Wet my Whistle

Trip Start Jun 12, 2012
Trip End Oct 18, 2012

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Friday, June 29, 2012

Howdy folks,

We had a lazy start in Lillooet, mainly because we couldn't figure out how to open the shower door. Once that was out of the way, we drove into town and checked out the main street. There were many jade stones lining the street because it is a big jade mining area. We had a look in the information centre which used to be a church and is also the local museum. Half of the museum was dedicated to a local couple who started the area’s first newspaper in the 1930s. There were quite a number of old machines and tools that you would normally find in a rural museum as well.

Across the road was the 'Mile 0 Cairn’ which marked the start of the Cariboo Gold Rush Trail in the mid 19th century. Further towns north like 100 Mile House were all named after their distance from Lillooet. Unfortunately a few years after its establishment, the main route north rerouted Lillooet and it has struggled ever since. On the way back to the car we stopped at an authentic German bakery (in this town?), the prominent house of the areas first Japanese doctor and hangman’s tree hill.

We left Lillooet and driving up the hill west, we stopped at the local reservoir a few kilometres later which provided a nice view of the valley. Following the twisting, windy road we stopped for a picture at Duffey Lake and then for a hike at Joffrey Lakes. The Joffrey Lakes trail follows the route upstream of the 3 Joffrey Lakes. The first lake was right next to the carpark, but as we continued along the trail it went through the forest over tree roots and mud. Next came a giant boulder field which turned the hike into a scramble over the rocks. Eventually we came back into the trees and more tree roots to contend with before finally we crossed a bridge and came to the second lake. There were a few pesky birds trying to eat our scroggin, but the view of the lake and the glaciers hanging above them was pretty cool. The hike back followed the same route, but at least it was downhill and we returned to the car in around 3 hours for the 8km hike.

The road turned quite steep and down through a First Nations Reservation before reaching the town of Pemberton. We stopped at Nairn Falls, so Joe and I hiked the 1.5km easy woodland trail to the giant lava boulders that caused the river to squeeze through a narrow crevasse. The falls were quite interesting because they had all elements of water erosion present including a natural bridge, rock pools and stone scouring. After getting back to the car, we used up more of the car’s brakes to descend down to Whistler. We set up camp at the only campground in town – Riverside Campground and the expensive tent site wasn’t located near the car park. We had to use a wheelbarrow to transport our camping goods along the short path to the site which was different. After some tomato rice for dinner, it was time for tent Skip Bo and bed.

In the morning, we were glad to get up and not have to pack the tent. Steffie and I decided to head into Whistler Village early to let Joe have a sleep in. We parked downtown and walked up to the Upper Village to checkout the Fairmont Whistler Lodge and the Blackcomb Ski Hill, but the low cloud and light rain didn’t allow us a proper view. Unlike in Jasper, Lake Louise or Banff, the Fairmont in Whistler isn’t located on its own, independent property, but bordered by many other similar hotels so it wasn’t as impressive. It is also one of the newer hotels being built in 1989. Truthfully, the only good thing about staying at this hotel, apart from the luxury, would be that you can walk out of the door and straight onto the ski lift. There were a number of kids amusements like alpine luge or go karts around the base, but the main summer attraction is mountain biking. Whether it be downhill or cross country, mountain biking is huge in Whistler and there are so many single or dual lane trails around the town and in the hills. When Joe caught up with us 2 hours later, we went to the Whistler lift and watched a few of the mountain bikers coming downhill. They were everywhere.

We ended up walking through the whole village which is really pedestrian friendly which I liked. We stopped at the Olympic Plaza where they broadcast live action from the 2010 Winter Olympics that were held here. In the afternoon, we all went to see the movie Ted which was pretty funny before returning to the car for a bit of carpark chilli con carne. We literally set up the camping stove on our table and cooked a proper meal while people were walking past and it was pretty funny. I think I might write a whole Carpark Cookery book, it is a genre that hasn’t been touched on yet. I even fried some wholemeal wraps to go with it because we didn’t have any water to boil rice. Altogether it was delicious.

Instead of going back to the tent for 3 hours, we ended up just hanging around the Olympic Plaza and playing some Frisbee while we were waiting for the free Friday night summer concert. The rain held off to let us watch Dan Mangan perform for over an hour although it started to get cold by the end. It was good to sit on the grass and watch some live music, I really enjoy it and I wish that I could do it more often. Unfortunately the weather has turned south again and we have more rain on the way.
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