Heading back to Vancouver

Can’t believe we’re nearing a month – oh how time flies. We left the mountains and headed back to the city, Vancouver – staying in a squat of a place (not ideal) but extremely cheap – silver lining!!

Heading downtown
Heading downtown
Vancouver is such a nice city, it’s charming – something about it just draws you in! Sushi is renowned here, so we went for sushi and it didn’t fail to deliver – the best I’ve EVER had! So fresh and flavoursome and the sockeye salmon was fantastic!
The best sushi EVER..
The best sushi EVER.. Spiced tuna..
The sun shone for the days we were there, the cherry blossom out in all its glory provided the perfect backdrop against the blue azure sky.
Cherry blossom at the harbour
Cherry blossom at the harbour
Escaping the buzz of the city, we headed to Stanley Park, Vancouver’s urban oasis and one of the top city parks in North America –  where we sat on the beach and soaked up the atmosphere!
Stanley Park - one of its many beaches
Stanley Park – one of its many beaches

From Jasper to Pemberton 

Leaving Jasper and after a 9 hour drive which took us through Mount Robson and Greys Provinical Park we ended up back on the east coast, in Pemberton (about 60km from where we first resided in Squamish!) perfectly located so Whistler was accessible.

Looking at the snow reports we were in for a fresh dump of snow – it didn’t fail to deliver. For four solid days we skied fantastic champagne powder conditions and on two of the days we got bluebird! Great runs, great resort – a vast improvement from our first visit!!

whistler

whistler 2

Our abode was in the form of a quaint little wooden hut, overlooking the mountains – it was truly idyllic. The weather was good so we managed to BBQ and light the fire pit – a great way to unwind after an exhilarating days skiing.

Our cozy cabin!
Our cozy cabin!
Relaxing by the fire pit!
Relaxing by the fire pit!

Happy Easter from us..

On Good Friday we left Banff (where we stayed for one night!) and headed West. On our travels we stopped at Lake Louise, a glacial lake, considered by many to be the most beautiful setting in the world of its kind, sparkling turquoise waters surrounded by lush green pines… or that’s how it is in summer. As expected, it was completely frozen, which was still pretty spectacular! It’s also home to one of the largest ski resorts in North America, so we’ll be back to ski/board next week!

A very frozen Lake Louise
A very frozen Lake Louise

Leaving Banff National Park and entering Yoho National Park, we arrived at Golden, our destination for Easter weekend – On Saturday we woke to snow, these last few days we’ve had quite a cold snap, however it’s expected to warm up next week, anyway thermals on, we took a drive to Emerald Lake, as expected it was frozen solid, still, was fun walking on the vast white canvas  – our first time walking on ice!!!

Lake Emerald - walking on ice
Lake Emerald – walking on ice

lake emerald

From the lake we took a short hike up to Hamilton waterfalls, it was enchanting walking through the carpet of snow that covered the forest floor and Christmas scented pine trees. To get to the waterfall, we walked straight up the frozen river, which was still flowing underneath the deep ice – pretty impressive!

Hamilton Falls
Hamilton Falls

Easter Sunday saw us set the alarm for 6am to venture the 75km back to Lake Louise for a full days skiing/boarding as we’d heard the conditions were good – and they didn’t disappoint. Fresh powder, blue skies followed by further scattered snow showers throughout the day = happy ski day!

ski

A view from one of the runs - Lake Louise
A view from one of the runs – Lake Louise

skii

Kelowna to Cranbrook

From Kelowna, we ventured through Gladstone National Park, through Castlegar and onto Nelson, where we had a brief one night stopover. Despite our short stay, Nelson was really picturesque, the first place we’d come across that had some sort of resemblance to a quaint high street away from the unsightly retail parks, complete with commercial fast food chains.

Downtown Nelson B.C - courtesy of BCgirltravels.com
Downtown Nelson B.C – courtesy of BCgirltravels.com
smokehouse
Smokehouse BBQ – so good!

 

Having spent most of our travels eating in, we decided to venture out to Smokewood BBQ, which serves up great authentic southern BBQ food. We shared a combo box, consisting of heavenly pulled pork, melt in the mouth sliced beef brisket and ribs, served with homemade BBQ sauce, southern style beans, mac & cheese, coleslaw and cornbread – it was amazing, we left feeling humble and pleasantly filled! (we’re already contemplating a return visit, when we make our way back to Vancouver)

The following morning we headed up to Cranbrook, where we stayed in another motel, this one outdid the last one, we even used the kitchenette facilities, where I knocked up an all time American favourite, packet mac and cheese.

ac and cheese
Kraft Mac n Cheese

Now contrary to believe Kraft mac and cheese is not nice, after one mouthful mine ended up in the bin, Tom’s did after four. Will NOT be buying that again…

 

 

 

 

Salmon Arm to Kelowna

Having spent the night in Salmon Arm we headed on through Vernon, down to Kelowna – fully immersing ourselves into the American road trip, we decided to check-in to a motel (say Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn!!) and my god what a hovel that was…. just as well we were only using it as a base to drive to Big White each day.

Kelowna Motel - hell for three days!
Kelowna Motel – hell for three days!

Big White Mountain 2317m provided us with three great days of skiing (unfortunately for me only the one, as I twisted my knee and had to sit out the other two.. booo!),  plenty of nice runs through the trees and lovely blue sunny skies, followed by a fresh snowfall on the last day.

Bluebird, Big White
Big White Piste map
Big White Piste map

On one of the nights we bought tickets to watch a Western Hockey League game, where we saw The Kelowna Rockets take on The Vancouver Giants, not going to lie, me and Tom didn’t really have a clue what was going on, but it was fun to experience and absorb some American sports, better still the home team won..

ice hockey2 ice hockey1

Enjoying the game - beer in hand!!
Enjoying the game – beer in hand!!

 

 

Onwards from Squamish!

After Squamish, we headed the scenic route, engulfed by dramatic snow-capped mountains up the highway 99, passing through Pemberton, Lillooet, stopping to capture the landscape, frozen lakes and emerald blue lakes – Seton Lake at Lillooet was beyond idyllic.

Frozen lake en route
Frozen lake en route
Seton Lake
Bear warning signs litter the roads - however we’re yet to see one yet!
Bear warning signs litter the roads – however we’re yet to see one yet!

After an eight hour drive we ended up in Salmon Arm, a city in Shuswap Country of the Southern Interior, which sits on the shores of Shuswap Lake and is famous for millions and millions of British Columbia’s famous Sockeye Salmon returning each October to the nearby Shuswap and Adams River Salmon run, as they make their way up the river.

 

Arrived – Vancouver to Squamish, British Columbia

After teary goodbyes, a long drive to Gatwick, followed by a 10-hour flight, we finally arrived in Vancouver on the 17th March 2015 to sunshine and warmth, much warmer than we expected! Having stopped off to pick up our chariot for the next month, a sturdy blue Nissan (probably the smallest car on the roads of Canada), me and Tom started the journey following the breath taking coastline over to Squamish, BC where we spent three nights pretty much recovering from lack of sleep and adjusting to Canadian life…

Horseshoe Bay, BC
Horseshoe Bay, BC
Ossa, our hosts dog..
Ossa, our hosts dog..

Excited for the snow on our second day we headed over to Whistler for a day’s skiing, however it was somewhat disappointing, slushy, rainy and made for a lacklustre day on the piste – however the hot tub and a few bottles of Dos Equis back at the place we were staying made up for it.

Sniffle Station  - for those days when you've got a runny nose
Sniffle Station – for those days when you’ve got a runny nose