I'm starting to better understand the term Wild Wild West after this week. After leaving the wet and gloomy Revelstoke area on Monday morning, within 2 hours we made it to the dry and arid city of Kamloops. It felt like we were in another country to be honest. The landscape was so different than anything I've every seen in the country. I feel so priveleged to have the opportunity to see this side of things. Dry, sun-scorched land with cacti everywhere (more about that later), rattlesnakes and evidence of the former gold mining boom. Wild for sure! Kamloops is such a unique city. It was pretty to look at, super clean and had everything a sporty person, like myself, craves. Hard-ass mountain hikes in the middle of the city, professional female sports teams and high end sports facilities everywhere.
After Kamloops, we got a little wilder. Lillooet, boasts its wilderness right on its welcome sign with "Guaranteed Rugged." After a nail-biting road trip with sharp hairpin turns, steep switchbacks and laughable road barriers, we made it! Our "campground" was questionable though at first. Upon pulling up, it looked like a deserted junkyard at the base of a mountain. There was evidence of travel there though as there were fire pits and electric hook ups, so we waited it out to meet the owner to be sure this was the real deal and what we booked was a legitimate campsite. A skinny version of Santa finally appeared after about 30 minutes and put us at ease that we were in the right location. A pack rat and an aspiring campground owner, he warmly welcomed us and gave us some history on the area and suggested where we venture around. Within 10 minutes of walking around the area, Andrew and Sadie were attacked by what seemed to be flying cactus needles. We still can't explain this one. Andrew yelped, Sadie freaked out, and I looked at Andrew's head and he had multiple needles and blood all over his forehead. We spent the next few minutes pulling needles out of both of their bodies. I'm guessing Sadie walked through a bush of cacti and shook them off, launching them toward Andrew, but we will never really know. Lucky he didn't get one in the eye.
The town of Lillooet really has that old Wild West look about it. Something like I imagine you'd see in the Yukon. Definitely a gold mining town that hasn't evolved very much in the last century. Despite the immense beauty of the area, (and it is really so pretty!), for me, there's an odd feeling about this place that has me a bit uneasy. I can't put my finger on it though, just a strange vibe in the air that I can't identify. I don't think its the ruggedness of it, as I've been to some pretty rugged places before, but there's a feeling to this place that is almost...unwelcoming. And this has nothing to do with the locals, as they've been lovely and very pleasant. Its just a feeling in the air, or maybe the history here...or the maybe mother nature is telling us this area isn't for people. As I said, I can't put my finger on it. I wish I could.
Onward toward Whistler today where more sunshine awaits. We've had highs of 26-28 degrees and its hard to believe that when we started this trip we had lows of 2 degrees and were suited up in our winter gear. More and more though, we are headed toward colder days. Many campgrounds are closing up. We're ok in BC, as there are many "year-round" campgrounds, but looking ahead toward the trip home, we will have some obstacles. The camping season is officially over East of Alberta and the temperature hovers just above freezing in the Central area of the country. We've had friends drive through recently and the COVID restrictions are stronger than ever, so with campgrounds officially closed, and no out-of-province visitors allowed in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, we will have an interesting few days of travel when its time to head back. I'm getting myself mentally ready for several Walmart parking lot overnighters. Our furnace part awaits us in Vancouver with my friend Phil. Let's hope and pray that its the right one and that we know how to install it. :-)
Onward we go....