November. The month of desperation. The month in which we change our clocks backwards and let darkness set an hour earlier. The month of rain, as the Guns n’ Roses song goes. It’s also the perfect time of year to visit some local hot springs.
I have to admit that when the weekend got closer I was less than enthusiastic about leaving the comfort of our cozy apartment. It seems that by November I am more than ready to adapt to the urban life style almost completely. But Pascale and Ignacio were keen on going and Gili too. So eventually I was convinced and off we went early Saturday morning. Ignacio drove, which was a real treat for Gili who is used to doing long boring drives by himself while everyone else is sleeping.
When we passed Whistler we noticed the low snow line (or at least the rest of the gang noticed, I was sleeping of course). In Pemberton we made a quick stop (or not so quick) at Mt. Currie Coffee where we bumped into the VOC group who was planning to go to the Meager Hot Springs.
Our original plan was also to go to Meager, but somehow as we got into the car the plan changed to Sloquet Hot Springs instead. I am not sure how it happened, I think the combination of the low snow line, the steep drive, the big group who was heading there and hiking in the rain did not make any of us more enthusiastic. So we went to explore the logging road leading to Sloquet, seemingly the more adventurous option, since we knew less about it and how far we could drive up the road.
It turned out that the drive is pretty long (about two hours from Pemberton), but totally doable with a two wheel drive vehicle. We arrived to a well maintained and organized campground and now we were simply car camping. After setting up the tents and the tarp we made the “long” hike to the hot springs. About five minutes walk on a steepish trail and we were at the hot springs next to the river.
There were quite a lot of people there (and dogs), but the people rotated frequently and the dogs eventually left, so it never felt too crowded. We soaked for a few good hours, and in the late afternoon we met our friends Evan and Greta there too who arrived with a group of ten, as well as some other friends. Who would have thought we’d meet friends from Vancouver, in the middle of nowhere, four hours drive away.
When darkness set we made the hardest move of the whole day (after getting up in the morning) – getting out of the hot springs to the chilly November evening. Back at our camp spot Pascale and Ignacio cooked a feast – pasta with pork sausages and three types of cheese (including one very stinky one). They said that if they would have known it was car camping they would have gone fancier, but I don’t know how much fancier you can go. For the dessert we had a killer flour-less chocolate cake made by yours truly which was well appreciated by our chocolate-lover friends. Then Pascale and Ignacio headed down for a night dip, but Gili and I hit the sack early, and even gained an extra hour of sleep when we changed our clocks.
The morning brought clear skies and chilly air, perfect for more soaking. After breakfast, which included more chocolate cake eating for some of us, we headed back to the hot springs. Soon it was time to leave and we started the long drive back along the bumpy logging road. We made a quick stop at the St. Agnes hot springs, which are more developed and not right on the river, but still looked nice, we’ll check it out someday too.
After a break in Pemberton where Pascale and Ignacio had a meeting we discussed the most important decision after every trip – where will we have dinner? Unitedly we decided on Persian food in North Van and two hours later we were eating with the locals at Yaas Bazaar. Although not a lot of hiking was involved we were all very hungry…
As we were crossing the Lions Gate Bridge we were talking about maybe organizing a trip for the “seniors” of the VOC, the 30 plus trip, where we would go “slow and heavy”, take many breaks and maybe soak in some hot springs. Hey, wait, didn’t we just do that?