Snoqualmie Falls

10 July 2019

Snoqualmie Falls is a popular stop only 30 minutes east of Seattle. It only requires a short walk along a paved pathway. The waterfall is nice and I imagine its popularity is largely based on its easy access from Seattle. It’s worth a stop if you are in the area but I wouldn’t go too far out of your way.

Pic 2019-0710 05 Snoqualmie Falls (4) e2

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Leavenworth, Washington

10 July 2019

Pic 2019-0710 04 Leavenworth (37) e2
Continuing along the Cascade Loop Scenic Byway, we made our way from Lake Chelan to the Town of Leavenworth. We spent about 4 hours in town and walking the trails of Waterside Park.

Pic 2019-0710 04 Leavenworth (21) e2

Leavenworth is a charming Bavarian-style town with a mountain backdrop. If you like beer, brats and pretzels, this is the place for you. We enjoyed the shopping and eating our way up and down the streets. In Front Street Park, we listened to a street performer yodeling and playing the accordion. Leavenworth is a must stop when doing the Cascade Loop.

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Lake Chelan and Stehekin

8 and 9 July 2019

Pic 2019-0709 01 Lake Chelan to Stehekin (69) e2
Before planning this trip, I had never heard of Lake Chelan. When looking for a place to stop along the Cascade Loop Scenic Byway, I realized this might be a place worthy of more than a quick stop. It was.

The Town of Chelan sits on the shores of the lake. It is a quaint, family-friendly vacation stop that captures quintessential small town America. Most of the activities center on the lake. There are plenty of good options but we could not resist eating at 60’s era Lakeview Drive-In both nights.

One popular attraction is taking a Lady of the Lake ferry up lake to Stehekin, 2.5 to 4 hour ride in each direction. Stehekin is a small resort town without road access. The only way in and out is by boat or float plane. The trip up lake between sheared mountain edges is reward enough. We only spent a short time in Stehekin, walking the lake side roads. Had I known I would have planned more time. For us, two nights would have been ideal. If we are fortunate to travel through this area again, we will certainly make a point to stop again.

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North Cascades National Park

8 July 2019

Pic 2019-0708 09 North Cascades NP (9) e2
With a long rainy stay in Vancouver under our belt, we were rested, re-energized, and ready for the road and some sunshine. The day started slow. We let the worst of rush hour traffic pass and headed east to the border crossing at Sumas. The border took about 30 minutes but we avoided the volume at the I5 crossing and was rewarded with traveling south on relaxing and scenic WA Rt 9 to Sedro-Woolley. There we got lunch and fuel for the long haul on the Cascade Loop Scenic Byway.

The Cascade Loop Scenic Byway is a 440 mile loop northeast of Seattle. In the next few days we plan to drive about three-fourths of it, skipping the section clockwise from Everett to Burlington through the islands of Whidbey and Fidalgo. We started driving east on WA Route 20. The first section through the “rock and a hard place towns” of Concrete and Rockport to Marblemount was nice but I started to worry my research had failed me. When we entered the North Cascades National Park, my research was validated. We made countless stops through the park. If you only stop one place then Washington Pass Overlook Trail, a short trail with amazing views, is it.

On the eastern side of the national park is a small town with a ton of Wild West charm, Winthrop. It is a must stop and a nice place for a meal or a night’s rest along the scenic route.

We continued the scenic drive south on WA Route 20, 153 (Methow Valley Highway), and US Route 97 to Chelan, where we will stay to explore Lake Chelan.

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Vancouver, British Columbia

3 – 7 July 2019

Pic 2019-0704 02 Vancouver Stanley Park (37) e2
After almost 2 weeks on the road, we settled down for several days in Vancouver. The weather was not as good as we had hoped but we enjoyed it nonetheless. Vancouver is a very livable city with plenty to do and see. It has a unique international flavor; more than half its population’s first language is something other than English. The public transportation system is above average and the elevation is close to sea level so it is easily navigated on foot. The Skytrain and river taxis are fun and convenient ways to get around town. If you get lost, not to worry, we found the residents to be extremely friendly and helpful. Like any big city there are few bad areas downtown but overall we felt safe most places we went. Avoid the area between BC Place and Chinatown.

Our favorite areas included Stanley Park, Coal Harbour, Gastown, Granville Island, West Vancouver and Lonsdale Quay Market in North Vancouver. Rain prevented us from renting bicycles, however if you have the opportunity to pedal around Stanley Park, we’d highly recommend it.

Clockwise:  View from Granville Island, Steam Clock in Gastown, BC Place, View from Granville Bridge, Docks near Kits Point, Olympic Couldron, Canada Place in Coals Harbour, Brockton Point Lighthouse in Stanley Park, and Science World

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Sea-to-Sky Highway to Whistler Mountain

5 July 2019

Pic 2019-0705 05 Sea to Sky Highway (14) e2
The Sea-to-Sky Highway from West Vancouver to Whistler has the potential to be the highlight of a trip to Victoria and Vancouver. Unfortunately for us, the weather did not cooperate. The drive up and back was about 2 hours each way. We walked around Whistler and made several stops along the route on the way back hoping if we waited long enough there might be a break in the weather, no such luck.

Pic 2019-0705 03 Sea to Sky Highway (8) e2

Whistler is a world famous ski resort area, similar to some of ones we’ve visited in Colorado, and the site of many of the events for Vancouver’s 2010 Winter Olympics. We also stopped at Shannon Falls, which is an easy walk to the viewing platform.

Pic 2019-0705 04 Shannon Falls (4) e2

Shannon Falls

We were unable to do a bear viewing tour we planned on Whistler Mountain but we did stumble upon one black bear grazing near the Olympic Village. We also had to skip the Sea-to-Sky Gondola in Squamish and the Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver.

Pic 2019-0705 02 Whistler Olympic Park Road (4) e2

Despite how our day turned out, we’d highly recommend making this drive as any part of a visit to Vancouver. It might be the best part of your trip.

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Victoria, British Columbia

1 and 2 July 2019

Pic 2019-0702 02 Victoria (18) e2
Victoria has been near the top of our travel wish list so we were especially excited to see it on the horizon from the deck of our ferry. It is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island, northwest of Seattle. The city is known for its European feel and temperate climate. We had the added benefit of being here on Canada Day when the city was filled with energy and excitement.

Three nights and two full days in town was a perfect amount of time for us. We enjoyed outdoor dining along the harbor, walking the shoreline to Beacon Hill Park, shopping on Government Street, visiting Miniature World, and being immersed in the Canada Day festivities. Victoria is among the many great places to visit in Canada.

Next up, Vancouver.

Victoria Harbor (top left), Water Taxi (top right), British Columbia Parliament Building (middle left), Christ Church Cathedral (middle right), and Fisherman’s Wharf (bottom)

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