Another Vancouver-to-Whitehorse Road Trip: Day 1 of 4

I returned home at midnight Monday from a 4-day road trip up from Vancouver, driving a U-Haul truck belonging to a friend who has moved to Whitehorse (I drove her car up in 2 days last October). To make things easy at home for Cathy, I arranged to do this trip over the Easter 4-day weekend, flying down on Air North’s Friday morning flight.

While everyone else was getting settled on the plane, I watched one of Air North’s Hawker Siddeley HS748s being readied for a flight. A friend and his wife recently moved to Old Crow, and a funny story he wrote about the flight up in this plane was published in What’s Up Yukon.
Air North's Hawker Siddeley HS748 C-FYDU
It was cloudy for much of the flight, but the skies were clear for one of the most spectacular parts of the route, in the Tweedsmuir Park region of west-central British Columbia. Below are two of the most beautiful of the many glaciers there. I believe that the lower one shows the Scimitar Glacier in the centre, with the small Chaos Glacier feeding into it from the left, and Mt. Hickson the dominant peak between them.
Glacier in BC
Scimitar Glacier and Chaos Glacier, BC
Just after 10:00, we passed by the Vancouver International Airport, and made a turn over New Westminster and Surrey to approach the runway.
Aerial view of the Vancouver International Airport
Three bridges cross the Fraser River between New Westminster and Surrey – the railway on the left, the Pattullo Bridge (built in 1936–37 and named for the premier at that time), and the SkyBridge, which carries the rapid-transit-system Skytrains.
Bridges across the Fraser River at New Westminster, BC
Evolving Vancouver, with light industrial areas squeezing farms ever smaller (those are probably cranberry fields). The green space at the upper left is Central Park in Burnaby. Downtown Vancouver is out of the frame at the upper left.
Evolving Vancouver, with light industrial areas squeezing farms ever smaller
This is another Fraser River bridge, carrying the Canada Line extension of the Skytrain into Richmond and to the Vancouver airport.
Canada Line bridge across the Fraser River

Laurie met me at the airport, and we drove out to Delta to get the U-Haul truck. Shortly after 11:00, my gear was loaded and electronics (Spot and GPS) all fired up and I was ready to hit the road. The plan was to overnight at 100 Mile House, 440 kilometers (273 miles) north.

I had arranged for my niece, Sari, and myself to tour the Britannia Mine Museum for an article on my ExploreBC site. I’m very fussy about the quality of mine tours I go on, and Britannia Mine Museum and our guide, Michael, did an exceptional job that I’m happy to be able to tell you about.
Britannia Mine Museum during a BC road trip
I didn’t get away from Britannia until almost 4:00 pm, and after a fast-food lunch in Squamish, was anxious to hit the road. This sign over Rutherford Creek, though, was odd enough to get me to do a U-turn and come back for some photos. In October 2003, the bridge was washed away following torrential rains, and 5 people were killed – you can read more about it on the Pique News Magazine site.
Approaching Rutherford Creek on a BC road trip
At 6:00 pm, when normal people are thinking about shutting down for the day, I was in the small farming area north of Pemberton, about to head up into the wilderness of the Duffey Lake Road (still Highway 99 officially).
Farming near Pemberton, BC
The highway climbs steeply out of the Lillooet River valley into the Cayoosh Range of the Coastal Mountains, and gets to an elevation where snow was possible (1,275 meters, or 4,183 feet). Although a couple of inches had fallen very recently (the day before?), the road was clear.
A road trip on the Duffey Lake Road, BC Highway 99
There are several one-lane bridges along the Duffey Lake Road.
One-lane bridge on the Duffey Lake Road
Although the mileage from Vancouver to the Interior of the province is less by using this route instead of the Fraser Canyon, this is not a road to make time on 🙂 The transition from the wet coastal climate to the dry Interior is quite rapid – this photo was shot at 7:00 pm.
There are several 13% grades in both directions. The U-Haul has some sort of power management system that I soon came to hate, as it would drop gears automatically at times and to gears that I didn’t want – downhills would often drop it 2 gears and then it would refuse to gear back up for far too long.
Duffey Lake Road
Time for a stretch and a shot of the truck. Other than the power management issue, it’s a very nice rig, though quite basic, as you would expect from a truck built for this purpose.
U-Haul truck on the Duffey Lake Road
While looking for a spot to get a picture of Seton Lake and the highway far below, I came across a very nice bench out in the middle of nowhere. How very odd – and how very wonderful 🙂
Viewpoint over Seton Lake, BC
The Bridge of the 23 Camels takes the highway across the Fraser River at Lillooet. It was named to commemorate BC’s first – and last – experiment with using camels for transport. In 1862, 23 Bactrian camels were imported to carry freight from Lillooet to the Cariboo goldfields. The experiment failed largely because horses and mules were afraid of the camels, and the camels were eventually let loose to fend for themselves. No, there are no feral camels in BC today, so fending for themselves wasn’t successful either.
The Bridge of the 23 Camels at Lilloet, BC
This view up the Fraser River just north of Lillooet is one of my favourite highway views in the entire province.
The Fraser River north of Lilloet
It was almost 9:00 pm when I reached Clinton, and although I initially decided to continue on, I turned around a couple of miles past the town, and checked into the Round-Up Motel. For $69, it offers excellent value, and I slept like a log 🙂
Round-Up Motel - Clinton, BC


Another Vancouver-to-Whitehorse Road Trip: Day 1 of 4 — 4 Comments

  1. Had a bit of an A-team moment while stationed with Flight Services in CYFS, Fort Simpson, N.W.T. Father and son came thru in a Mooney from Texas on a trip down to the Arctic Ocean. Stopped to fuel up in Simpson, and carried on. 3/4 of the way to Norman Wells they noticed the fuel on the right side was gone as was the fuel cap. Called the Wells and Dusty the FSS on duty called me and sure enough there it was sitting on top of the fuel pump. Happened that Pan Arctic’s HS748, C-FMAK, had also stopped for fuel in Simpson and was ready to go on to Inuvik. Gave the cap to the pilot and by the time the Mooney had stopped in the Wells and flown on to Inuvik, the Fuel cap was sitting on the desk at Aeradio.
    Love it when a plan comes together.

  2. Off to a good start I see. 🙂 You sure get some good shots from the air…do you get them to clean the windows before you start? 🙂 Seems like I always get a window that is dirty.