Autumn adventures in the Pemberton Valley
It was the end of a long and lingering summer when the slow chill of October began to take hold. It started as a first faint nip in the mornings and evenings — breath hanging in the air, the leaves hinting at change. Glamping Hub had offered us a place to stay of our choosing, and eager to see the new season's rush of colour, we booked a beautiful log cabin, packed up the car, and hit the road north to the mountains and meadows of Pemberton.
A quiet farming and ranching community just north of Whistler, Pemberton is an ideal getaway at any time of year, but especially so in Autumn. With unhindered mountain views you can see winter's first dusting, and watch the white line of snow slowly creep down the mountain from the comfort of a colourful valley bottom. There are fresh farm stands dotting the drives, and horses wandering in the fields. There are trails and lakes and hotsprings and all manner of sights and activities to fill a stay long or small.
North Arm Farm
After settling into the cabin we set off for a quick breakfast at the North Arm Farm. Family-owned and operated, the farm has a cozy cafe open all year round, and bountiful seasonal u-pick produce throughout the summer. We strolled through the red rows of blueberry bushes, then picked our way through a sprawling display of squashes and pumpkins, choosing a cute little guy for our own.
While there are certainly more popular hikes in the Pemberton area, one of our new favourites is Tenquille Lake. There are a couple different trails in, from easy ambles to multi-day routefinding trips, but no matter which trail you take and no matter the weather, once you reach the little mountain lake and cozy cabin you’ll be glad you made the trek.
We took the trail off Hurley Road, and while it seemed gentle enough we ascended into the snowline almost before we knew it. Thick fog and squalls of giant snowflakes blotted out the views, dusting everything in thick wintery white. The year's first snowfall is always exciting, and it was thrilling to catch it in such an inspiring location.
South of Pemberton down some long scenic dirt roads waits Sloquet Hot Springs. Hidden in the lush temperate rain forest, the springs are naturally-occurring and developed in a way that retains much of their wild wonder. There are several rock pools carved out of the sandy creek bottom, each varying in temperature the further they are from the bubbling source. While a couple of the pools are large, we spent most of our time in the smallest, hottest one. It's a perfect place for a moment of quiet relaxation, and after our snowy hike we were pretty eager to slip into the warm waters.
Long an important cultural site for the Xa’xtsa First Nation, it's important that we help respect this special place and leave it how we found it. Other hot springs in the area have been closed due to careless campers leaving food and trash out, causing a dangerous situation with habituated bears. Let's do our part to keep Sloquet open for everyone to enjoy.
Returning to the Pemberton Valley, we poked around in the meadows, dazzled by the golden light in the forests and the thin blue light on the snow-capped mountains. After working up an appetite we grabbed some grilled sandwiches and a mini apple pie from local favourite Blackbird Bakery and had a little picnic on the dock of One Mile Lake Regional Park.
Our final day at the cabin was spent exploring the backyard treehouses and drinking hot beverages on the porch til the air turned cold and the light grew dim. We retired to the living room, warming ourselves in the orange glow of the crackling wood fireplace, a pot of noodles on the boil and a bag of marshmallows near at hand.
All in all, a perfect end a perfect couple days.
Thanks to Glamping Hub for hosting us