Sunday, September 6, 2009

Dewer Creek Hot Springs Aug. 18 - 20 2009

Panaramic view of Bugle Basin seen from our campsite.

Dewer Creek hot springs was our next destination. Dewer Creek is located 65km, north east, of Kimberly, BC in the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy. To get to the trail head logging roads are followed. The roads are pretty rough in some areas, it takes about 1.5 hours to drive the 65kms!

The guide book that we were using is about 10 years old so some of the roads look different and some of the signage that he refers to for directional aids are not there anymore, but for the most part the directions given are pretty good accept for the last 6 kms or so. We did manage to find the trail head parking area but not after a few wrong turns one of which took us to an outfitting camp and after another wrong turn we ended up on the side of a mountain in a clear cut. Very rough and not the sort of place that you'd want to be in a two wheel drive. But after some head scratching and searching we finally found the parking area. There was a few other vehicles, all of them with wood and rocks stacked around the car and one truck actually had chicken wire around his SUV. We wondered about the reasoning for this for a while until I remembered hearing that people do this to stop porcupines from chewing the brake lines. There were no more rocks or wood lying around so we decided to take our chances and just leave the truck unprotected.

On this adventure my good friend Karen would be joining Zoe and I. After a quick lunch we hoisted our packs to our backs and headed out on the trail. The weather forecast called for 30 degrees C and sunny but as we walked through the forest, clouds started to roll in and as it turned out the cloud cover would be a blessing. If it wasn't for the clouds the day would have been unbearably hot. From previous hiking trips I've learned that carrying 45 lbs on your back up and down on rough trails in the heat of the day can be very hard on a person.

The trail mainly cuts through the forest but every now and then it traverses sub alpine meadows that, in the winter, are avalanche chutes. For the most part the trail was dry except for a few damp areas near the springs and the odd creek or spring to negotiate. The trail may have been dry but it certainly isn't smooth. It is a well used trail but it's very rough with a ton of rocks and roots to trip on and this is the mountains so there is a lot of ups and downs, more ups and more downs and even more ups and downs. The elevation gain from the trail head to the springs is supposed to 180 meters but I'm pretty sure that with all the ups and downs that number is much higher. There is a horse camp in the area so the trail is in bad shape due to the horses.

Now I don't claim to be an expert on hiking and being from the prairies the roughness of the trail and the up and down was starting to play on our bodies and minds. To the point that when we arrived at Bugle Basin, 500 m past the springs where the camp site is, we were tired and just wanted to fall over. We set up camp rather slowly then headed to the springs to soak our sore feet. But like anything worth savoring you first need to work for it and the springs were no different. The trail down to the creek was steep and loose.

The springs and natural soaking pools are amazing! They, along with the view from the camp site, make the tough hike well worth it and after 45 minutes of soaking, the days aches and pains were gone. The top pool is supplied with very hot water that leaves the earth higher up the bank and trickles down a large rock face and enters the pool from one side. There is another cool spring that enters the pool from the other side. The temperature (45 degrees C) of the pool can be controlled by blocking the inflow of one of the streams. The second and third pools are fed by the overflow of the first pool and are 40 degrees C.

The backdrop of Bugle Basin is simply stunning! I've been to some beautiful natural places but this place tops the list. Dewer Creek, clean and clear, flows along side the camp site. We were camped near the head waters of the creek and even though the water likely wasn't contaminated we still used chlorine drops or a steripen that is supposed to alter the DNA of waterborne microbes so that they can't reproduce.

Karen, Zoe and myself at the trail head parking lot.

A creek along the trail.

Karen and Zoe crossing one of the avalanche chutes.

Karen crossing one of the many creeks.

Under Dewer Creek.

Second and third pools.

An early morning soak.

The morning view from our tent.

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