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.
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.
We tried another place that was supposed to have quartz
crystals. The road was blocked by campers so didn't get to
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
The top of Whistler is quite different plants wise than the hiking
trails around Blackcomb.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.