We gaze north
09 MAR 2019 – 19 MAR 2019
Time to go crossing of Canada as the first country in our actual itinerary. We are very excited and a bit nervous. Hopefully Harrison will keep us warm enough in the winter weather of West Canada… The first night staying in Vancouver however we already made a huge rookie mistake. Leaving the lights on overnight left us with an empty battery in the morning. A first real test of our vanlife skills. We drove of quite easily in the end, by charging our car battery with our leisure battery. Very good to know that this works
The snowy part.
Our first real stop in Canada was Squamish. It was a lot of fun attempting some bouldering and trad climbing (We definitely need some more practice!) here, until it began to rain… so we decided to go for a hike. The first unexpected snow came upon our path as we hiked up the iconic Chief. Truly a wonderful hike, even in this weather, but much more snow than we had expected this far south. We ventured further north with anticipation..
The overpopulated town of Whistler was quickly passed for a parking spot on the side of the road at Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, which should be a backcountry skiing gem. We were in for a cold night however. The predictions showed a -10°C and we believe it definitely went that low. But Harrison passed his first real cold test. We had slept quite comfortably under our blankets plus sleeping bags. Mind you, getting out of bed when the temperature is below freezing is a big pain in the ass! Only one way to get warm again: Start moving! Two days we spend here walking up the slopes and skiing back down . Smoothly for one person and with a just a tad more hesitation for the other person. (You can fill in the names yourself :-P). Hopefully we could get more practice in further north.
The snowless part.
With our minds on heaps and heaps of powdery snow we drove further north and then west heading to Prince Rupert. We were a bit surprised to see the snow disappearing during the road up, but convinced ourselves that we were just in the wrong valley… You may have guessed already, but it seems that we had turned a blind eye to the weather forecast. In fact, when we arrived in Terrace there was no snow in sight anywhere, it was sunny and actually quite warm. We can call this our second rookie mistake. Solution: Always check the actual conditions of a place before assuming anything.
So we needed to change our plans. Turns out that Terrace also has a couple of climbing crags nearby. Our first choice however (Exstew Wall) was ironically blocked by too much snow on the road. Grrr! Admittedly, we got a bit stubborn at that moment. The decision came fairly quickly to pack our climbing gear, food and sleeping gear in two much too heavy backpacks and walk on our ski’s up to the rock face some 4 km ahead. Needless to say we failed.. We didn’t find the track to approach the wall and we arrived at the car with sore backs. You win some, you lose some.. they say.
A bit disappointed we drove up further north in search of local hot springs. This was our first true win in a while. On our way there we were surprised by a remarkable lava bed landscape. Afterwards we went soaking in natural hot springs while gazing at the stars. This lifted our spirits considerably. Especially because this was a tip from a local and the Higu Isgwit Hot springs are not mentioned in the Lonely planet. Fancy going there yourself? Click here to find their location.
Fun Fact 1: Britt had never stood on a frozen lake before we started this trip. This random hole in Britt’s outdoor experience was mended at Kager Lake. In fact all the lakes we have seen until this point have been frozen..
Fun Fact 2: We haven’t paid for a night’s sleep so far. Thank you iOverlander!