Over the holidays we decided to visit family in the British Columbian interior.
Our tour would start out on the Trans Canada highway, known as HWY 1, and would continue up to the Crowsnest highway 3, past Hope (or ‘beyond Hope’, as the local joke goes), and through the Cascade mountain range.
We try not to do a lot of driving through the mountains in the winter for the obvious reasons.
We don’t have a ‘real truck’, but a low riding city pickup not even made for potholes, let alone mountain passes, but we were going to head into the wilderness, regardless.
We like to do our best to be prepared, just in case, so we bought some chains for our recently switched out winter tires and packed snacks and warm clothes.
Having been stuck in the wilderness before (a story for later, perhaps), I am not interested in being under-prepared when it comes to winter conditions. I prefer NOT to test my luck when I could freeze to death in a few short breaths.
Scary driving – avalanche routes, cliffs, sharp corners and snow covered signs. At times we barely drove 35km an hour!
The climate in the lower mainland of British Columbia Canada, where we live, is always tempered by the ocean and winds re-directed by the mountains.
It is relatively warm where we are, and if it snows (which it rarely does), the thin white layer generally lasts no more than a few hours.
The grass is always green, many trees keep their foliage – some turn for Autumn, and though you might want rain gear, you won’t need a winter coat – unless you like skiing in the mountains.
It is always surprising to me how quickly the climate changes here – just a twist in the road can bring you somewhere entirely climatically different.
We go through the Fraser Valley, round up to the mountain encircled town of Hope and already the snow is setting in.
My favourite example of dramatic climate change lies between Princeton and Hedley. Though the towns are barely 20 minutes apart, Princeton is often degrees colder and certainly snowier than its neighbour.
Hedley was actually warm, sun blazing (blinding, more accurately!), snow predominantly melted. You can physically see the changes start once around the mountain bend. Weather patterns, fascinating!
We made it to and from our destination without incident, and though we enjoyed a white Christmas, it was nice to get back home to the warmth and the green grass – where our little dogs don’t need winter coats!
You can click the photo of Jack and Jim above to view article photos in full size.
Many (many!) additional photos in the slideshow. Photos taken with my new Blackberry Playbook Christmas present!
Enjoy many more photos at the Habitual Runaway on Facebook.
- Crowsnest Highway (wikipedia)
- Rocky Mountains (wikipedia)
- Cascade Range (wikipedia)
- Crowsnest Hwy 3 (britishcolumbia.com)
- Highway Thru Hell (discovery.ca)