Unfortunately, this last day in the Rockies was a whole lot of driving. We had almost 500 miles to cover to get from Valemount to Victoria.
Scavenging what we could from the hotel breakfast bar, we began our long drive back to Vancouver Island. Our driver, Bud, had been an absolute saint throughout this trip and I feel so sorry that he had to put up with us! It was like being on a school trip!
We did however make one last sightseeing stop. Spahats Falls within Wells Gray Provincial Park was just close enough to our route to the coast that we were able to admire the waterfall, its canyon and its brightly coloured moss without it impacting our schedule much.
There was also a chance to explore and appreciate the surrounding forest.
But that was all we got! We were in a rush to make sure we caught our ferry at the Tsawwassen terminal just outside of Vancouver.
As we were coming down from the north rather than reversing our route, we ended up driving through an area that had been hit by a nasty forest fire over ten years ago. It still hasn’t recovered. The cause of the fire was man-made and accidental; during a particularly dry summer, a man flicked his cigarette and whumph. An entire village went up in flames as well as the forest.
But forest fires aren’t always caused by stray cigarettes or campfires that get out of hand. Another common cause is dry lightning – when lightning strikes without rain – and the incredibly strong winds that the fires create can even cause flames to be carried across lakes to cause fires on the opposite shore. It’s unnerving to think how easily the beautiful forests I saw on this trip could be destroyed.
We reached Kamloops a little after lunchtime so during our I took the opportunity to try the quintessentially Canadian dish poutine! Fries, gravy and cheese curds – and let me tell you, it was glorious. I’m going to do my level best to make it when I’m back in England!
We encountered some traffic on the way towards Vancouver due to some nasty rain so Bud ended up taking us the scenic route, off the highway and past a lot of pumpkin fields.
As fast as we were, were weren’t fast enough! We missed the ferry by five minutes which meant waiting until 10pm for the next one. Three hours in a ferry terminal was dreadful but we made the most of it by playing Sardines. Our last round went on for half an hour as we searched for a guy who had cunningly hidden in an employee-only cupboard! It was a tight squeeze for us all to hide with him!
By the time I reached my bed in Victoria, it was well past midnight. I was utterly shattered but it was so worth it. I had such a fantastic time on this trip and I can’t wait to return to the Rockies one day!