and Lilloet It's so tough mid-summer to pull ourselves away from our friends in Van and what has now become daily volleyball sessions from early afternoon through sunset. We waited until after a few planned volleyball sessions and a make-your-own sushi night and then finally found our window to pull away and decided to explore a bit further north than we've been...which so far meant anything north of whistler. We drove out of town and got to celebrate (as always) that moment when hit new unexplored territory. The sea-to-sky highway to whistler never gets old, and this drive, after whistler (like most of BC) is beautiful and it continues to prove difficult to get any work done during our drives because i'm too busy waiting for the views around the next turn.
We drove on into and beyond pemberton until we hit Joffre Lakes, one of the areas high on our list for hiking/exploring, but there were already 15+ cars in the lot (the reason we far prefer to leave town midweek) and the hike in was far enough that we wouldn't have enough daylight to hike back out if all the campsites were taken...so we drove on.
For the record, when we passed back by here later in the weekend there were literally hundreds of cars filling the lot and stretching up the road for about a mile. We definitely will NOT be returning unless it's midweek.
We continued driving onward looking for parks, exploring forestry roads and pull-outs along the river where we might be able to camp. We stumbled upon a string of a few parks/campgrounds along the river and chose the one without another soul. Nothing like an entire riverfront campground all to yourself!
We made up camp, collected some firewood and then walked up the river to bask in the sun and unwind from the drive. So good.
As the sun started to lower so we headed back to our camp and I cast a fishing line a few times while jen prepped for dinner. I wasn't having any luck so I had jen give a couple casts and (of course) she pulls a fish in a few casts later. Her success keeps me motivated, so I keep casting and eventually catch my first ever fish on a fly (really more of a minnow, but at least i now know it's possible).
Jen made some amazing burgers on the bbq, we enjoyed the fire and stars until late and then crashed in the van.
We loved this camping spot and could have easily stayed here for weeks but this was intended to be a short trip out of town so we cut it shorter than we would have liked. We will absolutely be returning.
We continued onward to Lilloet, decided there wasn't too much to see and decided to turn back to head south. Anything beyond here we will likely cover in our trip to Banff/Jasper in a few weeks, so no since in covering the ground twice. On the way back up the hill we pass through a hairpin turn and I spot a cliff above us, so we pull over close to the top of the hill and I jog up the trail to see if I can find an overlook. The view certainly didn't disappoint.
On the way south we stopped in at Nairn Falls to check off another hike/waterfall on my list and were absolutely blown away. This is probably our first experience with the epic blue color of the rivers and lakes filled by glacier runoff and oh my... that blue. Nairn is also one of the coolest waterfalls Ive seen with just epic power running through a very narrow maze of stone. The hike up and back is a bit too short to get rid of all the tourists, but the constant view of blue water beside us made it a gloriously beautiful day hike. We planned on another night camping but got word about the canadian ironman in whistler and that the highway would be closed...so we hauled past whistler to squamish to ensure we could get home early enough for some volleyball after our trip.
We tried to explore the same spot we camped years ago when we first explored squamish in the bus, but instead of a completely untouched river frontage, we found dozens of cars and tents taking over every free piece of dirt along the road. We dejectedly turned around and left the area and found a less popular place to camp for the night. Basically we headed into a provincial park but then kicked it into 4WD and drove up the side of the mountain until we no longer saw or head other people and then found a place to camp for the night. Perfect.