Mountains, multiple gondolas and our first bear sighting!

We’ve been getting around during our week in Vancouver doing touristy things. We spent one day touring the city, Stanley Park, the Lion’s Gate bridge, and the Capilano Suspension Bridge/Cliffwalk attractions.  We took a tour for this, since we didn’t want do drive all over the city and miss the knowledge we gained from our guide.  It was worth the extra money.

We went to Grouse Mountain on our own, and it was a lot of fun.  We took the Skyride gondola trip which climbs to 1,100 metres (3,700 feet) in just 8 minutes. You’ll dangle above the piney mountainside while taking in the cityscape and views of neighbouring peaks, the Pacific Ocean, inlets and bays.

Skyride Gondala at Grouse Mountain

Then we took a ski lift and went up to experience the Eye of the Wind, which is a very cool glass room at the top of a functional wind turbine that offers fantastic views of Vancouver and everything else in the area. We told the park attendant that we have hundreds of them in California but none are like the Eye of the Wind  that provide a 360 degree view and enclosed in glass.

Eye of the wind

Just another day hanging out in the wind turbine…

Clear glass viewPOD at the top of the tower

We also watched a pretty good show featuring lumberjacks and some of the chopping/throwing/climbing things they do. Then, as we were walking around we saw a group of people going crazy with their cameras and discovered two bears playing in the snow!  We will probably be sick of bears by the end of this trip, but the first sighting was pretty exciting. Check this short clip of log rolling.

Log Carving

Lumberjacks face off

Bears at Play

Since Whistler Mountain is so beautiful but not on our path of travel, we drove there in the car.  Getting there is thru the scenic sea to sky highway  frequently rated up as one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the world.  Along the way are a number of scenic viewpoints where we stopped and enjoyed the views. We also admired  two waterfalls along the way,  Shannon Falls and Brandywine falls.  Whistler is best known as a ski resort but is more known as the host of the Winter Olympics in 2010.  We also strolled along the shops at the Whistler Village.  There is so much to do and see and say about Whistler, but we will talk only of the highlights of our visit.

Brandywine Falls

Yes, you may use this as your screen background, no charge! At Shannon Falls

A choo-choo truck

Whistler Village

The Village Square

To go to the Whistler peak  we road on the first enclosed lift which  lasted almost 30 minutes, the longest we’ve ever been on.  That was just to get to the next gondola which took us between the highest elevation of Whistler mountain at 7,160 feet to the highest elevation of next door Blackcomb mountain at 7,494 feet.  This ride is called  Peak-2-Peak  aboard a huge gondola!  This one is truly remarkable, and worth every penny.  It’s like taking a helicopter trip between the mountains (the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb) except that you are dangling high up on a gondola. This gondola breaks many world records for length and height above elevation (1420′ plus).  Don’t miss this one if you are in the area.

This gondola took us to the Whistler mountain peak

This is quite an awesome machine, as you might expect for the world’s longest gondola. This will take us to the highest peak of Blackcomb Mountain

Ahhh, June is our favorite month for warm, pleasant weather – wait a minute, where are we?

Inching our way up to Blackcomb

That’s 1,427 feet below, and a distance of 2.73 miles between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains and the longest unsupported span is 1.8 miles !

Enjoying the scenery

Over 1400′ to the bottom – very cool! thru our glass bottom gondola

Playing in the snow at the top of Blackcomb Mountain

Having fun at the mountain peak.

We will be accelerating our travels now, since we have some catching up to do and there aren’t many “touristy” things to do except enjoying the scenery until we arrive in Alaska.  Our internet access will be spotty due to this remote part of our travels, but stay tuned!

Once in a while friendly tourists offers to take our picture.  Taken at Shannon falls