Harrison Hot Springs

Hot Springs!

On Thursday morning we left for Harrison Hot Springs Hotel and Spa at Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, Canada.  It’s about a 3 hour drive from Seattle, so it is easy to forget we are going to another country.  Just as we were leaving, after many farewells and reassurances to old-man-Little-Bear that the catsitter was indeed on her way, Rick suddenly said, “Hey, guess what we almost forgot? Our PASSPORTS!”

The hotel, which sits on Harrison Lake and is dwarfed by mountains, is huge. There are four hot spring soaking tubs (two indoor and two outdoor) plus one large thermal swimming pool (outdoor).  The hotel provides white robes and white towels.  People clad in white are floating aimlessly (totally relaxed) all over the hotel.  There are people from all over the world here.  As I soak, I close my eyes and hear the murmur of many languages around me.  The sounds of Japanese, Korean, Ukrainian, Chinese, Persian, Turkish, French, etc, blend into the steam that rises around me.  I am in the Tower of Babel.  The tower seems to have a stream of music that drifts in and out of my ears.  The languages blend, become muted, and resemble the sound of a rushing river.  We soak in the morning and again late at night.  There is a warm thermal spring Olympic sized lap pool and I swim until I am filled with the happiness of a child floating, swimming, and flying.  The outdoor thermal pools are open until 11 pm. It is great to soak until late at night under the night sky.

And out of interest, here is what I found about the natural thermal waters that bubble up at Harrison Hot Springs:

That waters of Harrison Hot springs come up through the earth’s crust have a very high mineral content, containing everything from simple calcium to lithium, and even radium.  The Harrison Hot Springs public pools are said to bring relief to sufferers of rheumatism and arthritis through the 8 minerals present in the water including: sulphur, iron, magnesia, Epsom salts, iodine, potash and alum. 

We went on an eagle sighting eco-boat tour yesterday  It is hard to believe that within my lifetime, the great bald eagle almost went extinct!  DDT almost did them in because they were ingesting the poison and, as a result, their eggs were so soft that they broke before hatching time!  So I was thrilled to see eagles by the thousands!  I learned that an eagle must reach 6 years of age before full maturity at which time its head and tail become white!  I also learned that eagles have an average 21-30 year life span and that they are extremely difficult to photograph (for amateur photographers, at least)!

One of my favorite photos from yesterday: Harrison Lake

Our captain, Bill, explained that Harrison Lake is 43 miles long and 1000 feet deep. It was carved out by a glacier.  During the Caribou Gold Rush of the 1800’s, Harrison Lake was part of the major route used by the gold miners. We saw the remains of a partially sunken “paddle wheeler” which was used in the 1800’s during the gold rush.   Along the way to the estuary where the eagles thrive and feast on salmon, we saw some resident seals.  These are the only full-time lake resident seals in all of North America!  We also saw petroglyphs carbon dated to at least 1000 years ago along the cliff walls.

Tree and Eagle in late November Sky

When we got back from the Eco-Tour, we had tea in the hotel lobby and then went to a lecture given by one of Canada’s best nature photographers, Graham Osborne.  I learned so much from Graham about photographing wildlife and nature!  The bottom line is that I don’t have the camera for taking photos of a higher caliber!  I can take “ok” photos.  My Leica is one of my treasures, but to take extraordinary photos, a different camera, lenses, filters, etc are needed.  I am happy enough with what I have.

My birthday was perfect in every way!  I put together this slide show from the best photos that Rick and I took yesterday, November 25, 2011…the first day of the second half of my life!  The day was cold, but sunny, the best one could expect for this time of year this far north! Please note, if a photo in the slide show was taken by Rick with his camera, I have written RC to denote that fact.  Please turn up your speakers, so you can hear Coyote Oldman’s meditative flute playing Two Rivers.

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3 Responses to “Harrison Hot Springs”

  1. kay Says:

    yet another awesome place to try, thanks to you and Rick. We are so glad your 50th was amazing!
    Kay and Butch


  2. careann Says:

    It was a delight to read your account and see the slide show. Aren’t the eagles incredible? We live about 50 km from Harrison but only just drove out to see them yesterday. We live rurally and have seen the occasional eagle, not hear our home but in our area, but had never before seen so many at once. Congratulations on a birthday well celebrated. 🙂


    • frangallo Says:

      Thank you for posting your comment! I loved our time at Harrison Hot Springs and I must say seeing the eagles on the Harrison River was a real treat! Yes, it was the best birthday ever! How lucky that you live in such a beautiful area. And so glad that you got to see them yesterday. And to think that in OUR lifetimes, the eagles had nearly gone extinct. Thankfully, they have made a big comeback. Fran


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