Canada - British Columbia West to East

Trip Start Apr 15, 2008
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24
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Trip End Apr 01, 2010


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Where I stayed
www.bbcanada.com/sunshinecottage

Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Monday, August 11, 2008

Canada 
Whistler/Pemberton (British Columbia)
Not a good start we left Vancouver heading the wrong way! Julie must have had the map upside down!! Once we were heading the right way along the Sea to Sky Highway we started to enjoy the breath taking scenery. This road hugs the cliffs as it runs along the fiord like inlets, with the jaded Pacific Ocean gently lapping the shore line. Looking out into the bays, emerald islands appear to float, some in the distance growing tall from the water with their cone shaped mountains clad in a blanket of pine trees. The horizon is constantly filled with snow capped mountains which form the western chain of the coastal mountains.
Our trip up from Vancouver to Pemberton took us about three hours, the pace was slow going due to miles of road works. We later learned this work has been going on for 7 years and is all in aid of the Winter Olympic which will be held at Whistler in 2010, they will need to get a move on if the road is to be ready to carry the Olympic traffic in time.
There is little in the way of urban settlements with just a couple of Ski resort towns of which Whistler is one. We pulled off the main highway and drove around the centre of Whistler, it is all very modern with opulent houses and luxury apartment buildings, the place has an expensive feel to it, far to pricy for our budget! Aesthetically the place has been built well and blends in, with the buildings hidden amongst the forested mountains.
We finally arrived at Pemberton, a village nestled in the valley between steep mountain peaks. For such a small basic village miles from anywhere, we were amazed to find a great Italian bistro with delicious food, just what we needed after our long drive. Our accommodation was at a lovely Farmhouse B & B, the rooms were very comfortable and the place was surrounded by stunning mountain views. 
Pemberton to 100 Mile House (British Columbia)
We took most of the day to drive the scenic route from Pemberton to 100 Mile House. You're probably thinking what a strange name for a place. It is fairly simple to explain, in the 1800's there used to be an Inn which was situated on the Gold Trail at exactly 100 miles from the start of the trail at Lillooet.  The Inn doesn't exist anymore but a small settlement built up around it over the years and the name has remained.
The scenery along this route changed dramatically, initially we were enjoying pine clad mountains, this then gave way to golden hills and finally to fairly flat terrain. As we headed east the temperatures rose, which we should have expected as we were nearing the mining town of Lillooet which has a microclimate and holds the record for being the hottest place in Canada. Today it was a scorching 38C, a surprise if like us you thought Canada was a cold country! 
After calling by 100 Hundred Mile House to run a few errands, we headed about 14 miles out of town to Horse Lake where we would spend the night. We drove up the drive to a Swiss chalet type building, set in the pine woods with horses, chickens and ducks outback. Before we had got out the car our host was coming down the path to greet us. Katalin and Alex were originally from Hungry, they built this place a couple of years ago, and what beautiful home they have created. We were really spoilt, they love to have people stay and could not do enough for us. All of the food was homemade and they even catch and smoke their own trout. We enjoyed an evening with Katalin and Alex sitting out on the wrap around porch talking until midnight, enjoying some of Alex's homemade wine. The evening was warm, the stars felt like you could reach out and grab them, and the calling of the Loots, a goose like bird into the still night air was just mesmerising.  In the morning as we ate breakfast on the terrace we had the company of humming birds feeding from Katalin's syrup feeder which hung from the porch, just amazing, we could have stayed here for ever. If you come to Canada you just have to stay here, you will love it; Katalin and Alex are such wonderful hosts.
Clearwater - Wells Gray Park (British Columbia)
A fairly short drive brought us the 60 miles to Clearwater, whilst the village is nothing to write home about, it is the base for exploring the massive wilderness of Wells Gray Provincial Park. This is an area of outstanding natural beauty, covering several thousand square miles and hosting wildlife such as Bears, Moose and Deer, as well as one of the most diverse bird populations in the world.  We spent our two days here trekking miles, to waterfalls, lookout points and glacial lakes. The scenery as you look up, across and down is beautiful. Every adventure activity you can think of for all levels is available for those with the money and inclination! If you're in town head for the Clearwater Visitor Centre, they have all the information you could wish for and the volunteers there are fountains of local knowledge. If you crave a good cup of tea and want to link up to WiFi then head to the Strawberry Moose Snackery opposite the visitors centre, great name! It's actually a tasteful log cabin café.
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