Thursday, September 13, 2012

Getting there is half the fun.

The Turtle is on the march again. Tomorrow, we board a plane for England. We don't have a direct flight this time; we will stop in Calgary to stretch our legs, which is just as well.

Bustling downtown Whistler, B.C.
Meanwhile, we're in Vancouver, visiting grandbabies, relaxing for a couple of days before our flight. Except that today we decided to drive to Whistler. Neither of us had ever been there, and it sounded like a good idea. For the most part, it was. It turns out that in the case of driving to Whistler, getting there is half the fun, and getting back is the other half. The in-between part, actually being in Whistler -- not so much. I know, I know. Whistler is a dream vacation spot. People come from all over the world to take in the sights and hurtle off the mountains. To me, though, Whistler seemed not so much a village as a theme park, and I'm not big on theme parks. I suppose part of the problem is that I'm neither a skier nor an extreme mountain biker, so much of what Whistler is about is beyond my ken. We drove around in circles until we found a place to park for free -- in the market square -- then went to the IGA's deli and bought sandwiches for lunch. We sat on a bench and ate, then left Whistler, looking forward to checking out more of the sights on the way home.

Shannon Falls
On our way to Whistler in the morning, we had stopped at Shannon Falls Provincial Park. The falls were only a five minute walk from the parking lot.  On the way up the hill, we passed a group of tourists -- I couldn't quite place their accent -- photographing a slug on the walkway. I had to giggle. I remember when I first moved to B.C., how fascinating I found the slugs. I've become jaded. At the top of the path, we looked over at the falls. That was nearly the highlight of my day. At the time, I couldn't imagine seeing anything more lovely on our outing.

We drove past Squamish, and I commented that it was much smaller than I had thought. It turned out that Squamish is much bigger than it appears from the Sea to Sky Highway. On our way home, we did a little exploring in the town, and I decided I liked the place. We found our way to the harbour, and I talked to a man who was working near the dock. He pointed out the enormous rock known as The Chief, and explained to me that if I looked carefully, I could see the chief's headdress hanging down, his nose sticking up --- "He's lying back like this," said my guide, leaning over backwards. I looked, but I did not see. It was like when people say that clouds look like sheep, or Abraham Lincoln, or whatever. I seldom get it. No imagination. I nodded, though, as if it were all clear to me.

The Chief

Ice fields seen from Tantalus Overlook
 Back on the road, we stopped at viewpoints. Usually, we're really bad about that when we're driving. We point our noses at our destination, and we go. This time, we stopped to smell the roses. Oh, by the way, there weren't any roses, but there was air. Wonderful air. All along this trip, the air was delightful. We breathed consciously, reveling in the freshness of it. Anyway, we stopped at viewpoints. There was something called Tantalus Overlook, where we stopped to photograph a glacier in the distance. I had pulled off the road a few minutes earlier, because the ice field was spectacular and there were several cars pulled over, their drivers all out snapping photos. It was soon obvious, though, that this wasn't a safe place to stop, so I pulled back onto the road and looked for the next viewpoint. That was Tantalus, and it was nine kilometres on up the road. The view wasn't as good from there, but life and limb were a lot safer.

Looking west (I think), there were the ice fields -- not as spectacular as when we first saw them, but still cold and imposing.
Looking south from Tantalus Overlook

Looking south, the mountains were clear of snow (fine by me). We proceeded, and Howe Sound became more glorious with every moment. Finally, I said "I have to pull over and take another photograph." I was beginning to feel guilty. As you can see, though, it had to be done.
Glorious Howe Sound

From there, we made a beeline for home, where we heard the story of our eldest grandchild's first day in first grade -- and we had pizza. Exciting times.

Tomorrow, we'll be airborne. I hope to post next from Stratford-upon-Avon.


Rachel Fox said...

We were in all those places... June last year! M and h saw bears in Whistler (from the cable car) so it was worth the trip for that... and, as you point out, that beautiful drive there and back.

And we were in Stratford (England) in April this year... will we ever manage to be in the same place at the same time again..?


Linda said...

oHello Sandra, I'm so glad the Turtle is on the move again.
Kirsten and I went thru Whistler back in the early 90's and didn't really care for it. We loved the Okanagan and we loved Vancouver Island and I got to see my first Orca Whales on a Orca Whale site seeing trip. Beautiful area except for Whistler.

hugs to you and R

Sandra Leigh said...

Rachel, if you can manage a trip to the south during the next month, I'll take you for a boat ride!

Linda, I see that I'm not the only one who was underwhelmed by Whistler. That makes me feel better.

Sandra Leigh said...

Oops. Make that the next two weeks, Rachel. After that, we'll be back on land, staying in the New Forest. Then I could just take you for a walk!

Rachel Fox said...

Sadly no plans to be in England in next few months, never mind weeks! Enjoy Stratford though. We saw the Tempest... much enjoyed it too.

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