After leaving Alaska from our five-week tour, we headed back toward the Lower 48 via Canada. We decided to take a different route than when we came to Alaska, as we wanted to re-enter the U.S. on the west coast. And instead of taking the typical route, we took a bit of a back road that took us through some beautiful country in British Columbia. We really enjoyed the drive, even though it put us without cell signal for about three days. We’re sure glad no emergencies happened on that drive!
Lillooet: Guaranteed Rugged
As we came back into civilization in British Columbia, we took another roundabout path so that we could visit Squamish, BC. Little did we know, the small town of Lillooet, BC along the way was another little gem of a place! With a gorgeous free campsite and a lake nearby, we lingered a couple extra days in Lillooet before heading to Squamish.
We explored the river behind the campsite as well as the spawning channel just outside of town. The spawning channel had thousands of salmon fry swimming safely around, which was very cool to see (note: you do need polarized sunglasses to see them below the surface). We also stumbled upon an old bridge across the Fraser River that had a falcon nest with a baby falcon chirping at passersby! There is not much in the town nor are there many maintained trails in Lillooet, but the ruggedness of the area along with beautiful waterfalls, rivers, and lakes made the town a great place for a short stopover.
A town nicknamed The Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada, we absolutely had to make a stopover in Squamish, BC. From rock climbing to mountain biking, kite surfing to whitewater rafting, Squamish is known to have something for the adventurer in everyone. And while we only had a few short days to spend in Squamish, we knew we had to get some adventures in! Squamish sits about halfway between Whistler and Vancouver, making it a great location for adventuring in all three cities. While we didn’t have time to do all of them this time, it’s great to know how convenient Squamish is for future plans.
Since we hadn’t been climbing in quite a while, we wanted to get in as much time on the crags as we could! The first day we headed out to The Smoke Bluffs to get a few routes in. After a short time climbing, we drove around exploring the town of Squamish. We were bummed to find out we had missed Squamish Days by just one day! I guess all that time not having cell signal bit us in the bum there. On the bright side, we also missed most of the crowds by one day, so there’s that!
The next day, we headed out again to climb at Murrin Park. This was a really great area. Just a very short hike in and you are at the first crag, with several routes to choose from. Continuing around, you can find many more routes in the area, which makes it nice to be able to spread out from other climbers. The area we climbed had several great beginner routes, and we warmed up on a couple of 5.5’s and 5.6’s before moving over and trying some routes a little more difficult. We met another family that was climbing near to us, and their daughter was out for her very first outdoor climb. She was doing awesome! We love seeing families getting out and having adventures and building their confidence!
There are so many different places to climb in Squamish that it would be near impossible to climb all of them. We loved having so many different options and being rewarded with amazing views atop each route. Squamish is definitely deserving of its nickname, and we will most definitely be coming back to explore more!
Beautiful Scenery in Squamish BC
On top of the amazing recreational activities that Squamish offers, there is also an abundance of breathtaking scenery to take in. Squamish sits on the Howe Sound, which offers beautiful blue waters for scenery and more recreational opportunities. The water is incredible to view from atop a climbing route or from the many beaches outside of the city.
We took a drive around the area and found some gorgeous rivers as well. Did I mention there is some world-class paddling in Squamish? Not only are these rivers great for paddling, but they are also incredible just for taking in some scenery. We hiked around a couple of them just to enjoy the views and listen to the rushing water.
Squamish also offers a scenery tour via the Sea-to-Sky Gondola. You can ride the gondola up the mountain and see some spectacular views that way as well. We didn’t ride the gondola, but if you are looking for scenic views without the painstaking hikes and climbs, that would definitely be a good option!
So whether you are into climbing, biking, hiking, paddling, or just enjoy viewing beautiful scenery, Squamish has something for everyone.
Vancouver BC: Mild Climates and Sky High Prices
We only had a chance to stop in Vancouver for an afternoon while taking care of some business in the city, but even the afternoon there was a great time. Since we had to get some work done, we opted to work for the day in a Starbucks overlooking the beach. Not a bad work day, eh?!
After finishing up the business side of things, we took a walk on the beach. While working overlooking a beach isn’t bad, it certainly is a tease when you can’t be out there enjoying the sun. It was a mild 75 degrees (Fahrenheit) and sunny, so the beach sounded like a nice little treat for us. We got to see the city during a workday, which was nice. Vancouver is very pedestrian and cyclist friendly, which we found very appealing.
Although we knew that Vancouver was one of the most expensive cities in Canada, we were quite shocked to find that the average (detached) home price in the city is over $1.2 million. Many residents live in high rise apartments and condos, as the housing market is becoming so cost prohibitive for purchasing. The city is incredibly appealing, and with the mildest climate in all of Canada, we can see why so many residents stay even with housing prices so high.
Back to the United States We Go
We had an amazing time visiting British Columbia on this trip, and we know it is somewhere that we will visit again in the future. From the sparkling blue waters to the many recreational opportunities, British Columbia is not somewhere that can be visited once and only once. For us, however, that visit will have to be in the future, as we head down the west coast and back into the United States for some more great adventures and the launch of our newest endeavor!
We hope we’ve inspired you to add British Columbia to your list of adventure destinations! Stay up to date on our latest and greatest by subscribing below. Until next time, #LiveVicariously!
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