In the rearview: Manning Provincial Park, Vancouver, and Whistler

EC Manning Provincial Park, British Columbia (night 5)

Coeur d’Alene to Manning Provincial Park was a long driving day that made me nervous beforehand. Nervous how my pregnant body would handle the drive, and nervous how Ali would handle the drive. I shouldn’t have been worried – it was totally fine. While we drove for stretches slightly longer than I had planned, Ali wasn’t phased until the very end, and I was able to keep my feet up a lot of the time to keep my body happy.

Surprise snowstorm in Manning Provincial Park.
Surprise snowstorm in Manning Provincial Park (and a jacket that will no longer zip up).

We stopped at a nice grocery store in the very small town of Princeton to stock up on supplies and rolled into the campground at dusk. We got a primo spot, right on the river, and there were only a handful of other occupied spots. Along the river, under the towering trees, in the quiet Canadian Rockies, we could have spent a long time camped out there. …but, we only had one night. We threw together some grilled cheese sandwiches and pasta salad, and then settled into bed.

Cooking up pasta salad in the van.

In the morning we woke up to a drizzling rain. Ali and I slept in, and quickly packed up and rolled out of the campsite. As we climbed up and over the mountain pass the weather turned from a drizzle into a snowstorm – impressive for mid-May. We took it easy coming back down the pass, and as rolled nearer to Vancouver, only a couple hours away, the thermometer rose up into the 60s and the skies parted for a clear, sunny, day.

Snowstorm or not, the drive through Manning was beautiful and Jordan and I both lament that we didn’t spend more time poking around, hiking through the park. Next time?

Vancouver, British Columbia (nights 6 and 7)

We spent two nights in Vancouver, just over the Lions Gate Bridge, in the Capilano RV Park. I know, an RV park. At first I have to admit: I liked it. I liked having electricity and not having to worry much about conserving water. But, whether it was from the RV park or from being quite pregnant, I grew restless and, well, fussy. In a full RV park spending time outside doesn’t happen – there’s no towering trees, tranquil stream, or meandering wildlife. We were close to the city, but not in the city, and I am intimidated by driving the Sprinter on urban streets. (Jordan isn’t, and handled all of the driving, but it still felt tedious to me.) We learned that Sprinter life isn’t suited for the city – if you want to see a city, go rent an Airbnb downtown, and fully immerse yourself in city life. (We also learned that I am unpredictably and sporadically high maintenance.)

Jordan strolling with Alistair across the Lions Gate Bridge.
I wasn’t the only one of loved Edible Canada.
The view from Lions Gate Bridge.

That being said, we really liked Vancouver. We made a few trips into the city, always ending up at the Granville Market. The highlight was Edible Canada – which I would rank as the best food on the trip. We also learned the hard way that Uber doesn’t operate in Vancouver. We had hoofed it a mile or two across the Lions Gate Bridge and into the park, only to open up Uber and come up dry. For the first time since….college(?)….I had to actually call a taxi cab. How quaint!

The mamarazzi strikes at Granville Market.

At some point during our stay in Vancouver, we realized that we were coming up on a holiday weekend: Victoria Day. We had assumed it would fall on Memorial Day, but instead was a week early. This threw a wrench in our plans because it meant all of the campgrounds on Vancouver Island were full, as were reserved spots on the ferry. So while Ali and I frolicked around the (completely worthwhile) tourist trap that is Capilano Bridge, Jordan hunkered down in the van to sort out the next several days of our trip. He ended up coming up big thanks to a couple last minute cancelations, but you’ll have to wait until the next post for all the deets. The bottom line for now, is that thanks to his persistence, we were able to get up to Whistler for a day.

Running on one of the bridges at the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park.

Col Cheak, Whistler, British Columbia (night 8)

We spent an afternoon kicking around the ski resort town of Whistler. And by kicking around, I mean chasing Alistair around trying to keep him from touching every recycling bin, while another child performed cartwheels inside my womb.

Maybe my favorite photo from the entire trip. Our campfire at Col Cheak.
Maybe my favorite photo from the entire trip. Our campfire at Col Cheak.

The real highlight of Whistler was settling into a quiet campground – Col Cheak – where we found ourselves back in the great outdoors, with the big trees I so covet, babbling stream, and cozy campfire. Like at Manning, our time there was limited – rolling in at dusk, eating dinner, and hunkering down for the evening before leaving to catch the ferry in the morning. It wasn’t the kind of place I’d want to stay for several nights, but it would’ve been nice to have at least one full day there, possibly two nights.


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