Week of July 24th to 30th, 2016
Sunday was fun. the private trainer was a guy we had just briefly met before but never had as a trainer. Nice guy, cute, girls were giggling every time he complimented some of their flexibility moves.
Did some warmups and spent most of the time doing shadow boxing and then with our partners. I had SO much respect for boxers, always moving, punching, pivoting, extending, reaching, such a great workout. Can’t imagine doing that with someone actually trying to hit me back instead of a partner with focus pads taking my punches.
Anyways, an hour later got back home and immediately rammed my toe into a cupboard and it is nice and black and blue now. Wish I could say I was kicking someones ass getting it that colour but alas the cupboard is only a silent witness to my curses. By Monday pretty well all my body was aching. I love the burn, or some stupid fitness saying, as they would say.
Week of July 17th to 23rd, 2016
On Sunday we had a relaxing morning, Emma did her 1.5 hours of piano (her exam is in mid-August so 1 more month of hours of piano a day, poor thing), had breakfast and lunch and then headed to Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver. We did not have any real goal other than to cross the suspension bridge over Lynn creek and see if we could wade in the creek and walk some of the trails.
Getting there was pretty easy, took about 50 minutes from UBC and easily found off of Trans Canada Highway 1, arriving at 1 pm. The park entrance was backed up with cars waiting to park so we were concerned about finding parking but a few spots opened up in the first parking lot while we were driving. I could not remember the parking lot there and there was quite a bit more parking after the first lot, even on busy days like summer weekends.
We did a quick tour of the Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre and then past to the new cafe to the suspension bridge. The 40 metre (130 foott) long bridge wooden plank bridge was originally built in 1912 and is just wide enough for two people to pass each other. As we inched across the bridge that is 50 metres (167 feet) above pools and rivers of Lynn Creek we hung on pretty tight to the cables. I am 6’1 and I would say the cable tops out at 4′ so a stumble would have sent me over the edge. It was CROWDED. Lots of people, the whole bridge was packed, many taking selfies and posing so took a bit to get across.
Lynn Canyon Parl has 616 acres of lush temperate rainforest. It was logged in the late 1800’s and you could see some massive stumps remaining from the old growth. The current trees are around 130 years old and are big, someone said the park is showing signs of exhibiting old rainforest behaviour whatever the heck that means.
We took the trail that runs by the creek and reached a point where it was a few metres above the creek. Lots of people sunning and wading in the creek so we took the time to enjoy the crisp, chilly water and enjoy the scenery.
After an hour we were hungry so returned to the car and unpacked the cooler with lunch goodies including some great bacon-chedder muffins made with corn meal. There were plenty of picnic tables in the forested area behind the cafe. Two large covered areas with tables are there as well so would be a good spot for a family gathering.
After getting our fill, we retraced our steps over the bridge and ventured further up the trail to the very popular 30-Foot pool. The 30-foot pool looks like a popular location for both tourists and locals. People were dipping into the creek, having picnics and watching the crazy people jumping from the rocky canyon walls into the pool. There are many signs warning of the dangers but lots of people were jumping (not us), mostly males in the 16 to 22 year old range. Spent about a hour here, it was very peaceful. Love watching the girls relax and enjoy the beauty of the areas. There are so many simple pleasures to enjoy and share with nature, we are so fortunate as a family to be able to love in BC.
After the 30-Foot pool we took a very long wooden stairway that led to the canyon wall top and eventually to Pipe Bridge, which crosses the canyon and leads to the North entrance of the park at the top of Lynn Valley Road. We could have also walked on and would have ended up at the Seymour Demonstration Forest and Rice Lake park entrance which we visited a few years ago and had a picnic. Maybe later this year we can visit there again, it was very pretty.
Turned around at Pipe Bridge, returned to the cafe and the girls enjoyed some ice cream and then we headed back to UBC. Calculated we walked around 5 km at the park. Another great day!
July 6th to 16th, 2016
Did a 5 km jog with several coworkers including Lynn from the office to the corner of W 16th and Blanca and then back. Only dropped to a walk a few times there and then maybe 2 min jog/2min walk the way back. The days after my thighs were so painful! Moving this mass around is a lot of work.
Dojang on Sunday at the W 4th location, did 1/2 mixed cardio and martial arts finished with the 36 breathing movement, sorta yoga I think. Walked a lot this week, around UBC and after dropping kids off at activities would take a 1/2 hour walk. The weather is struggling to keep above 16 degrees celcius, many showers this year, great for working out but not so good for sun lovers!
July comes early, June 30th into July 5th, 2016
Our family packed up the Tiguan and headed to Whistler on Thur, June 30th. Four nights and five days of rugged mountaineering lay ahead. Ha, can’t fool you! More like hotel did not have room service, that is roughing it, Kuusela style.
Departing around 9 am from UBC, we stopped after an hour drive at the Shannon Falls parking lot which is just before Squamish on highway 99 ‘Sea-to-Sky highway.’ Originally we were going to hike The Chief but our plans changed when we heard about the Sea To Summit Trail which was a bit longer time-wise but had the benefit of being able to grab some food at the cafe in the observation centre on top and then take the gondola back down to the base.
We saved the view of Shannon Falls for the return trip and took the gravel path which links up to the trail going to the Chief. It was a little confusing as BC parks closed the Oleson Creek Bridge on the connector trail to the Chief with some garish safety netting. We consulted with a nice European couple that were lost as well and headed to the Sea to Sky gondola parking area to get some directions.
The information guide was helpful and said we could ignore the safety netting as the trail was inspected daily and was safe and just waiting for BC parks to assess it. We could proceed up the trail as we originally planned or we could walk to the base of the Chief trail (where there is parking as well) to hike up.
Starting from the base, the Sea to Summit Trail climbs through the lower areas of the Stawamus Chief and Shannon Falls Provincial Park Trails and continues up what was once an inaccessible route through a stunning westcoast forest to the top of the Sea to Sky Gondola.
There are some great views of Howe Sound and the surrounding mountain peaks from quite a few viewpoints along the trail. It took us about 4 hours with a hike climbing around 900 metres from base.It is rated as a difficulty level of Intermediate/Advanced but there were only a few steep sections with a few fixed rope lines to assist us up. The girls are 8 and 11 and had no problems at all. Near the end I was lagging a bit but no prob. We saw a few people along the route including a guy carrying a infant in a backpack baby-carrier.
It was a relief arriving at the top with the viewpoints and the observation centre/giftshop/cafe. There were quite a few people on the top I think mainly from taking the gondola up. There were some activities going on and some small trails around you could enjoy. There is also a cool suspension bridge there which links another section of the peak, lots of good photo opps here!
3 burgers and fries plus 1 chicken wrap later, all for the total price of $70 including drinks (the burger was pretty good), grabbed the gondola down the mountain for $10/per person.
We then hiked over from the gondola parking lot to Shannon Falls and enjoyed the falls and lower creek and cooled down. So beautiful there!
An hour later we were checking into the Sundial Boutique Hotel which is very close to the main lift area in Whistler Village. Great room on the 8th floor overlooking the mountain and lifts. The hotel upgraded us from a 1 bedroom to a 2 bedroom for the same price so we had 2 big bedrooms, full kitchen, living room, connected bathrooms with 2 showers. Very nice.
SO SO many mountain bikers on the hills. They take the lift up with the bike in the chair behind them and then bike down the trails. You can take lessons ranging from kids to adults. Might not need it but with the steep trails and potential jumps if you are brave it would be worth taking. Whistler Blackcomb Bike School has lessons that look pretty good. Not cheap with lesson & lift & bike rental being around $200 for 1/2 day (about $50 higher for full day) but for the beginner/intermediate is a good into to this sport.
Next day was Friday, July 1st Canada Day and we had a 9:00 am start on our ziplining tour. We had booked the tour earlier in the month online through the main Whistler resort website whistlerblackcomb.com which gave some discounts vs. booking direct with Ziptrek. The Whistler resort website has early morning (9 am) and evening (5 pm) non-prime booking hours for the popular Bear ziplining experience which saved about 15% off the regular price.
The Bear tour is the original tour and has five different ziplines joined by a network of suspension bridges, boardwalks and trails. An amazing aerial vista over Fitzsimmons Creek is the climax for the last zipline.
We met up at Carleton Lodge which has the Ziptrek info centre and signed in and did the waiver signoffs. Carleton Lodge is at the base of the mountain as well and only took 2 minutes to walk to. The ground floor is rental shop and outdoor supplies with the upper stories the hotel. Met up with our guides and walked over the to area where they fitted us with harnesses and helmets. Boarded the shuttle van and off we went, through the upper bridge and skirted the huge Olympic sliding centre and got to see underneath with all the nitrogen tubing that freezes the track.
In the summer they have a bobsleigh equipped with wheels, a trained pilot and up to four passengers which starts the “Rolling Thunder” team experience where you reach speeds of up to 90 km/hr. One of the guides (Australian of course) was going to take it later in the week and was quite excited.
We all had a blast, the other zipliners were a fun bunch ranging in age from 8 to over 70. It took around 3 hours and we were back by noon. On the way back in the van we saw a black bear in a valley.
Walked around the village and went for lunch at La Bocca which has a open deck and we were able to see the Whistler Canada Day parade from our table. The parade was way better than I thought it would be! Had Cows ice cream (they are moving to a new location close by their old one) later in the day and watched the start of the free Vancouver Symphony Orchestra concert at the Whistler Olympic Plaza, a beautiful outdoor concert space. It was packed but we were still able to find good places to view.
The next day was my birthday and it was pretty relaxed. Spent a few hours paddling around Alta Lake a few minutes from Whistler by car. Rented a pedal boat from Backroads Whistler which also has canoe and kayak rentals plus tours and lessons available which you can see on their website. We had no problem getting a boat but by the time we got back a few families were waiting. A few years ago we visited around the same time and the waiting list was a few hours and we bailed on renting that time.
Kids spent a few hours in the swimming area and catching (trying to at least) small fish from the beach and the dock. Lovely weather. Had mexican food for my birthday dinner at The Mexican Corner Restaurant which was located on the second floor of our hotel, how convenient!
We all enjoyed the food, it is hard to find good mexican food in Vancouver but this was pretty darn good. The mojito was only around $6, bonus!
Needing to burn off some food and desserts, on the 3rd we headed to Rainbow Falls about 10 minutes north of Whistler on Alta Lake Road. Parking was easy to find but we had a snafu and took the Plank trailhead instead of Rainbow. After an hour managed to get back to the parking lot after realizing our mistake and found the right trailhead. Takes about 15 minutes to get to the falls and was amazing. If you keep going there is a 3 hour hike (6 return) to Rainbow Lake.
Went to the Whistler farmers market held on Sundays in the upper village and got some nice fruit and snacks. There is also a Adventure Zone for the kids which have a bunch of rides and a small bobsled type slider on a metal track and a good fixed bungee/jump ride.
Got a takeout pizza from Avalanche Pizza which is made very fresh with organic dough. I like thin crust as the thicker ones are a real turn-off. The Avalance crust was thicker but truly wonderful! This was the cheapest meal we had a Whistler but the biggest bang-for-the-buck we had this trip. You can order online and customize the pizza easily. We ordered 1 large, 1/2 pepperoni and 1/2 hawaiian. Yummy!
The 4th was our last day and we checked out of the Sundial hotel. On the way back to Vancouver we stopped at Brandywine Falls 15 minutes south of Whistler. Lots of parking and easy hike to the falls. Don’t miss this one, the Brandywine Falls is a spectacular 70 metre waterfall with a great viewpoint where you can also see views of Daisy Lake and the surrounding mountains.
Continuing up the trail we eventually reached the Bungee Bridge which is connected to Brandywine by the Sea To Sky Trail.
Bungee Bridge was erected by Whistler Bungee where thrill seekers jump 160ft (50 meters) over the glacial fed Cheakamus River. Surrounded by basalt column cliffs and old growth forest, and a great view of Black Tusk in the background, this is total photo opp time. There is even a nice cabin/hut built near the bridge where you gear up, can book jumps if you do not do in advance, and see your photos taken by the company photographers.
The girl taking the photos was really nice and while we did not jump that day she gave us lots of info and advice. You do not need to hike to the bridge, there is a service road that brings you right to the bridge as well.
That was about it for the trip, good times!