Leaving Vancouver (TCA #2)

After our time in Whistler, we were very happy to return to my cousin Mark and his family in Vancouver. The picturesque East Van suburb, the family, their two kittens; it all felt very welcoming and familiar. Originally, they had planned to be away on a camping trip, but a flooded upstairs toilet and large amounts of black water seeping into the floor had changed their plans. A big headache for them, but it allowed us to feel useful by helping pack up and get the house ready for repairs. We had a lot of fun hanging out with Mark and Lesley, and enjoyed their energy for life, making delicious meals (and even cocktails!) despite all the drama going on. We also got to spend some time with the kids, heading to a local park and enjoying some ice blocks together.

Our personal goal at Mark’s place was to prepare the van and our supplies for the coming three weeks. Mark’s Costco membership card came to the rescue again, and combined with a few bits and pieces from a regular supermarket, we bought some staples that we thought would last us across Canada. We were determined not to make the same mistake we had on our New Zealand road trip: that is, pack large amounts of many different ingredients with the expectation that we would make complicated recipes on our small gas stove. Costco really demonstrated its worth again, as we picked up 3.6kg of granola, 2kg of chocolate chips, around 40 tortillas, several pounds of fruit, and a few other items at bargain prices. We also made a couple of other purchases that proved valuable for our trip: a non-stick pan and pot from a thrift store, and a 3L Osprey water bladder for hiking. We played real life Tetris and managed to pretty neatly load up the car with all our food and clothing.

With the kids running down the street waving goodbye, we left on Monday morning for Penticton, a four-hour drive. We had a strange feeling as we left: for the first time since arrving in the Canada, we were driving somewhere we had been before! It was comforting to know what to expect and be able to re-connect with Workaway hosts that we’d already formed a relationship with. We enjoyed a warm sunny evening with them, once again appreciating the striking view over the vineyards.

We woke to a surreal, yellow-tinged morning; the wildfire smoke from the US had drifted up the Okanagan valley and gave the air around us a sepia-like quality. There was a three hour drive ahead of us to get to Mt Revelstoke National Park, and we left early so we’d have enough time for a hike. Fortunately, most of the elevation gain was covered by the road up to the trailhead, so we were able to enjoy a relatively flat trail to a couple of alpine lakes. The sunny weather treated us well, and we spent a little time relaxing by the clear, calm water. We drove to our camping spot just outside Revelstoke in time to make dinner before nightfall. The spot was great, if not a little chilly in the shade from the forest: flat, discreet, with a picnic table and pit toilet – luxury!

The next morning, we found a popular coffee shop and took two mochas to go, walking around the pretty but quiet city streets. The morning sun forced us out of the warm layers we had dressed in to combat the cold air, and we drove north a short distance to Martha Creek Provincial Park, a beautiful spot next to the Revelstoke Reservoir. The reservoir supplies Revelstoke dam, which controls the flow into the Columbia River. The weather for the day was exceptional, and we had a relaxing time reading, drawing, and making meals on the grassy picnic area and beachfront in the park. We washed in the river, which was surprisingly not too cold, before driving to our camp spot. That night, we stayed on the side of a boat ramp that led into the reservoir. Although lacking a table or toilet, the view was much better than the previous night’s spot. I managed to take some shots of the stars, as the sky was clear and unobstructed by trees or mountains.

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