Aiyansh Hot Springs
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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
I turn off the Stewart-Cassiar onto “The Cutoff”; 55 km of nasty, rocky gravel that takes me into the town of New Aiyansh and leads on to Aiyansh Hot Springs. I cross into Nisga’a Memorial Lava Bed Provincial Park, an area of relatively recent volcanic activity. I pass by many “lava beds”, massive regions of beautiful, otherworldly volcanic rock. Walking through them is a very strange experience – they are covered in moss but otherwise have no signs of life.
The road has been sealed since the Glenn Woodsworth wrote his directions but they are otherwise spot-on and I have no trouble finding the little pull out. A five minute walk has me at the springs, which I have all to myself. Two hot vents and two cold water pipes flow into a gravel pit, which has been fitted with two drain pipes. I plug the drain pipes with the provided yogurt tubs and set about exploring the area while the pool fills.
I notice the cold water is not as cold as it should be. This combined with the sulphur deposits on the rocks has me convinced there is another vent somewhere up that stream. The flow rate from the main vent is excellent and it’s hotter than the 50 ˚C maximum my little thermometer can handle. The second near-by vent is just as hot, but is not much more than a trickle. The water has a very strong sulphur smell – not enough to deter me, but I can see how some people would be bothered by it. There are some attempted man-made structures in the area, really just some falling down pieces of timber.
I soak for an hour by myself, then share with a group of three for half an hour before heading off.
I return for two hours in the morning for an amazing soak just as the sun is rising.