Canada - Whistler - Day 14
If yesterday was our chill day then today was to be our thrill day.
We had a leisurely breakfast and get ready before we set off on foot to the Whistler Gondola. I had pre booked tickets and soon collected this and we were on our way some 3 miles up the mountain.
We were not too sure what to expect but the long journey passed quickly chatting to an American lady and her daughter who come every year to Whistler to go hiking. We knew that there was a newly opened suspension bridge at the top. What we hadn't realised was that we needed to go up another open chairlift to reach it. These really scare Karen. Our Gondola companion described in such a terrifying way to really put the fear of god into her. She talked about the sheer drop on the chairlift over the Ice field and then how once we reached the bridge how much it really swayed as you walked across it.
By the time we got off I had a real challenge in getting Karen to even consider undertaking the 10 minute walk to the Chairlift to what is called 'Top of the World' actually the true summit of Whistler Mountain. By the time we got there Karen had plucked up courage and as there was no queue we got onto the chairlift. She was very brave over the 11 minute journey which was quite hairy.
We were surprised how warm it was at the summit. The only real shame was that the forest fires meant that there was a smoke haze that was not only blocking a lot of the sun but almost meant that we could not see anything of what apparently spectacular vistas.
The suspension bridge was between two peaks and swayed precariously as we walked across it. It did make it almost impossible to walk without holding on firmly with both hands. There was also a triangular platform that jutted out from the mountain and Karen actually felt more nervous on this than the bridge. Because of the smoke haze both the bridge and platform looked more impressive from a distance than the views we could actually see from them.
After wandering around for a while we then took the open chairlift back down the main Gondola station, still some 3 miles up the mountain. We decided that Karen had more than earned a coffee so grabbed some drinks from the cafe and sat outside on the patio to enjoy them.
It was then time for the Peak 2 Peak Gondola. This took us from way up Whistler Mountain to way up Blackcombe Mountain. It is the highest cable car in the world and with the longest distance between pylons ever of 1.88 miles. Essentially this is the gap between the two mountains. There was an option to wait for a glass bottomed Gondola however there was no way Karen would have got in that one and we had been told it wasn't worth the extra wait.
It is the longest ride I have ever ridden. I must admit when got to the pylon with the start of the long gap it was a 'Wow' moment. We could not see the next pylon at all. We dropped with the cable droop. We were so high up over the forest below it was like being in an airplane. There was absolute silence and it hardly seemed like we were moving.
I have to admit I felt relieved when eventually we reached the next pylon and Karen started breathing again.
Once we had safely alighted we went to the cafe on this mountain and had some lunch. Once refuelled we decided to attempt the Alpine Trail on Blackcombe mountain. This was a short 60 minute trail and we took advantage of the opportunity of borrowing free hiking poles to try out. At times this trip it had seemed we were the only people not using them. The trail was pleasant but steep in places although it was disappointing that we were about 2 weeks too late to see the Alpine Flowers at their best. The trail was still pretty though and at the end we came across 2 marmots basking on a rock.
We then took the Peak 2 Peak Gondola back to Whistler mountain and it was no less scary the second time.
By this time we thought we deserved a proper drink at the great bar we had seen on Whistler mountain. It was an idyllic setting and a real sun trap. We had a couple of chilled glasses of wine. The price was rather steep but its not everyday you get to sit in the sun on the top of a mountain chilling out. Now we put it down to the thinness of the air but we felt the impact of the alcohol straight away, which led us to immediately having another. We had a good chat with the barman who was an exuberant character and lots of fun.
We then got the Gondola back down to Whistler village and walked back to the apartment where relaxed for a while.
For dinner we walked back through the village to an ubiquitous Irish Bar which pop up everywhere we go. This had a good rating for food and it did not let us down. Afterwards we wandered back through the still busy village which by now was twinkling with lights to bring a thrilling day to a close. It was one where Karen took on a number of challenging things for her and met them all, I was very proud of her.