Alaska - Western Canada Journey

Day 3


The third day was rather busy. We hiked the 3.6-mile Thunder Knob Trail. In the early afternoon, we made our way out of North Cascades and headed toward Canada. We made a spur of the moment decision to go to Whistler instead of heading toward Kamloops since we wanted to follow a more familiar route to play it safe that late in the day. The drive to Vancouver was uneventful, but winding our way through Vancouver streets in afternoon traffic was quite a challenge. BC 99 north of Vancouver was quite scenic. We stayed at Whistler. This is a vibrant tourist town during the summer months. I could only imagine what it might be like during the winter.


None. The morning rain let up soon enough.


North Cascades National Park

With the rain letting up just after breakfast, we packed our belongings and started out for the morning hike. We picked the Thunder Knob trail to get a panoramic view. This was a nice morning hike for us with the temperature in the comfortable range, and the trees along the trail provided great shade. There were some great glacier views, and at the knoll, panoramic view of Diablo Lake. On the way out, we visited Gorge Creek Falls, Gorge Lake and the Skagit River.Overall we really enjoyed North Cascades. Being somewhat in a corner of the country, the park was not packed with tourists like those in California. The campground we stayed at was very nice, and we found even better camp sites near the trail head to Thunder Knob on the north side of SR20. Click HERE for photos we took on the hike and along SR 20.

Below are some good information sources on this park:

Sea-To-Sky Highway BC 99

Then we headed on to highway 99 without any preconception of what to expect. To our surprise, we found was a wonderful scenic drive with the highway hugging the coastline for a good stretch before heading inland toward Whistler. In a different way, driving this highway reminded me of Highway 1 Big Sur area in California. To make up for the lack of winding roads high on cliffside bordering the ocean, this drive offered near-waterline view of the mountainous landscape dotted with glaciers, islands and upscale towns along the way. Not until now when I do research on our route that I learned that this highway was also called the Sea-To-Sky Highway. Pressed for time, we did not do many stops, but did get a few pictures to remind us to return for a longer visit to this region. I came across a few good articles about this highway:

Whistler, British Columbia - Canada

Knowing nothing about Whistler aside from the 2010 Winter Olympics, we reasoned that since it'd be a winter resort, we should be able to find ample accommodations there. Boy, could we be any more wrong! By the time we reached Whistler, it was late afternoon. Lost our ways a few times in busy traffic, we finally found a place to stay. The place was not necessarily overcrowded, but quite vibrant. To us, it had the ambiance of an upscale all-year resort catered to affluent, active and younger people. Instead of winter skiing, the summer months offered other outdoor activities such as mountain biking, hiking and golfing. We enjoyed our stay in nice comfortable beds, warm bath and a nice dinner in a nice town - quite a contrast to cooking under the rain, eating under the rain, and sleeping in a car tent.



We stayed on Interstate 5 to the Canadian border, then followed Highway BC 99 to Whistler. All roads were good. We should have found a shortcut to avoid driving through traffic in downtown Vancouver.


Except a little morning drizzle, the day was sunny and nice - great weather for hiking in the morning.