Visit a ski resort in the summer? Absolutely! Whistler, in the Canadian province of British Columbia, is a classic example.
In addition to hiking and mountain biking, one can enjoy a sunny day strolling along the car-free pedestrian core of the town. Flowers bloom luxuriantly everywhere, and travelers pack the outdoor restaurants and bars. We had to get up early to snap this picture of the streets before the crowds came out.
When you are ready for some high altitude fun, hop on a chairlift and take in the views from the top of the mountain.
A unique feature of Whistler is the Peak to Peak gondola, connecting Whistler mountain with Blackcomb mountain next door. This gondola boasts the longest unsupported cable span in the world – – an incredible 1.9 miles (!!!) of free-hanging cable between support towers. While riding it, suspended over the valley between the two mountains, you just cross your fingers and hope the engineers did the correct calculations for the strength of the cables!
From the top of the mountain, long-range views of snow covered peaks can be seen in all directions.
The impressive stone monuments found at Whistler are a nod to the First Nations, as the Canadians refer to the indigenous peoples. This human-like form is repeated in multiple places, signifying danger or indicating the correct direction.
While riding the chairlifts at lower elevations, don’t forget to look down. The slopes are covered with beautiful wildflowers.
Rushing rivers have a chalky tint, due to the so-called “flour” of dissolved rock in the glacial meltwater.
When you are ready for a more quiet experience, head out of town and hike the trail to Garibaldi Lake, just south of Whistler. The trail climbs steadily through an evergreen forest…
Past some eerie stands of trees covered in moss…
Until you reach your destination, Garibaldi Lake. No roads lead to here, so unless you happen to have a helicopter or airplane, hiking is the only way to see this glacier-fed wonder.
After this mountain experience, it was time to head back down to sea level and take the ferry to Victoria, the capital of the Province of British Columbia. We will report in from there soon.