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Snow & Wine

by Tara

The sloped topography of our tent placement last night had us constantly seeping downwards, like a puddle of molasses. Frequently, after we found ourselves crumpled in the fetal position at the foot of our sleeping bag, we'd press our feet against the end of the tent, which was but a thin film abutting the wheels of our car. Thus, we were able to heave ourselves upwards, ready to begin our downward drifting anew.

This morning, I lumber out of our tent like a bear in spring, feeling groggy and grateful to stretch my limbs. As I stand shivering, disassembling our tent poles, I'm grateful I thought to pack our hoodies and woolen long underwear, despite the summery weather back home. We're experiencing full-on winter right now!

With our shelter stowed in the trunk once more, we head out, deciding to backtrack a bit—we were so intent on finding a place to sleep last night that we completely blew past a few glaciers and some gorgeous scenery! The mountains of Jasper National Park, and the glaciers of the Columbia Icefield are a commanding presence on either side of the road, craggy and grey in the dull early morning light.

Morning in the Columbia Icefields

The sublime, awe-inspiring peaks remind me of snowy mountains in The Lord of the Rings. Here, it's not hard to imagine a silver-haired wizard conjuring sudden avalanches causing jagged boulders to tumble down the mountains' steep, sloping sides.

When we've seen our fill of snow-capped peaks and glaciers, we turn around, returning the way we've come, past our campsite, and into Banff National Park, heading towards Lake Louise. The landscape turns snowy, now, as rough rock is replaced with delicately-dusted pine trees just feet from our car. This Narnia-esqe scenery is much more my style!

Baby Pine Tree Covered in Snow Snowy Mountain Road Tara in Banff National Park

As we drive along Highway 1, and then Highway 99, the scenery changes completely, taking us from snowy pine forests into the dry, wide-open spaces of gold rush country. The wild-west feeling that permeates this space reminds me a bit of Colorado. Through the landscape we go, up mountains and past snaking rivers with trains hugging their banks, chugging along the curved and rusty rails.

Vintage Mountain Road Shot British Columbia Landscape Steamboat Saga Tara's Feet on the Dash

Eventually, sleepy and weary of driving, we stop in the outskirts of Lillooet, at Tyler's request. He's seen a sign for a winery, and thinks it would be a great idea to stretch our legs and have a wine tasting after another ten hours on the road. This is the most brilliant idea I've heard all day, and I smile, remembering how Tyler used to have the hardest time stopping to enjoy things like this.

Lillooet - Guaranteed Rugged

We walk inside a small building, and meet the enthusiastic proprietress of Fort Berens Estate Winery. As she pours us tiny glasses of each of their seven signiature wines, we chat. Apparently, she moved to this region about four years ago, when she quit her job as a social worker. She seems radiantly happy to have exchanged her former life of counseling sex-assault victims for one spent among the vines.

Fort Berens Vineyard Wine Tasting

When our tour is finished, so is our day—we coast into Lillooet proper to find a motel, clean up, and call it a night. Starting tomorrow, we'll be spending a week camping in the woods at a cob building workshop put on by the Mud Girls!