Nimpo Lake to Whistler, BC
We said farewell to Frank and Kelly and continued our journey of the BC Discovery Trail heading to Whistler, B.C. We drove along Highway 20 through the Chilcotin Country past Tatla Lake, and turned off the main road onto Farwell Canyon Road to take a more scenic drive in the heart of the B.C. Chilcotin District. The road is gravel for 117 km, it’s a narrow dusty road, unless it has been raining, then it turns to thick mud which we experienced, but the views are stunning. We saw the huge sand dunes along the Chilcotin River, supposedly one of the largest sand dunes in B.C., and the hoodoos along the Canyon. We stopped to check out an old abandoned homestead down by the River.
We continued slipping and sliding along the muddy road until we arrived at Gang Ranch, after getting lost along the way. The Ranch was founded in 1863, for many years it was the largest ranch in North America, it is now the second-largest in Canada. The Harper brothers from America, settled on the west bank of the Fraser River in 1863 and installed a gang plow; thus the Gang Ranch began its operation. We crossed the Fraser River on a suspension bridge, and still had 28 miles to go before arriving at Clinton where we spent the night. We booked into the Cariboo Lodge that offers an on-site restaurant and pub. It’s a cozy place to stay for the night and we were back on the road to Whistler the next day. We followed the Fraser River to the town of Lillooet, B.C., one of the oldest towns in B.C. The town had its start as one of the main centers of the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush of 1858-59, and maybe it was the “largest town west of Chicago and north of San Francisco”.
Lillooet was originally named Cayoosh Flat, at the time of its incorporation in 1860. It holds the record for the hottest temperature recorded in B.C., on July 16-17 at 111.9 F. The drive from Lillooet to Whistler is one of the most scenic drives in B.C. and we had a spectacular sunny day to see the mountains and lakes.The Duffey Lake Road has been improved since the 2010 Olympics, but the 130 km stretch remains a “double-black diamond” road, with one-lane bridges, hairpin switchbacks and deadly drop-offs lined with crazy guardrails. We passed by two provincial parks, Duffey Lake and Joffre Lakes, and then descending to the base of Mt Currie and the town of Pemberton. We spent two nights in Whistler Village enjoying the surrounding sights. Click on thumbnail to view images
After arriving in Whistler we went out for dinner to our favorite restaurant, the Creekbread Oven baked Pizza at Creekside. Whistler Mountain was opened in 1965 and Blackcomb opened under separate ownership in 1980. When Intrawest owned both mountains in 1997, they wanted to bring the two mountains together. On December 12, 2008, the Peak 2 Peak Gondola had its Grand Opening. So the next day, we took the Peak 2 Peak Gondola for the first time. The gondola cabins hold 28 people each, it is 2.73 miles in length, the ride is 11 minutes long, and it is still the highest point above ground – 1,430 feet. We rode the Peak Express Chair lift to the Top of the World summit on Whistler Mountain. The elevation of the bridge is about 7,200 feet above sea level. We walked out onto the Cloudraker Skybridge that spans 130 meters from Whistler Peak to the West Ridge, crossing high above Whistler Bowl. We had beautiful views of the mountain peaks floating above the sea of clouds. Then out onto the Raven’s Eye Cliff Walk, the cantilevered viewing platform allowing full 360 degree views suspended in air 12 meters from the cliff’s edge. The cantilever platform is positioned to face Rainbow Mountain, and was the crown jewel of the West Ridge hiking trails, with a direct sightline of Black Tusk in the distance.
Then we stopped at the iconic Whistler Mountain Inukshuk Statue to take some stunning pictures on top of the world with the backdrop of the snowy peaks. We hiked the 2.5 mile trail along the snow walls back down to the Roundhouse Lodge with spectacular vistas of Blackcomb. The clouds cleared as we rode the Peak 2 Peak Gondola back to Blackcomb and we could see the valley far below us. Whistler has so much to offer, not only in the winter months but as well in the summer, and we were so glad we were able to experience all these wonderful amenities on a clear day. This is the end of our journey on the Discovery Coast Circle Tour of British Columbia. Click on thumbnail to view images