Helen works roughly one weekend in
seven. In the summer the kids no longer have lessons on the
weekends. This year, the Helen worked a weekend before our
summer vacation so I was able to make a long weekend get away
adventure. I drove through Lillooet once before, driving
from Kamloops back to Vancouver and I remember it as a small town
in the dry interior. I wanted to spend more time in the town
and the area around to see what was there, a few hours from
The kids and I left early Saturday morning and started driving up
toward Whistler. The kids can only tolerate so much time
without physical activity so my first stop was Shannon
falls. We got to the parking lot and there were no parking
spots. We continued along the highways a few hundred meters
and stopped at the Sea to Sky Gondola. We parked in the
hiking lot (still had space) and the first things the kids spotted
was the playground. The quite enjoyed the whimsical little
village. We then walked to Shannon falls and the kids took
in the view.
We drove up to Whistler and got a "to go" lunch for the car and
then continued North to Pemberton, Mount Currie and then the drive
over the pass to Lillooet. We passed the parking lot at
Joffre lakes - both the main and the overflow lots were full and
people parked on the side of the highway for up to a km
away. We hoped to park on the way back.
My hope was to get to Lillooet before a small bakery there
closed. We arrived by 3pm and were disappointed to find it
hadn't opened that day - operations issues. Hot from a long
car ride, we went to Seton lake for a swim.
Seton lake is cold. It's a deep lake and the swimming area
is close to the inflow from an alpine river. It was a warm
day (coming up on 30) so the cool lake was nice, but it's cold
enough that the kids couldn't stay in for a long period of time.
We had dinner at the best reviewed restaurant in town (Greek
restaurant, that serves pizza and chicken strips with
fries). The don't have a kids menu, but the kids have
figured out to look around at what the other kids are eating and
ask for the same. They got their favorite.
After dinner we went for a walk to the old suspension bridge, just
North of town. There is an Osprey family on one of the
towers and they seem quite patient with people walking
underneath. I was hoping to see some bats flying out at dusk
but no such luck today.
We went home and went to bed. The two kids fit in a
single Queen sized bed, but it was a bit of struggle to get them
to go to sleep. It did eventually work out.
The next morning started with a walk at the fish spawning grounds
at Sekw'el'was First Nation. The Seton river has a large
section carved out as a bypass to the dam and as fish habitat to
replace the habitat damaged by feedways. The place was empty
(wrong season) but it was still good to get the kids out of the
car for a walk around before we went for our day of exploring.
I hit gold with a butterfly. Western Tiger Swallowtails are
pretty common in Vancouver, but they never stop moving. When
they do (rarely) stop moving, it's to perch in a tree way off the
ground. We were wandering by the car and a butterfly stops
on a thistle and just stops. It was cool in the morning and
I suspect the butterfly was having a drink. I couldn't
believe my luck - I shot photos and brought the kids over to
see. Soon enough, the swallowtail was on it's way.
One of the goals of the day is to visit
the outdoor swimming pool in Lytton. We stopped by here last
year on our Spences Bridge roadtrip and we all really liked
it. The pool is large with a large shallow end.
Mountains surround the pool and the air is hot so the cool water
is extra refreshing. The amenities are basic, but everything
After our pool time, we got dressed and went
for a car ride. I wanted to take the ferry across the
fraser. The people in the visitor info centre told us they
don't mind giving people a ride over and then back again, but they
suggested we might want to drive to Stein Valley to see the rock art
between our trips. Plan made! We drove over to the ferry
and were the second (and final) car on the ferry. The crossing
took about 5 minutes.
We drove to the head of the Stein Valley and started walking.
The Stein Valley was really dry, but is right next to a powerful,
cold river. We walked over a bridge and the cool water from
the river dropped the surrounding air temperature to
comfortable. A few meters later we were at talking rock
looking at the art.
By the time we got back to the car, the kids were cooked. We
drove back, over the fraser on the ferry and then back into Lytton
for an ice cream. After eating the ice cream on the grass (my
kids are too messy to eat a cone in the car), we packed back into
the car and drove by to Lillooet. Both kids fell asleep in the
If you look BC on a light pollution map,
Vancouver and Victoria are basically a write off - too much light
pollution. Lillooet is nearly light pollution free. I
was thinking of taking some photos after the sun went down, but
the moon came up shortly after and my camera can't really handle
the contrast. I did get a photo of the view from our Air
B&B just before the moon came up.
The next morning we woke up to
smoke. The forest fires burning near Cache Creek had blown
over the mountain and the valley was now obscured. You could
taste the smoke when you breathed. It was time to go
home. The kids were playing in the field across from the
house and stumbled upon (but not into) a prickly pear
cactus. They really wanted to show me the spikes.
The goal of the drive home was to be in Vancouver in time for
dinner so we weren't really in a rush. Highway 99 between
Lillooet and Pemberton is beautiful so we stopped a few times to
take in the views. Our first stop was at the foot of Duffey
It looks like an avalanche came down the
previous winter and there was a large pile of snow covered in
debris at the side of the road - the kids wanted a climb. On
the way back to the car, we saw a patch of flowers.
I started taking photos of the flower when
another call pulled over. A passenger got out and started
peeing on the flower about 4 meters to the left of me. I
decided I wasn't going to spend a lot of time poking around.
As we drove higher, the flowers started to crowd the side of the
road. The ditch at the side of the road was filled with Bog
Orchids and orange patches of Columbian Lily highlighted the
slopes. I pulled over again and took a few quick pictures.
Our next destination was Joffre
Lakes. Helen and I camped
at Joffre Lakes years ago. The parking lot was mostly
full, but not nearly as crazy as the previous Saturday.
There is a constant traffic of day trippers parking, walking and
leaving so spots do come free. We walked the few minutes
down the trail to see Lower Joffre lake.
It was an overcast day so the glacier wasn't a gleaming white
sheet against a blue sky, but you still appreciate the beauty of
On the walk back from the lake, we did a
scavanger hunt looking for flowers. I was surprised how many
different species the kids found in about 300 meters, but they are
pretty good with their spotting eyes.
Joffre Lakes was our last stop before we drove home. We
stopped for pizza in Pemberton and were home well before
dinner. Great road trip!