Friday, February 25, 2011

From Bridal Veil Falls to Harrison Hot Springs, in one-day trip

 Bridal Veil Falls, British Columbia, Canada, Spring 2010
Bridal Veil Falls, British Columbia, Canada, Spring 2010

Far away, long ago, I learned to respire harmony when admire the snowy grandeur of mountains or the solitude of the forest.  The birds were singing, the wild horses were running on overgrazed pastures hidden under the glowing sky as an ember. My heart used to know that I'm happiest in the middle of nature. We have been spending a little time outside lately and it is so sunny and gorgeous out now...

 Bridal Veil Falls, British Columbia, Canada, 2010

Thinking thus, last weekend we decided to walk around, just two hours from Vancouver, in the Fraser Valley, to see again Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park  and Harrison Hot Springs' landscapes. They are  somehow easy to find:  follow Hwy #1 to the City of Hope, then take right from the Trans Canada highway, on the same exit (#135)  as to the Minter Gardens.

Lush Green Forest at the base of Mount Cheam
Lush Green Forest at the base of Mount Cheam

Lush Green Forest at Harrisson Hot SpringsI almost remember the beauty of the Fraser Canyon in summer, but in the beginning of the spring, when we try to see "green"  anywhere around us... these scenic trees (western red cedar, western hemlock, broadleaf maple still without leaves) decorated with moss, western sword fern and spiny wood ferns, sitting at the base of Mount Cheam, are looking even more stunning.

We intended to walk along them till The Bridal Veil Falls, a 60m high "veil-like" waterfall cascading over rocks - but the Park (situated at 16 km of the City of Chiliwack) was closed due to "hazardous winter conditions" and we postponed our visit.

2010, Bridal Veil Falls, British Columbia, Canada

Last year we saw the waterfall and it really does look like the veil of a bride (you can see it in the pictures taken with my mobile phone). So, we continued our day-trip visiting the ancient village of Popkum. The meaning of the "Popkum" word is "puffballs" - the mushrooms (fungal species "Calvatia gigantea" and "Lycoperdon giganteum") that were an important food source for Popkum First Nation People living in the area in 1700's and later.

trees in Sasquatch Provincial Park
Sasquatch Provincial Park

Although many other attractions like Dinotown Theme Park or Bridal Fall WaterPark were closed to the season, we visited one gift and antiques shop and snapped a few pictures, then we went to the North passing through the picturesque agricultural community of Agassiz, where we took a ride around the Agassiz- Harrison Museum  housed in an old Canadian Pacific Railway Station built in 1893 (which is open only from May to October), then continued further North to Harrison Hot Springs.

Rock Wall near the Road around Harrison Lake
Rock Wall near the Road around Harrison Lake

Harrison Hot Springs, located on the Harrison Lake's shore, amongst The Coastal Mountains of the British Columbia, it is a small community living in a fairy region: waterways, hot springs, mountains, agricultural landscapes. It is considered the "Jewel of the Fraser Valley" or "the SPA-town of Canada" and it is a perfect year-round getaway.

We explored (especially for the kids who were so excited) the rural countryside and discovered the wild beauty hiking in Sasquatch Provincial Park and on the trails around Harrison Hot Springs and its lake.

Harrison Hot Springs in the evening grayish light
Harrison Hot Springs in the evening grayish light

In the evening, the sky became more grayish, and the beauty of landscapes more intense.
Harrison Hot Springs in the eveningOur last stop before returning to Hwy #1 was to the Public Pool centrally located and accessible year-round by all visitors to Harrison Hot Springs (usually open between 9am-8pm). We enjoyed a hot bath (around 40 degrees Celsius) in this delightful mineral hot springs indoor pool, then we came back  to Vancouver.


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