Harrison Hot Springs & the Sasquatch (BC)
An ideal RV retreat with a legend
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.
THE 1967 PATTERSON-GIMLIN FILM
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.
SASQUATCH COUNTRY ADVENTURES
“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.