Harrison Hot Springs Resort

August 16-21, 2010

Monday morning, our adventure began as 18 Obsidians and guests boarded the OCW luxury motor coach with Kevin as driver. First stop was at a favorite wooded rest area near Wilsonville for our usual “Obsidian coffee break”. From there, we traveled to Tumwater Falls Park by the old Olympia Brewery, stopping long enough to enjoy a picnic lunch and view the Deschutes River falls. Heading north on I-5, we took a slight detour through downtown Seattle with Kevin as tour guide. Then on to Best Western Tulalip Inn, Marysville for the night.

Tuesday, our first stop was Lynden where we found coffee and Goodies, explored some shops and the Dutch Village Mall. Unfortunately, many of the shops inside the mall are closed up, but the water feature and Koi fish were still there. After an uneventful border crossing, we arrived at Minter Gardens near Chilliwack B.C. We spent a couple of hours walking the garden paths, enjoying the beautiful flowers and landscaping, as well as having lunch at the Garden Café. Our mid-afternoon arrival at Harrison Hot Springs Resort was a bit early, however most rooms were ready and the staff graciously allowed us early check-in. The resort is located on the shore of Harrison Lake and is almost completely surrounded by a mountain backdrop, a truly beautiful location.

Wednesday, we drove to the Great Blue Heron Reserve at Chilliwack for a guided walking tour of the grounds bordering the Vedder River. Our guide, Janet, told about different projects they are doing to improve the habitat for blue herons and other native species. August is not the best time to see blue herons at the reserve, but one did accommodate us by flying overhead. The modern interpretive center has attractive exhibits of bird and animal life and of course, a gift shop. We were treated to coffee, tea and cookies. Lunch today was at the Royal Hotel in Chilliwack. Built in 1908, The Royal has been lovingly restored with original hardwood floors, vintage furniture, claw foot tubs and modern comforts. One of the goals of this trip was to have ample time to enjoy the ambiance of Harrison Hot Springs Resort and the adjoining village. During our free afternoon, some of the group went salmon fishing on the Fraser River, some took the Harrison Lake scenic boat cruise, others spent the time exploring the village and resort or just relaxing.

Thursday found us heading north along Trans Canada Hwy. 1 in the Fraser River Canyon. This was gold mining country in the late 1800s. We marveled at the construction of this modern highway, with seven tunnels, in the canyon walls. Our turn around point was the village of Lytton. Here we visited with the friendly ladies at their visitor center, and walked to the view point to see the blue/green Thompson River join the gray/brown Fraser. The contrasting colors form an interesting pattern as the two rivers merge. Next stop was Hell’s Gate Air Tram for an exciting ride across the Fraser River to Simon’s Café for lunch, browsing the gift shop, sampling their fudge and a walk across the suspension bridge, a bit spooky because of the wind. The river is very narrow and deep here, and it is said that 200,000,000 gallons of water per minute flow through the gorge at this spot.

Friday was a day for exploring the lower Fraser River valley, stopping first at the Chilliwack Museum. This former City Hall building, a National Historic Site, has been beautifully restored. Displays include a portrait wall of early settlers, 1858 gold rush history and railroad history. The lower valley area contains a wide variety of agricultural farms in a beautiful setting. A short drive took us to Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park, where most of the group completed the short, but somewhat strenuous, hike up to view the falls. Then on to the small town of Hope, known for the many chainsaw wood carvings throughout the town. With walking tour maps in hand, we set off in different directions to locate carvings and find some lunch. Other points of interest here: Memorial Park, The Japanese Friendship Garden, Historic Christ Church and Centennial Park on the Fraser River. As we left town, we dropped in on Pete Ryan, internationally known for his wood carvings. He was very gracious in welcoming a surprise bus load of visitors to his shop. As we headed back to Harrison Hot Springs, we stopped at a Hazelnut Farm to check out how Canadian hazelnuts compare to Oregon’s. Dinner this evening was compliments of Barbara and Paul Beard, as they shared their salmon catch with us. Chef Peter of Morgan’s Restaurant prepared the salmon in an especially tasty manner, and Barbara and Paul provided bread, fruit and veggies. We filled our plates and had an impromptu picnic in the lakeside park. It was a pleasant way to end our stay.

Saturday morning, we boarded the bus with a bit of sadness that this fun trip was coming to an end. The weather throughout our trip ranged from very warm the first two days, to cool and cloudy later in the week, and then sun again — perfect weather for traveling. Knowing we had the potential for delay at the border, we had a McDonald’s rest stop mid-morning, a wise idea, as we did indeed, get delayed at the border. Our misfortune was arriving on the heels of a bus load of 54 Korean citizens who were having their documentation thoroughly examined by customs officials. Lunch stop was at Falls Terrace Restaurant beside Deschutes River Falls at Tumwater. A long afternoon of driving brought us to Shopko about 7:00 p.m. This was a special trip and the question has been asked "when can we do this again?"

Riders were members Thomas Adamcyk, Don Baldwin, Ron Bauer, Barbara Beard, Paul Beard, Paula Beard, Sharon Cutsforth (leader), Barbara Flanders, Dennis Flanders, Marjorie Jackson, Verna Kocken, Terri Mason, Barbara Payne, Don Payne, Liz Reanier and Barbara Schomaker; and guests Judy Adamcyk and Edith Pattee.

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