The West Coast

30 09 2009

After returning our car in Edmonton we went on a hot date to the movies for the afternoon before catching our Greyhound bus to Vancouver. What can we say about the Greyhound – amazing……….how a company so utterly inept can stay in business! It seemed to be the Central Trains of the Canadian coach world! No-one seemed to have any idea what was going on or what they were supposed to be doing and their improved security following The Incident was laughable so we still ended up with a bunch of drunk ex-hookers on board – we didn’t like to think how many machetes had been snuck past the security guard! Around 20 hours after we left we did make it to Vancouver pretty much on time, so better than Central trains in one respect!

We took a bus from the greyhound station into town – a freebie thanks to the friendly driver who gave us the lowdown on public transport in the city. We found our hostel and after unpacking my entire bag to dry it out (Greyhound had somehow diverted my bag via the sea so everything was soaking wet) we caught up on some sleep in the afternoon before strolling around English Bay at sunset.

We set off to explore Vancouver on Saturday morning, heading over to Granville Market for luncheon and a mooch about the bustling stalls – some great stuff, jewelry, arts and crafts and loads of great tasting food! From there we walked around the seawall to Kits Beach, checking out the yachts for sale on the way – all at prices so temptingly low I temporarily forgot I hate boats and I hate the sea! The sun was out so we sat on the beach for a while reading and soaking up the sun. Vancouver seems to be a lot nicer than the other cities we’ve visited – it definitely makes the list of places we could live!

We went out to watch a CFL game in the evening, the B.C Lions vs. the Toronto Argonauts. Not a bad game although American sports do drag on a bit due to stopping for a rest every quarter, plus ad breaks, cheer-leading breaks etc..!

We headed out of the city on Sunday after picking up our car – an even better free upgrade this time to some Monster-bus Grand Caravan thing. Nice to know we can sleep in the boot if we get stuck for accommodation somewhere!

First stop was Squamish where it was back to camping in the cold, dark woods again! Here we did a good hike/climb up the Stawamus Chief – the 2nd Highest Granite Monolith in the world! It was a bit more hardcore than our recent hikes, 1-2ft high steps most of the way plus some ladders and chains to pull yourself up the rockface! We got a great view from the top to make it worthwhile though – if only we could parachute off the top to save our weary legs! Unfortunately neither of us had the foresight to bring one so we reluctantly trudged back down which was somewhat harder on the joints than coming up!

View from the Stawamus Chief

 

Next stop was Whistler, one of the key points of our trip as I was insistent we get here before the bike park closed! We hired downhill bikes and a Robocop outfit each at the village and bought our lift passes for the day. We started off on the Green runs – not quite as easy as I’d been led to believe but Zoë managed just fine after initial trepidation! I went to check out the blue runs which were quite a step up from the Easy runs – several unavoidable big jumps on ‘the easiest blue run’ as demonstrated here (not by me!). I’m sure tackling these would have put Zoë off biking for life so I didn’t try and talk her into coming with me!

Flies done up, check, all ready for the big run down Whistler mountain

Zoë returned her gear after lunch having exhausted the Green run options and we both went up to the second Gondola station at the very top of the mountain. You got a great view from the top over the surrounding mountains and greeny-blue alpine lakes. Zoë stayed up here for a while to have a proper look while I was too busy cramming some more runs in – black runs most of the way while Zoë wasn’t around to advise me otherwise! I met Zoë back at the bottom of the mountain later in the afternoon. I’d considered ‘One Last run’ but this is traditionally when one horribly dismembers themselves so wisely packed it in for the day before I did myself a mischief – My Jeremy Beadle hand will be sore for days now anyway so that’s enough injury for one day!

 

Next Stop is Vancouver Island for some remote peace and quiet and some R & R!

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