Saturday, August 11, 2007

Canada travel log part 3

Day 3: We took our rental car and drove a circle from Vancouver to Whistler to Lillooet to Hope and back to Vancouver. The road from Vancouver to Whistler is called the Sea-to-Sky Highway, and is considered to be one of the most spectacular drives in British Columbia. We weren't disappointed, in spite of the fact that the entire length of the Highway is being expanded at once, in preparation for the 2010 Olympics, and we spent considerable time in construction traffic. It didn't matter. We had no place else to be and the most beautiful views to take in. When we finally got to Whistler, it was fun to see where some of the Olympic events will take place. Even though it's a few years off, B.C. has all of the locations marked with huge billboards. We were surprised at how small Whistler actually is, for being a world famous ski resort. Whistler Village is the name of the resort, and I think we read it sleeps 40,000, but outside of the Village there is nothing, not even a gas station. We later read in our guidebook that the founder of Whistler planned the town this way intentionally. I guess like most resorts, it's in the middle of nowhere so that you and your wallet are captive.

Beyond Whistler, we drove into Pemberton and had lunch, then continued our tour, stopping at various turnouts or campsites along the way. Our photos started looking like picture postcards or calendar shots.

The one thing I regretted was forgetting that my Canadian next-door neighbor had warned me about mosquitoes the size of houses. We couldn't stay long at the above-pictured lake because of said mosquitoes. When we pulled into the parking area we saw people running from the lake...we soon followed suit...

Continuing our drive, we must have been near Lillooet when we rounded a bend and saw an animal on the side of the road. Black, and about the size of dog, though it didn't look quite like a dog. Some kind of coyote, I thought. But as we got closer Mike and I recognized it at the same time...a bear, a baby bear! The cutest fuzzy black bear, just galumphing around exploring some plants on the side of the road. Mike drove the car slowly in a wide arc around the baby. The bear looked like he wanted to head toward us, then changed his mind seeing the traffic. We had just driven through a small town and there were some cars behind us. If I had been driving I might have wanted to pull over. It didn't occur to me at all that where there's baby, there's mama. But Mike thought of it, and later told me he saw a big black mass well up the side of the mountain, and that's when he stepped on the gas. The locals told us that it's not uncommon to see a bear on the side of the road, especially a baby bear. That was one of the high points of our trip.

To read the next chapter, click here.

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