And down again – Whitehorse, Yukon to Victoria, British Columbia
It’s been a crazy summer. At the end of July Carly and I packed up the van to move from Whitehorse, Yukon down to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This seems like a long time ago now looking over the photos, but as we are finally slowing down and getting settled in our new home we can take a moment to reflect. Below covers our two week drive down from Whitehorse to Vancouver Island.
I had been a little concerned about filling the van with all of our worldly possessions as it was also to be our home for the next two weeks. I had purchased a roof bag for the van so we could store things up top and it turned out that we had plenty of room. Yay for downsizing!
On our drive up in May we took the Alaska highway, so on the return trip we decided to take the Stewart-Cassiar Highway, the only other option in northern British Columbia. It was a quiet, scenic route with some great spots to camp and fish, though I have to admit I missed the rugged beauty of the Alaska Highway.
Northern British Columbia is very sparsely populated, so you don’t have to go far off of the highway to find a secluded spot. As on our trip up, we stayed at a lot of free recreation sites (campsites) and enjoyed sitting by the campfire while we could. Lower British Columbia was under a total fire ban due to the dry conditions causing forest fires all over the province.
From Prince George we decided to take the long way down and headed East towards the Rockies. One of our first stops was in Jasper where we treated ourselves to dinner not cooked in the van or on a campfire!
From Jasper we headed south towards Banff along the Icefields Parkway. This road takes you right along the mountain range and is considered to be one of the most scenic drives in the world. On my across Canada trip in 2013 I unfortunately didn’t see much due to the weather. Luckily for us, this time we were much more fortunate.
There aren’t any recreation sites in the Rockies as the area has national park status. It being summer, the campsites were all full (not that we relished the prospect of staying in a crowded site) so we decided to get the most out of our park entry fee and get creative. This made for some very nice views, especially over our morning coffee.
Our friend Richard, who used to work for Parks Canada, had recommended us a day hike which had views overlooking not one, but three glaciers. It certainly didn’t disappoint. Though we did go the wrong way and get a bit lost, a top tip if you want to avoid the crowds!
Before we left the Rockies we decided to take a sightseeing helicopter ride around the mountains just outside of Canmore. This was Carly’s first time in a helicopter (I took a short ride in a search and rescue helicopter when I was in air cadets) and we enjoyed the different perspective of the mountains. Plus it was very cool to be in a helicopter!
After we left the Rockies we made our way through the Kootenays towards the Okanagan, where our good friends Gemma and JR had just moved to. The Okanagan is the hottest part of Canada and is known as Canada’s wine region. It was time for us to relax, drink wine and catch up with old friends.
We went fishing one day and due to some canoe overloading issues I opted to be pulled along the lake in a rubber tube. This turned out to be a very good fishing technique because I caught my first fish on this outing! Unfortunately it was very small, so we let it go, but I am now officially a fisherman. Fact.
It’s rude to visit the Okanagan and not do a wine tasting tour, so we took a taxi out of the town and walked back, stopping at every vineyard along the way. This was throughly enjoyable and while I don’t really buy in to alot of the ‘fluff’ surrounding wine, I learnt a lot about the wine production process and have a new found appreciation for wine. After tasting so many I was also able to deduce exactly which types of wine I prefer (white: Sauvignon Blanc, red: Merlot).
After leaving the Okanagan we had to make tracks west in order to catch the ferry over to Vancouver Island in time for a friends’ wedding in Victoria. From here we start our new life as ‘islanders’.