After having spent almost our entire summer cruising the British Columbia waterways, you’d think we might have had our fill of Canada for awhile. Not so! Our neighbors to the north have some incredible National Parks, and Provincial Parks (like our state parks). My last two month of solo travel took me through British Columbia and Alberta, and it was all incredible enough to want to come back with John, since he’s never experienced any of Canada, except by boat.
With Summer Breeze safely resting in Bellingham, we set out across the border on September 2nd. [Quick side note… would y’all either widen your border crossing lanes, our open the truck lane to BIG motorhomes please. Squeezing through with inches to spare on both sides is a tad nerve wracking.]
Our first stop was a campground near Whistler… adjacent to Brandywine Falls Provincial Park. It only made sense to stop into Brandywine first! One of the first things we discovered is no ban on drone usage, a particularly nice treat since we rarely get to use it. What’s nice about the drone is that it gives us a different perspective on scenes, some of which are very difficult to photograph from look-out points. The first shot below was with my Sony. The other is a drone shot.
After a few photo ops and a short hike at Brandywine Falls, we headed back down Highway 99 toward Squamish. This is a lovely drive, with mountains all around, Squamish River next to the highway much of the way, and Strait of Georgia just beyond. We made a few stops along the way.
We had intended to splurge and ride the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, and were terribly disappointed to find it was closed. And we were shocked to find out why! Just a few weeks prior someone actually snuck in during the dark of night and cut the six-stranded, 55mm thick, two kilometer long cable, shutting it down indefinitely. We were really looking forward to promised view, and some of the hiking trails at the top.
While in Squamish though, we did go to Shannon Falls Provincial Park and walked the trail to a few nice views of this lovely waterfall. No drones allowed here.
Since we were shorted on our hiking because of the gondola closure, we took a long walk to Brandywine Creek by way of an off-road trail just outside of our campground. I wasn’t expecting much (other than a steep climb back up the hill), but what we found when we got to the creek was quite lovely.
The following day we drove the car up to Alta Lake in Whistler, where we dropped our kayaks in the water. Our adventure took us down the length of Alta Lake, and then meandering roughly 3 miles down “The River of Golden Dreams”. The challenge came in the form of about a dozen beaver dams along the way, only one of which we could just slide across in our kayaks. The rest had to be portaged over, and some were downright tricky. The term “busy as a beaver” played though my head most of the day. These guys are quite industrious, and eventually dams became damns! We never caught sight of a single beaver.
While crossing Alta Lake I spotted a small group of Mergansers! I really learned to love these birds while kayaking during our summer on BC waterways.
As soon as we passed into the river (which was really more of a stream this time of year), I spotted some ducks on a log. I wasn’t sure at the time what kind they were. Mallard was the assumption, but there were no adult males with the obvious green head. They were indeed Mallard… some female, and at least one juvenile male (proper term being a drake).
When we got to Green Lake, we pulled out and John caught a cab back to Alta Lake to retrieve our car. Then we drove through town and did an easy 2.5 mile walk around Lost Lake. While in town we drove past the Chateau, where I had my very first international speaking engagement at the Canadian Professional Photographers National Convention! That was in the spring, and there was still a lot of snow!
Before heading back to our campground we drove farther north to Nairn Falls Provincial Park, where we were once again able to fly the drone!
The rest of falls, and much of Green River were difficult to capture with my regular camera, but the drone did it splendidly!
The following morning we set left the Whistler area and traveled farther north and east through some spectacular (and steep and windy) mountain scenery. I had planned a few stops along the way but with The Beast, parking wasn’t an option, so we carried on to our first opportunity to pull off… Duffy Lake. Yet again, a hard scene to photograph from the view point, but easy peasy with the drone. 😁
We also made a quick detour to see Marble Canyon, and spotted this Big Horn Sheep before we spotted the canyon.
Ya know how I’m always “seeing things… faces, figures, critters… in scenes, textures and clouds? Well, I spotted something in the rock surface above that I had to zoom in and share. What do you see?
After several hours on the road we arrived at a town called 108 Mile House. It’s a place I camped near while traveling through the area solo five years prior. This time around we were here to visit friends we met while cruising the west coast of Vancouver Island… Rusty, Barb and their super cool water-loving dog, Maggie. We camped The Beast in their driveway, went into town for killer burgers they’d told us about months prior, and then played card games the rest of the evening. It was a fun and relaxing evening, and great to see our new friends once again.
Before leaving town the following day, we stopped at the local heritage center (which I’d done before) and browsed around for a bit.