A detour into nowhere
My bathing excess was not so long ago, but when I hear the word "Hotsprings" the alarm bells ring in my brain, all previous plans are immediately thrown over the pile and new ones forged.
Mathias was quickly persuaded. We drive to the Sloquet Hotsprings in the south of British Columbia.
But first we take the ferry from Vancouver Island to Vancouver City and spend another day in town before we continue.
A day that is all about enjoyment. Those who know us know that we like to eat well, to try new specialities and this preferably in a nice ambience. Unfortunately, places where you can find real culinary delights are thin on the ground in America (Canada and the USA hardly differ in this respect). All the more reason to be happy about Vancouver: Charming cafés, restaurants with food from all over the world, microbreweries on every corner and you can see people, the wine! drink. We just couldn't resist all the tempting offers: In the morning we have a real Italian espresso at the Bellagio at the Waterfront. On the way to the Steam Clock we stop at Starbucks for two Eggbites with bacon and Swiss Gruyère. For lunch we are on Granville Island and order in the brewery of the same name a "Plättli" with the finest meat, cheese (had almost forgotten that it is also available in another colour than orange) and olives. We share a Beer Flight consisting of tasting samples of all ten types of beer that are produced here in the brewery (a total of 3 litres of beer xD). A special chocolate beer tasted special to me. For dessert, we treat ourselves to a sugar-sweet melt-in-the-mouth Chocolate-Cheesecake tartlet in the market next door, before we go back to our car and get ready for the evening.
We have reserved a table in the West, a stylishly furnished Nouvelle Cuisine restaurant with a wonderful ambience and enjoy a 7-course tasting menu with good Oregon wine and professionally shaken cocktails for dessert.
The only downsides are that our friends are missing, the really good ones with which a glass of wine tastes even better ... and the buzzing skull the next morning.
The next day, right after brushing our teeth, we head full throttle towards Hotsprings. Via Whistler, where we represent our feet in the village, we drive to the small village of Pemberton. From here we turn into a road with the imaginative sounding name "In-SHUCK-ch-Forest Service Road". Now we have to follow this Dirtroad for 60 kilometres, first along the turquoise Lillooet Lake, then through dense green mixed forests up to the announced hot springs.
But the relaxing bath has to be deserved. The forest road demands all our energy reserves. The world has never seen such a bad corrugated iron before. We are shaken from top to bottom (so I imagine a session on the Power Plate). Behind us objects fly through the car and the noise is almost unbearable.
Again a new point on the To Do list: "Stow / fasten objects offroad-suitable".
Only after sunset we find the right access road to the Sloquet Campground and the hotsprings. On a clearing in the forest we stop without orientation until a bright light comes closer and closer to us. We are greeted by the dark long-haired camping host and instructed about the place here: "If you wanna stay for the night, it's 15 dollars ... cash only! But you can use the hotsprings all night. Just take a flashlight with you, if you go down, the trail is steep and there are no lights. No toilets, showers or changing rooms down there. Drink plenty of water!"
The area here belongs to a First Nation tribe, whose name I have unfortunately forgotten. We would like to spend the night here, because we don't have much else to do. The only problem is: We have used up all our Canadian dollars because we want to cross the border into the USA tomorrow. I offer him US dollars, which he gratefully accepts with a broad laugh on his face ("But it is still 15 dollars"). Yes, just take it, I want to take a bath now.
We quickly find a place in the dark forest, put on our swimsuits and immediately make our way to the Hotsprings. Slightly disillusioned we stomp through the dense foliage, there is no real way. We only follow the voices that can be heard from a distance and carefully put one foot in front of the other and work our way between the tall trees on the steep slope. I feel short, like in a horror movie.
But the voices are getting louder and louder and we are relieved. "They have to be in front! We see lights shining through the dense, low-hanging branches of the fir trees around us. There is only a small river left to cross on a slippery tree trunk, we push the last branches to the side and can then see the outlines of dark figures in the light of some candles. We hear the quiet voices of other people and the splashing of the springs.
As we approach, the outlines get content and we can suddenly see it crystal clear: They are all naked! Now we also recognize the incoming melodies of "The Mamas and the Papas" (Baadaa, badadada ... Monday, Monday ... so good to meee) and the smell of marijuana penetrates our noses. "What exactly did you choose for a place there?" Mathias asks me and looks slightly irritated at me.
I just shrug my shoulders and jump away from the other bathers into one of the numerous natural pools. Finally, after this exhausting day, we can warm up and stretch out our limbs at a pleasant 37°C. In the trees around us hang dream catchers and the surroundings are decorated with candles. Actually quite nice, but in the middle of this hippie community we feel a little out of place. I don't want to know what they are doing here all night long. Quickly we disappear again and fall into a deep sleep in the Toyo.
The next morning we wake up early and go to the pools again. Our guess is confirmed. Nobody is awake so early, so we have the whole oasis in the middle of nature for ourselves!
Strengthened with coffee and breakfast we drive on. I saw on the map that the Forest Road continues to Harrison, which is very close to the US border. Perfect! So we don't have to drive everything back and the same route twice, which we hate like the plague. But there are still more than 100km until we get back to civilization, for which we need about 4 hours, if we can drive at the same speed as yesterday. If we have one on this journey, then it is time. So the decision was made quickly.
Already after some kilometres the road becomes very narrow and the condition worsens increasingly. We suddenly ask ourselves if it wasn't a bit too careless of us to drive without any information about the road conditions. But since we could overcome every "obstacle" well, we continue ... until we suddenly have to stop in front of a barricade of big stones.
There is definitely no getting further!
Somewhat far away we hear excavators to which we run. Then we see the reason for the blockade. A violent landslide made the road impassable. The forest workers are a bit surprised that they meet us here, but they are interested in our trip. After a few minutes of small talk we say goodbye again. They wish us a good trip and recommend that we don't picnic nearby for the next two hours, as they would start blasting.
For better or for worse we have to go back. First over 100 kilometres on the Dirtroad to Pemberton, then via Whistler and on to Vancouver.
Only after sunset we pass the border to the USA and I write the last report from Canada. Even if we were not very long in this first country of our journey and saw only a fraction of it, the experiences remain to us in best memory. We started in the rugged wild Nova Scotia, drove through kilometer-long forests in New Brunswick, visited romantic cities in Québec and admired the biggest waterfalls of America in Ontario. In British Columbia and in the Yukon we crossed untouched nature and eternal expanses until we landed in the Northwest Territories at the end of the world.
There are hundreds of reasons to come back at a later date!