I cannot even remember the last time I went camping, I had some bad experiences at music festivals and then a great experience on Fraser Island in Australia about 8 years ago but nothing since then.
Adam’s friend Miranda and her partner Jay invited us to go camping with them at Harrison Lake near Hope. These guys go camping regularly and know the good places to camp at. We set off in their truck from their place in Cloverdale along with their dog, Meeka on Friday evening complete with plenty of beer, food and camping supplies. After arriving at the entrance of the lake we were greeted by the RCMP doing spot checks on vehicles and drunk drivers (I can see why they need to do this after seeing some of the car wrecks on the dusty road – more on that later).
One amazing thing we did see was a black bear a little way in. Not a great photo as I got some better videos but I can’t upload on to here.
The further we travelled into the park, the more obvious it was that you need a truck or a Jeep in order to travel on the very bumpy and badly maintained roads. As it was may long weekend, many of the sites were taken but after an hour and half, we came across a site with an amazing view.
We set up camp before the darkness came in. Luckily Miranda and Jay had a spare tent as we couldn’t find one and it was an 8 person tent which I could stand up in. After dinner and a fire going strong we all had a few beers before bed. Nearby was a waterfall and a fast running creek that made white noise whilst sleeping very relaxing.
I slept well especially as Adam had just purchased a new air mattress rather than being on the ground. The view of the lake was amazing as soon as I opened the tent up.
After breakfast and cleaning up, we decided to check out a hot springs pool that Jay had heard about, which was meant to be about 20 minutes north along the lake. Miranda drove the truck with me and Adam inside and Jay went out on his dirt bike. Along the way we came across an overturned Jeep, which had been stripped of the wheels and rims and anything of any value inside. It was probably stolen and then taken for a joyride into the park. There were photos, a diary and the owners credit car bill inside so a lot of personal information was still in there.
The journey to the springs was taking a lot longer then 20 minutes. We stopped at a First Nation’s site called Tipella to ask for directions, we were advised one and half km. 20 kms and another 45 minutes later, we reached our destination.
Sloquet Hot Springs is about 100km south of Whistler (yes we had travelled that far) and is run by Xa’xtsa First Nation members as a recreation site and camp ground. When we arrived at the site, it was obvious that it was a popular location for camping. It cost us $5 each to use the hot spring pools, which were a 10 minute trek along a very steep gradient – when you are wearing flip-flops it doesn’t really go well.
The pools themselves were really nice. The closer you got towards the river, the cooler it was but on a day as hot as this one, it was busy in this pool. The further up you went the hotter it was and I could only stand about 15 minutes before I started to overheat.
It seemed a long way to go just for a dip in the pool but it was time to start heading back. Along the way, we stopped at a logging plant for a bathroom break. The view was amazing. We stopped again nearer to our campsite for Jay to get some wood for the fire – luckily he brought his chain saw so it didn’t take too long.
Everyone was tired by the evening but still down for some music and beers around the raging campfire before hitting the hay!
The next morning was still gorgeous and sunny but not as warm, we started with a coffee and then accompanied Jay with his rifle to do some target shooting out in clearing. Both Miranda and Adam took a shot, I had the opportunity to try with the gun but because I had no ear protection and the ricochet was pretty loud, I declined.
On return it was time for breakfast and to spend some time chilling. Adam and Jay took their fishing rods out to see if they could catch anything. Adam also showed me how to use a casting fishing reel for the first time, I didnt catch anything but I saw a little black fish in the shallow water check out the bait before swimming off.
One thing I have never done is swim in a cold lake but that was about to change. After two days with no shower, it was time to freshen up. It took a lot of courage (and there was a lot of swearing when I hit the water) but I did it – it was f***ing freezing and my legs went numb within half a minute. Meeka on the other hand, loved the water and was in and out of it collecting rocks and sticks
Another new thing that I got to try was using Jay’s chain saw to carve into the dead logs along the shore. I called this ‘Chainsaw Pictionary’ – Miranda managed to draw a stick figure and a mushroom, Adam just wrote ‘boob’, Jay put his name into the wood and me, well I just did a cross because I had never used a chainsaw before.
Our last campfire was great, we used up the rest of the food and had some steaks and sausages, the beer had also run out but there was a two litre bottle of wine left as well as some Jack Daniels lol.
Packing up the next morning wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but everything was so dusty and dirty from the road. We sent off around 11:30am and didn’t get out of the park till just after 1pm, Adam and myself finally made it back to Vancouver just before 4:30pm. After a cold shower and putting on all the laundry, I felt more human but a little sun burnt.
I definitely enjoyed this camping trip, I learnt a lot more of what you need to make it successful and next time I need to bring some more pillows and wet wipes lol.