Skookumchuk Hot Springs (AKA St. Agnes’ Well, AKA T’Sek Hot Springs) visit

Photo by @pasdecouleur

Photo by @pasdecouleur

A few weeks back my recently married friends have moved back to BC after a year-something in Edmonton, and came to visit us in Vancouver. Since the summer was still on, and all of us are very enthusiastic about being outdoors, we decided to visit Skookumchik Hot Springs, which I have been actively eyeballing since the beginning of the Summer.

As I have mentioned in my previous post about wild hot springs, there are 4 other hot springs in a close proximity to Harrison Lake. Skookumchuk is the most accessible one, in terms of the road conditions.

Coordinates of the springs:

As much as I like my friend’s brand new Subaru Outback, it is not an off-road vehicle, and it does not have nearly enough ground clearance to take the Harrison “shortcut”, we took the topographically longer route via Pemberton.

As the night before was accompanied by drinking vodka, we left around noon, spent another hour or so getting food and supplies, and were finally on the road by 2 PM. Of course, the traffic on the Sea To Sky was heavy, and it took us over 5 hours just to crawl to Pemberton.

Since it was getting late, and we were getting hungry, the decision was made to stop at Strawberry Point recreational site at Lilloett Lake, which is an amazing site that is only a few minutes up the In-Shuck-Ch FSR from the highway. The fee for the site was $13, that was to be placed in an envelope in a drop-off box by the entrance.

Strawberry Point

Strawberry Point – right side view

Strawberry Point - left side view

Strawberry Point – left side view

I loved the Strawberry Point because of the amazing 180-degree view of the lake, and the sandy beach, which was very comfortable to sleep on.

We cooked steaks, drank most of the beer we got for the weekend; some of us went to sleep, and some (who weren’t burdened by driving the next day) stayed up until 2 am stargazing and discussing the wonders of our existence.

Dinner at Strawberry Point

Strawberry Point striploin

The next morning we woke up, packed our stuff, and continued down the In-Shuck-Ch FSR for about 40-50 km, until we got to the hot springs. The road was graded; and I am sure that most cars would be able to make it through.

Around ~10 minutes before the Hot Springs, there is a pit stop, where you can get a hot beverage, or a snack.

Looking for Clif Bars at the pit stop on the way

Hot beverages and Clif Bars break at the pit stop

Day-use of hot springs:

$7.50 per adult
$5.00 per senior (65+) and youth (<18)
kids up to 10 years are free

Camping (including use of hot springs):

$ 10 per vehicle AND
$ 10 per adult,
$7.50 per senior (65+) and youth (<18)
kids up to 10 years are free

Upon arrival on the site, we have been greeted by the caretaker. We paid at the gate, set up the tents, and went to check out the springs.

There are 6 tubs of various sizes, one of which is covered; but no natural pools.

The water does not have a slight sulphur smell, so I suspect that the water could be drawn from a well with the local source, and then geo-thermally heated and conditioned (but this is just my uneducated guess).

This aside, when it got dark, a group of middle-aged Russians with a ghetto-blaster occupied the three corner tubs, so the rest of the evening was squired by the tacky shitty old music.

Unfortunately, we did not take any good pictures at the springs themselves. All the tubs were occupied with other people (including the buck naked ones) at all times, and I didn’t want to come across as pervy.

P.S.: If you have a chance, check out Sloquet Hot Springs that are about 30 km down the road from Skookumchuk.


My brother and I setting up the tent


At our campground spot


My brother in one of the tubs (with the covered tub on the right; the one on the left is just for the clothes)

App for a search of cit records

Renewing Kazakhstan passport in Canada

It finally happened: my passport has expired. I am kind of relieved, because I was 14 at the time when the picture was taken, and the airport clerks always chuckled at it.

That was until I found out how many hoops I had to jump through to get the passport replaced.

As expected, I started by calling the Consulate of Kazakhstan in Canada. The automated message had prompted me to consult the website, without getting an option to speak to anyone. After a brief moment of reminiscence of the polite and helpful service in my home country, I went on with my research.

This is where it took me (caution: the page is in Russian). Read the list, and see what is applicable in your case. I had to get the following:

  1. Application for passport renewal;
  2. Application stating the correct spelling of my name;
  3. Application to be put on the consul’s list;
  4. 4 coloured pictures, in accordance to the guidelines;
  5. Translated and notarized PR copy;
  6. Notarized passport copy;
  7. Consulate fee, which for an unknown reason is $50 USD.
  8. A prepaid return envelope.
  9. Verification of the absence of a pending application for the Canadian citizenship, or the the absence of the citizenship itself.

Number 9 is where it gets fun. In addition to the 5-6 months quoted by the consulate, Citizenship and Immigration Canada add another 10 months to it the wait. Yes, you read it correctly, it will take them up to 10 months to look for the ABSENCE of my citizenship application before they can send an appropriate document to me.

To get the verification, I had to do the following:

  1. Fill in this application.
  2. Pay the fee. I still do not know whether I needed to pay the $75 or the $30 fee, as there is a discrepancy: website says to pay $75, and the prone line says $30. I paid both $75 and $30, and added a note on the receipt asking to refund the one that is not applicable.

The application for the search of the records needs to be sent to:

Case Processing Centre Sydney – Search

PO BOX 10010

Sydney NS B1P 7C1

If the case requires urgent processing, you may ask for a special consideration by attaching the letter of explanation.

A personal suggestion: a good starting point is to get the verification of the absence of a pending application for the Canadian citizenship, or the the absence of the citizenship itself.

Harrison Lake’s “Wild” Hot Springs


I’ve had people contacting me and asking to remove this post, saying that the general public does not deserve to know about them.

There is so much wrong with this statement.

First off, this information is not mine to keep. I found all of it within a quick Google search. It is already open and available to anyone with fine research skills of a second-grader. There are places that are worth being kept secret; but these four springs are pretty well-known to the general public.

Second, these hot springs are not mine, or anyone else’s in particular, for that matter. If you want to have your “own” spot, buy the land and put a fence around it. Until then, stop being a hoarder. You are not the first, and certainly not the last person to be there. Keeping them to yourself is just egoistic.

Lastly, the shitheads who spoil and trash everything will always be there, and it is up to us to maintain the sites. I always pick garbage up, even if it is not mine; and I urge others to do the same. If there are people who will go extra far just to trash something, I feel just empathy towards them; but keeping these places away from the most people who would respectfully enjoy them just as you enjoy them isn’t cool.

If you want to be proactive, you may want to speak up against people that you see disrespecting the place, and maybe concentrate your efforts on minimizing their impact. There are far more responsible, respectful people, than there are ill-minded people. I do not think this is fair to the other 99 people to keep such a nice place to yourself in the fear of that 1 douche. 

Nearly everyone in Vancouver knows about Harrison Hot Springs, which is a highly frequented destination for individuals, families, couples, and groups of friends. But what most do not realize, is that where there is one hot spring, there usually are others.

You go to Harrison Hot Springs when you want to have a “lazy” vacation. As in sipping wine, sitting in a jacuzzi tub, and getting a pedicure.

Good, but not great. Cool people have time to drive more for more awesomeness.

Disclaimer: visit at your own risk. Directions have not been verified.

Going camping? Check out my 2015 guide to recommended camping gear.

1. Clear Creek Hot Springs.

Photo by @jswtrash

Photo by @jswtrash

GPS coordinates for the location:  49.686905, -121.742247

There are tubs only, the springs are located within ~55 km up a logging road from Harrison Hot Springs. Accessible via Rockwell Dr. (Harrison East).

Most blogs say that the portions of the road are only accessible to 4×4 vehicles with high ground clearance. We have made it there in the end of September in 2 2WD cars. Both drivers were experienced, and from post-soviet countries (e.g.: used to shitty road conditions). We got there by 9 PM, so the most difficult portions were covered after the sunset. Both cars suffered minor body damage, and got scraped on the bottom by rocks multiple times. But we made it there and back.

The Harrison East was not as bad when we went, there some potholes but nothing major; the Clear Creek FSR on the other hand was in a pretty rough condition to be driven in cars that we drove. There were two steep grade hills, several washouts, two creek crossings, and many sharp rocks.

2. Sloquet Hot Springs.

Photo by @kailysem

Photo by @kailysem

Sloquet Hot Springs are a sacred site for the Xa’xtsa Nation, so be extra respectful and mindful of your behaviour.

“You see, hot springs feature prominently in the spirituality of Aboriginal people around the world. Many hot springs are in fact the source of Creation or a prominent part of Creation. […] To Aboriginal people, hot springs are literally like modern-day churches, mosques and temples – they are the places to go for the spirit and soul to re-gain strength and to heal.”


There are natural pools, located within ~115 km from Harrison Hot Springs.

There are two ways of getting to Sloquet:

1. Via Hwy 99 (through Whistler) – about 260 km from Vancouver
2. Via Hwy 7 (through Harrison Mills) – about 190 km from Vancouver.

Do not let the shorter distance fool you. Because of the condition of the road, it may take you the same amount of time, if not longer to get to Sloquet from Harrison during Summer. It must be a 4×4 vehicle with high ground clearance, and the driver must be very experienced. During the winter – forget about it, you will have to take the Hwy 99.

If you are brave enough to take the challenge of the trickier route you will be going through Tipella, which is a First Nations settlement and a logging camp. I heard that there is a gas station now since recently, so you should be able to fill before the way back.

3. Skookumchuck Hot Springs.

Photo by @pasdecouleur

Photo by @pasdecouleur

Previously known as St. Agnes Well Hot Springs, Skookumchuck Hot Springs are the only one that charge the admission fees (you leave the cash in an envelope in the drop-off box, or with the caretaker, if one is present).

There are soaking tubs, located within ~140 km from Harrison Hot Springs.

Again, two ways of getting there. Getting there through the Hwy 99 should be easy for most cars; and to get there from the Harrison you’ll be taking the same road as you would to get to Sloquet. The road is regularly used, and appears to be maintained.

4. August Jacobs Hot Springs.

The least known of the four, August Jacobs Hot Spring has recently been rediscovered. Not having the exact location, it is between the Sloquet and Skookumchuck hot springs, somewhere on Frank Creek on the Northern end of Harrison Lake.

The August Jacob’s Hot Springs is very difficult to find. This spring area was mentioned in geological reports from 1927 but was then lost for many years, and recently rediscovered by hikers.

For good or bad, the exact location has been revealed in Hot Springs of Western Canada (2014 edition). In September 2012 enthusiasts from the Soakers Forum have built a soaking pool there.

Going camping? Check out my 2015 guide to recommended camping gear.


Brandywine Creek Hot Springs – what do we know about them.

Update: on June 6th of 2015, five of us attempted to find this hot spring. You can read more about this trip on my other website:

Do Brandywine Creek Hot Springs even exist? Maybe.

The information from various sources (albeit, not very current) shows us that they do.

However, there is not a single trip report or a blog mention that I could find (besides for one unsuccessful attempt). Which seems odd in this day and age; especially given the proximity to the city, and knowing the exploratory lust of local hikers.

First time I learned about the Brandywine Hot Springs (which, by the way, is not an official name, as the hot spring is unnamed) is from the list of 25 hidden hot springs in BC.

I love hot springs.

Since the time I read the article I couldn’t sleep, and when I could I woke up in the middle of the night to stare at the ceiling. It was bothering me so much to know that there is a hot spring that close to the city, that even the famous Glen Woodsworth (the author of the hot spring aficionados’ bible “Hot Springs of Western Canada“) hasn’t been to.

The first, and probably, the most apparent and easy-to-find search results about this hot spring were the list I mentioned above and the Wikipedia article. Neither really provided any information to help find the hot spring, besides mentioning that “there is an unnamed hot spring that sits in the upper reaches of the creek bed, near Mount Fee“.

I started a thread on the Vancouver Hiking subreddit. Nobody could confirm the exact location of the hot spring. But the suggestions from like-minded people started rolling in.

A reddit user i_like_rocks provided a link to a report about Callaghan Valley, which mentions the following:

There are hot-springs on Shovelnose and Turbid Creeks, south of Mount Cayley, and on Brandywine Creek, east of Mount Fee. The feeder system for the former two springs runs in a north-easterly direction, west of the park boundary.

Possible location of the hot spring

From this Government study (the map is on page 16)  i_like_rocks cropped and circled Figure 2 to show a possible location of the hotsprings.

“The hatched unit is the Mount Fee complex, which seems to be mentioned as a likely location for geothermal activity”.

Ok, so now I know that the hot spring is somewhere to the East of Mt Fee. There are two known roads that go up there, Chance Creek FSR that mattfromtelevision mentions, and another road that starts on the west end of McGuire road.

The person who did the attempt I mention in the beginning of the post uploaded the GPS route (starting from McGuire Rd.) from their attempt, and they show the location of the Brandywine borehole (the blue mark). In their blog post there are mentions of two other hot springs and two boreholes in the area with unknown locations (I assume that these are the Shovelnose and Turbid Creeks in the Callaghan Valley that I referenced above).

Now that it is the end of May, and since the snow should have melted at that altitude by now (judging from the snow report on the Callaghan Valley road, which is in the same region is now reported to be snow-free), it is the perfect time to take my DRZ up the McGuire road and try to find that elusive hot spring. (UPDATE: here is the trip report)

A possible route to the hot spring

A possible route to the hot spring

But going up there unassisted feels like a suicide mission, so I just need to find someone with a GPS and a dual-sport bike in their possession.

This is probably the most comprehensive book that covers the most known and the best hidden hot springs in British Columbia. You can learn about the location, the water temperature and the history of hot springs in our province.

5 Utmost exquisite high-tech camping items

The summer in Vancouver has already started, and there is no more time to waste. Besides some rain in June, we are expecting a warmer than usual Summer temperatures, so we should all be camping! And now is the perfect time to start buying your camping accessories to be ready for the season.

DRZ400 camping


Sugru is a next-generation play-doh that you can use to fix virtually anything. Its amazing qualities facilitate the use of it in various applications. Sticking things together, isolation, fixing shoe holes, making small bits and pieces to replace missing parts – the list goes on.

Just watch this funny video below.

To buy Sugru in Canada: link logo

To buy Sugru in the USA/Internationally: link logo


Charging your smartphone, camera, flashlight, GPS and etc. is among the biggest problems during lengthy camping trips. However, the Flamestower solves this problem.

This compact device works off heat, and helps you charge your USB devices while you are cooking food.

To buy FlameStower in Canada: link logo

To buy FlameStower in USA/Internationally: link logo

Grandpa’s fork.

Sitting around a fire pit is an essential part of any camping experience. Of course, it is even more pleasant if you have food to cook – be that marshmallows, pieces of salmon, wieners, steak, potatoes, or whatever else that you like smoked.

Skewers are not always convenient to carry around. Grandpa’s fork attaches to a wooden stick commonly found in the wild for the purpose of roasting food on it.

To buy Grandpa’s Fork in Canada: link logo

To buy Grandpa’s fork in USA/Internationally: link logo

BioLite KettlePot.

BioLite KettlePot is an ultimate hiking food cooking device. It is designed to reduce the amount amount of weight carried with respect to space efficiency. It is shaped like a kettle, and works well as a pot.

The entire assembly with the heating element and the pot weighs a 1 lbs.

To buy BioLite KettlePot in Canada: link logo

To buy BioLite KettlePot in USA/Internationally: link logo

Eton BoostTurbine 2,000 mAh Portable Backup Battery Pack.

This is not an ordinary power bank – besides the solid design and case, it has a handle on the side that you can use to generate power if the power bank runs out of juice. Very handy for longer camping trips.

To buy Eton BoostTurbine in Canada: link logo

To buy Eton BoostTurbine in USA/Internationally: link logo

Please comment, and share this article with other camping and hiking enthusiasts!