Day 42, Wednesday, 5/30/18
Liard Hot Springs, BC

We left Teslin headed for Liard Hot Springs in BC. It was a bit chilly when we left but warmed up fast to the point where it was actually hot! It's the time of the year, cold at night hot when the sun gets up high enough.

On the way to Liard, we spotted bison, a few with their  calves.

Other critters along the road: a porcupine ambling along the roadside, a moose running across the road, another moose off to the side, swans and ducks.

It's about 300 miles from Teslin to Liard. The highway follows Rancheria River for a bit then on through the Liard Basin ecoregion - an area of low hills, broad plains with extensive stands of boreal forest (mostly lodgepole pine, spruce and aspen) surrounded by mountains.

Not far from Watson Lake we left the Yukon and entered British Columbia where we picked up the Liard River and followed it to Liard River Hot Springs Provincial Park where we planned to camp for the night. After settling in, we took a walk to the  springs. Halfway there, the clouds got really dark and it started to rain and thunder so back to the van to wait it out.

When the storm had passed we set out again, bathing suits and towels in hand. There's a boardwalk over a swamp to the pool. The swamp water is warm and we noticed small fish swimming back and forth under the boardwalk. These are lake chub and are of interest in that they can survive the swamp's warm waters.

Duck in Swamp
View From Boardwalk
View From Boardwalk
The Liard hot springs are unique. Unlike many other hot springs that flow into creeks or rivers, these flow into a system of swamps creating a micro climate housing species not found in surrounding areas (for example, 14 types of orchids). The vegetation is lush and thriving. The heated water coming back up to the ground contains dissolved calcium carbonate which forms into porous rocks called 'tufa'.

Changing Rooms and Pool
Steam Rising
A Second Pool
Hanging Garden Formed by Tufa
Arriving at the pool, we changed into our suits and waded in. The water temperature varied depending on where we were relative to the pool's feed. Close to the feed, the temperature was around 126 F. Near the opposite end, the temp was somewhere around 108 F. Very nice!

There's another pool nearby but permanently closed off due to black bear activity. As in so many other places in this part of the world, bears are everywhere and we carried our bear spray. In any walk through the woods, the goal is to avoid surprising or being surprised by a bear. By making noise, a bear is warned that there are people around and will usually leave the area. Bear spray is a tool of last resort, used when an attack is imminent. Fortunately, the only bears we saw were from a distance, while in the van.

One downside to the warmth was our re-acquaintance with mosquitoes! 

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