coastal mountains of british columbia

We have just two more weeks in Canada, and it’s all British Columbia – first, we’re heading to the coast and down to Vancouver, then it’s over to Vancouver Island, before heading back to the mainland and off to Washington state.

With two days of travel ahead of us to reach Vancouver on the other side of the province, we take the less-direct route, which lands us in the town of Lillooet on our first night. We set up our tent by the river …

… and after a few hours hunkered down outside the campground office – the only place in the campground with a WiFi signal – we reverted to our usual: playing cards by candlelight at our picnic table. A bottle of beer and cards have become the staple of our camping nighttime entertainment.

Another staple of our camping is searching for a good cup of coffee in the morning, with an emphasis on good. We could make coffee at our tent site, assuming there is an electrical outlet. But we are not rugged enough to drink our coffee black, so even if we could make ourselves a cup, if there isn’t a tuck shop on the premises that sells half and half, we’re not going to drink it. And so it is that we find ourselves heading across the river into town in the morning, picking up some lattes for the road. Now, Lillooet is just far enough north and far enough away to be considered in the middle of nowhere. The town banner on Main Street says “Lillooet, Guaranteed Rugged.” It is tough – with a mining look to it. Townsfolk are plain spoken, and so is the sign on the front door of the bottle return depot …

South from Lillooet, we’re on Hwy 99 the whole way, driving through the Coastal Mountains. Sometimes they’re off in the distance …

… but for the most part, the road cuts right through them. Not for the first time since we arrived in British Columbia a few weeks ago, we are humbled by these mountains and are reminded just how treacherous it can be navigating through them. Summer is the right time to be in mountain country; in winter all sorts of stuff can happen.

Within all this beauty are Joffre Lakes – a series of three lakes beneath a towering glacier. It takes us no time to hike to the lower lake …

It’s a bit more rugged on the way up to the middle lake, with part of the climb consisting of a walk (gingerly) over the remains of some other avalanche.

But where it’s not rocks, it’s paths alternating through woods and open expanses, with plenty to see and fun stuff to look at …




And then we reach the middle lake – same view of the glacier, only this time it’s that much closer.

It’s not that much further on to the upper lake, where the view will be just that much more in our face, but we’ve run out of time on our day, and it’s begun to rain … so we turn around and head back to the parking lot, but not before this one close-up shot of the glacier.

Back on the road again, there is plenty to see around us. Soon enough, we’re passing through Whistler, home of the 2010 Winter Olympics, and further south, the road takes us to the coast – we are looking at Howe Sound, with its many islands, and we round the corner into Vancouver as dusk settles over the Pacific Ocean.

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