Day 5: Prince George to Vancouver

Trip Log for 17 August 2009

Today ended up being a longer day than I had planned. We left around 09:00 from the B&B just outside of Prince George, headed south on the Cariboo Highway 97 and encountered a lot of road construction the entire day which was a bit odd since we hadn't encountered any during the rest of the trip. Just getting out of town took awhile due to lane closures.

Once we got going, I saw more logging trucks on this stretch too. Apparently the 97 highway is a major logging route. The scenery was much the same as it had been coming into Prince Rupert—still lots of farm land and livestock. After about an hour we made it to Quesnel (pronounced kwe-NEL) which has a giant gold pan as its town marker. More interesting than that were the people making out hardcore right in front of it at 10 in the morning. And just as I thought we might have to suffer another Tim Horton's breakfast, I saw a local coffee shop where we ate instead. The town had a nice city center and a large post office.

Back on the road, we stopped at a little general store for some snacks and then a neat shop called Jade City where I finally found a little bear carving, the only other souvenir I wanted besides a smashed penny. We passed more lakes in this region and then several "mile houses" which had been stopping points along the old gold rush trail.

By mid-afternoon, we made it to the Sea to Sky Highway 99 turnoff, the scenic route down to Vancouver that goes through the mountains. The first stretch are the semi-desert benchlands of the upper Fraser River canyon. It was quite smoky due to some distance wildfires. But once we got past the town of Lillooet, the scenery changed again as we went climbing through the mountains with more beautiful creeks, waterfalls and peaks. And I certainly earned my mountain driving merit badge with all the downshifting and tight turns (much fun in the daylight).

We stopped just outside of Pemberton at Nairn Falls Provincial Park to get in a 3 km roundtrip hike to see the falls which plummet 60m into the Green River. We started to lose daylight by this point but made it through Whistler just before dark. The rest of the drive into Vancouver was a bit nerve racking and I will have to make that drive again in the light. We got into town just after 22:30 and I was too tired to even eat dinner. Tomorrow, we fly back to Austin.