Nestled in BC’s southwestern mountains, Harrison Hot Springs has long provided exceptional getaways. Family celebrations, farm tours, boat cruises, adventures outdoors and idyllic soaks in resort pools have lured us for decades.
Every time, a quirky Sasquatch sculpture seated just outside town greets us, his arms wide open. In strolling the pretty lakeside village, we discover other personable fellows posing here and there. Their giant footprints on pavement tiles always lead us to the Bigfoot chocolates!
Driving onward along the scenic lake past the art gallery, we spot Rockwell Harrison Guest Lodge. This time, our home base borders Sasquatch Provincial Park, ideal for our hiking plan.
Open since January 2017, this new B&B boasts views all around. Sundecks overlook our hosts’ prolific vegetable gardens, flowerbeds and luxuriant lawns. Adirondack chairs invite guests to unwind without even leaving the property. Upstairs, our balcony overlooks Harrison Lake and stately Coastal Mountains.
Inside, huge, hand-hewn cedar posts and beams frame the lodge. A polished staircase made of hardwood reclaimed from Vancouver’s old Drake Hotel leads to our spacious room. Savouring fresh scones and tea from the guest hospitality room, we comfortably settle in.
Next morning, the aroma of French press coffee welcomes us downstairs. China dishes, crystal glasses and silverware on the trestle table await guests. While enjoying delicious, nutritious home-cooked breakfasts, everyone shares travel experiences.
Heading off into Sasquatch Park to circle Hicks Lake, we muse about historic reports of Sasquatch sightings in these woods, whimsically wondering if one of these legendary, first nations beings will reveal itself during our hike.
From the day-use parking lot, a narrow path leads us through sprawling salal to a forestry road. Tramping onward above the lake’s eastern shoreline, we bask in warm sunlight filtering through surrounding firs and hemlocks. Thick emerald-green mosses blanket fallen logs, branches and stumps; woodsy aromas perfume pristine air.
Descending to a white sandy beach at the lake’s northern end, we recline against a log with our snacks. As we gaze over restful mirrored reflections, bald eagles soar lazily above; blue stellar jays hop amid lacy hemlock branches.
A narrow trail loops us back southward under an evergreen canopy, over hillocks and along a series of cliff-side boardwalks above the waterline. On the way, birdsong and wildflowers delight. Weaving inland, rickety wooden bridges carry us over countless burbling streams. Eventually, our route passes alongside two pleasant beaches, into forested campsites and on toward our car. Sighting a feisty spruce grouse concludes our six-kilometre commune with nature. Alas, zero Sasquatch encounters!
After relaxing back at the B&B, our prearranged dinner is served. We tuck into grilled local salmon with gourmet trimmings, convenient, delicious and perfect after our day’s hike.
Relishing our last breakfast, we bid adieu to the Rockwell. Skirting the village, we park at a well-marked trailhead on McCoombs Drive. The Spirit Trail proves an easy one-kilometre looping walk in lush forest. Here, a local artist mounted 24 hand-crafted terracotta masks high on red cedar trunks. Evoking sylvan spirits, each creates a different aura. Some express surprise, others grin. One sports sunglasses; another holds playing cards. In a quiet grove, a dozen clay faces with closed eyes meditate. Sitting on stumps, we immerse ourselves in forest magic.
Before heading home, we round off our retreat drinking robust coffee roasted in a 1919 flame roaster at Back Porch. And at Farm House Natural Cheeses, we purchase handmade artisan products, after some yummy sampling!
Sasquatch country keeps us coming back. Returning often to Harrison Hot Springs renews our energy and reconnects us with nature. And Rockwell Harrison provides a perfect place for doing so.
See www.therockwellharrison.ca for more on the Rockwell Harrison Guest Lodge, a boutique B&B.
See harrison.ca/places/agassiz/retail/the-back-porch for more on The Back Porch, offering small batch, hand roasted coffee.
See www.farmhousecheeses.com for artisan cheeses from grass fed goats and cows at Farm House Natural Cheeses.