Monday, January 7, 2013

Winter Driving ~ Thompson Canyon ~ Fraser Canyon ~ BC

We love rv’ing and the time has come for these Canadian Snowbirds to head south for some sunshine.  Not that we don’t have some wonderful winter weather at home, but we also like to enjoy the winter weather that doesn’t include cold temperatures and snow.

the snowy clouds are thick and low as we drive up the hill
Climbing into the clouds at Kamloops Lake, BC
We seem to be getting more snow than we’ve had in recent Decembers so the road conditions might be an issue.  New tires were on the list of purchases this year and they were a good idea, even for local driving during the time leading up to leaving for the trip. There were many snowfalls and some mild days.  This photo has dirt on the windshield showing what kind of roads we were travelling around Kamloops.
Good winter conditions for the roads.
Winter roads near Cache Creek, BC
The challenges of winter driving can be a bit intimidating and watching the weather forecasts and road reports for a couple of weeks before departure day is typical at this time of year.  We’d enjoyed our travel through the Thompson and Fraser Canyons last year and decided we’d go the same way this year, too. 
The river comes into view again from this vantage point
The Thompson River
The roads are definitely winter conditions but have been well sanded and the temperature seems to be kind enough that we’re not seeing a lot of ice on these roads.  Most of this day of travel, the coldest temperature we noticed was -2C (28F). 
We can see three routes for transportation with the river, railway and highway.
River, Highway and Train tracks
The Thompson River meanders through the valley, CN and CP Railway tracks frame on either side of the river and Highway 1 follows along on the snow covered hillside.  Three different routes for transportation are seen here. The contrast of the snow is showing off some of the geography we may not normally notice and creates some great photos.
Snowy mountain is the backdrop from the highway across the river.
Thompson River at Spences Bridge, BC
As we pass through Spences Bridge, we follow along at river level and see fisherman throwing their line from the cold shoreline.  The Thompson River at Spences Bridge is a big fishing draw for Steelhead in the fall.  Steelhead is a rainbow trout so they migrate to saltwater from freshwater streams but return to those freshwaters to spawn. 
Several rocks in the river make whitewater rafting a summer sport here.
Whitewater in the Thompson River, BC
Fresh snow on these rocks in the river is pretty rare to see so the camera is busy catching what photos I can as we drive by.  All of these photos have been taken as we drive so I get what I can and although I am not going to get prize winning photos, they still may show the beauty of our drive.
We begin climbing out of the canyon as we approach Lytton, BC
Leaving the Thompson Canyon, BC
From here we begin to climb and can see some promising blue sky up ahead. The sun has been trying to peek through some of the clouds and makes the snow sparkle and shine.   This just makes the day even better!  Nothing like blue sky and sunshine as we head out on a great RV holiday!
We see snow covered mountains in the distance
Lillooet Range in the distance
And look at the view we get as we come around a corner and get to the crest of the hill before reaching Lytton.  The Lillooet Range Mountains are covered with snow and with the sun shining, they look spectacular.    
Roads are looking quite clear on this portion of the road
Near Hell's Gate on Fraser River in BC
This part of the trip was so pretty with all the snow laden trees lining the highway.  The sun has managed to keep the roads bare, although not quite dry but with the temperature just above the freezing mark, we are travelling on great roads. 
A view of the river from the highway on the way to Yale, BC
Highway 1 - the road leads to Yale, BC
Once we pass Lillooet, BC, we are now following the Fraser River as it meanders its’ way to the Pacific.  We pass through Yale, BC, which has some great history, as does the whole Fraser Canyon.  Click here to see more of the history of the Fraser Canyon.
The road ahead looks good but the clouds are dark with pending snow.
Dark clouds loom over Hope, BC
As we approach Hope, BC on Highway 1, we see the clouds ahead are low and make the day dark and dreary, we now know we chose the right route.  We have just enjoyed driving through the beautiful Thompson and Fraser Canyons with spectacular sights and sunshine. The roads were good winter conditions and the roads ahead are going to be just fine.

The travel time for this trip that took us into Aldergrove took 5 hours from Kamloops, so that is a bit longer than taking the Coquihalla.  We parked in our daughter's driveway for the night and left early the next morning to travel through Washington State.  I will post some photos from that drive soon.


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