A Weekend in Vancouver – FILIPOKIE
A Weekend in Vancouver

A Weekend in Vancouver

For those of us on the West Coast looking for a weekend adventure in another country, how about Vancouver? The following post is my experience spending a weekend in British Columbia.

I arrived in Vancouver from LAX at about 9:30 PM Friday night, rented a car, and made my way to Cambie Gastown Hostel. The downstairs portion is a raging bar filled with young travelers, and it’s apparently one of the most happening places to be on a weekend night. The upstairs part is the actual bar. I locked my stuff to my bunk in my dorm, and headed downstairs to mingle. The Canadians are incredibly friendly, and I made some interesting new friends.

5:30 AM the next day, I headed north past Whistler to hike up to Joffre Lakes. I’ve always wanted to see one of the famous turquoise blue lakes, but unfortunately it was late April and there was still quite a bit of snow on the ground and the lakes were frozen over. It took about 2 1/2 hours from Vancouver to drive to the Joffre Lakes trail head. Each lake is more beautiful than the last. The first one is about 5 minutes into the hike, the second is about an hour in, and the third takes an hour and a half. The second lake is a bright emerald green and the third is the coveted turquoise blue – you could see the colors peeking through the ice. The trail was consistently switching back and forth between flat and a steep climb, so make sure you wear the proper shoes!

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It was about lunchtime when I drove from Joffre Lakes trail head to Keyhole Hot Springs, two hours west. The majority of the drive was actually driving on some old dirt fire roads through the forest, so it’s a beautiful drive, but I was wondering if I was going the right way for a solid hour. There was a lot of construction going on near the trail head, so fortunately they were able to tell me that I was at the correct location.

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I asked someone at the trail head how long it takes to get to the hot springs, and they said fifteen minutes – don’t let them fool you! It took a little over an hour (and I’m a pretty fast hiker). It weaves around a forest next to the Lillooet River, and there are bright colored tags tied to trees to help find your way. You finally arrive at a campsite and continue on down the slope to reach the hot springs. There are three cascading that are the furthest out of all the hot springs that are the best. The top is way too hot, the middle is pretty hot but manageable if you dump some of the freezing river water into it (there’s a bucket tied up nearby), and the lowest is the perfect temperature. It was beautiful sitting there in silence, watching the river rush by.

I stayed the night in Whistler (I would have camped if I knew about the campsite at the hot springs) which was about another 2 hour drive from the hot springs south. And the next morning on Sunday I drove back to Vancouver to check out the Capilano suspension bridge. The earlier you go, the less tourists there are so you can get a great shot of the bridge without a ton of people there! The rest of the early afternoon was spent at the restaurant Tap & Barrel, which had a great drink tasting selection, delicious appetizers, and a library vibe over the harbor. Flew out of Vancouver at 4 and made it back to LAX in the evening!

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