Saturday, 3 April 2010

Whistler while you work

Hello Katy here, I thought I should 'do a blog!' as we haven’t chatted for a while.

So leaving Revelstoke bright and early we headed to our next stop: Hope County. The drive truly was breath-taking and another sunny day to get through the mountains, useful for avoiding boulders! The scenery really is amazing, you tend to drive along and just happen upon a massive lake that will follow the road for miles and miles (or km and km over here). On the other side you are shadowed by monstrous snow-capped mountains. Quite frankly we’re spoilt for scenery. On our way, we stopped off at Kamloops; a large town that seems to be very happening and depending on which side of the street you go, you can see drunk homeless people fighting or city types taking lunch and pretending not to notice. So obviously we had to stop and people watch for a while, Tim took some shots (with the camera!) of a couple of Mustangs (in his heart he would love it if we were doing this in one of them, but Jeremy is doing us just fine, and you couldn’t fit the boards in a 'stang). So after a coffee, a sandwich and a ring-side view of a fist fight we jumped back into Jeremy and headed off to Hope.

Now, we had booked ourselves into the Park Motel - our first ever motel - and as we only had American TV shows to give us our vision of what to expect, we were both very pleasantly surprised, it had everything that you could ever dream of in one room, including 2 microwaves (in case you have guests?), coffee making machine (with timer) and a fridge, oh and a proper size bed, happy days. But no vibrating bed. Now then, for those of you who don’t know, (me being one of them) Hope was the setting for Rambo (First Blood), oh yes they love him here despite being filmed 25 yeasr ago, you can do a tour, go to the museum, go and chat to people who we’re extras, we did none of these things although Tim wanted to find the bridge that Rambo comes in on, but we couldn’t find it. A lot of the settings we’re made with fake fronts and so longer exists, such a shame for those die-hard (sorry, wrong film) Rambo fans. We decided we would not use our plethora of microwaves, instead we spoiled ourselves and ate out (first time since the UK!), now Hope is small and you can either eat in what looked like a service station, a Chinese that was very empty or go to a Bistro that shuts at 8pm, like I said small town. We went for the bistro it was just gone 7pm we had an hour, and it was lovely a proper grown up meal, I had fish and Tim had meat (what more do you need to know?!). We went to sleep to the rumble of the Trans-Canadian railway clanking and screeching just a block away. Very much like being back at home. Soothing!

Leaving Hope bright and early and in search for fuel for both Jeremy and us we found a gas station and diner, result! all fully fuelled we set off to Whistler following Highway 1 then cutting off to what I would call a trail, Canadians call highway 12! We we’re heading along the Fraser Canyon that would lead us to Hells Gate where the Fraser River reaches its awesome crescendo, well that is if the viewing station is open which is wasn’t, (you’ll want to go between April-October), so we drove past it and carried on along our way thinking something so big, surely we’ll be able to see it, well not if you’re driving on the other side to the canyon and there is no stopping because you’re in an avalanche area. So there you go, a shame but I’m sure we’ll see bigger better Canyon’s on our way, well there’s the Grand Canyon to name one.

So after we passed the canyon and Spuzzum (great name), we were Whistler bound; on a map it doesn’t look so far until you realize that there are bloody big mountains in the way. So, as we headed into Whistler we still had no accommodation; where we wanted to stay was full for the first couple of days, so looking at our guide book we we’re advised to stay in neighboring Pemberton, which is a 35min drive to Whistler and supposedly cheaper. We couldn’t get any internet access anywhere (long gone are the days when people didn't encrypt their wireless... they don’t like to share in Pemberton), so we couldn’t google where to stay, only I had written a few address and numbers down before we’d left Hope, so we drove to our first port of call where we we’re greeted by the grumpiest lady we’ve met so far who said she only had private rooms left and that would be $80 a night - thank you, but no thank you. Another one, off the beaten track - literally (it was in a wood): I went in to the house, which was mainly covered in tarpaulin while Tim keep the engine running. I walked-in, called-out, and was greeted by at least ten (10) cats who we’re just roaming around the kitchen surfaces and the chairs, now I like cats but I also like hygiene as does Tim, so after no one appeared and the cats weren’t telling me anything I left. We found a phone and called the last address on our list, it was a little bit out of Pemberton, toward Mount Currie (mmm… curry!). I chatted to a nice man on the phone who said they had space for us and off we went, he did say it was quite rugged roads, and he wasn’t lying, thankfully Jeremy is equipped with 4WD. After driving over the rail track, and up through the forestry we came to the bottom of a very steep, rugged track, when we got to the top, it was beautiful - a lovely big log cabin with a veranda and horses, dogs and cats and the smiley host of the ‘Shiloah Works’ hostel, Roamy. She showed us our lodgings which would be just us, no one else, it was lovely to have our own space, lounge, kitchen and bathroom and the most amazing views of the mountains. It was like someone had picked up our flat and placed in the mountains (albeit we only had a cassette player so we listened to wobbly sounds of Fleetwood Mac, Carly Simon and Genisis - gave me flash backs to being in the kitchen at the Harp:) So we booked ourselves in for 2 nights popped upstairs to say hello to the family and pay and it wasn’t until Tim asked about internet and the password that it dawned on us…….the password was “JESUSLOVESYOU”. Yes, yes he does…… back in our new lovely (if temporary) home, we viewed the bookshelves of limited reading, the odd Whistler and Pemberton guide and, lined up with them “your guide to the steps of heaven” and “true enlightenment through god” so Tim left his Tom Clancy, Hunt for Red October with them as he couldn’t get into it, so something’s there for everyone now. Did I mention that the place had a remote-control fire? Even without the fire, it was just the best hostel to stay at!

We had a lovely sleep in our new home and got up early for the drive to Whistler to hit the slopes, we got there and it was so very wet, but in true boarding mind “raining down here, snowing up there”…so I bought a pass and left Tim heading to the coffee shops at the base station and I went up into the clouds, now the “snowing up there” line is true but it was a blizzard. Honestly, so windy and snowy I couldn’t tell where I was or which way up I was at some points, not good on a mountain you don’t know, so staying in the trees for a bit of helpful visuals a tried to enjoy myself not knowing really what I was about to jump off or into. By 1.30pm I needed food and water so headed down in the gondola to meet Tim, with walkie-talkie trying to call him, now it would seem I may of landed on my walkie talkie as I could hear Tim but he couldn’t hear me and Whistler village is a vast place of coffee shops and bars, so after walking around in the rain going into several shops trying to find Tim I decided I should go back up onto the mountain and make the most of the extortionate ski pass, so off I went with an emergency granola bar to a blanket of “the white abyss” I wouldn’t say it was a great day, but it was an experience. Eventually I met up with Tim at Jeremy he must of sensed my” time to go and eat” vibes, as he arrived only a few minutes after :)

We had arranged to pop into our next stay place to give our credit card details so we drove through Whistler to Alta lake, where the Hi Whistler hostel is situated - right on the lake with the most amazing views. When we got there we had to wait a while for the guy to arrive so we just watched the ice on the lake; as we watched, two little heads appeared - otters just swimming and doing their stuff, breaking through the ice and then as we were watching them a (massive) bald eagle landed on the ice and just sat and watched too, needless to say we’re looking forward to our Whistler stay. So our nature handbook is getting quite a few ticks. After that we headed back to our wooden home, the hot tub had been put on for us to use if we wanted, it was outside under a gazebo overlooking the mountains, we decided against it. Tim wasn’t shedding any clothes and I had had a shower and was very snug and warm, but a lovely thought :)

We left Pemberton for Whistler in the morning sorry to say goodbye to our lovely home and lovely hosts, but we knew we had a new lovely home to hang out at Whistler itself is by no surprise an expensive place to live, so we did a lot of walking and cooking in our new home. It had a lovely feel about it, right on the lake, very relaxing until a train went by (trains and hostels seem to be inextricably linked!) you had to cross the tracks to get to the hostel via some pretty steep wooden steps. We did lots of reading and I ran round the lake which was lovely lovely lovely. As the days went by all the ice quickly melted on the lake and we didn’t see our otters or eagle again. Apparently it’s rare to have seen them at all, so we felt lucky indeed, unfortunately have no photographic evidence of our nature viewing as the dumb-arse aussie went outside and scared them off before I returned with the camera so you’ll just have to take my word for it. Honestly that bird was HUGE! It will be even more rare to see soon as the hostel closes this year (the value of the land must be massive!); there is a new purpose built hostel just being finished in Whistler village. We met (another!) nice Aussie called Erin who had been working at the games and told us all the stories about it (she was right by the bobleigh course)... i believe she was 'stoked'! And she gave us a few more horror stories about Australian wildlife :-()

Maybe syuprisingly, I haven't got much to say about about Whistler the place - its designed as a massive resort for skiers / boarders which it caters for very well and that's about it (but who knew Hitler was so into golf?!). I managed to get Tim up the mountain on our last full day in Whistler, rain in town snow up top, but hey it had to be done. They have a high speed gondola that takes you from Blackcomb Mountain to Whistler Mountain (the Peak2Peak, nearly 3km long) so we took that into a big cloud of nothing, apparently the views are break taking, we couldn’t tell but the mountain was lovely lots of trees to help us down, we had a good days play in the snow and as I’d been boarding by myself for most of this trip nice to have a board buddy to play with. In true Katy and Tim form, the day we left the weather was amazing (-ly bad!), torrential rain and sleet hammering down in town meant thats overnight it had dumped over 40cm of fresh powder on the mountain (with another 30cm to come), our only smug thought was that none of the lifts we’re open so we couldn’t have boarded even if we’d wanted too. So there you go, that’s us for know; our next stop is Vancouver where our little Canadian adventure will be shortly be coming to an end, but don’t you worry there are mountains in Vancouver we’ll be boarding if I have my way :)


  1. Lordy, Lordy, Praise the Lord. Ah gotta git me one a' those darned remote control thangs fo ma fire! Brilliant. Seems like you're having a super experience. Glad you're liking your more recent abodes. Where to after Vancouver? Hope to speak to you soon. Loadsa Love. M&D M. x x

  2. We've got a lot of blog catching up to do... you don't realize how busy we are! New one up tonight... hopefully! Katy very pleased by the car pics by the way :o) txx

  3. by the way, something must have got lost in translation... kamloops is not 'very happening' it is 'very boring'... the only thing 'happening' in kamloops when we were there was 'fighting'!

  4. You do realise that everything will have to be remote controlled when you get back, don't you? Car, fire, telly, windows, doors, lighting! Gonna cost you a pretty penny Gadget Boy! xxxxxx