Friday, 19 July 2013

Hot Springs in the middle of nowhere

Liard Hot Springs, Summit Lake, BC Canada

The girl at the information desk in Fort Nelson suggested that we stay at Summit Lake on Stone Mountain. We got a campsite with a million dollar view, right on the lake and it was stunning. Talking to a couple from Fort St John, they told us they had seen some moose just up the road. So we went to investigate to find our own, but unfortunately we didn’t see any moose. They came for drinks that night; our first Canadian visitors and hopefully we inspired them with some travel stories. They want to travel but just don’t have the confidence, it seems to be a common concern amongst Americans and Canadians. 

Summit Lake campground
The following day we got up at 6am and went in search of our quest again, it was very foggy so the photos wouldn’t have been great, but still nothing. Later that day we went out again and saw our first Caribou. At first I didn’t know if it was a moose or a Caribou – truth be known, I still don’t really know. It was very skittish and kept running around. I think it thought my binoculars were a rifle as they hunt around here. It then started to rain and it disappeared. Later on that day, even though the skies looked ominous, we set out again. Lindsay spotted something in the water; no it wasn’t a log, it was a Caribou with a large set of velvety antlers. Boy, they can swim fast and before we knew it, it had run up the embankment and was running along the road. We followed it along on the other side of the road and it was doing 56kmh (35mph), we were trying to get ahead of him, but some cars were coming the other way and we didn’t want him to come to any harm, so we stopped. After they had passed, he crossed the road and ran into the forest. Wow, not something you see every day. Later on that afternoon the weather closed in for the night, so no more outings. Good thing we aren’t in that Dodge van.

Caribou
We had a look at Muncho Lake but the campsites were a bit small, ditto for the next one up the road so we headed on up to Liard Hot Springs. Just before the springs were 14kms of gravel and as it had been raining, everyone’s cars and trailers were covered in muck. About 2kms before the springs we could hear a screeching sound coming from the truck wheels. Lindsay said it sounded like a stone had got caught in the brakes, but even after reversing and going forward a few times, it wouldn’t budge. We had to get somewhere where he could take the wheels off. It was a welcome sight to see the 2km sign that heralded our destination. Screech, screech we made our way into the campsite. He had to take both rear wheels off and with the help of a our neighbour from the previous night, who just happened to be camped right next to us again, both he and Lindsay managed to get the annoying sucker out from behind the shield. Lucky I have such a handy husband, who was by now a very muddy husband. Time for him to hit the hot springs.

Liard Hot Springs

The mosquitoes were bad (as usual) so I tried on my insect suit. I didn’t care that I looked ridiculous. Lindsay decided that he had to show me off to our neighbours Teresa and Jeff and three of their boys, but they had something better, they had a mozzie zapper in the form of a mini tennis racquet that you could use to swipe the mosquitoes! We were offered some merlot that Jeff had made with a kit and I tell you what, it was amazing. It started raining again so we continued our drinks back at our trailer.
The campsites are very generous and well laid out. The hot springs are very warm. The left hand side is warm and the right hand side gets progressively hotter. We only made it to the bottom of the right hand side. The springs are along an 800mt boardwalk, then at the springs are change rooms, restrooms and decking, then steps down into the water. They have put a gravel base on the bottom and while it’s not very deep, you have to practically sit or kneel on the bottom, it’s still very relaxing


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