We have purchased ourselves a 1981 Volkswagen Westfalia Campervan so finally have some wheels and a place to live in. She runs very well but is quite old and Tane is keeping himself occupied by fixing up bits and pieces. She is mechanically sound though which is the most important thing and the fridge and stove run perfectly so she will suit us well. It will be a relatively slow trip across Canada as these thing really aren't built for speed!
We arrived in Whistler on Tuesday (currently Friday here). The temperature is approx 7-10 degrees during the day and drops to around 2 degrees at night. The weather has been mostly overcast with the occassional shower. There is still quite a bit of snow around at ground level - the ski season has been extended to the end of May due to fresh dumps of snow. We regularly hear explosions in the morning as they set off contolled avalanches. In the main village the chairlifts and ski runs come right to the edge of town so you don't have to go far to enjoy your sport - not like in NZ where you have to drive up the mountain
to get to the facilities.
The area is well set up for walking and biking too. Unfortunately we are too early to do much proper hiking as the trails are still covered in snow. During summer there are some great trails up the top of the mountains along with a peak to peak gondola which runs between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. We are disappointed to miss the opportunity to do these but apparantly they are best from July to October. During spring the village trail is nice to wander - it runs all around the town and surrounding area and is well paved and easy to navigate. Yesterday we hired mountain bikes and hit the trail around the lakes and up into the forest - no bears sighted yet although we have been told they are up and active. We rode 18km which took us about three hours including a stop for lunch on a jetty at one of the lakes. The last section through the forest entailed riding through quite a bit of snow which was a fun experience. After all that exertion a glass of bubbles for me and a beer for Tane at the Fairmont Whistler
(also known as The Chateau) was in order.
The campsites up here are set up a little differently to NZ. It is the off season so the tent sites are not open yet but the RV sites where we are parked come with a picnic table and a fire pit so we have enjoyed an open fire each night which is great for toasting marshmellows. There are no proper kitchen facilities available so you are expected to use your vehicle to create your meals. The view cannot be beat though as we have a great view of the mountains from our site.
On our way out of Whistler we took a drive up one of the many side roads. It was a lovely drive, the snow was right down to road level and on the way up we saw a black bear cub lunching on the side of the road. No sign of the mother or any siblings but it was a pretty special sight.
We then drove down to Squamish where we spent the night at a campground opposite Shannon Falls. The campground left a lot to be desired but you could see the falls from
our site which was nice. The following day we drove to Horseshoe Bay and caught the car ferry across to Vancouver Island.
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