Expats · Travel

Exploring Canada (part 2): Whistler and Wells Gray Park

I am writing this from a Starbucks within an Indigo bookshop. It feels very Déjà vu, as this is where I’d come to escape our shoebox apartment when we first arrived in Toronto and I wasn’t yet working. It’s funny how much the view from the window has changed in what can’t be more than 20 months. There are at least three new condo blocks which have sprouted up, plus the sprawl of construction vehicles.

I always think of Toronto as a true-life representation of the Pixar film ‘Up’ – the smaller, characterful homes shadowed by new-build towers and cement dust. It does make me sad how these older, beautiful buildings are gradually being erased to make room for the shiny, glass giants that are being replicated all over the city…. But anyway… that is another post, for another day…

The second stop on our ‘exploring Canada’ trip was Whistler, a popular ski-resort a couple of hours from Vancouver.

Being October, there wasn’t any snow for skiing yet, and the resort was noticeably quieter than how I imagine it will be in peak season. However, we still found plenty to do, and in all honesty, it was nice not having to fight our way through crowds of people or wait in long queues for anything.

Whistler 1
Whistler in Autumn

In the morning, we decided the follow one of the recommended trails which led to ‘Lost Lake’. We were on wildlife lookout – and did spot a snake and several interesting birds.

whsitler lake
Lost Lake – Whistler
whistler bird
Beautiful Blue bird spotted in Whistler

In the afternoon, we’d booked onto one of Whistler’s zipwire tours. We went with the company Ziptrek Ecotours. Having not done zip wiring since the days of outdoorsy school-trips when I was about ten, I was slightly nervous – but the activity was super fun. And it was great to be able to get a bird’s-eye view of the woodland and creeks below.

Getting ready to Zipwire, Whistler
zipwire 2
Zipwire over the creek

Not before too long, it was time to move onto our next stop: the small town of Clearwater on the edge of Wells Gray Provincial Park, which is about a six-hour drive from Whistler.

We woke early that morning to allow for a full day of driving. However, we did make one stop not too far outside Whistler, at the Nairn Falls Provincial Park.

Nairm Falls
Nairn Falls Provincial Park
Nairm Falls 2
Nairn Falls

The water was such a stunning shade of blue!

The drive to Clearwater turned out to be an unexpected treat on the trip. Soon after leaving Nairn Falls, once past the town of Pemberton, the road takes you up the mountains, along winding gorges and past beautiful lakes.

Drive 1
One of the lakes we passed on the drive from Whistler to Clearwater

We were surprised by how desert-like the scenery became around the area of Cache Creek. There was barely any vegetation, and the land was very dry. I’d heard of areas of semi-desert in Canada before, but it was still amazing to see!

dessert 1
Semi-desert landscape around Cache Creek, BC

Our accommodation in Clearwater was within Wells Gray Provincial park itself. It was a very remote, cosy and friendly lodge.

Blue Grouse lodge, Wells Grey

We’d meant Clearwater to just be a stopover to break up the longer journey from Whistler to Jasper, however, we really loved the park, so decided to spend the following morning exploring. Wells Gray feels much less touristy and ‘untouched’ than the other parks (which I like!) – it also has a fabulous array of very impressive waterfalls.

Wells Grey deer
Deer spotted whilst walking in Wells Gray
Wells Grey waterfall
Waterfall, Wells Gray Park

My next post will be about our stay in Jasper.

If you missed my previous post about exploring Vancouver, you can find it here.  





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