It is a sunny Monday morning. I turn on the computer, take a sip of coffee, and wait for the components to settle down. For a fleeting moment I am mesmerized by the tranquil image of a perfect Caribbean island. My INBOX is a simple mouse click away.

I open a message. It's from my brother in the UK. Maybe someone died. He never writes. "Great news, we are coming to visit for a week. I want to raft. She wants to ride. We would love to see whales and Whistler but don't go to any trouble. Yippee! We're so excited."

Suddenly my world is turned upside down. It's "relative" season again! I grab the map. OK Lets start at Whistler - Last ride up the mountain is 1pm. A quick whiz around the village. An ice cream at Cows. Gotta show off The Chateau.

If we push it we can take in Nairn Falls half way to Pemberton. A great show after a spring runoff.

Heading along the river towards Mount Currie is always impressive. Grazing horses. Impossibly green fields. A mountain backdrop to stir the most cynical soul. A preamble to the majestic Duffy Lake Road which climbs and climbs with rarely a vehicle in sight. 60 Km's on and the climate changes. Stunted trees give way to steep rockslides and the air is warmer. Lillooet Lake is teal green from glacial dust.

Lillooet, nestled on the The Fraser River, makes a perfect stopover. The 4 Pines Motel is clean and reasonable and Dina's Place always serves up huge delicious portions of Greek fare. The smiling staff at Lou's cook the best breakfast in town. Mustn't forget the museum. Need to learn about Ma Murray, "Hanging Judge Begbie" and The Cariboo Trail. Note: Last stop for pantyhose. Sounds a bit "Brokeback Mountain" but they sure help with saddle sores!

The Flying U ranch on the banks of Green Lake at 70-mile house (Lillooet is mile zero) should fit the bill nicely. For $170 per head (high season rate minimum two nights) you get a rustic log cabin with lots of firewood on the porch, three good meals and, best of all, unsupervised riding over hundreds of miles of trails. Thank god the horses know their way home! Stay through Saturday night and "dosey-do" your partner at the hoedown. It's not a good place for princesses or stepmothers. Mine hated the communal bathroom - Oh well you can't please them all!

I'm getting it sussed. If we head for Merrit we can slide in a night at The Quilchena Hotel, a resting stop on Nicola Lake since 1908. It is now a Victorian class act. Jack Nicholson took over the whole place while filming in the area. Perhaps I should book his suite? I know the dining room is excellent and there may be a real live cowboy chatting up the barmaid!

I'm cooking with gas!!! I just need a river to raft. The Nicola, Thompson and Nahatlach rivers are all within spitting distance but it's midweek in mid June. "We're using outboards, the water is too high" "Not enough customers to fill a raft." Finally I call Hyack Rafting Adventures. Yes, they are running The Chilliwack for sure - no motors just human power. With an early breakfast we should be able to race down The Coquihalla in time for a 10.30 launch.

So I've used up four nights and five days. A quick call to Vancouver Whalewatch, and the sixth day is duly dispensed with, leaving them one day to shop and pack.

Well - They asked for it. Yessir! Now where's my coffee!




Copyright © 2007 Andrew G.P. Renton All rights reserved.