The Road Trip Diaries : Lillooet, BC
After almost 3 months of no driving, and with some awesome weather coming up, I hired a car for a few days this week to get out and explore what was North of Whistler.
The thing about Whistler is that you can only really head South to Vancouver, or North, up towards Northern BC. You can't go East or West, thanks to a shit-tonne of huge mountains on both sides. I'm way too happy living up the small town life, so the thought of heading back to Vancity isn't getting me stoked just yet...
So, I'd heard of Lillooet, I knew it was a few hours away, so I jumped in the car on Wednesday morning and headed off. I've never been North of Whistler before, so pretty much the whole trip blew my mind. The Mountains up here are just on a completely different level to anything I've ever seen (apart from the Rockies of course, which are like these mountains on crack).
Coming from a rural small town in the North Island of New Zealand (where our mountains are pretty much just big hills), you can't help but be speechless the entire time you're tripping around BC. With every corner you turn, there's more huge mountain ranges and serene, surreal lakes to be found.
Once you pass Pemberton, which is about 20 minutes North of Whistler, you head straight into a huge mountain pass that you're on for the rest of the trip to Lillooet. Turns out, driving this in the middle of the week was probably a good idea, since I barely saw any other cars the entire time, so I could take it slow and stop along the way easily. (Although, maybe it's just a Canada thing, since this country is so bloody massive, whenever you're not on the Trans-Canada, you barely ever see anyone else...)
A week or so ago, I'd seen one of my fave Instagrammers, Alex Strohl, post this photo of Seton Lake, which is on Highway 99, right before you get into Lillooet. After seeing his photo, and doing a tiny bit of Google-sussing, I knew this lake was high on my hit list to check out.
As I first came around the corner and got a small glimpse of the lake out the corner of my eye, I literally said out loud to myself, 'Holy fuck'.
It's hands down one of, if not the most amazing lake I've ever seen. The colour of it is the most intense turqoise/green... It's absolutely surreal.
Possibly the craziest thing about checking out Seton Lake was that the entire time I was there, I barely saw another person. A couple of people drove down to the lake front for a minute or two, then drove off again. There was a little shack that rented out Kayaks/SUP Boards/etc that opens in Summer, so I can image it'd get a bit busier then, but the lack of people added to the surreal vibe even more.
If you're ever in Whistler and you have a day to spare, DO THIS DRIVE.
Even just to see Seton Lake, it's 100% worth it. Google Maps told me from Whistler to Lillooet is about 2 hours, but considering it's a mountain pass road, and if you're going to be stopping every now and then like I was, I'd give at least 3 hours each way.
A quick tip if you do, as you drive up to the lake, there's a lookout to the left, but if you carry on for another 300m or so, there's a road off to the left which takes you right down to the lake front.
Even better, if you're planning to road trip across the country, if you keep driving North from Lillooet, you can get back on the Trans-Canada Highway, which leads you across the country.
Even though Lillooet was my main destination for this trip, I didn't end up staying there for very long, I just grabbed some lunch, and drove back to Seton Lake to chill the hell out for a while.
In the pic above you can see the little two car train, which at the time I thought was just some kind of maintenance train or something, but when I got home I was Googling it up and found out that it's actually a passenger train called the Kaoham Shuttle, that travels between Lillooet and Seton Portage. That's gotta be one of the most scenic train trips ever, right? Next time I head back up that way I'm super keen to hitch a ride on it.
So, that's my first Road Trip Diary of the season... I'm sure there'll be plenty more to come.
Explore on, friends.