Canada - Revelstoke - Day 10
Another planned early start had us enjoying our Motel breakfast before 8am again.
Today we were off to the Revelstoke Mountain Resort. This is not the same as Mount Revelstoke as we found out. The former is a private venture Ski resort and the latter the National Park. The very helpful lady on the Park entry booth said everyone makes the same mistake and gave us directions which were through the other side of town.
We were keen to get to the Mountain resort early as we had booked gondola tickets up the mountain and then to ride 'The Pipe' Mountain Coaster back down. The website had shown that after 9am the day before that the wait for the coaster down was 1 ½ hours.
The gondola up to the mid station was steep but enjoyable. The fun started as we waited in a short queue to ride 'The Pipe' back down. Basically Karen started to have second and then third doubts about doing it.
The coaster itself was rather like the Luge we had ridden before, except this time it was on a single monorail type track. It was just under a mile long down the mountain. You have full control of the speed but we could see that it did involve some tight bends and some very steep drops. Karen was frightened of having the person behind crash into her (even though it would have been me) despite the following person not being allowed to go until you have cleared a certain distance.
Despite my encouraging cajoling she wouldn't get in the coaster. So being the gallant husband, I went without her.
It was terrific and I want one at home. It was so much fun especially as some of the drops you could not see the bottom of until you were half way down them. Some corners were very tight and others were sweeping. I had a big grin all the way down.
I got in the gondola to go back up to meet back with Karen. I was disappointed she hadn't done it as it was far less dangerous than the Luge at Calgary where you had less control and you had idiots both over and under taking you. Then I was annoyed at how much it had cost for her not to do it!
Anyhow when I got to the top, Karen asked if I could have an extra go instead of her and they agreed. I was happy then. The second time they told me to go for it and so I did. I flew down and took some of the corners and dips at full pelt. I could have done it time and time again but at $24 per go that wasn't going to happen.
So for the third time in under a hour I got the gondola back up the mountain to meet Karen again. This time I think she wished she had overcome her fears and tried the coaster down .
Our ticket package had included the gondola ride to the next station up at the summit. This was a much longer and even steeper ride. The real shame was that the smoke from the forest fires was even worse today and we could only just make out things below us in the valley. There was a smell of burning in the air.
We decided to tackle one of the easy trails at the top called 'Cupcake'. There were plenty of notices that we were in Bear Country but we had left the bell in the car. Karen was nervous, very very nervous. Despite this we set off and it did seem like Bear territory. We had barely (!) set off when a couple of runners and their dog came up behind Karen without her knowing and gave her such a start that she screamed loudly thinking it was a Bear. They stopped and apologised for scaring her but then went on to say the number of times they had had Bear encounters on the mountain. That did nothing to settle Karen's nerves so that at the next bend we took a short cut back down to the Gondola station.
Foolishly rather than going straight back down to the next level we saw a sign saying Revelstoke Overlook 350m. As it seemed close to the Gondola station we thought we would be safe. This was true enough from the Bears, but not from the most vicious enormous horse flies were hunted us down in packs. We were bitten to pieces on the 350m there and back. As I write this I have 5 large lumps on my neck alone and numerous others all over. They were biting through our clothing as well. Nasty nasty creatures. From the overlook all we could see was Revelstoke dimly through the smoke haze.
We got the gondola down to the mid station where we thought we had earned a drink as by now the temperature was already approaching 30c. We sat out on the patio enjoying our drinks which came with free refills. Then we went further down to the base station and car park. After a quick walk round the resort itself which will be enormous when it is finished we left to go to Mount Revelstoke National Park.
The entrance to the park is called the Meadow in the Sky Parkway. After about 10 minutes drive up the mountain we stopped at a viewpoint to look at the view (of the smoke) and had a very pleasant picnic lunch on the benches provided.
Following this we thought we would drive to the Meadow at the top of the mountain. 20 minutes later we were still driving up and up and up around hairpins with no indication of how much further to go.
Finally we made it and typically the car park was full, despite us not seeing any other cars on the road for about 15 minutes. We were able to park on the road and decided to get out and investigate. The track to the very top was closed as there was a Grizzly Bear in the area but they were running shuttle buses instead. I think Karen would have chewed her own arm off rather than get on a shuttle into that area. So instead we walked around a Lake near the car park. Now to me, if we were going to have a Bear encounter it would have been here as it just felt like the sort of place like a pleasant lake that they would hang out.
There were other people about and we could hear the jingling of their various bear bells. We survived and made our way back to the car. Karen was mightily relieved. She was not impressed when I said it would probably be less painful to be mauled by a Bear than the suffering I was going through from all of my bites from the horseflies.
We then drove to Skunk Cabbage Trail (yes really) that we had passed driving into Revelstoke the say before. It was supposed to interesting and different. In doing so we passed close by to another Forest Fire that was burning close to the road. The trail itself was a bit like Ranworth Broad but better in the things we could see but not as well maintained. It was meant to be a loop but part of it was closed for repair so we had to double back on ourselves. At least we were not getting bitten to death on the walk. Apparently Bears like to eat the flowers from the Skunk Cabbage in the springtime.
After a short chill time back in our room we went back out into downtown for the evening. We ate again at The Village Idiot. This time we sat at the bar. We both quite enjoy doing this and struck up conversations with both of the guys working the bar. The place was heaving and we had a fair wait for our food to come out but it was well worth it. Karen had a couple of 'flagons' of wine to wash it down. I had a Poutine starter which had a very generous portion of curds with it.
We then went down the Main Street and sat down to enjoy the Revelstoke Grizzly Bear Music Festival. Tonight it was a Mexican band called Son de Madera, who were excellent. It sounded very Spanish in the style and their playing was amazing. We stayed until the end and then meandered back to our room for the night.
Writing these blogs has made me conscious of how narrow my vocabulary is (as well as how poor my grammar is when I read them back a few days later). I am still in the routine of writing them as Karen gets ready for bed. Then I have a quick edit in the morning and try to publish them before breakfast. In all it probably takes between 20 -30 minutes. Sometimes that shows. I'm not too sure how I can expand my vocabulary so that is something I shall cogitate on.