Har­ri­son Hot Springs & the Sasquatch (BC)

An ideal RV re­treat with a le­gend

Snowbirds & RV Travelers - - Contents - By Den­nis Be­gin

Only ninety min­utes from Van­cou­ver, Har­ri­son Hot Springs is a pop­u­lar week­end get­away. It is an ideal re­treat be­cause of the lake, boat­ing, golf course, beach, restau­rants and re­laxed at­mos­phere. The small vil­lage of only 1,600 peo­ple, boast 500 guest rooms, 200 camp­sites and 6 RV parks, giv­ing RVers many op­tions.

The orig­i­nal hot springs was never dis­cov­ered by gold min­ers but was used by the Sts’ alles (Che­halis) indige­nous peo­ple for hun­dreds of years. The nat­u­ral spring was known for its heal­ing pow­ers and called Quo’sls, mean­ing ‘warm chuck or boil­ing water’. By 1886, Joseph Arm­strong took ad­van­tage of the hot springs, build­ing the St. Alice Well, now the present site of Har­ri­son Hot Springs Re­sort and Spa. The name Har­ri­son would come later, named af­ter Ben­jamin Har­ri­son, the Deputy Gover­nor of the Hud­son’s Bay Com­pany, 1835-39. What also makes Har­ri­son in­ter­est­ing is that it has be­come known as the ‘Sasquatch Cap­i­tal of the World’.

Sto­ries of the Sasquatch (or Big­foot to Amer­i­cans) were first heard from the Sts’alles First Na­tions peo­ple, call­ing it sasq’ets, mean­ing ‘hairy man’. For the na­tive peo­ple, sasquatch was a ‘slol­licum’ or su­per­nat­u­ral be­ing of both the phys­i­cal and the spir­i­tual worlds. This myth­i­cal crea­ture is also found in many parts of the world. In Nepal and Ti­bet the name used is ‘yeti or abom­inable snow­man’, while in Rus­sia it is called ‘al­masty’ and in China, ‘yeren’. These crea­tures fall into the cat­e­gory of Cryp­to­zo­ol­ogy, or the study of ‘hid­den an­i­mals’ whose ex­is­tence has yet to be proven.

A typ­i­cal sasquatch is a hu­manoid mam­mal, ap­prox­i­mately 2.1 to 2.5 me­tres (7-8 ft) tall, weighs 270-360 kg (600-800 lbs), of­ten re­ported cov­ered in dark brown/red­dish hair, with large eyes, a pro­nounced brow ridge and a semi-rounded con­i­cal shaped head. The an­i­mal is re­ported to be om­niv­o­rous (eats plant or an­i­mal), can see in the dark(noc­turna), com­mu­ni­cates through grunts and whis­tles, and seems to pre­fer a soli­tude life. For those who have seen a sasquatch, many re­port a strong foul odor. It is de­scribed as a cross be­tween an ape and a man and may be re­lated to the his­toric ‘gi­gan­to­p­ithe­cus-blacki’ of Asia or some sub­species of man.

There are two Bri­tish Columbia men who are cryp­to­zo­ol­o­gist or ex­perts on the sub­ject — Thomas Steen­burg and Bill Miller are re­searchers, au­thors and serve as tour guides. Orig­i­nally from Illi­nois, Bill Miller took in a Sasquatch Con­fer­ence in Van­cou­ver in 1998 and has never re­ally left. His pas­sion for the topic and knowl­edge seems to be end­less and im­pres­sive. In an in­ter­view, Bill ex­plained that he did not be­lieve in the mythol­ogy of the sasquatch, but rather the sci­en­tific ev­i­dence. “I have been as vo­cal about ex­pos­ing a hoax…. while want­ing good sound ev­i­dence”.

That ‘sound ev­i­dence’ in­cludes: The large amount of his­tor­i­cal sight­ings in BC and the Pa­cific North­west. Some of these sight­ings in­clude, the Jacko Cap­ture (1884),

Mount St. Lawrence (1918), Ruby Creek In­ci­dent (1941), Free­man’s Hairy Man (1982) and the nu­mer­ous sight­ings from Mount Archibald (Chilli­wack) to Hope.


This 16 mm, 53 sec­onds long film is prob­a­bly the best ev­i­dence that sasquatch exists. It was shot over two min­utes at Bluff Creek, Cal­i­for­nia on Oc­to­ber 20, 1967 by Roger Pat­ter­son and Bob Gimlin. Frame 352 is the most known photo taken, clearly show­ing a fe­male walk­ing and turn­ing to­wards the cam­era. She has been named Patty.

The foot­prints and tracks of the sasquatch are very dis­tinct. This 360 kg (800 lb) an­i­mal leaves a deep im­pres­sion on the ground, with a flat heav­ily padded foot, has five toes, a horse­shoe shaped heel, and an av­er­age 1.16 m (46 in) stride be­tween steps. The foot­prints are 35-45 cm (14 to 18 in) in length and are not clawed. The tracks left be­hind are in a straight line with one foot di­rectly in front of the other, while leav­ing signs of toe pres­sure and foot flex­i­bil­ity.

The last piece of sound ev­i­dence is that both Bill Miller and Thomas Steen­burg have seen a sasquatch.


“Let us take you places where myth can be­come re­al­ity”. Sasquatch Coun­try Ad­ven­tures (SCA), op­er­ated by Bill Miller, con­ducts ad­ven­ture ex­cur­sions with his six pas­sen­ger Po­laris Ranger UTV. Most sasquatch sight­ings that Bill shares are ones that he has per­son­ally in­ves­ti­gated and deemed cred­i­ble, and are lo­cated on both sides of Har­ri­son Lake. A ma­jor site is the Mys­tery Val­ley, lo­cated on the west side of the lake. Bill ex­plains the sci­en­tific ev­i­dence left be­hind by the foot­prints. Along the way, there are beau­ti­ful views of the 60 km (37 mile) long lake and Mount Break­en­ridge.

The sasquatch is treated as a sur­real phe­nom­e­non, a mys­ti­cal crea­ture, part man and part an­i­mal. Sci­en­tists of­ten dis­miss this crea­ture, us­ing ad­jec­tives such as hoax, hal­lu­ci­na­tions, misiden­ti­fi­ca­tion and fab­ri­ca­tion. These same ex­perts have con­cluded that 95% of sight­ings are a mis­take in iden­tity. Sci­en­tists re­main skep­ti­cal be­cause no spec­i­men, liv­ing or dead, has ever been ex­am­ined by med­i­cal ex­perts. Since no con­clu­sive sci­en­tific ev­i­dence exists, they say the sasquatch does not ex­ist.

The sasquatch has be­come part of our pop cul­ture with nu­mer­ous doc­u­men­taries and the sub­ject of movies, like Harry and the Hen­der­sons (1987). Tabloid jour­nal­ism and tele­vi­sion news of­ten treats sight­ing with skep­ti­cism, in­stead of look­ing for plau­si­ble an­swers. The ques­tion re­mains, does the sasquatch re­ally ex­ist? At present, the sasquatch has not moved from cryp­to­zo­ol­ogy to zool­ogy, so the de­bate goes on. Sasquatch foot­prints in plas­ter of Paris mold. Prop­erty owned by Bill Miller.

For ad­di­tional In­for­ma­tion, see Big­foot Re­flec­tions: The Le­gend Comes Alive, Bun­bury Films. DVD.

Clock­wise from left: Big­foot Ev­i­dence from the Pat­ter­son­Gim­lin footage, Bluff Creek, Cal­i­for­nia, July 20, 1967, Har­ri­son Lake and Bo­gey, Pa­tri­cia and Mr Sasquatch.

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