Westy Trip – summer 2020

We had thought about a trip to Yellowstone but with COVID we changed our plans to explore parts of Southern BC. The girls hadn’t really seen anywhere east of Chilliwack so this was a perfect opportunity to check out some of the great scenery BC has to offer.

This was our approximate route (Google wouldn’t show our ‘short-cut’ from Kimberly to Gray Creek/Nelson so I had to draw that part in myself.) We explored a number of side roads too.

We took about 2 weeks to cover the route so that gave time to explore a bit and travel at a relaxed pace and it was fun to show the girls where I lived many years ago (Lillooet) and many other places.

Duffey Lake (between Pemberton and Lillooet) – scenic as usual and the weather was perfect.

We took a ‘side road’ (Blowdown FSR) just after Duffey Lake and then hiked up to Blowdown Lake. It was beautiful although it was a bad year for bugs.

On the way up Blowdown Forest Service Road
Older daughter cooling down in Blowdown Lake

I had only been to Blowdown Lake once before and that was a ski trip so this was my first time to see the water there. It is picturesque.

Visited with some friends in Lillooet I hadn’t seen in about 30 years so that was fun, and then eastward to Kamloops and Shuswap country.

Lillooet from part way up the trail to Red Rock. (used to be a good trail for mountain biking, now seems to have been taken over by dirt bikers and quads)
Dry country as we got closer to Kamloops

We spent a couple of days at Scotch Creek on Shuswap Lake. I had run my buddy’s parasailing business there for one summer many years ago so it was fun to be back there again. Our second night in Scotch Creek we got a spot in the provincial campsite with no reservation (who’d ‘a thought… long weekend, middle of summer)

The beach at Scotch Creek Provincial campsite on Shuswap Lake.

Revelstoke was fun although tougher to find a campsite. We ended up staying on the side of Hwy 23 the first night and then found a spot at Martha Creek Provincial campsite the next night. Revelstoke sure is scenic and we enjoyed a trip up the ski hill and riding down their ‘Pipe Coaster’.

Revelstoke Ski Hill
Our youngest caused a bit of a traffic jam on the Pipe Coaster… (mom and big sis behind her)

Then the scenic drive from Revelstoke to Golden – so impressive!

Between Revelstoke and Golden
Looking down to Golden from near the paragliding launch spot on Mount Seven.

We decided to go to Banff so that necessitated crossing the border to Alberta.

It was overcast and raining when we got to Lake Louise but in some ways that was a blessing as if it had been a nice day we likely wouldn’t have been able to drive to Moraine Lake and I was really hoping the girls would get a chance to see that. (even with the less-than-stellar weather we had to wait until there was space in the Moraine Lake parking lot before they would let you start the drive in from Lake Louise)

Moraine Lake – impressive even with the fog and drizzle!
Getting close to Banff, and sun coming back too.

The drive from Banff to Kimberly was nice. We camped near Canal Flats and checked out downtown Kimberly the next morning. I asked about the Gray Creek Pass route to Nelson at the tourist-info place and was told it was as in as good a shape as it had ever been so we decided to go that way rather than the highway.

The start of the Gray Creek Pass road, a bit west of Kimberley.
Getting closer to home, good old Osoyoos. I spent many enjoyable summer days here as a teenager as it was our ‘usual’ summer holiday destination for quite a few years.
We camped in the Haynes Point overflow site (the side of the road out to the main campsite). It was so windy I couldn’t pop the top until the wind died down at about 2 a.m.
Lots of whitecaps on the lake – younger daughter checking out the water.
Really getting close to home now – Mount Baker and the Black Buttes. Spent many fun filled days at Baker ski area years ago and stood on the summit with my brother on the May long weekend in 1985.

Overall it was a great trip and I am so glad we got away when we did as the whole COVID situation hasn’t gotten any better in the last few months. I wonder what the summer of 2021 will bring… hopefully happy travels.

Note: in a comment below, Peter asked about the ‘Black Buttes’ which are the 2 rocky “sub-peaks” to the right of the summit of Baker in the photo above. Peter: here are 2 better photos of the Black Buttes from the ski-touring trip up Baker.

The Black Buttes on Baker as seen from our campsite the evening before attempting the summit (summit of Baker itself is off to the right in this photo). (please excuse reflection of Christmas lights – it is a photo of a photo)
The upper Black Butte as seen from above on our way back down after reaching the summit of Baker. The lower Black Butte, and pretty much everything else, had been swallowed by clouds. We went from skiing down in intense sun to slowly and very carefully following our tracks from the way up so as to avoid skiing into a crevasse in the dense fog.
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6 Responses to Westy Trip – summer 2020

  1. Peter Sauer says:

    What are the Black Buttes?? Never heard of them, I skied a bit at Baker plus partied up top and down below used to do all the slush cup weekends on their July 4th and our July 1st. Once year we had Evil Knievil come in by Parachute and had him land on the X and he missed it be 23′ or something like that. Lots of good parties back then but by the timie I got to 36 I decided then to quit smoking and drinking two of the best things I did. This summer I want to check out AB some more Judy has cousins all over the place their and I have a few there to. But what I want to do the most is go to her cousins place in Saskatchewan, take his gas fired weed eatter and go out and wack down all the tall grass around his old farm trucks and cars, there are some good buys out there. My mom’s brother or my uncle had a machine shop in Oliver so I got to know the back country in and around there but that was a long time ago. Peter

    • edbee says:

      Hi Peter,

      The Black Buttes are those 2 rocky sub-peaks on the right of the main summit of Baker in the photo above. I’ll see if I can find a photo of them from the back-country ski trip we were on to the top of Baker. We started from the Baker Lake side so we were on the ‘far side’ (south) of the Black Buttes, pretty impressive chucks of rock!
      I skied Mt. Baker with my brother one July 4th (would have been early ’80s) and funny thing was it wasn’t that warm of a day, pretty much like a regular cloudy spring skiing day (plenty of slushy snow, but we liked that anyhow). The main thing I remember from that day is on the way home the pub in Glacier had a big sign advertising “Pig Mud Wrestling – Today” so we had to stop in to see just what those crazy Americans were up to with that. Turns out they had a fenced off mud pit outside and would pour some sort of cooking oil on tiny pigs and then drunken people would go in there and try to catch and pick up the pigs. End result was very muddy people and not a single pig captured. It was sort of a bizarre thing.
      (looks like I can’t add an image in the reply so I’ll put a photo of the Black Buttes in the main post)
      best wishes!
      Ed

  2. Peter Sauer says:

    Pays to buy a Bug hat sort of looks like African Safari hat with lots of screen or netting attached to keep the bugs out along with Bees. Judy got us all a pair of hats like that when in Alaska which worked out for me and her. Peter

  3. cheerio8 says:

    Great photos and travel experiences! A lot of that was through my early life routes… My brother in law mapped and created the Earl-Gray Pass in the ’70’s as his thesis in Parks Planning at Selkirk College. When I was a teen, back in the ’70’s we annually went to the Idaho Peak lookout and camped below the switchbacks – in my brothers ’56 Splittie named Viktor Wigley… and what a view of the Monashee and Valhalla Mountains! Such a beautiful country we have! What was driving the Gray Pass like? Were you grateful you had a Syncro or was it doable in a 2wd Westy?

    Have you met Bjorn and Gabriele yet? They are awesome folks – in Cobble Hill @drbjornsauto.com also my former employee is Nathan of @vividvans.com they too have settled in Cobble Hill… and I used to supply VW Parts to the guy on Salt Spring – can’t remember the name of his shop…

    Met a guy from SS who has a Type 34 also – Tim Pickstone….

    Would love to get over there again, we anchored out in Ganges Harbour in July – but had no way to get around the Island so kept pretty much to the walking paths around the Harbour…

    Please feel welcome to come over here to the sunshine coast – do the Circle Route (helloBC has a nice description) and do contact us! 🙂

    On Mon, Dec 28, 2020 at 7:21 PM Edbee’s Syncro and Studebaker M16 Blog wrote:

    > edbee posted: ” We had thought about a trip to Yellowstone but with COVID > we changed our plans to explore parts of Southern BC. The girls hadn’t > really seen anywhere east of Chilliwack so this was a perfect opportunity > to check out some of the great scenery BC has to of” >

    • edbee says:

      Hi Cheri,
      Yes, so many incredibly gorgeous spots to explore just in southern BC. We are thinking the Chilcotins for the next trip which will be fun as the first westy trip my wife and I ever took (before we were married) was to Bella Coola. Although… certainly want to take the girls up Idaho Peak at some point. (I recall you mentioned about the Idaho Peak road being washed out fairly recently.)

      The Gray Creek Pass road was actually in good shape, slow going in many spots due to bumps, twists and steeps but I think it would have been passable in a capable 2WD (although having the granny gear in the syncro was super helpful, maybe even more helpful that the 4WD.)
      I haven’t been to Dr. Bjorns Auto yet, seems I haven’t needed to buy many westy things in the last few years but I have certainly seen some postings from Vivid Vans. They look like they have fun with their vans!

      Re Sunshine Coast and Circle Route: yes, if we get over to the Sunshine Coast we will look you up, and if you find yourself in Ganges Harbour again, let me know you are here! My wife and I did the ‘Circle Route’ back in 2005 (in our first westy, an ’83).

      Best wishes for an enjoyable 2021!
      Ed

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