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Whistler August Long WeekendGo to Slide Show

Making the most of a long weekend!


Whistler is where Helen and I had our first "date" a trip, and one year we had a May Long weekend in a big house here.  I've been here hiking (Whistler Peak and Harmony Lake) and I have visited for a walk around at the top.  I once say Bare Naked Ladies play here (at the peak) and I've brought friends from overseas here for a walk around.  This year we were trying to figure out what to do with the August Long Weekend (stay in town?  go to a destination) and we decided to try Whistler for a long weekend get away!

Day 1: Shopping!

We knew we didn't want to hike both days so we had to fill in day with not hiking.  There is plenty of shopping around the village and the kids always need something - this time it was sun glasses.  We walked from Whistler village to blackcomb village and found a drop in kids entertainment area - rides were 12 dollar each.

Claira Jumping On MachineNara Jumping On MachineTom Antil At Farmers Market


After we got back, I wanted to try out a rock hounding site I read about in a book.  In a cutting at the side of the road (about 5 minutes from our place) there are rocks with small cubes of pyrite.  The rock is quite soft so little hands can break the cubes out easily.



Nara Breaking Out CubePyrite Cubes In Tray

We tried another place that was supposed to have quartz crystals.  The road was blocked by campers so didn't get to find it.

Day 2: Go to Peak to Peak!

Our big hiking day!  From walking around the day before, we noticed the line up at the Whistler base was much larger than the line up at the Blackcomb base.  Since the goal is to go up both mountains and our place was roughly equal distance to both, we decided to start with Blackcomb.  After paying 200+ dollars for the tickets for the whole family, we basically walked into a gondola and started riding up.

Claira In HammockNara And Claira Walking To LiftsOnboard Gondola

Riding Gondola Up
The kids have been in lots of gondolas - Squamish, Hell's Gate, Grouse (many times) and in Japan.  The trip up Blackcomb is long and you can see the plants change as you go up.  Roughly half way up you could see meadows full of red Indian Paintbrush, but by the time you get to the top, there was none.


Marmot With Green Lake Behind
We got off the gondola to not very busy mountain top and promptly saw a marmot - right next to the edge of the plaza.  The animal was very patient - lots of people wanted photos.  It seemed the flies are what really drove him away.

Marmot On RockMarmot Portrait

Family In Front Of Glacier
Our plan was to hike the Alpine Loop - roughly 1.4 km.  At this elevation there are trees and lots of different micro climates with flowers and ground cover.  The trail was wide and flat.


I was surprised the Alpine plants were in full bloom - we really hadn't planned it that way.  This has been a somewhat cool summer so other years they may be blooming earlier.

  LupinFleabane Side OnPink And White HeatherTowering Lousewort

Hiking With View Of Whistler Behind
There were views as we hiked the small loop.  The kids haven't done multi hour hikes up the side of a mountain so they may not appreciate how premium hiking when you start in the alpine is. 

Hiking In Rock Zone

  Helicopter Leaving Base Station

As we came back to the lift station area, we spotted more marmots nibbling plants and running around.  We heard a helicopter starting up and quicken our pace so we could see it take off and fly down towards town.

Flies Bothering Marmot

It was nearing lunch time so we decided to try out the peak to peak gondola and then have lunch at the Whistler peak.  Again, the gondolas were mostly empty so the kids had no problems getting window seats.
 
  Riding Peak To Peak GondolaGlaciers Gondola And Blackcomb From Gondola
 
  After lunch, the crowds were getting heavier.  We decided to walk over to the peak express and take the chair lift to the peak.  The walking route there is obviously designed to support large crowds.

Crowd Walking To ChairliftWhite Mountain Heather Flowers

Taking Chair Lift To Peak
The kids have been on chair lifts before for skiing so this wasn't a new experience for them.  I was impressed by the starkness of the terrain - it is mostly rock, snow and lost items.   While you are safe on the chair, it does feel strange being suspended so high over terrible landing.

Snow And Rocks Near PeakDownloading On Chairlift
The top of Whistler really is an experience.  There is still a signpost I saw 15 years ago.  What was once a hiking high point is now overrun with people that just stepped off the lift.  Roads and wide trails have been cut everywhere.  Amazingly, there are still plants grows in the rocks but those plants have a lot more traffic (and construction) to deal with.
 
Mountain Top SignBlack Tusk BehindGirls By Suspension Bridge


The top of Whistler is quite different plants wise than the hiking trails around Blackcomb.

Moss CampionMountain SorrelChipmunk Climbing Rocks

Spreading PhloxSmall Flower BeardtongueSilky Phacelia

Downloading From Peak

The download limit on the peak express is 50% so we started worrying about our ability to get off the peak.  We waited in line and took a chair lift back down to lift base.  From there we walked to the Roundhouse lodge and got the kids ice cream.   It's now 2:30 - probably the hottest part of the day and there a line ups everywhere except down.  After a last look around, we got into a gondola and went down to Whistler village.

Claira With Ice CreamNara With Ice Cream

Evening - Stars Over Green Lake

I understood we were nearing the start of the Pleiades meteor shower.  They fall from the North East so I needed a good view in that direction.  You can't get a ride up to the peak at night and being in the village, mountains crowd your view.  I figured lakeside would be a good view and I found a good spot near where the airplanes land to take in the view.

North Pole Star Trails


There were a few surprises. The highway on the far side of the lake at points faced where I was standing so I got considerable glare from the traffic lights.  Second surprise was the Northern Lights!  At the time I could see a bit of glow, but I thought it was from the night lights performance near cougar mountain.  Reading later, I found out the Northern lights were brighter than normal. 

I did see a few meteors, but not the shower everyone hopes to see.

Day 3: Lost Lake

Google never ceases to amaze me.  When we got Whistler, the news on my phone changed to favor Whister news instead of Vancouver news.  The news in Whister was Lost Lake was closed to protect newly mobile toads on their migration.  We decided to take a walk over to see what was going on.
 
Toad Migration SignGirls Walking To Lost Lake 

Toads In Moss
As you get close to the lake, you see volunteers telling people to get off their bikes and helping toads that have found themselves in harm's way.  The toads are tiny and numerous - they are so small they are hard to spot, especially when mixed in with forest litter. 

Toadlet Climbing CloverToad In Pebbles

Threeleaf Foamflower

  The kids enjoyed seeing the little toads.  We walked out, got in the car and drove back to Vancouver.  The small attractions on the way home - Brohm lake, Brandywine falls, Shannon falls were all completly crazy - long lines of cars trying to get into already full lots and cars parking on the highway.  We were glad our weekend was mostly done.


 


Chipmunk Climbing Rocks
Toads In Moss
Species: Bufo boreas (Western Toad)
Altitude: 695m (2280 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: amphibian
Small Flower Beardtongue
Species: Penstemon procerus (littleflower penstemon)
Altitude: 2169m (7116 feet)
Location: Go To...
Taking Chair Lift To Peak
Person: Claira, Helen, Nara
Claira With Ice Cream
Person: Claira
Altitude: 1840m (6036 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: ice cream
Crowd Walking To Chairlift
Altitude: 1823m (5980 feet)
Location: Go To...
Spreading Phlox
Species: Phlox diffusa (Spreading Phlox)
Altitude: 2156m (7073 feet)
Location: Go To...
Onboard Gondola
Person: Claira, Helen, Nara
Altitude: 709m (2326 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: cable car
Nara Jumping On Machine
Altitude: 679m (2227 feet)
Location: Go To...
Glaciers Gondola And Blackcomb From Gondola
Altitude: 1597m (5239 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: cable car
Claira Jumping On Machine
Altitude: 680m (2230 feet)
Location: Go To...
Toadlet Climbing Clover
Species: Bufo boreas (Western Toad)
Altitude: 700m (2296 feet)
Location: Go To...
Silky Phacelia
Species: Phacelia sericea (Silky Phacelia)
Altitude: 2156m (7073 feet)
Location: Go To...
Hiking With View Of Whistler Behind
Altitude: 1923m (6309 feet)
Location: Go To...
Marmot Portrait
Species: Marmota caligata (Hoary Marmot)
Altitude: 1869m (6131 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: alpine
Riding Peak To Peak Gondola
Altitude: 1850m (6069 feet)
Location: Go To...
Hiking In Rock Zone
Person: Claira, Helen, Nara
Altitude: 1921m (6302 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: hiking
Nara With Ice Cream
Person: Nara
Altitude: 1840m (6036 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: ice cream
North Pole Star Trails
Pink And White Heather
Species: Phyllodoce empetriformis (Pink Mountain-Heather), Cassiope mertensiana (western moss heather, white heather)
Altitude: 1887m (6190 feet)
Location: Go To...
Girls By Suspension Bridge
Person: Claira, Nara
Altitude: 2162m (7093 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bridge
Toad In Pebbles
Species: Bufo boreas (Western Toad)
Altitude: 695m (2280 feet)
Location: Go To...
Downloading From Peak
Family In Front Of Glacier
Person: Claira, Helen, John, Nara
Marmot With Green Lake Behind
Species: Marmota caligata (Hoary Marmot)
Altitude: 1869m (6131 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tom Antil At Farmers Market
Altitude: 689m (2260 feet)
Location: Go To...
Toad Migration Sign
Person: Nara
Altitude: 708m (2322 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: sign
Helicopter Leaving Base Station
Altitude: 1897m (6223 feet)
Location: Go To...
Flies Bothering Marmot
Species: Marmota caligata (Hoary Marmot)
Altitude: 1920m (6299 feet)
Location: Go To...
Pyrite Cubes In Tray
Tags: rockhounding
Downloading On Chairlift
Altitude: 1838m (6030 feet)
Location: Go To...
White Mountain Heather Flowers
Species: Cassiope mertensiana (western moss heather, white heather)
Altitude: 1803m (5915 feet)
Location: Go To...
Marmot On Rock
Species: Marmota caligata (Hoary Marmot)
Altitude: 1870m (6135 feet)
Location: Go To...
Threeleaf Foamflower
Species: Tiarella trifoliata (Threeleaf Foamflower)
Altitude: 699m (2293 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara And Claira Walking To Lifts
Altitude: 704m (2309 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: gate
Mountain Sorrel
Species: Oxyria digyna (mountain sorrel)
Altitude: 2156m (7073 feet)
Location: Go To...
Claira In Hammock
Altitude: 793m (2601 feet)
Location: Go To...
Moss Campion
Species: Silene acaulis (Moss Campion)
Altitude: 2156m (7073 feet)
Location: Go To...
Girls Walking To Lost Lake
Altitude: 680m (2230 feet)
Location: Go To...
Mountain Top Sign
Person: Claira, Nara
Altitude: 2173m (7129 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: sign
Riding Gondola Up
Person: Nara
Altitude: 905m (2969 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: cable car
Snow And Rocks Near Peak
Altitude: 2145m (7037 feet)
Location: Go To...
Black Tusk Behind
Person: Claira, Nara
Altitude: 2162m (7093 feet)
Location: Go To...
Lupin
Altitude: 1914m (6279 feet)
Location: Go To...
Fleabane Side On
Species: Erigeron peregrinus (Subalpine Fleabane, Subalpine Daisy)
Altitude: 1913m (6276 feet)
Location: Go To...
Towering Lousewort
Species: Pedicularis bracteosa (Towering Lousewort)
Altitude: 1914m (6279 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara Breaking Out Cube
Person: Nara
Tags: rockhounding
Tags: cable car(3), rockhounding(3), ice cream(2), sign(2), bridge(1), hiking(1)
People: Nara(11), Claira(8), Helen(4), John(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > John's Overnight Page > Whistler August Long Weekend

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Last Modified Sunday, September 8th, 2019 at 22:28:35 Edit
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