Day Eight was not without its challenges, but we still had a great first day on the road.
We were fortunate to catch the creator and Executive Producer of When Calls the Heart, Brian Bird, in the reception of our hotel as we were checking out of our hotel.
It was great to talk to him about the broad appeal of the show and the challenges of distribution, particularly for international markets and how this affects the airdates of seasons and episodes. In short, it’s not an easy solution thanks to the intricacies of international contracts. We certainly impressed on him that Australians were keen to see the Season Six episodes as soon as possible, and the new spin-off series, When Hope Calls.
After parting ways, we then went to load the car, and this is where things got interesting. The concerns that Ange had the previous day about the size of the rental car and its ability to stow all our luggage were realised when it became obvious that we had way too much gear to fit into the vehicle. And believe us, we tried! After a frustrating 45 minutes, we confirmed with the hotel that we were able to leave some of our luggage there for the next week and pick it back up on the way through to the airport. Crisis averted! After cramming the rest of the gear in, we were finally off and on our way to the first stop – Whistler.
Whistler was the location of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and is one of the largest ski-fields in North America. It’s around two hours drive north of Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway which takes you past some beautiful scenery where the mountains touch the sea.
We had a tour booked through Canadian Wilderness Adventures which would see us ride up to the summit of Blackcomb Mountain in a jeep for a better look at some of the glaciers which slowly flow across the peaks of some of the mountains. We can heartily recommend this tour as the views from the summit are amazing! Our tour guide, Axel, was very knowledgeable about local geology (much of the region is still ‘potentially active’ volcanoes) and was great company on the (very) bumpy ride up the steep hill to the top.
The view from the summit was just breath-taking! There are several glaciers on the hills surrounding Whistler and to see them shimmering white in the sun was fantastic. Time for some quick fun in the snow (and for Jenn the first time she had seen or walked in snow), then back down the hill to wrap up our tour. We were out for around 2.5 hours and it was amazing fun. Definitely worth it!!
Before leaving Whistler, it was time for quick stop at the Olympic rings, then back into the car for the long and beautiful trip to our overnight stop at Kamloops.
There are a few different ways to drive from Vancouver to Kamloops – the route that we took through Whistler leads you through a very winding road with slow speeds (for much of the trip, we were averaging 60kms/hr, which added significantly to the travel time) We didn’t leave Whistler until after 3pm, which meant we were fighting a losing battle with the daylight. But we did have time to stop in at the magnificent Joffre Lake, which sits directly underneath a glacier. With the sky so blue, the white snow-and-ice covered peaks, the green pine trees and the still, blue lake, it was an incredible sight.
It would have been great to see more of this amazing route, but unfortunately, we ran out of daylight and the rest of the journey to Kamloops was in the dark. We were fortunate to spot a deer and its fawn crossing the road on the way and waited until both were safely across the road before continuing on.
We finally arrived at our hotel at around 9pm, found a pub, ate dinner, and crashed for the night. Kudos to Kristyn for driving almost 8 hours, the last two hours in darkness. Big day!
Stay tuned for our Day Nine adventures, where we get our first glimpse of the stunning beauty of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and some of the local wildlife.