Winter mini break to Harrison Hot Springs

Around January or February in the northern hemisphere (or July if you are in the southern hemisphere), the winter starts to feel like it’s dragging on forever and you think spring will never arrive, it’s definitely time for a trip to warmer climates – or in our case this week to thermal hot springs.

Growing up in New Zealand, it was always such a treat to go to the hot springs at Tokaanu near Mt Ruapehu, especially when we were staying at the school camp at Mangatepopo doing a working bee (generally the kids were in charge of pulling up the weeds and plants considered pests) and having a soak until you were all pruney.

I had wanted to visit the hot springs in the winter months, and eventually after a busy month of shooting we arranged to head to Harrison Hot Spring Resort at the very end of February. Of course, I wasn’t expecting it to be still snowing. By all accounts from our friends, Vancouver’s spring season tends to start in February so the fact it snowed the entire drive up was pretty unexpected. Luckily none of it was sticking to the highway too much, since I am not the most confident winter driver just yet – rain, torrential rain I can deal with learning to drive in NZ, but snow is still a bit of a worry for me.

We arrived mid afternoon, and managed to check in a little bit early which meant straight to the pools for a long soak before dinner. And then a long soak after dinner. It snowed on and off for most of the day, and it was so magical to watch the big snowflakes drifting down into the water.

Shot on Sony A7II
Canon FD 50mm f1.4 and Canon 40mm STM f2.8

The following day we decided to go for a bit of a walk around the lake shore, from the breakwater at the marina in Kent around to the source of the hot springs, with a stop for a coffee from Muddy Waters Cafe (mainly because I remember the one back in my home town in Whanganui).
We wandered for close to 2 hours, it normally takes us forever to walk anywhere when I have my camera as we constantly have to stop for me to take photos. It was a little chillier than I was expecting and we had snow flurries for most of the time we were out, which resulted in some great moody landscape images.

Of course all this exertion meant that we needed to have a well earned soak in the hot springs, and apparently lunch time was a great time to head down. There was just us and a couple of other people with the pool all to ourselves.

Shot on Sony A7II
Canon FD 50mm f1.4 and Canon 40mm STM f2.8

We couldn’t check out without having a final soak, so we got up early for breakfast and then headed into the pool for an hour or so before getting organised to check out. We had been planning to visit Bridal Veil Falls on the way home, but it was raining pretty persistently so decided to give it a miss on this particular trip.

It was lovely to get away and have some time to relax and unwind, and I’m planning to head back to the Chilliwack area to do some berry picking and farm tours in the summer.

 

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