A Whistler Sunset

The first part of this blog post is basically a travelogue, skip to the end if you just want to check up on my knitting!

I was on vacation this week.  My husband and I went to Whistler.  It is not very far away, but I had only ever driven through on my way to somewhere else and my husband had not been since the 1980’s.  It was a wonderful trip – from start to finish – I would have a hard time finding anything bad to say about the trip, the people, the city itself – we are already planning a return trip! There were so many things that we did not get to see or try!

The base of Shannon Falls!

We took the ferry over to the mainland and then started a leisurely drive up the Sea to Sky highway.  We planned on stopping at Britannia Museum, Shannon Falls, and Brandywine Falls on the way, with lunch sometime in there!

A Core tray with samples from the Mountain!

It was a spectacular day.  The Museum was incredible, the core room was my favorite, shelves and shelves of cores from deep within the mountain – only one shed remains – there used to be four.  From the museum we went on to Shannon Falls.  Truly awe-inspiring, a sparkling, foaming cascade of water falling down from the top of the mountain – these falls are the third highest in British Columbia!  They are right beside the highway and easy to get to.  Shannon Falls is also right beside the Chief– it is a favorite spot for rock climbers – I tried to see some climbers as we drove by, but no luck!

Brandywine Falls!

We stopped for lunch in Squamish and then drove on to Brandywine Falls.  None of these spots were any great distance from each other – I somehow thought that they should be farther apart!

Every Surface Green with Moss

Brandywine Falls is a short walk in from the Highway, along a very easy path.  The views are worth the walk!  You can see that the forest in this area is part of a very wet climate – the ground was covered in a thick moss.  Every rock, every fallen branch was green and spongy with the moss!  This was the only place where it rained on the whole trip.  It did rain the morning we left Whistler, but that seemed appropriate to the occasion!

Our View of the Stroll!

We arrived in Whistler around 4:00pm and checked into our hotel – The Crystal Lodge – and walked around the town.  It is a great walking town, everything is connected by wide walkways and paths.  We had dinner and then spent the evening watching people from our deck over-looking the “Stroll”.  I started the Damask Clouche, my mosaic project!  We had an eventful day planned for tomorrow.

We went zip-lining with ZipTrek Ecotours.

I had more than a few reservations about this activity.

Zip-line platforms high in the Hemlocks!

I also believe that you need to try new things and push your boundaries and not let fear rule your life.  As I stood at the top of the first line (which was a short line at the bottom of the hill) – a tester to see if you were OK with the concept – I wondered why I was so keen to push this boundary!  What was wrong with a little healthy caution?!  I don’t like heights and hate tall sets of stairs!

I loved it!

The zip-line was fast, very fast, but the views were incredible!  I never got to the point of letting go and hanging upside down like my husband, but I loved every minute on the line!  I wasn’t so wild about the stairs and walkways suspended up high, but I was fine as long as I didn’t look down!  I’ll be going again!

The top of "Big Doug" from the highest platform. Big Doug is the 700 year old Hemlock that supports the platform!

The rest of the day was somewhat anti-climatic.  (I think my husband was worried about what kind of shape I would be in after the zip-lining.)  We walked the town and discovered all sorts of activities that we didn’t know about!  Which is why we are already planning on returning!  We sat in the sun and people watched and I knit!

The next day was our last full day in Whistler and it was an incredible day from start to finish!  So many “new” activities and highs.

It was the day we went up Blackcomb mountain and then took the Peak to Peak to Whistler mountain.  There was still lots of snow on both mountains and it was the best day, weather wise, and experience wise, that we had.

The Bear below us!

We started at the base of Blackcomb mountain and took the open chair lifts up to the Peak to Peak gondola.  The views from the chair were gorgeous.  Early on we saw our first bear!  He was eating clover in an open meadow, right at our feet!  What a great way to start.

The Peak 2 Peak ride takes only about 11 minutes.  You are suspended above the valley between Blackcomb and Whistler Mountains.  You can see FitzSimmons Creek between the mountains and Whistler below at their base.  I took a lot of pictures on that trip!

A Whiskey Jack

I had hoped to be able to walk around the top of Whistler but because of the heavy snow pack this year there were no walks open.  We could have gone tubing, but we really weren’t dressed for that!  But I did get a wonderful picture of a Whiskey Jack out on the Whistler Deck!  He had so many feathers that he looked fuzzy!  He would need them to keep warm that high up.

Once you are up on the mountains you can take the Peak 2 Peak gondola as many times as you like.  So we headed back to Blackcomb mountain and took the short bus ride to the base of the 7th Heaven Chair Lift.  This lift would take us right up to the Glacier at the top Blackcomb.

Mountain ranges as far as you can see!

The lift seemed to go straight up the side of the mountain, pass the tree line and further still until you are right at the top of the world.  I felt like I was in 7th heaven.  You are 7500 feet up.  The tops of the mountain ranges are spread out in front of you as far as the eye can see.  Shadows of the clouds drift across the peaks and the sky is bluer than I have ever seen it before.  It was perfection.  It was cold, with crisp air and the clear skies that go on forever.  We stayed and ate lunch at the small Chalet.  We were both reluctant to leave, it was so breath takingly beautiful!

Meadows covered in snow and outlined with lines of far-away trees!

We eventually did retrace our steps.  As we headed back down Blackcomb it was almost surreal to see everything grow both taller and further away at the same time.  Perspective was constantly changing as we moved down the mountain on the lift.  The chairlift is mostly silent, the ride very calm and only the far-off sounds of the other people on the lift to left you know that you are not alone.

An already incredible day is about to get better!  We booked a tasting dinner tour of Whistler for our last evening – with the wine pairing add-on.  It was a great evening, we met a Dutch family and had wonderful conversations over each course, and through each walk as we moved from restaurant to restaurant.  Truly a memorable way to spend our last night in Whistler.

Part of one of the walls of wine in the BearFoot Bistro! The largest wine cellar in Western Canada!

I really recommend the wine pairing with the dinner.  It gave us the opportunity to try new wines and became a truly unique experience at our first stop!

The Bear Foot Bistro in Whistler is famous for its wine cellar.  It is the largest wine cellar on the West Coast.  It is in the basement and accessed by a wide staircase from the center of the restaurant.  As you descend the stairs the temperature drops dramatically to a cool 12 degrees celsius.  At the bottom of the stairs the space divides into two rooms.  All you can see  is Wine.  The walls of both rooms are covered by racks and racks of wine bottles.  There are boxes of wine everywhere, but your eyes are drawn continually back to the walls.  After the first few minutes you do notice other details about the space.  In the largest space there are two tables set up for appetizers, with Champagne flutes beside them, from the ceiling hangs a bobsled, painted in black with the Bearfoot Bistro’s logo on the hood!  There are pictures and many certificates hanging off the end of the wine racks – It is an incredible space.

The wine that was paired with our appetizer is a sparking wine from the Sumac Ridge Winery in the Okanagan.  It is called Tribute and was created for the Olympics.  Bearfoot Bistro liked this wine so much that they bought all of the remaining stock from the winery!

I got to keep the top of the bottle! It is said to bring good luck!

Marika, the Sommelier, told us a little of the history of Champagne, in particular the tradition of Sabreing – something that Napoleon and his army practiced before battle.  In essence you open your bottles of champagne (or any sparking wines) with a sabre.  If it was a clean opening – the battle would go well!  If it was not clean, well, you had better drink now because you may not have a later!  We were going to cut the cards to see which of our group would get to attempt the Sabreing!  I won the cut!  It took two tries but I did it!  I cut off the top of the bottle of Tribute!  After that the evening just flowed along.  It was a tremendous end to an incredible trip!

It was raining the next day, not hard, just a little and it seemed like a fitting end to our trip.  One the way out we turned down the road to see the Olympic bowl site.  On that road we saw three bears, each at the side of the road, each almost close enough to touch!

Basketweave Gauntlets - Fleece Artist Woolie Silk 3-ply

As for my vacation knitting, I did get some knitting in, but not as much as expected, we had so many things to do.  Mostly I would knit in the evening, just before bed, but one afternoon I did sit out in the sun at a little pub and had a glass of wine and knit!

These are the class projects for next fall.  Once they are done then I can go back to the projects for myself, hence the push!  Besides I love to work with the hand-dyed yarns, the colours combine in such unique ways!

Mosaic detail - Handmaiden Cashmere 4-ply

I did finish the entrelac gauntlets, and almost finished the mosaic hat – I ran out of the contrast yarn – Sublime’s Cashmere, Merino, Silk DK!  I just need enough for the finishing details!  I’m gong to pick up some more yarn today to finish.

Beginnings of a Mitre's Cowl - SweetGeorgia Cashlux Fine

Yesterday I started the mitreing project.  It looks like it will work out, the colours are moving around and looking great!  The mitred diamonds and the cowl shaping look like they are going to combine well for an interesting project.

Hope that you had a great week as well!  Happy Knitting!

Lynette