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August 4th 2014
Published: August 4th 2014
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In order to avoid street closures for a parade, we made an early start. Only 4 miles form our downtown hotel is the Capilano Suspension Bridge and the park in which it resides. It is difficult to visually reconcile the residential neighborhood where you park with the wild area just on the other side of the park gate. The park contains the iconic suspension bridge but also nature walks, a cliff walk, and a treetops path consisting of a series of 7 suspension bridges of lesser magnitude. It all wanders through an old growth temperate rainforest of Douglas firs, western red cedars, and hemlocks, some of which are up to 1500 years old. The suspension bridge itself crosses a chasm with a small stream in the bottom. What could have been a peaceful interlude was somewhat marred by loud kids, but they appeared to be having a good time.

Our visit took only a little more than an hour, and we then headed off to Whistler. It is only a 70 mile drive from Vancouver to Whistler, but it is slow going. When we arrived at Whistler around noon, we discovered that it had changed considerably since a visit we made for skiing 20 years ago. Mot of the change was occasioned by the 2010 Winter Olympics, but there has also been a transformation of Whistler from a winter skiing destination to a year-round fun and adventure site, with large numbers of summer hikers and mountain bikers. One thing that has not changed is the long distances traversed by the gondolas and chairlifts of the resort. We were to go on the Peak2Peak ride, and started out with a 25 minute gondola ride to an intermediate point on Whistler Mountain. That was followed by a long chairlift ride to the very summit, revealing a horizon of endless snow-topped mountains. After the beauty of that sight, the Peak2Peak ride itself seemed somewhat anticlimactic. It is a gondola ride that goes from the intermediate point on Whistler to a similar point on Blackcomb. The ride includes the longest unsupported gondola span or 1.88 miles, and takes about 25 minutes. You can go back the same way, but we took a series of chairlifts down to Whistler Upper Village. We stopped at a bar and grill for light refreshments, the proceeded on to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler. We had to hike out half a mile back from the bar to the car. After dinner at the Fairmont in the evening, we went out for a stroll and discovered that the bar was only feet from our hotel but around a corner.

Tomorrow: a longish trek to beautiful downtown Kamloops.

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