20th Jul 2012
We’ve just checked out Facebook and learn that brother Lawrie has just had his hip operation in Whangarei, hope he is feeling ok and that he makes a steady recovery. Two hip joints would really send the Airport security into high alert.
Friday 20th July, 2012
This is possible my last blog, we’ll see what tomorrow brings.
We were out of bed at 6.30 am this morning, really early, so we were ready for the bus pickup at 8.45 am at the front door. Off to Whistler, but as we could have guessed, it was raining. We viewed the eleven hundred foot Shannon Falls under the protection of large umbrellas, it was bucketing down, and they would have been so pretty on a nice day. We passed the Squamish lake where anglers are allowed to fish but the hook must not have a barb on it. This town has expanded very quickly and today is known as the recreational Capital of Columbia. It has an excellent Rail museum and a little further on is the World Capital of the Bald Eagle. In 1976, 3,766 Bald Eagles were counted on the river, in 2011, there was a very small number, because there was a very poor salmon spawn. In 2012, 7,000 have been recorded, they reside in the 550 acra area that has been set aside especially for the eagles. In 1960, the Bald Eagle was on the endangered list, by 1998 they were removed from the endangered list, they are one of the 57 Eagle species in the world.
Prior to 1968, the drive from Vancouver to Whistler took nine and a half hours, today it takes an hour and a quarter.
On arrival at Whistler, it was still raining and the clouds were very low on the mountain so we opted to keep our money in our pocket and not go on the gondola ride to the top and the Peak to Peak, in another Gondola, as the view would have been nil. The passengers that did go confirmed our observation when they returned to the bus, although the rain did stop soon after we arrived, the cloud obscured most views and they didn’t see any bears, so we felt better. Instead, we walked and viewed the many shops within the village, a very compact area, bought a cup of tea for $3.00 each and ate our packed muffins, biscuits, cheese and bananas. Many of the shops were in the lower levels of the many hotels which towered above us. On any given day, the township could provide 15,000 beds and most of them, during the ski season are full, for double the price it would cost today. The twenty seven Chairlifts/Gondolas can shift fifty nine thousand people an hour at the peak of the season, today, the one working chairlift, was taking trampers and mountain bikers to the top, there was a competition as to how dirty you could get coming down, I’m sure, glad I didn’t have to do the washing. Whistler has a permanent population of only 9,000, but it is estimated that by 2025 it will have doubled, even though a decent home will set you back 1.3 million today.
Our journey home, enabled us to see the Inner Passage, between the mainland and the outer islands, but the mountain tops were blanketed in low cloud, my photos are all rather disappointing, but never mind, we wouldn’t have been able to do much in Vancouver today anyway, so hopefully tomorrow, the sun will return, apparently from the middle of April, May and June, Vancouver only had 60 hours of sunshine, like everywhere else we have been, everyone has said the weather has been sooooo not normal.