We crossed over into British Columbia (BC) under Mt Robson. The highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies. From here we drove down along the side of the rockies and into Kamloops.
Kamloops is a central city in BC. It is a bowl of desert. We arrived there after being in the beautiful temperate climate of the rockies and were slammed by the 30+ degrees of dry heat. It was killer and really took us by surprise. We found our way to a park where we made some dinner then on the mission to find a place to sleep.
The Walmart in Kamloops is not traveller friendly, there a big signs up everywhere saying no overnight parking. Instead after reading other people’s experiences on allstays.com we made our way at dusk to the visitors centre. Here we got all curled up in bed and cooked until 2am when it finally started to cool off.
We were up early the next day and ready for the exciting part about being in the area. We were off to visit some dog sled companies. Looking for our winter work. Kingmik Dog Sled Tours was on our list to go and visit Megan and all 130 of the dogs.
We arrived in the early afternoon and spent a good few hours just walking around visiting all the dogs, saying hello and sharing the love. Megan invited us to stay there the night so we relished the opportunity. We enjoyed a lovely evening with the staff and all the dogs. The next morning we helped a little with the morning chores before heading out.
We had been in contact with Megan about work and learning for about a year previous but she had said that she only hired experienced guides, which is totally fair. When we were there we asked again if she still only hired people with experience. She said “not necessarily”… “let me see what I can do”. One week later we had positions and after we finished our trip we were in for 6 weeks of good training before the season started. We were super excited and we are loving it!
From Kingmik we continued on our way out to Revelstoke. Here we stayed with the daughter of Jenny and Mike, people we met in Gimli. Jenny was there also as Alix had just had a baby about 10 days before. It was really kind of them to let us stay!
On the way to Revelstoke we passed by Salmon arm and Sicamous. Just off the highway in Sicamous is a place called D Dutchman Dairy. This is a dairy farm with a delicious creamery attached. As the day was hot and beautiful there we waited in the queue with many other people to get our scrumptious fresh ice-cream. It was so worth it!
We stayed with them for two nights. On the first day there we had been told that while in Revelstoke we had to visit the mountain rollercoaster. This was recommended by a few people. It was really awesome though there was a long wait before we could go.
In our time waiting we decided to head up Mt Revelstoke National Park. From here we got fantastic views over the town and the mountains around. It was fantastic. We were there at the perfect time too as it had been raining the day before and the rain was on it’s way again. We didn’t do any lengthy walks while we were there as we did not have the time for it. However we did that the short walk up to the summit to enjoy the stunning views.
We came back down and back over to the base of the ski resort where we were to get on the mountain rollercoaster. It is hard to explain exactly what it is. A little cart with a break attached to a downhill rollercoaster track. It was a lot of fun, the only unfortunate part is that you can only do it once and there is only one track.
That evening we went into downtown Revelstoke to was a live band playing in the main street. There were about 15 other people around and it had a greatly strange feeling to it. We sat listening to an old country blues style duo opposite us was the very old antique like move theatre. It was one of those moments you could just get lost in your head like you were in a completely different place or time. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
The next day we headed out to Glacier National Park (BC not USA). Just as we were leaving Revelstoke we took a short stroll though the great cedars trail. They really are great cedars!! So crazy big and tall. The small area of Revelstoke is a very special climate as it is an inland rainforest. The only other place to see similar forrest and climate in BC is out on the very west coast.
We made it to Glacier National Park around lunchtime and found a nice little spot in the Illecillewaet Campground. It was conveniently located at the base of many hiking trails. We decided to do a good hike that afternoon as the forecast for the next few days was not looking too good and therefore we were only going to stay the one night.
We decided to do the Avalanche Crest Hike. This was a beautiful walk up the forrest and out through the tree line into a crest on Avalanche mountain. From the end of the trail we decided to go just a little further to the ridge and then make our way back along the ridgeline to connect back onto our original trail. Going off trail is usually a very stupid idea and not something we would normally do. However this had a path and connected up to a lookout off the main trail which we could still see the whole time so there was no risk of getting lost.
The view from the to was jaw dropping. We had a great 360 view of the area. We could see straight down now side to the road below and out along the mountain tops and glaciers capping them.
When we made it back down to the bottom we found a chart monitoring the wildlife in the area where people could put up their sightings. Apparently the trail we had just finished was a popular visiting point for a grizzly and her cubs. We were happy not to have seen them.
We were happy to see the next morning that it was not raining yet so we decided to take another hike. There had been a guided hike advertised to go with a naturalist ‘ranger’ and learn about the bears in the area. For this we were walking part way up the Baloo Trail. It was very interesting and we learnt a lot about both grizzly and black bears.
After the hike we made our way on to the next destination, Radium Hot Springs and Kootenay National Park. We found ourselves one of the last spots in the campground.
That evening in-between the showers we decided to head to the hot springs. Radium Hot Springs are one of the more famous hot springs in BC but when we were there the weather was not great so it was not super packed.
Actually there had been a recent thunder and lightening and the pools were closed until it storm was clear. We didn’t thing about it before going but it makes perfect sense, no one wants to get boiled by the lightening!
The next day was heavy and overcast so we decided to drive the Kootenays visiting the short and easy destinations along the way. These included the BC and Alberta Divide, Canyons, rivers, waterfalls, lots of fire damage and the Paint Pots.
The paint pots are a very interesting and historical place. The red ochre paint pots and beds were used by ancient indians as paint. The were then mined for their mineral properties and now are just sitting there for us to enjoy. It is a very colourful place.
From the Kootenays we made our way across to Nelson. We took a bit of a scenic route cutting across the Gray Creek Pass. It was an amazing drive though the heart to the nothingness. Along creekside and over mountains. We were very glad we had a good 4×4 and that our car was in good condition as some of the road was steep!
Here we spent the day walking around the funky little town. We were walking the streets deciding where to go for dinner when we walked past a guy on the street. Someone had just wished him happy birthday so as we stood waiting for the lights we did the same. After that we got into a little conversation about what we were doing. He recommended us to visit ‘El Taco’ for food. He was actually the owner of the place.
We went with his recommendation and had ourselves some delicious and cheap burritos for dinner. They were exactly what we wanted!
We could not find any place suitable to sleep in the town so we made our way out of town toward vernon. We stopped after about an hour on a little gravel side road near Slocan, perched on the side of a hill. It was a really cool place to camp and the evening was so clear and dark we had a stunning view of the night sky.
After basically doing a loop of eastern BC and the BC side of the rockies we were making our way to Lumby to visit our friend Sean. We passed though the beautiful little town of Nakusp where we stopped to enjoy the morning sun and a coffee. There was a lovely little felling and quaintness about the little lakeside town.
We made it to Sean in the mid afternoon where we were happy to catch up with him and Bonnie and also to stay put for awhile. We camped out on their little piece of BC heaven for about a week. They have a plot of bush land with a river running though and are soon to build a house on the property.
We went on lots of great adventures while we were there, including some of ‘Sean’s famous eco adventure tours’. These are only things famous amongst us and usually involve great stories and the occasional whiplash from the boat launching over the wake.
We took the boat out on a few occasions. Visiting the Shuswap lake, Kalamalka Lake and Wood Lake. All had wonderful scenery and were a lot or fun.
We took a day trip out to Kelowna where we visited some of Sean’s old stomping grounds when he lived there and took a nice walk down the lakeside. It is a awesome town and is growing fast.
Some time was spent in Vernon also, the smaller lesser populated little brother to Kelowna. Among many other things there are some good thrift shops there. I got myself and awesome wool knit jumper for $1 from the mission. I was very happy about that.
From Lumby we were off to meet with more friends who we had met back in NZ. This time we were crossing BC to get to a little town of Lillioet where Alex was coming up to meet us. He is living in Vancouver with Jo. We worked with both of them while we lived in Queenstown. It is always god to see old friends.
It was here which Alex introduced us to the BC Hydro Campgrounds. Free campsites around BC set up by BC Hydro close to their dams.
This one in Lillioet was great!! It was mostly full but we were still able to find a good spot. A very noteworthy thing was that the toilets were cleaned every day, we even saw this happen and they came around offering free firewood. How awesome!
It was also in a great location. Backing onto a small rocky river and with walking trails around there was plenty to do to keep us entertained.
We took a walk up the river one morning where we stumbled on a canyon and the dam. It was really cool to explore the canyon.
We made our way back and then set up our camp chairs in the river and enjoyed some of Alex’s delicious home-brew IPA.
After about an hour of just chilling by the river we watched a deer come out of the woods, she tip toed into the river about 50 meters upstream from us and had a big drink. Then she squatted down and went for the longest pee. As slowly and gracefully as she walked in she then trundled off back into the woods. We were watching her for almost five minutes and she didn’t notice that we were there.
We spent two nights at the campsite and were blessed by beautiful clear skies. We sat up both nights watching the stars move around the skies and the occasional zoom of the passing meteor shower which was happening that weekend.
We drove the sky highway back to Vancouver. This is one of the most beautiful drive we did along the whole trip. Driving along through the mountainous terrain of BC stopping to visit crystal lakes, waterfalls and scenic viewing overlooks along the way.
We stopped in Whistler where we went to the whistler brewing co for some lunch. It is a bustling little metropolis in Whistler and is a beautiful town.
We got into Vancouver in the early evening where Jo had a perfect roast chicken dinner waiting for us. Yum Yum!!!
We spent about a week staying with them and exploring Vancouver. It was hot and dry the whole time with beautiful blue skies. Perfect for getting out and about.
We did a big walking tour around the main sites of the centre city. Their house is not far from the centre of town so it was just a short bus trip and we were at Granville Island. We walked around the island and looked around the markets before taking the water taxi across.
We had some lunch overlooking the water then went down to have Marble Slab Creamery. The best ice-cream ever. It is what I had been dreaming about for years since I had been introduced to Cold Rock in Australia. Basically it is fun ice-cream.
With full bellies we then walked around the coast and up to Stanley park. It is a good city park with lots of different areas to explore and get away from the hustle and bustle.
While we were in Vancouver we also took a few day trips out. We took a trip and a hike up cypress mountain. From the top there were, as usual in BC , stunning views! We also met the super cool whisky jacks that were very friendly!!
On a different day we went out to deep cove and did a nice little hike up onto the big rocks there. It was a busy spot but such a nice walk. We got some delicious fresh donuts on the way back to the car.
We also helped Alex with his brewing process. We bottled an ale, Racked a double IPA and then put on a session IPA. Glorious beer to be enjoyed on our next visit in the big city.
From Vancouver we made our way off the mainland and out onto the Island…