Wow. Every time I’ve been surrounded by mountainous grandeur, that’s about the only word I can conjure up. I do believe that these wonders are one of the most beautiful things to behold. Awesome. Overwhelming. Amazing. Indescribable. Okay, I guess I can come up with a few more words. 🙂
I was so fortunate to be able to spend a day surrounded by scenic beauty in Whistler, British Columbia during my stay in Vancouver a few weeks ago. My parents and I woke up early on a Friday and made the 1½ hour drive to this ski destination which also played host to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
The drive to Whistler along the Sea-to-Sky Highway has to be one of the most beautiful drives in the world. Continuously spectacular views the entire way. I wanted to stop and take pictures every mile or so but we were on a mission to have breakfast on the top of a mountain and my growling stomach would allow no delays in getting there!
Unfortunately, once we arrived we were informed that our breakfast destination, Crystal Hut, was closed for the season. Sad face! So we picked up warm drinks and breakfast sandwiches at a Starbucks in the village. C’est la vie.
We grabbed some maps and decided to start our day in Whistler with an easy hike to Lost Lake. After walking around the village a bit, we headed to the trailhead. The only problem was, we took the wrong trail. We found out later that we were literally just yards from the correct one. C’est la vie (again).
But we enjoyed walking along this trail (prior to realizing it was the wrong one) and keeping our eyes out for any bear sightings. We passed so many trees with bear claw marks on them so we knew they were around somewhere.
Once we realized we had gone the wrong way, we had already walked about a mile in the opposite direction that we needed to go. I was not to be deterred in our quest to find Lost Lake so we headed back, taking a different route this time. We finally found the Lost Lake Cross Country Ski Trail and were happily on the correct route to the lake. It only took about thirty minutes to get there and we were rewarded with some beautiful views.
And tadpoles. The lake was filled with them! I hadn’t seen a tadpole in years so I caught one in my hands with some water and carried it over to my Mom to show her, where she then proceeded to point out a sign warning against picking up, touching or otherwise disturbing the tadpole population. Oops. Back into the water it went!
After our lake adventure, we walked to the Blackcomb Day Lodge. Whistler has two ski mountains: Blackcomb and Whistler. Whistler Mountain was closed for the season but Blackcomb was still open. We each purchased lift tickets then made our way outside to the chairlifts and before we knew it, we were being whisked up the mountain!
Just wow. Again. So, so, so beautiful. The more breathtaking views were behind us as we ascended up the mountain, but we still enjoyed the peaceful silence while watching the landscape below us change drastically from lush, rocky and green to bright, snowy and white.
My parents have never experienced riding in a chairlift before so their first chairlift exit onto icy snow while wearing tennis shoes was quite amusing! But we managed to avoid any absolute wipeouts. 🙂
The second chairlift took us even higher up the mountain to the highest point that us non-skiers could ascend this day. First order of business was lunch! We entered the Rendezvous Lodge, grabbed some grub, tried to find an empty table outside, and finally settled on a table inside by the windows.
Immediately after finishing our lunch we headed back outside to start taking an inordinate amount of photos. The views were just so ridiculously beautiful, almost like a drug – we couldn’t look away!
After an hour or so we had to start making our way back to the lifts as it was nearing closing time. The ride down was even more enjoyable than the ride up because we now had a completely unobstructed view of innumerable snow-capped mountain peaks as well as front row seats to the snow boarders and their tricks. Enter: another few dozen photographs (and some video).
Back on non-slippery ground, we sniffed out a place that made Beaver Tails (the food, not the actual animal 🙂 ) and each bought one.
There were two places we saw on the drive to Whistler that we wanted to visit on our return trip back to Vancouver. One was the Tantalus Lookout near Squamish that had some incredibly amazing views, and the other was Shannon Falls, also near Squamish.
Unfortunately, the location of the sun at this hour made photographs at the overlook not quite as grand as they would have been earlier in the day so that was a bit disappointing. What wasn’t disappointing? Shannon Falls.
I really do believe this is the most spectacular waterfall I’ve ever seen (my apologies to Niagara Falls). So, so amazing. None of the photos we took even come close to doing these falls justice! It was so high and the water flowing (thundering!) down it was beautiful, clear and blueish.
Such a perfectly lovely day that none of us will soon forget!
The following day was my parents’ final full day in Vancouver and we kept it pretty low-key: breakfast again at Cafe Orso (amazing avocado toast, anyone?), hike back up Quarry Rock with my dad, walk into town for shopping and gelato with my mom, take-out dinner from InGrain Pastificio (loved!). The next morning I dropped them off at the airport and bid them adieu.
I was sad to see them go as I really, really enjoyed spending time with them in one of my favorite places while exploring and doing, seeing and eating new things! I can’t wait to return with them someday and experience even more that Vancouver has to offer! Especially some of the things I got to experience during the next three weeks I was there by myself… 🙂