And then, there was the Sasquatch Hike! It was the year 1994 and the Harrison Hot Springs Recreation Commission, together with the Kent-Harrison Arts Council, had a Sasquatch Festival in the planning. Enter Elma, a community about a 30 minute drive from Olympia, capital city of Washington, USA. Somebody in Elma’s Tourist Office had heard about our intentions and had a splendid idea: To connect all places in British Columbia and Washington which hosted either Sasquatch, Big Foot or Blackberry Festivals, by a relay hike.
There would be festivals in each place to celebrate either the legendary Sasquatch, the equally mysterious Big Foot or, in some places, the abundance of blackberries. I never found out how the blackberries came into the picture. I think that the berries are considered to be the main food these creatures eat and thus, also, have a place in the celebrations. As I said, it was a splendid idea though it was never fully accomplished – except for the part of the Harrison Hikers!
Since Harrison Hot Springs was declared to be the starting point of the event, we were the ones to hike the first stretch, in relay fashion, from our place to Glacier, Wa. and we did! I will never forget our surprise when we reached Glacier and were greeted by a delegation of dignitaries including a Historian, who had come from the village and waited on the road for us. We were led to the (perhaps) one and only restaurant, where we were treated for lunch and had to sign documents to capture this historic event for future generations. Unfortunately, it was also the end of the relay hike – both starting points – since no other hiking group felt the urge to rise up to the task.
It was not the end, however, for the people at the Tourist Office in Elma because, at least, they were successful in achieving their festival in Elma. This is how it came about that the Harrison Hikers were invited to Elma’s famous Blackberry Festival in the spring of 1994. When we drove into Elma, we noticed a large banner across the road reading, “Welcome Harrison Hikers”. Wow! This was big! We stayed there for three days, took part in their “Big Foot Races” with the main road blocked off by state Police, in their parade, and numerous other happenings, such as a barbecue in the park. There were “sightings”, of course, and not to be left behind, we had brought our very own Sasquatch along. He was Jacquie Neville, a really good sport, who was wearing the very warm costume for hours, hitting it off with Big Foot and the public. We had a great time! Needless to say that we invited the organizers to our festival as well and they came. They, too, had a great time, minus the banner across the road and state police.
All in all, due to the Harrison Hikers’ stamina, something came about that otherwise would not have been happening and we not only had fun, but know now where Elma is located and the people of Elma also know where they can find Harrison Hot Springs. It was a great publicity event!