Head to the Fraser Valley to find BC Eagles
We had been in Vancouver for almost 6 months. We had done a lot of day trips and seen a lot but had not yet done the spa experience that for so many days I badly needed. We considered two spa options – heading to the north shore and a mountain spa in Whistler or heading out to the Fraser Valley to visit the Harrison Hot Springs. When snow was forecasted for Whistler, we decided we were not yet ready to face that before our road trip home to Toronto, so got in the car to head east. Little did we know that our spa trip would get us BC eagles and hot springs and Sasquatch!
We have travelled before and missed local festivals or events so we try to get an idea of what we may do in a region enroute or when we arrive. David’s research highlighted that the Chehalis Flats Bald Eagle & Salmon Preserve in the Harrison area was a natural nesting spot for eagles and at this time of year they were nesting and preying on the salmon spawning in the area. We would definitely be on the lookout for eagles.
Opting to not take Hwy 1, we took Hwy 7 and enjoyed a slower, more picturesque drive. We weren’t in a hurry since checkin time for our hotel was a 4pm.
Arriving in Harrison Hills at lunch time, we pulled in behind a tour bus at the Rivers Edge Restaurant for lunch. Located on the Sandpiper Golf Course, if you looked out over the greens you could see the flats. While we watched during lunch for eagles to come swooping in, we would need to walk a little to get closer to the flats. Lunch included a great hot chowder to warm us up. David had the first of 7 meals that would be salmon or fish. He was going to enjoy this day trip!
Finishing lunch we headed for the short walk out to the Pretty Estates Observation Point but we were not sure that the weather would be in our favour. Winds were high and gusty and you could see the golf course littered with large trees down from a wind storm the previous week.
There were some eagles at this spot but the high winds were keeping them hunkered down. The juvenile eagles seemed to enjoy floating, almost stationary in this high wind. Not to be deterred we headed to the next spot at the Eagle Point Park Observatory. The path through the River Reach Estates subdivision was well marked at we had two different observation points. While we saw more eagles in this spot, slightly sheltered from the wind, it was certainly not the 500 that people said they had seen on the previous weekend. We continued along Morris Valley Road and came out on the flats and saw more eagles just watching for the salmon in the trickling stream. Above us we would occasionally see swarms of eagles head out to float on the wind.
While we didn’t see the hundreds of eagles that we know are in this area, it was great to catch sight of so many eagles on the ground and in flight. We enjoyed seeing the eagles frolicking with blue herons, trumpeter swans, various species of ducks and the ever present gulls. If we headed that way again, we would watch for a calm day in November when the salmon are still around.
Harrison Hot Springs Offered A Two Day Retreat
With the eagle excitement behind us, we headed for our next adventure on the day trip for eagles and hot springs and Sasquatch!
When we looked to book at the Harrison Hot Springs, the only natural choice for us was the Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa. I wanted to be right at the springs and not be visiting for short dips. The Spa was well rated and I needed a whole day to just unwind. When we arrived to find at least half the people wandering around the hotel in their robes, I knew I had found a place to relax.
We had a great room with a view out over the lake and to the mountains in the distance. We could catch the sunrise, lighting the snow capped mountains.
If you don’t book a spa day, there are several indoor and outdoor options for a hot springs experience. We chose not to huddle in the crowded indoor pools as the smell of chlorine hit you when you walked in the door. We braved the cold outdoor walkway to hurry into the beautifully hot large adult pool. While the signs say that you should only stay for 10 minutes, once people settled in under the water, they were not anxious to emerge into the freezing cold air. Put your robes and towels close or get the health benefit for the hot and cold treatment. It was nice to sit with the open air above you and let the heat and the minerals of the hot spring work away the tension.
When you book a spa day you can also choose to have a private hot springs pool soak. This was a great choice right before a massage to loosen up your muscles in a totally calm environment.
The spa experience was a great way to spend a day being pampered in a quiet and soothing environment. We booked one night’s dinner in the Copper Room and enjoyed a slow romantic dinner with a live band. As the older couples floated in synch around the dance floor, we vowed that we would again take dancing lessons. With a dance floor in the middle of the floor, we were not competing with couples who looked like they danced together every day.
We were looking forward to the “free” afternoon tea, images of our great cruise afternoon tea experience dancing in my head. I think they should really call it “tea and cookies”. We knew it would not really be that afternoon tea experience as we saw people lined up, in towels and robes, 15 minutes before the start of this 30 minute event, trying to make sure they got their cookies. We had booked mid-week in late November hoping to find a very adult experience at this family resort, so were quite surprised at home many kids showed up when free cookies were offered. I guess I will wait until we visit Victoria and the Fairmont Empress Hotel for a real afternoon tea.
It was a great if very expensive 2 day retreat. The spa was great. There were some mid-week, off season packages that we took advantage of but I must admit my evaluation of “value” took a nose dive when we saw our $1300 bill for 2 days included over a dozen lines for taxes and $12 for parking. But there was no visible “resort fee”. I would really prefer if hotels offered packages that included taxes and parking fees. It would be so easy to hide these inside the hotel accounting rather than on the customer bill.
But Will You See A Sasquatch?
We were ready for our next adventure looking for BC eagles and hot springs and Sasquatch! I must admit to being a bit perplexed when we say the first sign for Snohomish County Sasquatch. When we entered the town of Harrison Hot Springs, we found statues of Sasquatch everywhere. And of course, we like everyone else couldn’t help but pose beside the statues.
We didn’t venture up to the hills or really away from the resort hotel, so we didn’t see any real Sasquatch. I am sure there are stories told in that area, but you will have to search for yourself.
We enjoyed our 2 day vacation to the Harrison area and a chance to experience BC eagles and hot springs and Sasquatch! It was relaxing break before we started to think about our long road trip back to Toronto. Don’t miss the eagles in the late fall but wait for a good weather day. Standing on the windy flats in cold temperatures and only catching a view of eagles if you have a great zoom lens, may not the the right experience. If you visit the hot springs, plan to stay for a few days and staying right at the springs will let you enjoy them any time you want. And if you see a Sasquatch, take a pic and send it to me 🙂
Have you done this BC eagles and hots springs and Sasquatch day trip? Did you see the hundreds of eagles this season brings? Would you do a hot springs splurge again? Did you run from a Sasquatch?