Part two of my Canada road trip picks up where part one left off. We were sorry to say goodbye to beautiful Vancouver Island so soon, but it was time to head deeper into BC.
Right off the ferry we took a little detour to see the Suspension Bridge at Lynn Canyon. This is a great and free-of-charge alternative to the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge which we skipped in Vancouver.
I am scared of heights so this really gave me butterflies in the stomach! You can’t see it but I’m gripping those rails really tightly!
We headed back on the road and after refueling the car for the first time (yes, it was so exciting for us two girls with very little car knowlegde that it deserves mention) we arrived at our next destination, the Greenwood Country Inn in Pemberton, by late afternoon. The Inn had been a recommendation from a friend and was among the best accommodations we had on our trip! The room was wonderful and Margit, the hostess, helped us with every question and need, from advising us on the best restaurants and mountain walks to lending us bear spray to getting rid of the giant (ok, maybe not so giant) spider in our room.
We ate dinner at One Mile House that evening and it deserves mention because, man, we never thought you could eat so well in Canada! Locally produced, fresh food at very reasonable prices. If you’re ever in Pemberton, be sure to stop by and eat there!
Look, there war even some funny looking beer! Coming from a beer and wine country it was a little strange for us that alcohol selling is so restricted in Canada (you can only buy it in special shops etc.). We weren’t drinking anyway because we were driving every day but still – it felt unusual to us.
After a perfect breakfast at the Inn (including fresh fruits, nuts and a vegetable omelette – just saying, it was SO good) we set out for a day long hike up to Joffre Lakes.
The hike was an amazing experience, especially as the main trail was under construction at the time and the alternative route was pretty adventurous. Going hiking in a real wilderness, far away from other people or civilization was a new experience for us. The hikes I was on in Norway and Scotland were always populated and well trodden. Canada on the other hand felt like the real thing, the real wild with the threat of a bear or a large cat appearing around every corner.
There are three Joffre lakes and the middle and upper one were spectacular, such a reward after the hike!
After spending the whole day hiking and being sore and cold we jumped at the chance to use the hot tub at the Inn and spent the evening relaxing in it with the snow-capped mountains all around us.
The next part of our journey would take us to Clearwater and the Wells Gray Provincial Park. On the way we passed the breathtaking Nairn Falls and some lovely lakes and landscapes, temperatures soaring up to nearly 30°C in the desert area around Lillooet and dropping down again to 12°C within a few miles.
In Clearwater a very different sort of accommodation awaited us: we had rented a little 1940’s log cabin at Dutch Lake Resort. The lake and surrounding area at the resort were beautiful but after the luxury we had experienced in Pemberton this was quite the adventure and we half wished we were back in the cozy floral bedroom at the Inn.
The Wells Gray Provincial Park awaited us with low clouds, thunderstorms and mosquitoes – and breathtaking scenery. The park is full of waterfalls, each more stunning than the one before and we particularly loved Spahat Falls and Hemlcken Falls.
We also saw our very first bear in the Park, just on the side of the road, a black bear walking by and munching on the grasses by the road, completely oblivious to the traffic jam it was causing!
Now this might not be an uncommon sight for Canadians but for us Europeans it was simply thrilling. A real, live bear just doing its thing, not in a zoo or enclosed area but living there in this wonderful landscape!
Of course walking along the trails alone felt quite different after this encounter. It’s one thing to know there are bears in the are and another to actually meet them. We stopped at Ray Farm just after seeing the bear and were rather jumpy walking around (though the huge mosquitoes were partly responsible as well).
We ended the day with another highlight, a hike to Moul Falls through dense woodland and down slippery, wet steps along the waterfall’s edge. We didn’t go behind the waterfall because the day was drawing to a close but it was an impressive sight.
Our time in the Clearwater area had left us with mosquito bites, a healthy respect for the local wildlife and so many new impressions it was hard to keep them all organized in our minds. Next up would be the Rocky Mountains and Jasper.