Sunday, 29 July 2007

Whistler...you asked for photos

I just got back from Whistler...Brrr, was it cold! Just joking. Ashley took this first picture when he was there with some work buddies in February 2005. He had never skied before, but they took him up the top and left him to his own devices anyway (I guess they didn't want a novice raining on their parade). He came home black, blue and very sore from his falls and near misses into the trees.


This trip I went up with a friend. She and I dared a trip away with the kids, leaving the guys at home to mind the house. Vancouver/Whistler is the future home of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, but the weather was all summer while we were there - it was grand.

There is so much to do in Whistler. In Winter it is "the place" to go for skiing and the like, so it never really occurred to me to go there in the summer.


Whistler is a village surrounded by mountains. There are two ski mountains, Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, apparently Cougar Mountain is being groomed as a third.

There are numerous trails one can walk during the summer, along with some upper level glacier skiing. At the feet of these mountains are a number of lakes, some glacial fed lakes filled with stunning, turquoise coloured water, while others are regular snow melt lakes; these tend to be dark in colour, mimicking the deep green colour of surrounding pines and fir trees.
We took the kids for a swim in Alta Lake one afternoon. They had a ball, but immediately afterward started complaining of "swimmers itch". It is fine to swim in these lakes, as long as you thoroughly wash yourself off afterward, which we attempted to do, but not well enough, so it seems. The kids were pratically climbing the walls on the trip home, panicking about their itchy legs....it was straight into the bath once we got back to the accommodation.
Whistler Village is a happening place; vibrant and humming, with a multitude of little shops and cafes to duck into and explore. Mountain biking is a huge deal during the summer months. While we were there they were having some kind of competition, that involved an elaborately designed course and some scarily high jumps, positioned at the far end of Village Walk - the shops. Some kid had a bad tumble on one of thsoe jumps while we were there. Not sure what happened exactly, but he was stretchered off the course and the ambulance collected him a short time later - hope he is alright.

There were other biking trails that people could take, further up the mountain as well, but the young people, all walking around with their massive bikes and mud splattered up their backs, brought a great vibe to the village.
Where there are mountians and snow, there must be rivers and the odd waterfall, so not wanting to miss the opportunity to view one, we took a hike to Nairn Falls; trundling single file along a narrow path that dropped straight into the raging Green River below. The rocks surrounding the falls were smoothe and slilppery, even while dry, the result of an ancient volcano that had once spewed lava over that very spot. It was incredible to think that we were standing upon ancient lava.

Salamanders, green tree frogs and the rubber boa constrictor live in the park surrounding Nairn Falls - not that we saw any of these creatures, much to Missy Mopp's disappointment, she was hoping to see the damn snake. Although we did not see any salamanders, we did see four black bears over the course of our stay: a young male (I am guessing) who had crept out of the forest along the highway. We imagined that he was hoping to cross over to the stream on the other side. The other chance sighting was while coming down Whistler Mountain on the gondola. We saw a mother bear with her two cubs, hiding in the shadows of the nearby brush; oblivious mountain bikers riding mere metres away....bit of a worry.
Speaking of the gondola...I think the 25 minute, 6000ft up gondola ride was the trip highlight for all the kids. We adults enjoyed it too, but also the mountain itself. Up there we were really able to take in the vast and breath taking scenery. There are a number of hikes one can take up there, some guided. We chose the 30 minute paleface loop trail, it was perfect for a family with small children. The kids also got a kick out of touching some of the small patches of snow that lay, left over from the winter.
A trip up the mountain is not cheap, $30 for one adult, or $50 for a day trip, but kids under 7 years are free, but when you think about it, you are paying to ride the gondola AND use the park and mountain, so really, it is actually pretty good value, and the scene atop is priceless anyway; well worth the money, even if we weren't up there to ski.

We had phenomenal weather the entire time we were there. We hiked and saw wildlife, and on top of all that, the four kids together were pretty well behaved. It was a great little get away - I would love to experience Whistler in the winter, but that will have to happen time. I doubt we will have the chance to get back there before we go, but I reckon I will remember our trip to Whistler forever.

5 comments:

Elizabeth said...

I enjoyed your trip. Thanks for the posting. Someday I'll get there. My sister went in September last year and loved it.

jeanie said...

Oh it sounds like you had a ball.

I am so glad you are getting to indulge in a little touristing (and us vicariously!) before you up stumps.

Tracey said...

Lovely pics and travel report. Now I want to go there too!

Kathleen said...

Thanks for sharing your trip and photos. What a beautiful area! My niece and her husband are up there every chance they get, and they just love it. Steve is into "extreme" sports of all kinds, and is a photographer too, so they go a lot. Now I know why! How grand that you are getting the opportunity to see lots of Canada before you head home.

Tori said...

Beautiful photos.
I am so glad that you were able to experience all this and share with us.