Tuesday, September 01, 2015

H for Harrison Hot Springs

ABC Wednesday
September 2, 2015

The Letter is H for Harrison Hot Springs

It is the 20th century and we are on our way, down the Hope Princeton Highway, to Vancouver.  Or perhaps we are on our way home..........  No matter, - we will always make the turn off the Highway that leads to Agassiz, through Agassiz, and on to HARRISON HOT SPRINGS, the home of some of our dearest friends....

The village of Harrison Hot Springs is a small community (perhaps 1500 souls) at the southern end of Harrison Lake in the Fraser Valley of British Columbia.  The small road winding along the bottom of the cliff in the right of the picture leads to where they lived, - up a steep bank and on to a rocky ledge where Fred has built their home, and from where they can gaze across the lake at the splendid Hot Springs Resort, - or up the lake, past the many small islands that dot the lower end; the beautiful coves, beaches, rock cliffs and waterfalls surrounded  by coniferous forests and snow-capped mountains - truly spectacular.

The Coast Salish First Nations people lived along the Harrison River and Harrison Bay.  They called the Harrison hot springs Warum Chuck and believed them to have supernatural medicinal qualities.  For hundreds of years it was their secret alone, - even when Simon Fraser canoed past the Harrison area in 1808 he made no mention of the river or the lake, and later when Hudson Bay explorers discovered the lake in 1846, the hot springs remained unknown.

That is no longer the case!!  By 1860, during the Gold Rush, Port Douglas at the north end of the lake 'bustled with the comings and goings of miners en route to the Cariboo gold fields and Harrison Lake was their main thoroughfare.  So when a storm capsized a party of prospectors one winter they were astounded to find themselves in warm, not freezing waters'.

The springs soon became a popular tourist attraction and the area's first hotel was built, the St. Alice.

When the heady days of the Gold Rush ended Harrison's economy slumped and they became dependent on the hot springs, as they are today

When in 1920 the St. Alice was destroyed by fire a new hotel was built, and it has evolved into a world class resort.

Tourism has been the mainstay of Harrison ever since the springs were discovered. but today there are many more things to enjoy.  It is a relaxed community, - many of the new developments are owned as second properties by city folk and pre-retirees looking forward to a slower pace of life, and they dress accordingly.  The economy relies almost entirely on the Resort, except for maintenance in the village and small shops that cater to visitors.

Our dear friend, Fred, was born into one of the communities pioneer families;
very much at home on the lake and the surrounding agricultural and timber covered land.
His work in dredging the south end of the lake to rid it of weeds and extend the beach
extended into the Okanagan where he worked the same magic in attracting sun lovers.

And fishermen......

and boaters.....

and hikers.....

How to get there????

For more interesting Hs visit here at ABC Wednesday
with thanks to Denise, Roger and all hardy helpers....


Roger Owen Green said...

I did not know the discovery story.

Ann, Chen Jie Xue 陈洁雪 said...

Once, in 1976, my friend and I tried to hike but nobody would give us a ride. we were a male and female team, and friends told us, that was a mistake.

Anonymous said...

Nice pictures, interesting story!
Visiting from ABC Wednesday
Greetings, Hilde

Unknown said...

Travelling is always fun... visit places familiar or not... outings one should be able to enjoy more often ;-)

Have a nice day
Melody abc-w-team)

Reader Wil said...

I should like to live in such a country like yours with mountains and lakes and woods. I love mountains and valleys.
I wish you a great week or what's left of it!
Wil, ABCW Team

Leslie: said...

That is one HUMUNGOUS fish! I haven't been there for ages, but when we used to go to Shuswap Lake, we'd always go that way just for the scenery. Great post!

abcw team

Joy said...

The warm water sounds enticing and such beautiful surroundings

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

We've been there! Way too many years ago now though. Just like everyplace in BC ... would love to visit again. I love the old photos you include...fun to compare. Your friends have a beautiful place for their home.