Wednesday, November 4, 2009

British Columbia trip revisited

I am back again from yet another trip, this time to the Oregon Coast with two of my daughters, my son-in-law and their 2 year old Macy. We had a good time, but I want to continue on with our Canada vacation.
We quickly decided the day after we arrived to do the most popular off-season attraction...ride the gondola's up the mountains. We looked at the weather report and found that it would be our best day for seeing the views afforded. It was brrrr! cold, but clear so we headed to the village. Our first obstacle was parking. They were busy fixing up a couple of the parking lots, so some were closed and parking is a big issue in Whistler. We drove around and around and around some more, along with dozens of other later-than-the-early-birds, until we finally snagged a spot where someone was leaving, along a woodsy road. We had to walk a ways, but that helped us get the lay of the land. We arrived at the bottom of the gondolas, to find literally hundreds of people waiting to go up. That's what happens when you go to a popular destination on a holiday week-end. This is one corner of the building where the Gondola ticket booths are. They have a gondola hanging there, showcasing what fun lies ahead. We decided on tickets for the 'peak-to-peak' gondola ride, where you ride one gondola to the top of Whistler mountain, then take another over to Blackcomb mountain, then repeat the process back.
We joined the throng waiting in line for tickets...
then joined another throng waiting in line to board the gondola. I had never seen so many mountain bikes and bikers before that day. This was a biker mecca. There were two different ways the bikers could go up the mountain...on a lift (4 at a time) or in a gondola (3 at a time). Once at the top they took extreme paths down the mountain, on ski trails and on specific bike trails. There were hundreds of young men and women enjoying the beautiful scenery and the thrill.

It was beautiful on the ride. We passed three lakes, and this one had such an unusually pretty color. There was some snow around as you can see, but also there was very pretty fall color in the shrubs and trees.

Here's Nancy and the insurance man enjoying the trip.

This photo shows the viewpoint at the top of Whistler. There is a restaurant there, and a lot of people.

Looking over the side I could see where some of the bikers took off from. It was hard to get their picture as they whizzed by so fast. There was always a steady stream of them taking off along this trail.

A picture of Whistler mountain from the viewing area.

Here's proof that we really were in Canada...and the flags were dramatic flying against the blue sky.
Glenn and Nancy enjoying the view.

Here is the gondola that took us on our next journey. It was much bigger (held more people) and sturdier. It needed to be, as the wind along the canyon was pretty intense.
This is a picture of us starting out on our route across this canyon to Blackcomb.

The scenery was immense, and made the gondolas look like little playthings. It was pretty far across, as you could hardly see the gondolas on the other side.

This is a photo from the middle of the canyon, and it was breathtaking! (Partly because of the cold)

A view from the top of Blackcomb...and the viewpoint there. Yes, we did make it across. It sort of looks like we're at the top of the world, and we felt like it.

A last photo from the top, along with a little girl we met on the ride. Her sister was too shy to get in the picture. We had a great time, and were so glad we rode to the top. No bikes there, just on Whistler. The views were tremendous, and it was a good start to our vacation.

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