A somewhat smoky ferry ride deposited us at Horseshoe Bay, the beginning of one of the most stunning drives in the world culminating in Lillooet on the Fraser River.
Aptly named the Sea to Sky Highway the first portion of the drive highlights the beauty of Howe Sound as it transitions into the Coastal Ranges of BC. Howe sound was formed about 20,000 years ago by glaciers as they slowly crept over the Continent. The resulting geology is stunning, granite and metamorphic rocks with volcanic intrusions snaking up through fractures in the main rock.
Squamish and Whistler appeared quickly as we continued east. Both are meccas for skiers and outdoor enthusiasts of all types. The growth in this area has made parts of it unrecognizable from the sleepy little villages that existed in the 70’s when our family used to come up here to ski. The only familiar landmark to me was the Old Highland Lodge, which at one point was the only place you could get dinner in the area. How times have changed….
Exiting Whistler we headed for Pemberton and the start of the Duffy Lake Road, sometimes referred to as one of the most dangerous roads and beautiful roads in BC. After a brief arguement with a trash can at a gas station in Pemberton (the trash can won), we picked up a coffee and were on our way. As we left Pemberton the ecosystem began to change to a drier pine type from the conifer dominated Howe Sound vegetation. The road follows the valley bottom through stands of Aspens and small farm holdings and then begins to climb as you approach Lillooet. Switch backs and steep climbs/descents are common. This drive is part of a loop that drops back down to the coast from Lillooet.
Once we reached Lillooet and the Fraser River we parted ways with the conventional route and headed north to Hwy 99 on our way to Clinton. Another ecosystem change to the fire driven semi arid sagebrush/pine forests characteristic of this part of BC. We reached our hotel as the sun was descending below the mountains, sorted out a brief room issue (yes there is a story there 🙂 ) had dinner (who knew there is a place in the Cariboo with excellent Quesadillas) and called it a day. The hotel truly is a family run affair – our front desk receptionist waiting tables as well, and her sister cooking in the kitchen. Her sister can cook like nobodies business – if you pass through Clinton I recommend a meal at the Cariboo Lodge.
Our drive today is short and we hope to spend part of the morning wandering around Clinton’s many interesting shops. Possible retail alert!