The Great Hot Springs Roadie
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999 Days Around Africa: The Road Chose Me
The way the long weekend turned out and the Strata extra-long weekends, I took one day of leave for a 5 day weekend. Of course, I got out of the city as fast as I could.
The plan was to hit as many hotsprings as possible – some easy to find. Some not so easy.
I started with Upper Halfway river. The book basically said “good luck”, leaving me with not much to go on. I did have some posts from the ‘net, so armed with those, I drove for about 20km up a logging road, on about a 35degree day. I found some flagging tape on the side of the raod, and thought I was there. A short hike down to the river and I found no bridge. I was clearly in the wrong place.
Not easilly deterred, I decided to wade across the river. That was never going to happen, so I back-tracked and go out of theere. The GPS I borrowed off Ryan showed I was only a few hundred meters away from the sping. Damn close.
I camped the night at Halfway River Hotsings – much easier to find and an A+ soak.
In the morning I was super-keen to actually get to Upper Halfway, so I teamed up with some others who had heard of it. We again drove out the logging road, but this time we found the right pull-out and were clearly in the right place. Not far from the road was a bridge the size of which meant it was never going to be washed away. We hiked for around 30mins, most of which through very overgrown brush and straight up-hill. Success. We found the srping and had a great soak.
After heading down to Nakusp, I had a flat on trusty Jeepadoor. That, and the general fatigue led me to camp near town in a campground.
I was up early, on the hunt for Octopus Creek hotspring. I drove down to Fauquier, then continued south on logging roads to the Octopus Creek Recreation site. I drove Jeepadoor as far up the old logging road as I could, then hiked from there. I had to thrash down to the creek (which was very very steep), and walked up the creek for another about 1km. I followd lots of orange flagging tape.
When I got to the river, the water was very high and I had to wade across about 12 times on my way upstream. Luckily it was pretty warm, and I got used to the cold pretty quickly.
Each and every time I was scared.
The canyon was very tight without any other options. At one point I found a fire pit, and further up a big length of black plastic pipe, like you find at all the hot springs in the area. The farther I went, the less and less flag tape I saw, until there was none. I was going very slowly with all the rock hopping and crossings and I was exhausted from all the crossings, so I turned back. Ryan’s GPS said I was still about 1200m short of the springs, but I’m really keen to try again sometime.
I drove on, and made it all the way to Crawford Bay, ready for another hunt in the morning.
Talking to the locals in the morning, I felt the standard “We don’t want you to find our hot spring” attitude. I pressed on anyway. After hiking around aimlessly for a while, I ended up meeting a local guy “Russ”, who had all the answers. It turns out his friend has been doing aerial surveys for a local resort, looking for hot springs (Dan’s dream job, BTW). Finding Crawford Bay warm springs was a snap after that. Not hot hot, but a really refreshing soak, once again all to myself.
I checked out Fording Mountain Hot spring on the way through Fernie, which the local have dubbed Sulfer Springs. Now I know why.
A fantastic roadie, with some success and some lessons for next time.