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Originally published Sunday, September 14, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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NW Q&A | An outdoors base in B.C.

Setting up a base for outdoor adventures near Vancouver, B.C.

Q: My husband and I would like to explore the wilderness area around Vancouver, B.C. Although we'll do a day trip into Vancouver itself, we'd rather spend time in the mountains and rain forest. Where would be the best place to make our "base"? I am thinking potentially Squamish. Any suggestions?

— Lauren, Houston

A: You could base in Squamish, about an hour north of Vancouver and halfway to Whistler resort. However, Squamish is not the most appealing place; it's a mill/logging town along the highway that's in economic transition, working hard to develop tourism (with art walks, farmers market and more) and serving as a bedroom community for workers who can't afford to live in Whistler.

Squamish does have some B&Bs/cabins in the woods and near a river that will have more charm than staying in a motel along busy Highway 99. You can get information on Squamish, including lodging and outdoor recreation, at www.tourismsquamish.com. If you're rock climbers, there is world-class climbing very near the town.

You also could consider staying in Whistler or the village of Pemberton (about a half-hour north of Whistler), both of which are more attractive communities. Whistler has lots of glitzy resort hotels but also more modest places to stay, and it has excellent access to hiking trails and other outdoor activities. But you definitely won't be roughing it. Get Whistler info at www.tourismwhistler.com. Get details on Pemberton lodging and activities atwww.pembertonchamber.com/.You could easily do a day trip to Vancouver from Whistler — the drive takes about two hours each way, longer if you hit construction on Highway 99 (also called the Sea to Sky Highway), which is undergoing major upgrades for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Check on construction delays at www.seatoskyimprovements.ca.

— Kristin Jackson, The Seattle Times

If you have a question about travel, ask us. Go to www.seattletimes.com/travel (scroll down to the middle of the page to "Ask Travel") to submit a question. We'll answer as many as we can, but are unable to answer all due to the volume of submissions.

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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