Thursday, August 2, 2018

Canadian Adventure

I did my homework ahead of time and found via ferrata in Whistler and knew I'd be doing it, even without my friend. (her idea of getting out of her comfort zone is asking me to go on vacation with her!)

Via Ferrata means "The Iron Way" and was started in WW1 to get over the Italian Dolomites!You can read about it HERE. I find the history of it fascinating. I have rock climbed before and wasn't interested in doing that, but this was similar but with rungs!

But, before that we had to take the gondola to the top of Whistler Peak. We then took another gondola to Blackcomb peak for hiking first. I'm not even sure I've been in a gondola before!!
Info: The record-breaking PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola links Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains. A feat of engineering, the gondola boasts the longest unsupported lift span in the world (3.024 kilometres or 1.88 miles). It is also the highest lift of its kind with an elevation of 436 metres (1,427 ft).

Isn't is beautiful??!!

We went back to Whistler mtn where our via ferrata adventure would start after lunch.

 See that building about in the middle? We started there and hiked to the rocks. 
 And got our safety briefing. Jake was our guide and we were the only 2 people! That was fun!
 Ummmm, where are all the rungs??? Well, I guess because of the cold winters they break off! So it was a little like rock climbing.
 This is looking straight down where we had just climbed.

I had an absolute blast! 

 My friend is glad she did it, but I'm pretty sure she'd never do it again. I'd jump at the chance! I had a blast!!
Basically we climbed this mountain! Most people take the chair lift to the new suspension bridge. (Right about the middle of your screen)
They waited for me while I crossed the bridge.

After getting cleaned up and had dinner, we went to the coldest vodka ice room in the world! It was 25 degrees below zero and that's why we needed the knee length Canadian goose down parkas! This was our Italian bartender.

That topped off our memorable 3 days in Whistler Canada!! 

Would you do the Via Ferrata?

Monday, July 30, 2018

Mini- Vacay

Two years ago an acquaintance asked me to go on vacation with her. We hit it off so well we went again this past week. When she said she'd like to go to Whistler, I admit I had to use the map to see where it was!
We left in the wee hours so we could make the 10+ hour drive in one day and still have time to enjoy ourselves.

For those of you that may not know, Whistler is a resort community in Canada. Last time I was in Canada I was a kid, so it was exciting!

 I was a horrible navigator to get us through Vancouver, but we did get to see the downtown!
Stopped at beautiful Shannon falls to strech our legs.

Once we parked the car we didn't have to use it until we were ready to leave 3 days later.

 Lots of black bears in the area, although we didn't see any. 
The elevation of the village is not that high,(not quite 2200') but it did remind me of photos of a Swiss village.
 We hiked about 7 miles the following day in the Whistler valley. In this photo I was showing my hubby I was wearing my bear spray. Yes, it is recommended you carry it and know how to use it, although black bears are shy and tend to leave humans alone.

 Whistler was the site of many 2010 Olympic events. Behind us there they were preparing for IronMan which was taking place the day after we were leaving town.
 Even though this is a winter ski resort it is a summer destination too. Behind us here is a bike park. People put their bikes on the chair lift, grab the next one up then at the top ride down on different paths, depending on your experience. Men, women, young and old were having a blast. We were enjoying watching them.
I guess I'll break this up into 2 posts. The next day was even busier!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Backpacking Firsts

My friend Linda in WA has been backpacking, (that is different than hiking (single day)- backpacking would be staying overnight)  then after seeing a terrific home video of my brother and dad backpacking we thought it would be fun to try it. This first trip was to test our strength and supplies. My other friend, Michelle had been prepping a bit to do some backpacking later this summer but when I asked if she wanted to come along, she said yes. My planning wasn't the best as I thought it would be 12.8 miles with one section gaining some elevation. I was wrong on both counts!

We were going to camp Friday night at the primitive campground of Twin Pillars North and head straight south to Belknap trail, east, then look for a place to camp. Wake up early, hit the elevation then take the 4.8 miles N to Whistler Springs on Wildcat Trail to finish the 4.8 miles to Whistler Springs where Michelle had parked her car.
Here are the highlights of that trip:
 We camped on the edge of Bingham Prairie and it was beautiful! 
We have been hiking here before and knew some of the trail was open and had experienced fires. This canyon was called Desolation Canyon. 

A couple of miles in we made it to Twin Pillars. We hiked here last year from the opposite way and you can read about that HERE if you'd like.

 Signs of beauty in the desolation.
Snack time by a cold creek...and a time to rest our bodies. 

Yay! The cut off! 6 miles in and now we were going to find a place to camp for the night. 
I loved seeing the pillars get smaller and smaller.

Cory found us a great spot although is was a little further than we had anticipated. (which was a good thing, because the next day was going to be way harder then we imagined!)
After dinner, Cory's job was to hang our food up away from any bears that may 
think they had a free meal coming.
The next day we were in the forest for a few beautiful miles.If you look hard you can see Elsa on the trail carrying her own food and water. She was such a good dog!

 This answers the question: Does a bear crap in the woods??
 We made it to the next junction~! Home free! 4.8 miles to the car, except it was actually 6 miles.

 Looking east to the Ochoco forest.

Still smiling!
If you look really hard you can see the pillars!

 By this time we were in a more current burn. Cory lightened Elsa's load and carried her pack about the last 2 miles.
This was an area that had burned last year. Thankfully someone had flagged it so we could stay on the trail. (I have a great app for that too that doesn't need cell reception)  We were running low on water and Elsa got to put to use her booties to protect her paws. 

                          I could see we were going to be crossing Mill Creek soon so we forged on.
. We all re-hydrated and Elsa napped. 
The final push!

The end!
 Three happy tired backpackers conquered the first, of hopefully several more, trips!