West Coast Roadtrip
September 07, 2020
We spent two weeks driving and hiking our way westwards from Banff to Vancouver. Shot on a Ricoh GRIII and Leica M6 + Portra 400
With international travel out of the cards our ‘traditional’ annual trip was on hold. We started our trip by flying into Calgary and renting a car. From there we drove westwards towards Banff and the famous Lake Louise.
2020 really was the ideal year to explore western Canada. International travel restrictions meant that the usual crowds of tour buses were nowhere to be seen. Taking advantage of the time zone difference we were able to wake up early enough to enjoy the sun rising on a peaceful Lake Louise.
From there we started on the Devil’s Thumb trail.
Lake Agnes sits at about the halfway point up the trail, with a teahouse where you can sit and enjoy the views of the lake and valley below.
At the top of the trail you’re rewarded with views of both Lake Agnes on the left and Lake Louise on the right. The views are well worth the 12km and 800m elevation gain.
The next days were spent exploring the other famous lakes in the area, including Moraine Lake and Emerald Lake.
From there we started driving westwards towards our final destination, Vancouver. We stayed a few days at Kelowna to check out the local wineries, but left fairly unimpressed.
Upon arriving in Vancouver, we promptly bought some hiking poles (Devil’s Thumb, Iceline Trail, and Edith Cavell were rough on the knees) and with the help of some local friends’ offroading car, we headed out to hike Watersprite.
Typically a very remote and peaceful trail, Watersprite has seen a massive influx of visitors this year due to the other popular trails being closed due to COVID. Even with the difficulty of reaching the trailhead (you should only attempt it with a truck/SUV with the proper ground clearance), the trail was still packed.
Our largest hike of the trip was coming up - Panorama Ridge. At about 28.3 km distance and 1500 meters in elevation, Panorama Ridge was going to be quite a challenge compared to the hikes so far.
All the popular BC hikes operate on a day pass system - reservations start at 6 am the day of, and for popular trails like Panorama Ridge the limited number of passes runs out within minutes on weekends.
Panorama Ridge starts out with innumerable switchbacks - most of the early elevation gains are here. This part is quite boring and will seem to take the longest amount of time.
After about 1 km in elevation you’ll reach the alpine meadows. We visited in August, so the wildflowers were in full bloom.
After going through the beautiful meadows, we reached the final rocky scramble to the peak. Here the cold air from the glacial winds really started picking up.
The views from the top were amazing.
The whole journey as viewed through Cadence Prints.