First of all, if you haven’t read the first part of my roadtrip, I recommend you do so now.
Now that that’s out of the way, on to Canada we go! We left the Olympic National Park on an afternoon which had shaken off its moody haze. When we exited the Hoh Rainforest, it was bright and sunny, completely in contrast to the chilly beach where we had spent the morning. We drove for what felt like hours across fields and neighborhoods of Washington, until we reached the coast at last to find the place where our ferry would depart. It was a quiet town, with cute shops, tiny cafes, and tables set up outside.
We got a quick dinner of savory crepes, and we boarded the ferry bound for the Canadian Border.
I had been on a ferry like this a year previous, when I went from Vancouver to Nanaimo Island with my friends at Flickr Island. If you don’t know what I’m referring to, check out my blog post about that week here. There’s something so special about ferries; they make me feel like I’ve just stepped inside a movie, and I love the feeling of the waves crashing below and the wind whipping my hair around me.
At last we arrived on the other side of the bay, where we drove another hour to reach the home of my dearest friend (and Canadian sister), Lizzy Gadd. If you don’t know who Lizzy is, a) shame on you, and b) go check out her incredible work right this moment. She and the Gadd family welcomed our sleepy group with open arms, and we settled in for the night.
The next morning, we met up with my friends/crazy talented photographers Shane Black and Joel Schat, and we headed out to a lake called Pitt. There, we rented kayaks and spent the morning kayaking across Pitt Lake, on route to Widgeon Falls. It was the perfect way to spend our first morning in Canada, and I felt so happy to be spending time with some of my favorite people in the world.
At last we reached the trailhead for Widgeon Falls, and we hiked about an hour or less through the forest, until we reached an emerald blue waterfall and river in the mountains. The whole place looked like it was straight out of a magazine. There were giant boulders and towering trees, and I couldn’t resist stripping down to my swimsuit and jumping into the clear, frigid water.
After a little while of swimming, jumping off rocks, and sunbathing on the granite rocks, we hiked back down the trail to our kayaks. The way back felt longer than the way there, but that was because I felt rather leisurely as I slowly drifted across the lake. I soaked up the sunshine, chatted with my friends, and stared up at the beautiful sky in wonder as a sun halo appeared–something I had never before witnessed.
That day couldn’t have been more perfect. That evening we met back up with the Gadd’s, grabbed sushi and boba tea for dinner, and spent the rest of the evening editing photos and watching Dumb and Dumber. Have I mentioned how awesome that day was?
The next morning, we only had a few hours before we were going to meet up with Jake again and head on our way towards Alberta. Banff National Park was our next major stop, and I was so excited to get there. At the same time, I really didn’t want to leave my friends behind in Vancouver. I would’ve been happy to spend another week there with them–or let’s face it, months. I love the Gadd’s so much; they’re always so welcoming and homey, and I honestly feel like they’re another family to me. My own personal Canadian family, as it were. 😉
Thankfully, we all decided that we wanted to stop at Alouette Lake before we left the city, and I was so excited to visit my favorite lake in the world once more. We spent the afternoon flying Jake’s drone over the lake, taking photos around the bay and surrounding forests, and exploring the area.
We stopped into a forest on the way back from Alouette that Lizzy wanted to show us, and I was so happy we did. The trees were enormous and skinny, letting in slats of light and shading us from the hot afternoon sun. I couldn’t resist taking a lot of photos of my own while we explored such a beautiful place.
Finally, it was time to say goodbye to our friends, and we went into town to eat lunch at a cute little cafe that had the best grilled cheese and soup ever. I was very happy about that.
We hugged Lizzy and Shane goodbye, then took to the road once again. On the way out of the city, we stopped at the most beautiful waterfall, Bridal Falls, where Lizzy had taken this incredible photo of me a few years before. It was running slower than I remember it, but it was still absolutely breathtaking to see. The light filtered in through the trees and reflected across the misty falls, shimmering like a painting.
We drove through the night across fields and rivers and up into the mountains. Along the way, there was an accident with my water bottle that sent water shooting across my laptop and shorting it within seconds. I was devastated, but I tried not to let it ruin the trip for me. We stopped and got a bag of rice, and I put it in the bed of the truck to dry out, crossing my fingers it would revive in the morning.
Morning came and no such luck. My laptop was dead, but I was determined to put my heartache aside and just enjoy the beauty of our journey. It was all going to be okay. I knew it.
We had stopped at an Airbnb for the night, a beautiful little cabin on the edge of Gardom Lake. We rose from our beds, prepared a breakfast for ourselves of egg scrambles, toast, and tea, and decided to take a canoe out onto the quiet lake.
I felt so happy to be there that morning, on that beautiful lake, and I tried my best to remember every sight, sound, and smell I breathed in. It was a memory I never want to forget. I could write an entire book about that place.
We rowed around the lake, and Delaina and Jake decided they wanted to take a dip in the water. I would have as well if I had thought to bring my swimming suit with me, but I was happy to just take photos of their fun. I felt like a kid at summer camp all over again.
At last we took our leave of Gardom Lake, and took to the road again towards Banff National Park. I was so excited for our next stop, I could hardly stand it. The air was thick and hazy from the extensive wildfires going through the West Coast during that month, but it gave the world around us a kind of ethereal glow. I didn’t know what to expect from the next part of our journey, but I couldn’t wait to find out.
Stay tuned for the next portion of our journey into Canada on the Rock Rugged Roadtrip! I promise to have it up sooner than this last one, so keep an eye out 😉
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