Tiny-home living fascinates me. I've always been curious if I could live in a space no bigger than 700 square feet, letting go of the unnecessary scatter of my everyday life and instead only living with what "gives me joy", as Marie Kondo would say. Worrying less about materials and more about quality of life is so attractive to me. I'd also be more environmentally friendly than I ever have before. And they're mobile! All you need is property to plant it on and you're golden, which also means no mortgage payments. Heck yes! Long story short, it's been a lifestyle I've been pondering when I think about a future home (that and #vanlife), so what better way to get a taste of this trending lifestyle than to visit a home for myself?
A little research led me to this stunning tiny home in the beautiful mountain-flanked town of Squamish, BC - a city I see through my driver's window on my way to Whistler for a snowboarding trip, but one I've never actually explored. So, my friend Akanksha and I packed our bags and hit the road one Friday evening for a weekend stacked with sky-high adventures and tiny living.
This post is in partnership with The Luxury Tiny Home. All opinions, photos, and writing are my own.
When crossing the US/Canada border, the officer asked us the usual "where you headed?" and when we answered "Squamish," he asked with a confused face, "why?" Which means it's still the under-the-radar adventurer's paradise I assumed it would be. Located on the Sea to Sky Highway, Squamish's mountains literally meet the sea, attracting hikers, bikers, climbers, windsurfers, kite boarders, backcountry skiers, and the like with each activity typically just a 10-minute drive from the last. There's something here for everyone, and after each excursion, stop by town to pick up a local draft and some tasty food. It truly is a little slice of heaven tucked away at the tip of Howe Sound in Squamish Valley.
The Tiny Home
Maps wouldn't get us there, so Jenny, the property manager of the tiny home, provided detailed directions to the property. Some would say I have an affinity for off-the-grid locations for better or for worse, but luckily, everything went as planned this time around and I had no mountaintop car failures like I did on my last adventure (linked here). Her directions led us down a dirt road under power lines deep in Paradise Valley to the soft glow of cafe lights strung over the home's spacious deck and outdoor furniture; a welcoming sight after our long four-hour drive from Seattle! A fire pit and chairs are just out back. Two sliding glass doors mark the entrances to the tiny home, one which leads to the bedroom and the other to the full kitchen. Yes, there's a full on kitchen that's bigger than the one in my apartment. The white ship-lap walls complement the wooded counter tops and stainless steel appliances beautifully. Dishwasher, sink, fridge, oven, gas stove - you've got it all. Make sure to read through the welcome book upon your arrival for little-known hikes, delicious local eats, and exciting Squamish activities you won't be able to find anywhere else!
The design (inside and out) goes to the owner, Rachelle, who's vision was brought to life by Mint Tiny Homes, building this stunning escape from the ground up. She's a private chef, so the office space and the kitchen were her top priorities, earning the nickname "The Workhorse" from Mint Tiny Homes.
Looking right of the kitchen and you'll find the ladder to the king-size loft with wooden shelves and windows on each side; the bed is as wide as the home. Left of the ladder is a tiny "couch", if you will, and a TV is mounted under the ladder. The high ceilings are so crucial to the build! It felt so spacious in this tiny thing; if they'd been lower, I don't think that would've been the case.
The bathroom is in the center of the home, separating the back bedroom/office from the kitchen/living area. The tiled shower is spacious with a rainfall head and shampoo, conditioner, and body wash for your convenience. The sink sits across and the washer/dryer to the left of the sink with a large, full-length mirror adjacent to the washer that opens up to a closet. The toilet is a composting toilet, but one of the nicer ones I've seen by far. It requires you to empty the urine bucket at the end of your stay or when it gets full, which ever comes first, and the solids are turned over in the bin via a hand crank, creating compost right there in your bathroom. If you're clean about it, there's no smell at all!
Lastly, we have the back bedroom with a spacious desk and bar stools. The desk folds down and latches to the wall, which doubles as a Murphy bed. So rad.
And just down the dirt road, about a five minute walk away, is the added bonus of a suspension bridge over the Cheakamus River where we enjoyed our morning french-pressed coffee. Needless to say, this tiny home is the whole package.
Akanksha and I awoke to the sound of songbirds and the sun shining through the trees. After that suspension bridge coffee, we took off to our first stop: brunch at Big D's. I ordered the crab cakes and Akanksha indulged in the omelette, which we enjoyed while people watching on their outdoor sidewalk table.
Live music beckoned us down the road to the Saturday market where I couldn't help but order the Fully Loaded Doughnuts (yes, right after I ate that massive breakfast), which I enjoyed while browsing the carefully curated stands of jewelry, lavender products, photography, and more. The market is small and super easy to accomplish in 20-30 minutes or so, and that's if you take your time! We stopped in a few cute boutiques and plant shops in town that caught our eyes, like Wild and Heart and Billies Flower House pictured below, before driving the short 1.2 km to our next stop.
Sea to Sky Gondola
Sure, it's a little touristy - ok maybe a lot - but things are touristy for a reason! When you don't have the time (or stamina) to do a long or challenging hike during your Squamish stay, the Sea to Sky Gondola is a fantastic option. A 10-minute gondola ride takes you up 2,900 feet above sea level with sweeping views of Howe Sound and surrounding mountains the whole way up. Once at the top, hiking trails for soft adventurers branch out north, east, and south and each offer their own unique view or attraction. If you're feeling bold, take the trail from the base all the way to the top; we're not that hard core.
Fair warning, the trail map is blown up like crazy, so the hikes that look challenging are really no longer than 2 miles. To get to the "lake", you'll walk the road east by a massive bolder used for rock climbing, and down an unmarked trail to the right. It was cute if you have the time, but I'm not sure I'd do it again. The lookouts are way more breathtaking.
Adjacent to the gondola lies the lodge, complete with a bar, cafe, and two eateries accompanied by a view, and the epic suspension bridge that leads to an overlook, but don't stop there! Venture past the overlook on the trail until you find the bolder beyond where railings won't obstruct your view.
To the north is the Chief Overlook viewing platform, which is easily my favorite of the three. The hike leads you along a ridge with views of a massive waterfall and peaks to the east before looping around to the epic view over Stawamus Chief to the north and Howe Sound to the southwest.
There's a well-built, sturdy platform that extends over the cliff for prime viewing of the windsurfers below. The Spirit Viewing Platform, which we didn't get to, is a little further and offers views south over Howe Sound. Guess I'll have to go back! Gondola tickets are $43.95 CAD when purchased online 24 hours in advance.
Back at the base we decided it was time for a little pick-me-up, so we took off to Howe Sound Brewing for a local brew and poutine. We picked this place for the indoor/outdoor seating (we wanted to take advantage of the rare 80-degree day), its mainstay in Squamish culture, and its selection of local drafts of course!
The Squamish Valley was once known for the hops crop that supplied the British Empire. This particular establishment popped up in 1996 with the help of brew genius John Mitchell, who "co-pioneered North America's first modern craft brewery at Horseshoe Bay on BC's spectacular Howe Sound back in 1982, with the assistance of Frank Appleton," explains Howe Sound Brewing's website. "The pair began what has become known as the 'craft brewing renaissance.'" I ordered the Hazy Daze North East India Pale Ale and the Montreal Poutine with pulled pork. YUM
After eating our fill, we meandered over to a place I've had my eye on for some time to catch sunset. It's a small parking lot backed by a smooth rock face just south of Squamish on the Sea to Sky Highway; there simply had to be something epic on the other side, and this was our chance to find out.
A tiny scramble up a rock slab on the right edge of the parking lot takes you through bushes and over the glacially scarred rock for a stunning view over Squamish Valley and Howe Sound.
Post sunset, we decided to retire to our adorable home for a night full of cards, wine, cheese, and crackers. We had an early morning ahead of us.
This morning's wake up call was to the sound of a 4:30 a.m. alarm; not nearly as peaceful as the last, but adventure awaits! We took one of Jenny's and Rachelle's welcome book suggestions and followed her directions down the dirt road and past a collection of sleeping campers to the riverside trail entrance. She's asked me to keep the details under wraps to maintain the magic of this little-known hike, but a flip through her welcome book and the secret will be yours to keep.
We walked among power lines and over railroad tracks as the sun slowly creeped above the horizon. The lake, still and peaceful upon our arrival, couldn't have been more than a mile away. The only sound was the occasional songbird and our footsteps on the well-tread path. It was such an awesome way to start the day, but we were still super tired from our four hours of sleep, so we walked back down and took a long nap before packing up and heading home.
One Last Brunch
We made sure to stop by another of their recommendations for our last Squamish brunch at The Crabapple. This place was killer!! I ordered a latte and the bacon, avocado, and tomato eggs benny and Akanksha chowed down on a veggie hash on their enclosed patio.
And just like that, our weekend away in beautiful B.C. was over and real life awaited once more.
Thank you so much to Rachelle and Jenny for hosting us in her beautiful tiny home and making this trip possible!