OUT OF THE CITY AND INTO THE WATER
Photo: Mikul Culver via Flickr
Water—it’s kind of a big deal. Chances are, in the last few months, you’ve probably heard, read or seen something about it. From controversy over locally sourced bottled water to diminishing reservoir levels due to drought, you could say that water is really hot right now.
Unfortunately, that’s not necessarily a good thing. Due to water shortages, important questions are now being raised about how we can better use and protect this precious resource—that’s a conversation for another day though. Just because water is the focus of so much concern and contention doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun with (or in) it, especially as summer weather stretches on.
In British Columbia, we’re lucky to have an abundance of outdoor activities centered around water available to us. And though there are options around the province, Squamish, the outdoor recreation capital of Canada, definitely tops the list. Less than an hour from downtown Vancouver, Squamish is more than a pit stop on the way to Whistler. It’s a wonderful town to explore on a day trip that will take you out of the city and put you in the midst of nature—breathe in that fresh, mountain air!
To make the most of your Sea to Sky experience (and stay cool while you’re at it), here are a few ideas on how to escape the city and spend a day (or more) enjoying some of the water-based activities that Squamish has to offer.
Photo: Richard Walker via Flickr
On a hot summer day it doesn’t get much better than taking a dip in one of nature’s pools and in Squamish, you definitely have your choice. Just north of the town by a few minutes via Highway 99 is Alice Lake Provincial Park, home to Alice, Edith, Stump and Fawn lakes. Choose one, or take the Four Lake Loop trail through the park and visit each of them along the way.
Just north of this provincial park, along the highway, you‘ll find a turnoff for Cat Lake on the right side of the highway, or if you go further, Brohm Lake (partially visible from the highway), will be on the left.
Feel like turning your day trip into an overnight excursion? Both Alice and Cat Lakes feature camping options, so come prepared to take both an evening and morning dip.
Squamish is home to several rivers—from the Cheekeye, Cheakamus and Elaho in upper Squamish, to the Mamquam and Squamish rivers closer to town. Each of these unique waterways offers its own experience.
For the anglers, each river provides an opportunity to catch a multitude of different fish depending on the season, but for those looking to enjoy salmon fishing in the summer, be sure to keep an eye out for the pink salmon run which begins in August and continues into September. For more information, check out Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
For those looking for more of a splash, the Cheakamus and Squamish/Elaho rivers afford adventurous opportunities with varying degrees of whitewater rafting through several companies offering tours. Similarly, for a more intimate experience with the rivers, you can ditch the raft and opt for a kayak. For those looking to learn there are local companies offering kayaking lessons and rentals, for more information check out Tourism Squamish.
If you’re looking to spend more than a day in the wilderness, camping is a great option to extend your time in nature. What better way to camp than by spending an evening on the banks of a river being lulled to sleep by the sounds of passing water? Anderson Beach and the Squamish Riverside Campsite, both in Upper Squamish, offer this luxury. For more information check out British Columbia Recreation Sites and Trails.
Susan Nicole Cinci Csere via Flickr
Some might argue that Howe Sound’s brackish waters, surrounded by mountains, aren’t the epitome of pristine ocean perfection. But don’t let that stop you from enjoying everything this seaside spot offers in terms of activities. Squamish, which means “Mother of the Wind” certainly lives up to it’s name. Howe Sound is best known for its wind-surfing and kiteboarding. Interested in learning more? Check out Squamish Windsports, a non-profit dedicated to these two activities.
After you’ve experienced one (or all!) of these bodies of water, remember that they’re all resources that we share, now and in the future.
Recall those headlines about the drought or bottled water? They’re important issues that together, we must deal with. However now you are armed with personal experiences that allow you to understand your connection to this precious resource. So have fun, be safe and stay wet.
This blog post is contributed by Dustin Patar - a Fraser Riverkeeper volunteer