Posted on July 4, 2011
Canada Day? One of the weird things you encounter when living in a foreign country is that you have no idea when the public holidays are. Were it not for my colleague who sits next to me, I would’ve come in on Friday not knowing that it was a long weekend. So when I heard I had three days off, I decided to go out and do some long overdue exploring.
Things have been pretty full on for me since I arrived in Canada, so I haven’t really seen what’s around Vancouver. And although it’s summer, Whistler seemed like a good destination.
From downtown it takes a bit over an hour to get there via the Sea to Sky Highway. It’s a great stretch of road with some good viewing points, and in some ways it reminds me of the Great Ocean Road. It’s super smooth, but the 80/90km/h speed limits and countless highway patrols made it a bit of a procession.
Hotels were fairly cheap considering as it wasn’t peak season. I stayed at the Nita Lake Lodge.
After a rather stressful week, I was tempted to just sleep all weekend. But that would’ve been a waste.
This was the view from the room. Totally serene. I could’ve sat out here for hours.
Initially I wanted to go fishing, but from my balcony I could see a guy fishing - and he hadn’t caught a thing all day. So instead I borrowed one of the hotel’s mountain bikes and went pedalling through some trails.
Saturday morning I caught a lift up Blackcomb as a few people had told me to check out 7th Heaven, which sits at the top of the mountain. To get there, I had to take two chair lifts, a bus, and then another lift.
This has been a weird summer. Most of the time the weather in Vancouver hovers around 15deg C, which is hardly warm! At the base of Whistler it was 21deg C, but as I progressed up the mountain the temperature dropped steadily.
Almost at the top! A word of warning to anyone who is planning to go up 7th Heaven: the wind is rather icy on the chair lifts, so wear warm clothes. It wasn’t a nice experience being battered by huge gusts of freezing winds and not being able to escape it!
Finally at the top, some 7000ft (2.1km) up in the air. This is the view from 7th Heaven. As there’s plenty of powder at the top of Whistler Blackcomb, quite a few people were still skiing and ‘boarding in spite of it being ’summer’. If you look closely you can see the lakes at the base of the mountains.
Afterwards I took a chair lift down and hopped onto the Peak 2 Peak gondola, which holds world records for having the longest unsupported span (3+km) and being the highest lift of its kind. Sadly, compared to the views at 7th Heaven the P2P gondola was a bit underwhelming.
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