Travelling further south along the Sea to Sky highway brings you to Squamish. The town of about 17,000 is proudly known as the ‘Outdoor Recreation capital of Canada‘. Indeed, Squamish is a nature lovers paradise.
With plenty of lakes to enjoy, delicious fresh air, a small town feel and a spectacular view no matter which direction you turn, Squamish is a place I have spent some quality time in. A great place for Vancouverites to ‘get away from it all’.
There are precious few spots on the globe where wind, water and land combine to provide flawless conditions for wind surfing and kite boarding. The Squamish Spit at the mouth of the Squamish River is one of those places with warm wind and sunshine.
We headed down the narrow spit to take in some views, and catch some surf action.
The wind was incredibly INTENSE on this particular day, pushing the truck sideways as we traversed the single laned gravel road toward the end of the spit.
The only thing I have to compare the wind velocity with, are the few tropical storms I have been involved in.
Truly, the wind must have been near gale force.
I was surprised by the sheer number of kite surfers – navigating traffic while surfing would be a very important, mandatory skill.
It was really quite something to watch the huge kites, tiny bodies attached, trying to get caught up in the wind. I stood mesmerized for a moment, and turned to my husband to tell him I thought it might be something I would like to try someday. His reply?
‘Time to go!’
Not something he wants to do! Neither of us can swim very well (me not at all), so surely that would be a hurdle. And the fact that physically, we are out of shape, could also be a barrier.
I just want to soar through the air attached to a kite. Awesome!
Along this stretch of the Sea to Sky highway, there are a number of ‘dead boats’. There used to be a few ‘graveyards’ in the area, but most of them have been cleaned up.
As cool as it looks, no matter what you do, the boats pollute the water throughout their long erosion process. The old BC ferry pictured above, seemed to be permanently moored, abandoned. An unusual location choice, I thought. In the perfect spot for surfers to get caught up in her.
I did notice however, that only one kite surfer even dared to be on that side of the spit. These people know what they are doing.
Ahh the view. Clearly visible from the spit are snow covered mountains, and the Stawamus Chief. Known simply as ‘The Chief’, this incredible sheer face of volcanic rock is supposed to be the second largest granite monolith in the world.
You can hike up the back of the Chief, or scale the 700 foot sheer rock face. Though I have never done it, I hear the view is breathtaking, and the hike up the backside, manageable.
I have sat for dinner in the adjacent restaurant many times, watching ‘crazy people’ scale the Chiefs face – an experience I would recommend – particularly if you plan to decline the climb yourself.
This is also the north arm of the Howe Sound. Before the 2010 Olympics in Whistler, this section of highway was narrow, winding and dangerous. In preparation for the games, it was entirely re-done, at great cost to the province.
I will say that I appreciate the safer roads. In the past, we would always choose to stay overnight in the area if we thought we might be finishing up our tour after dark. The roads were just too dangerous to chance driving them at night – especially with the impatient, speeding locals.
There were always accidents being reported. terrible accidents.
But that is no longer the case. The highway is multi-laned, plenty wide enough and much less twisty. As a side bonus to the construction, you can now see more of the incredible view. I love the way the mountains roll out of the ocean, in muted shades of blue and grey.
Our next stop is Britannia Beach – which used to be my favourite ghost town. With recent development and waterfront mine clean up, Britannia is turning back into a ‘live’ town. I was excited to check out the progress…
Additional photos in the slideshow.