Early Hiking and Biking at Whistler

It's been a crazy month and a half, and it's taking me quite a while to get caught up on looking at photos, and getting to making updates on the web site. Who knows when I'll be all caught up, but I'll keep at it!

Justine was away for work last week, and came home fairly late Friday night. Saturday, we were scheduled to drive up to Whistler to spend the weekend with our friend Graham, who was in town to do some mountain biking. Graham's a big downhill rider, and while we weren't going to join him in the bike park, we were looking forward to doing some hiking and some cross country mountain biking on our new bikes!

 There was still a lot of snow up top of the mountain - summer hasn't quite arrived yet.

There was still a lot of snow up top of the mountain - summer hasn't quite arrived yet.

We had a reasonable start to the day, and were headed up to Whistler by late morning. The weather wasn't all that nice - lots of grey clouds and wind - but we still wanted to get up and enjoy the weekend. Graham had managed to score access to a great house through some friends, and so we have a cheap place to crash for the night. It makes all the difference in the world!

Our home for the night.

Once we arrived, we managed to track down Graham before he headed up for a lesson. As we had the whole afternoon, we decide to take the gondola up, and do some hiking. It was early in the season, and we wanted to see the snow walls - we weren't disappointed.

Justine on the gondola, on the way up to Whistler Roundhouse

We took the gondola up, then walked over to Peak Chair to take the chairlift all the way to the top. It was pretty cold, and once we arrived that the top soon discovered that the hike we were hoping to do was still closed, as there was too much snow. That was too bad, so we decided to just hike back down to the main lodge via the snow wall hike. 

We did hike up to one lookout that required crossing a bit of late season snow.

We had a bit of a view of Black Tusk, before the clouds moved back in.

The start of the trail back down to Roundhouse, through all the snow.

Part way down the road, the walls started to get pretty tall...

We found some new friends along the way...

Then the snow walls got huge!

The walk itself was pretty easy. It is the access road that they dig out at the end of the season to get access to the peak, but there's a lot of snow! It was super cool walking down though the massive canyons. Eventually they started to shrink, and we got back to Roundhouse where the snow was pretty much gone.

Once we got back to Roundhouse, we sat on the deck and enjoyed the afternoon. It was cool, but manageable. There were great views out over the valley, and we had a Clark's Nutcracker hanging around looking for some handouts.

Peak to Peak Gondola, heading over to Blackcomb

The view out from the patio at Roundhouse

On the gondola ride back down, we got treated to lots of bears! We saw three solo (I assume males), browsing on different parts of the ski slopes. Then further down, right at the mid station of the gondola, there was a mother with two cubs. She was barely a hundred meters or so from quite a lot of people, and the Whistler team was doing what it could to keep people away.

Momma bear and cubs browsing right on the bike trails

Second view of the bear and her cubs, from the gondola

The map of our hike, including the ride up the gondola.

After the ride back down, we hung out in the village and waited for Graham. We enjoyed the downtime, had a drink and then headed for dinner once Graham caught up with us. Dinner was good, but before long we headed back to the house had had a relaxing evening.

We got up at a reasonable time on Sunday morning. Graham headed out a little before us to head to the bike park. We were staying on the trails around the village, so we didn't need to rush. We drove over to the village, then headed out on our bikes. We made a quick stop to check out the sculpture that our friend James has set-up along the river, between the main and upper villages.

James' amazing sculpture

We ended up riding for a few hours, and had a great time. I'm getting much more confident, and riding some things I wouldn't have ridden in the past. Justine had a fall that looked bad to begin with, but ended up being not too bad - just a few scrapes.

A map of our biking around Whistler

Around lunch time, we met Graham for lunch, then called it a day. We still had to drive back to the city, and there was lots to do at home before getting ready for another week.