We were ten minutes away from departure when Jochi drove up on his scooter, pulled up his goggles and said, “You know about the rockslide, right?” I slammed the back hatch of the Jeep closed and grimaced, not wanting to hear the rest of this story. Apparently, an entire cliff face had collapsed onto on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, burying both lanes of traffic in truck-sized boulders and severing the only direct route between Vancouver and Whistler. The $775 million highway upgrade for the 2010 Olympic Games had not proceeded fast enough to prevent the rockslide or to prevent the sudden disruption of our plans to soak in Meager Creek Hot Springs this weekend. “Don’t you watch TV?” Jochi asked incredulously. I could only shake my head and thank him for the news before marching back upstairs to research last-minute alternatives.
Our replacement destination was Clear Creek Hot Springs, which was a significant distance from Vancouver and involved 30 miles of rutted dirt roads, followed by six additional miles of pure vehicular torture that rattled my poor Jeep like a china cabinet in an earthquake. The road had been decommissioned, or technically closed, with deep erosion ditches dug across the road by bulldozers at frequent intervals. I would have appreciated less of a rocky ordeal, but because the area is prone to getting trashed and vandalized, there’s not much incentive for the Forest Service to want to improve the road and make the hot springs more accessible.