Cache Creek to Whistler, BC, CA
Monday, September 9, 2013
Gorgeous day, low 60s
Continuing our southward travels through British Columbia, we proceeded down BC-99 toward Whistler. This was a beautiful drive.
Beginning with the Marble Canyon and continuing through the semi-desert bench lands of the upper Fraser River canyon. Within the Marble Canyon is a public campground, in a very nice setting. The Fraser River Canyon has irrigated plateaus surrounded by a deep canyon and mountains. The most spectacular part was probably the descent just to the north of the town of Lillooet. The drive included a very long descent with grades up to 13% and a ton of extremely tight hairpin turns!
We spent a bit of time in this small town. Salmon fishing is as important, here, as anywhere in Alaska. What was different was that we saw large numbers of racks near the streams where the fish filets were dried. Another curiosity were the Chinese Piles. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many Chinese arrived in Lillooet, along with lots of other people, in hopes of striking gold. Prospecting for gold on the Fraser River, they washed the sand and gravel from the rocks. Unique to the Chinese was their practice of neatly piling up their discarded rocks near the shores of the river. Sometimes the piles of rocks would be stacked in rows that reached up to 12 feet in height. Many of the piles remain to this day.
Beautiful Duffy Lake featured a log jam at its outlet end. The lake’s blue-green water was surrounded by snow covered mountains.
Arriving in Whistler, we camped at Riverside Resort. This wooded campground featured beautiful sites. The roads were newly paved. There were paved camper pads on terraced drives separated by large, rock retaining walls. The welcome center personnel were well trained and friendly. There was a café that served breakfast and lunch. This was, by far, the most intensively developed campground we’d ever seen. It was a very pleasant surprise!
After settling in, we headed into the town of Whistler. The village is focused on the Olympic Village developed for the 2010 Winter Olympics. It is “plastic” to be sure but it was also pleasant. The whole effect that of an old European city steet lined with shops, hotels and restaurants. At one end is the Olympic Plaza. At the other are several ski lifts and a gondola to the summit of Whistler. At this time of year the area is intensively used by mountain bikers. There were a huge number of trails and bikers ride the lifts up the mountain and ride a variety of trails to the bottom. All the bike trails end near the lifts.
We purchased gondola tickets for the next day and headed back to the campground. There we enjoyed a dinner of burgers, steamed broccoli and applesauce.