Breakfast on our fourth day (i woke up early to prepare & surprise the girls).
Excited from the adrenaline of anticipation, i woke up early and decided to keep my hands busy as my head thawed from slumber. No one else was in the kitchen, so i just let my mind wander and let my hands do the dancing. Today was a big day, so we decided the night before not to stuff ourselves as we did the day before and eat a light breakfast of cereal. Still, we are extravagant. One cannot simply have cereal plain hahahaha. Ours is fit for a king (or queen). I spend a little extra time to make everything look pretty. Sue me.
We finally get out on the road again, and back to Whistler Village. Today we are going to hit the peak and hike along the ridges. Katherine feels that the hiking will be more relaxing with less elevation since we have been getting a good workout for the past two days.
Riding the gondola up to the Roundhouse Lodge.
A little reward for us, which i gladly took.
We grab a gondola to the Roundhouse Lodge, which gives us a complete panaramic view of the village and the valley and the mountains in 360 degrees. Its quite beautiful and it only gets better and better the higher and higher we climb. We take every oppertunity to take pictures as we ascend. The first mini stop is where the bikers hop off the hit the bike trails. We continue to go deeper into the trees and the light fog, which turns into a heavy fog as we roll up into the cloud bank.
When we hit the top of the gondola, we are greeted with smiles as we exit to the lookout point. Cheers ^^! The wind is whipping us around along with the many Canadian flags waving frantically at the morning.
Taking pix from the vista point.
We take as many pictures as we can with the Red & White before our noses get cold and we retreat into the warmth of the Roundhouse Lodge. The ladies immediately make a rush for the floor and start shopping before i can get my hood off, hahahaha. Actually, i neglected to bring a beanie or head cover of any kind, and i left my wet gloves from the day before on my bed, so i ended up getting a fleece headcap & an official 2010 Winter Olympics gloves. Hurray for double lining. Sooo warm, and i would need it today more than ever.
On our way out, we stop to take some photos with a local bear. Not quite as charming as Yogi, but quite a warm heart within the mass of fur and blubber. The ladies highly approve and practically swing in his arms, peppering him with bear hugs hahaha.
Posing with a bear in the lobby.
Katherine ends up falling in love with a light blue jacket, even though she already has like 5 billion of them (she was wearing one when i first met her). It looks like it was custom made for her, and she wears it with a giant canadian smile hahaha! Treat that with a knit cap, complete with built-in pigtails...which is the style of the times apparently ^^. It is also a piece of 2010 Winter Olympic gear. We zip up, take one last luxurious bathroom break, and head back out to the ready and waiting outdoors. It greets us with an excited blast of winter mint. Fresh! We are also greeted by one of Canada's many informative signs. I ignore it as i shakey shakey to the trailhead. Cant stop the funk!
The start of our day begins underneath the Peak Adventure sign.
The trail behind it leads us to yet another chair lift, which will take us to the summit of Whistler Peak herself. One "can" hike up from the bottom of the hill to the summit, which is supposed to take only 14 hours. ONLY! I thank Katherine that she saw fit to start us off on the proper foot for today hahahaha, on training wheels. We take lots of pictures of our dangling feet over the many chasms and cliffs that we pass on our final ascent to the top.
So many big giant statues to say hello to. An Inukshuk stands at the summit, a First Nation landmark, which is the symbol of Vancouver and the official symbol for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Hurray, the day begins.
The word itself loosely translates to "something which acts for or performs the function of a person." Inukshuks are primarily used by the people of the Arctic regions of North America, from Alaska to Greenland. We have to fight for photo-op time here, very much like Disneyland, except that its freezing and the Inukshuk isnt as warm and fuzzy as Mickey or Donald Duck. We take a few snaps here and a few snaps there, and then a "classic" pose underneath the heavy legs. Classic in what sense, i dunno myself, hahaha, but snap snap snap and off we go.
The real trailhead begins behind the Inukshuk, leading down (wheee) into the foggy rocks, devoid of trees and vegetation at this point. A lookout point provides a panoramic area map, pointing out the distant peaks and landmarks, which cannot be seen in the white soup we are swimming in.
You can see the weather conditions as we make our way down to the next chair lift, that will take us up to the peak. Brrr!
As early as it is, a lot of people are already making their way "back" to the Roundhouse Lodge and greet us with heavy panting and heaving and cheerful hellos. Kelly stops here and stops there to take many of the beautiful photos you see imbedded in these pages, so we kinda mosey our way down, hopping and climbing on the boulders and rocks. Eventually, we dip below the alpine line and trees begin to sprout out of the fog. And then flowers, and vegetation. Our first trail marker is another fine (wooden) furry friend. He doesnt exactly point us in the proper direction, but we make a small pit stop and answer the calls from nature. We find it hard not to give something back when she has given so much to us already hahahaha.
Tah Dah...Whistler Peak.
Ahh how i miss leaning with my back against a giant boulder in the trees, ducking people on the trail.
There is a lot of traffic in the morning. Lots of people coming and going as we make our way traversing the hill around the backside of Whistler Peak. And by lots of people, i mean 10-12 hahaha. We pass by families having breakfast, and experianced hikers complete with ski poles and shorts. We are looking for Lake Cheakamus, but are not expecting to find it in the mist, when the sun comes out for the first time through the thick of it and reveals the beautiful and marvalous lake to us. It is long and elegant, curving around the base of the peak, probably a few miles below us. We will not be taking that trail down today, but we take many many many pictures with the lake, and the flowers, and the trees.
The inukshuk at the peak. It is the symbol of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. If you look closely at Katherine's hat, you can see the official Olympic label.
Actually, the flowers smell great up there. Quite aromatic and sweet, The scent permiates the air around us, almost like a subtle perfume, whispering on the wind. Not only do we get a great view, but we also get a sweet olfactory treat. The soundtrack unfortunately, is provide by yours truely as he pants and heaves for more air hahahaha. We are actually flying by my standards along the trail, and my head is pretty light and fluffy too, but quite grounded today. Small brooks and beds of pink and blue cross our path behind every turn. There is so much to see, so much to take in. At moments i steal a few seconds to close my eyes and fill my lungs with it all. Cramming it into my gut. Becoming one with the universe.
Apparently, this is the "tradition," but i suspect its Katherine's tradition ahahah!
The trail is quite dynamic. Sometimes it crosses a small creek. At times we have to climb up ropes tied onto trees. At times we have to crawl and climb rocks and boulders, metal grated walkways, slalom the trees as they shake hands (or limbs rahter) with our limbs on our passing. Its a lot of fun. More than i expected but well worth the effort.
As we hit the bottom of the first musical peak, it starts to snow. I mean it starts to SNOW!! Bonus. The snow is really falling lightly, so faintly that we couldnt get a good picture with it at all, so we just bum along and enjoy it, coming down over our heads, like falling feathers. Not in any hurry to come down, as we weave through the trees to go up to meet it.
The trail head is just behind the inukshuk. We make our way down for the first few miles.
I know i said back along the trail that i was stealing moments to become one with the universe, and i was not the only one to have a spiritual awakening there on Whistler. When the snow began to fall, Kelly suddenly feels the rapture of the outdoors, of the moon and the sky, of the mountains and the trees, and answers the calling. Its amazing how deeply one can become connected to the pulse of the universe, feel its current strong and steady, and realize that you are a part of it all, and it a part of you. You never come back with everything you left home with. You always leave a piece of yourself out there. And you take some of it with you, and cherish it for the rest of your life. Are you hungry enough to come and find it ^^?
The alpine landscape is awesome, even in the thick cloud bank.
Sun. Clouds. Wind. Snow. Clear. Snow Storm. Titanic photos. Clear and crispy alpine weather. Running mad around a small lake. This is my new home.