We woke up early on Monday, rented a car, and set off for Whistler Mountain. Whistler is a ski resort, about 75 miles from Vancouver, where many of the Olympic events will be held in 2010. It is just as fun a destination in the summer, where there are all kinds of activities to do – hiking, ziplining, rafting, you name it. There are also a few ways to get to Whistler – you can take a train, you can take a sea-plane. We opted to drive so that we could keep our own schedule.
The drive up was beautiful – there was a bit of construction as the freeway is being widened in preparation for the Olympics, but it didn’t distract from the scenery. We passed a few waterfalls on the way up and made a mental note to stop and see them on the way back.
We arrived in Whistler Village, the main resort area, at lunch time, so we stopped at one of the cute restaurants with an outdoor patio for some food.
The first thing that struck me about Whistler was all the mountain bikers! The mountain is an amazing bike course in the summer, and there were just hundreds of young people with helmets and kneepads on, with bikes in tow, wandering around the town.
After lunch we went and bought tickets for the gondola, which would take us up the mountain. These were small gondolas, almost like enclosed chair lifts, – so we had one to ourselves. It was a 25 minute ride up to 6000 feet. We could see all the bikers below, and then as we started to get higher and higher, the scenery became more and more breathtaking.
At 6000 feet, you depart the gondola, and can either hike around at that level, or take a chair lift up to the peak which is 7000 feet. We wanted to take the chair lift up so badly, but at that height, the mountain is just covered in snow. We were both in shorts, and doing the chair lift we just might freeze our asses off, so we decided against it. Instead we hiked around for about two hours – it was absolutely beautiful up there.
We headed back down the mountain on the gondola after a good hike, and stopped for a gelato. Then we wandered around all the shops for a while before getting back into the car and heading back towards Vancouver.
On the way home, we stopped at two waterfalls – Brandywine Falls and Shannon Falls – both were incredibly spectacular. We also pulled off the road to a vista point and took some photos. It was such a beautiful area.
The next day we drove over to Lynn Canyon Park, which is in North Vancouver, with the hopes of braving their suspension bridge and then doing some hiking. Unfortunately their suspension bridge was closed, though, so we decided to drive over to Capilano to their suspension bridge and park.
The bridge actually looks scarier when you are looking at it from afar than it is when you are walking on it, although it does move quite a bit. On the other side of the bridge, we walked around the forest and went through some smaller suspension bridges which connected a number of the tree tops. It was fun and I can now say that I have crossed this:
On Wednesday we went back to Granville Island to check out all the shops and galleries that are there, and then yesterday I had a lovely spa day, and a rare night off work, which I used to relax – I went back to the Whip for dinner and then watched a movie. Today is all about packing up trunks, as our time in Vancouver is coming to an end. On Monday we fly to Edmonton.
It has been such an amazing month. Not only was it a much needed break from all the travel, but it was a fantastic city to get to know, and being able to take advantage of all the outdoor activities the city and the surrounding areas have to offer, was the perfect summer break. I definitely recommend coming here if you are ever looking for a good vacation spot!
That’s all for now – see you in Edmonton!