp. Now, there are crisp new sections of boardwalk that bypass the forest and through the swamp. It’s an easy 7-10 minute walk to the springs! There’s also a shiny new cedar outhouse by the newly expanded parking area. These are welcome improvements but with easy access come more people. It’s great for tourism in the area though and it’s certainly a beautiful drive to get there.
As we arrived at the pool, I was happy to see that we were alone. Right beside the hot pool there is still an old, covered, doorless shack with benches in it for changing and storing personal items but just up the trail past the pool is a newly built change house with doors. The area is still in development so it will be interesting to see if another new structure will replace the old one as well. We could smell the odour of sulphur as we approached and saw steam rising as we walked along the trail. The pool has a ledge built around part of it and 6×6 timbers surrounding it, increasing the depth by a good foot. Also added in the water along the timbers were a few well placed, large, flat rocks that could be used to step into the pool or sit on, when in the water. The pool itself isn’t very big and would possibly hold a maximum of 10-15 people. The steaming water runs into the pool like a small waterfall from a pipe somewhere up on the mountain behind the pool and a cold water pipe from a small creek that runs past the pool on the opposite side, also tumbling like a tiny waterfall from a pipe.
Since I have been to the hot springs a number of times, I knew how hot the water was and couldn’t wait to get in. It is ridiculously hot! So hot that my grandkids couldn’t fully submerge themselves! Even though both kids tried to get in on the cooler side, it was still too hot. My grandson sat with his feet and lower legs dangling as he sat on the boardwalk and my granddaughter eventually sat with the water to her waist, but not for long! After about 5 -10 minutes, she got out.
Good thing our visit was fairly short or the kids may have been bored. They may have actually been bored but they never complained. We had brought food so they snacked on lunch items while us adults lolled in the steamy little piece of heaven on earth.
After about 45 minutes 3 other folks arrived and we all chatted a while. A young man had brought his visiting parents to the hot spring to show off the beauty of the north and in our conversations, it turns out that we have mutual friends, a common thing in the vast, yet small north coast. My family and I stayed a couple of hours more before packing up to head back to the jeep, as my daughter’s friend had to work that afternoon.
We had just arrived back at the jeep and my granddaughter, who had been a few steps behind us saw a bear in the woods near the trail and quickly ran to us, yelling “There’s a BEAR!” . Sure enough, about 100 feet away, in the still leafless trees was a medium sized black bear eating newly sprouted grass. I set off the jeep alarm a couple of times to warn the folks back in the pool and to possibly scare off the bear, but it just kept eating, completely unconcerned with us. Once we were all packed up, we drove along the highway past the hot pool location to see the bear and again it wasn’t at all interested in us. It looked at us with caution as we stopped briefly to snap a few photos from inside the jeep. At this point I decided that the other people in the pool weren’t in any danger and we turned around to head back home. It had been a huge bonus to see wildlife!
Although the plans for the week with my family changed from day to day, the visit to the hot spring was “in stone” as my daughter had put it. I’m happy that she and the kids have fun memories to take home as stories for their friends and memories for each of us to carry forever.
Find your adventures!