"just back from my first trip to the lovely PNW!" Vancouver by skywalkerbeth
Vancouver Travel Guide: 3,950 reviews and 8,219 photos
Hundreds of little islands pepper the coastline out there and there are some major mountains too. I started out in Vancouver and one day took the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish to go take a lesson in glacier flying with a CFI out there. This drive is as beautiful as it sounds but not as dramatic as the Pacific Coast Highway.
Once you are away from Vancouver it’s pretty much uncontrolled airspace but for the mountains (and there’s a stiff price to pay if you don’t heed them. “Hello friendly mountains” as my ground school instructor used to say). The airport elevation is just under 200 so the TPA was 1200. But the mountains are RIGHT there so you gotta climb immediately once you depart the pattern and don’t stop til you’re at 6000-7000 or so. There are plenty of valleys so there is space for climbing.
There is regularly a lot of turbulence from the trees on final and the mountains too, so look sharp. You have to turn base early and keep it tight or you will get blown into the side of the mountain. This would not be a good thing. It was like a roller coaster on final! And the runway dips way down at the halfway point so when you are coming in for a landing it looks really short! Just a tiny little airstrip surrounded by mountains. We flew up over Whistler/Blackcomb and all the lakes around it. Yes, the lakes are really THAT blue - no retouching. They could name a crayola crayon after it - Glacier Lake Blue.
After 3 days in Vancouver I went to Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island. A local told me the term treehugger came from there, no joke – folks chained themselves to trees to prevent them from cutting them down. The people are SUPER friendly, very laid back – I never heard the term “right on” used so much before. You know how on the East Coast a stranger might acknowledge you with a grunt? Well out there they smile and say RIGHT on. Right on! Hitchhiking? Right on! (Not a big deal, everyone does it). The area is slowly getting yuppified (million plus dollar vacation homes) but still realllly laid back. Sarah McLaughlin has a big beach house, I hear she comes out to go surfing and write her songs. My two days there were mostly rain. I did a hot springs cove tour which was an all day boat ride to/from these natural hot springs on one of the islands. Fine and dandy but it was a bit nippy and driving rain the entire day so you couldn’t even see the mountains you were passing very well. We saw some whales (oooooooh, ahhhhh) and were pretty much sopping wet all day. Hot springs was a good 1.5 mile walk back through the rainforest, very cool thing to do apart from the bit about stripping to your bathing suit to jump into the water and then having to put all your soaking wet clothes back on to walk another 1.5 miles back.
The day I left for Victoria the sun came out so I walked to the dock and took a float plane ride! Check out the photo of the bomber that went down in WWII. They just left it where it was. It crashed shortly after takeoff and everyone got out ok. Kinda reminds me of the one scene in the movie Heavy Metal though. (if you don't get this reference, you MUST rent this DVD - it's a classic!!) We also saw whales from the plane, too. THAT was cool.
After flying into Seattle from Victoria (another float plane!) I did some more mountain flying with another CFI I had looked up out there. Wow are the Cascades pretty. We flew from BFI which was my first time at a towered airport. On our way back into BFI, we were on a looooooong extended base and about 100 feet above us and in front of us, a Spitfire flew by. (EAA was having its pre-Oshkosh event that weekend in Arlington WA). That was really cool to see - I didn't get a picture because we were both gaping at it without saying a word.
Next up – a trip to Hobbitland (New Zealand). This is with the 99s so I should have some more interesting photos when I get back in September.
And now the pictures:
thoroughly enjoyed my stay here. a perfect location for seeing Vancouver.
- Pros:stunningly beautiful surroundings, friendly people
- Cons:July is the warmest month of the year - high 60s/low 70s
- In a nutshell:You'll never run out of things to do and see out of doors!
being lazy, this is the preferable way to see the top. Had I had much more time in Vancouver I think I would have done... more travel advice
you gotta walk the Seawall! especially in the late late afternoon/early evening - the lighting is fantastic! more travel advice
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