Revision Dec ’17 – A big THANK YOU to www.taleoftravels.com for featuring my ramblings about moving to Canada.
The countdown is finally over!! After 12 months of planning I have finally flown the motherland and set up shop in Vancouver, Canada. As truly a Mancunian Abroad (permanently) you should see a marked increase in blog based activity.
I arrived on the 30th August and after a few days of exploring Vancouver (and getting back on my beloved Stanley Park SeaWall) the labor day bank holiday weekend was upon us. Labor Day weekend is to Canadians, what the August Bank Holiday weekend is to Brits. A 3 day party holiday which unofficially signifies the end of summer although many Brits will ateste that summer usually begins and ends on the single day of sunshine we get each year (usually in early May).
I wasn’t due to start work again until the Tuesday so I was eager to go out and explore whilst friends and family were off. In the end Sam’s sister (Jen) and best friend (Emily) plus spouses (Navid and Tyler) joined us on our trip.
The Okanagan, Tofino (Vancouver) Island were briefly discussed before we decided to head up to Levette Lake in Squamish. Squamish is half way between Vancouver and Whistler; about 45 minutes with no traffic. No-one within the group had been to Levette Lake so this was somewhat of a gamble. But a gamble that definitely paid off.
The lake, which is only 1.4km all the way around is located 10km north of downtown Squamish.
Levette Lake is only accessible only by 4×4’s the hope was the difficulty of access would mean the campsite would not be full on the busiest weekend of the summer. The maintained campsite has just a handful of pitches with basic amenities including toilets; bins and food caches to protect food from attracting bears and other not-so-welcome guest. The nights stay cost just $13 (about £8) for a group of 6 so a BARGAIN!
Note; Canadians take food caching serious and food is never left unattended. I guess the worst thing that can happen whilst camping in England (apart from the inevitable rain) is sheep breaking into your tent to eat all your custard creams (speaking from experience). Bears sniffing around is a different story although they are quite rare in the area.
We started early and left at 7am, travelling with Jen and Navid; their wonderful chocolate lab Olive and cat Barack before meeting Emily and Tyler in Squamish before making the final journey together.
Despite our initial hope and early start we arrived to a full camp site which was overflowing a recovering from what must have been a raucous previous night. Feeling like Mary and Joseph all those years ago we were eventually invited to pitch our tents on the edge of another group (Thanks Guys). Later that day one of the groups recovered from their slumber and moved out so we eventually made it to our final destination.
Our pitch was perfect and on a small hill which separated ourselves from our fellow campers. Our fellow campers are seasoned veterans so we had everything we needed to survive in the wilderness right down to Baileys for the morning coffee.
Once we had set up camp it was time to enjoy the lake. I have spent the past 12 months looking at pictures of Moraine Lake, Emerald Lake, Lake Louise and Levette Lake is right up there, the views of the snow capped Tantalus mountain range over the pine forest is breathtaking. On the first day, the calm lake provided a mirror image of the view above.
Olive was naturally the first in the water which was surprisingly warm, unlike many lakes it isn’t glacially sourced and its relatively shallow depth means its warmer than other lakes in the area. It was therefore time to get the Lilo’s (or Floaties) out and tackle the lake. We had a floatilla of floaties which we tied together and the boys (with occasional help from the girls) took it in turns to swim the armada around the lake. We even had a floatie just for the drinks cooler which Olive eventually commandeered when she got tired. I can imagine we were a sight for sore eyes, 6 adults, 3 dogs and a cooler floating around the lake!
The lake has some excellent features including a huge submerged rock which means people can sit in the middle of the lake, other campers had brought their camp chair and sat in the middle of the lake with their coolers. Further away there was an island which had a rock people could jump from. Finally on the shore there was a huge tree that had fallen over and wedged itself 2/3 m above the lake. Jen and Navid and I jumped off the tree but unfortunately I caught my shorts on a branch and ripped them… the first time I had worn them.. eugh.
Throughout the 6 of us consumed 50+ cans of beer (they are smaller here than in the UK), 3L of wine, 18 cans of cider so were were merry and chatted the night away. Jen and Emily even went for a midnight swim in the moonlight. That night, we stripped off the outer layer of the tent and slept under the stars although a dog (I hope it was a dog) woke me up sniffing and shuffling by the tent.
The next day we ate, swam and ate some more before packing up and heading back to civilisation (apart from a slight accident with a tree and a mountain bike). As I was new to the area the group took me to the watershed to grab a drink, experience some proper Canadian Poutine (chips, cheese curds and gravy…. it was delicious). The bar/pub backs onto the mighty Squamish river.
Levette Lake is paradise and exactly what I had hoped for as we cling to the coat tails of summer. We lucked out with the weather and managed to miss the haze caused by quite significant forest fires in the interior BC. A big THANK YOU to Jen, Navid, Emily and Tyler for choosing the location, getting us there and making sure we were decked out with everything we would need for one night haha.