Off To Canada (Again)

Holidays in Canada

The Other Side

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It’s been a while since I updated. Frankly I was afraid that if I did it all too soon I’d have nothing to write about for 6 months until we go.

I mentioned previously that a lot of the trip hung on the ferry trip between Port Hardy and Bella Coola and that we were waiting for the new summer 2013 schedules to come out…..well they came out a few days or so ago and on Friday evening, with more than a touch of trepidation, I opened the pdf of the new summer sailings. I needn’t have worried though as the ferry we need to catch is still sailing on Thursdays, exactly the same as in 2012. As soon as I saw that I reached for my wallet and made the reservation. The down side was that we had to pay in full up front but we can get a refund if we cancel 30 days before we’re due to sail so it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind of knowing that this most important leg of the journey is booked. We’ll book the other ferry journey much closer to the date as there’s always a chance of the flight time changing slightly.

In the last post I’d gotten to Bella Coola and the grizzly bear watching trip. The next leg is one of the reasons for the entire trip and is all to do with a road. Whenever I start thinking about creating a trip it usually starts with a single idea which is expanded into something that resembles a holiday. Last year it was a hockey trip as I’d always wanted to go and see the Montreal Canadiens in Montreal. That started as a single game and ended up being a rail trip from Halifax to Toronto and two hockey games in the middle. The trip we’re looking forward to this year started off with us wanting to see grizzly bears and in the course of investigating the best place to do that, I read about Highway 20. The stretch of Highway 20 between Bella Coola and Anahim lake is known simply as ‘The Hill’ and is approximately 27 miles of a steep winding road with sharp hairpin bends. At one point there is a 5.6 mile section with gradients hitting 18% (or 1:6). Sounds fun eh?

640px-The_Hill_Steep_Grades_2

As soon as I read about this I wanted to drive it and so the trip took on a life of it’s own and became what it is today, an 1100 mile drive starting in Vancouver, taking in Vancouver Island and looping back to Vancouver again.

The actual length of the drive from Bella Coola to Nimpo Lake (our next stop) is only 96 miles but I have a feeling that we’ll be taking it slowly and taking more than a few stops for photos. We’re booked into the Waterfront Resort and Motel on the shores of Nimpo Lake for the night and I’m hoping for a bit of rustic comfort and peace and quiet, although as Nimpo Lake is the float plane capital of Canada I’m not so sure that it’ll be that quiet. In the morning we hit the road again and head towards Williams Lake 188 miles down the road. According to Google it should take somewhere in the region of 5 hours to drive but we’ll take it slow and enjoy the scenery and, hopefully, the lack of traffic. A Super 8 motel waits for us at Williams Lake and we’ll need the good nights sleep as the next day is another 5+ hour drive to Whistler where we jump back into a bit of luxury for the last two stops before flying home and I’ll cover the last leg of the journey next time.

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