Whistler Blackcomb is a wonderful place just outside Vancouver, made famous by the Winter Olympic in 2010. Even though it is a ski resort, it is also a popular place in the summer as well, for the mountain biker, hikers or tourist both domestic and international who comes simply for the view.
To get to Whistler from downtown Vancouver, you can use a car or take a bus and drive the scenic ‘sea to sky’ highway, or you can also take savour the view along the way, like my friend and I did, on board the Rocky Mountaineer train, which offer special rate for British Columbia residents for its Vancouver-Whistler route.
The journey started early Saturday morning from Rocky Mountaineer station in North Vancouver (they provided shuttle bus with various pick up spot in downtown Vancouver), and I felt like I was a child again, excited going for a train ride.
The train moved slowly from the station, after our car attendant welcomed us on board, along the coastline passing residential areas and parks on West Vancouver and parks, where people would wave friendly at you and you could not help but to smile and wave back at them.
As the train settled to its idle tempo, our attendant served us breakfast and brief us about our journey and the train itself.
When we just finished breakfast, the train emerged from the forest to back coast line on Horseshoe bay area. The reflections of the morning sun danced on the water, the islands vividly visible behind the thin mist were surely a breathtaking view, and so after I caught the air back to my lungs, I took out my camera and began the hunt.
I walked out to the Heritage observation car which has open windows and started taking pictures. It was beautiful scenery one after the other, I had to remind myself that if I only brought two memory cards and there are lot more things to take pictures of.
The train climbed up along the shores passed Porteau Cove Provincial Park, Britannia beach and City of Squamish who proud itself as “The outdoor recreation capital of Canada” on its way to our destination.
A first nation story teller came on board at one point and told us a native legend “How the Loon Lost Her Voice”, a story about how all the animals rallied together to free the stolen daylight.
Along our way the scenery changed from the islands and sea, to mountains, cliffs and rivers. I went back out to the observation car and start taking pictures of the turquois water of the glacier fed Squamish River, snaking its way at the bottom of cliff.
After about 4 hours on the train, we arrived at our station in Whistler. Once we checked in at Fairmont Chateau Whistler, we freshen up and stroll around Whistler Village. The early morning start really took its toll once we finished our lunch at an Irish pub and we agreed to head back and rest at the hotel.
We opted for a fancier place for dinner and decided on Rim Rock Café, one of the best restaurants in Whistler area, a short bus ride away from our hotel.
Sunday morning came and we rose from our sleep a little later than the day before, after breakfast and a cup of coffee, we made our way up the mountain’s peak. We purchased our “Peek 2 Peek” ticket and hopped on the chairlift up to the Peak of Blackcomb Mountain. The view from the Peak of Blackcomb was beautiful; you can see the surrounding mountain range, the evergreen forests and the village bellow you.
We then headed to the gondola station for a ride to Whistler Peak. We waited for a gondola with the glass bottom in the middle. Whistler Blackcomb Peak 2 Peak gondola is the world records holder for longest unsupported span of 3.024 kilometres, highest lift of its kind at 436 metres above the valley. The view from the Whistler Peak was even more amazing, mountain ranges, lakes and meadows.
We walked a bit and hopped on another chairlift to the Whistler Summit. Words and photos would never do the experience any justice. I was filled with admiration and gratitude.
Satisfied with all pictures we took, we headed back to check out and visited Upper Village Sunday Farmers market, and bought ourselves lunch.
In the afternoon, the bus took us back to the train station and another exciting train ride awaited us. The afternoon sun lighted up the view differently on our journey home and even though I was tired from the earlier adventure, I got my camera and took more pictures.
We arrived back home in Vancouver around dinner time, I was surely spent, but it was surely a memorable experience, one I would not forget anytime soon.
This is a guest post written by my friend, Kristanto, who currently lives in Vancouver, Canada.
He really likes photography as you can see the result in the photos above (yes, all photos are taken by him), and of course to do some adventures while he has the chance!
He can be reached at kristantosurjadi [at] yahoo [dot] com