Been back from Canada for 2 or 3 weeks now. I still have the urge to go back NOW.
Our trip bizarrely started in Seattle of all places, but we only flew in there, slept in a cheap hotel and got the hell out of dodge at 7am on the train to Vancouver.
The train ride from Seattle was spectacular, which nice seashore on one side and nice mountainous coast on the other.
We got into Van at about Midday and quickly checked into the Cambie hostel on Seymour and then proceeded to have a bit of an explore. Robson St and Granville St are the main shopping streets and are packed with cool stores. Basically a nice chilled afternoon.
Wake up - its raining, so we decide to head over to Stanley park and check out the aquarium. The aquarium is really good with loads of good exhibits and some quality sea mammal action.
Then we head of to Mountain Equipment Co-Op and pick up some cheap as chips outdoor stuff.
Today we head off to the North shore and decide to do the Grouse Grind which is a hike that climbs a 1000m in 3km. That's steep! Its still a bit drizzly but on the mountain side in the forest its really humid and we were soon working up a sweat. At the top we take in a Lumberjack show (fun but cheesy) and have a look at the Orphaned bears and Wolves in the enclosures.
Car - Vancouver Island
Its time to move on and we pick up our rental car and head to the ferry terminal at Tsawassen, to get the ferry to Vancouver Island. The trip on the boat takes about an hour and half. But the scenery for most of it is breathtaking as you wind through the Fjords leading you into Vancouver Island.
Today is whale watching! We head out on a whale watching charter in the hope of seeing some of the Orcas that live around the coast. We got lucky as we saw lots of Orcas pretty close both just swimming along and some more aerial manoeuvres and both Claire and I were well chuffed. We also saw Seals, Sea lions ands gulls and what not.
We took a trip today to go hiking and check out some petroglyphes at nearby Sooke. For a change it wasn't raining and we really enjoyed walking around the beautiful coastline in the warm sunshine.
Car- Ferry - Squamish
Again it was time to move and this time we drove from Victoria, north to Nanaimo to get the ferry to Horseshoe bay and then headed North on the Sea to Sky Highway to Squamish. The scenery through out the drive was beautiful.
Time to hike the massive Granite monolith that over shadows Squamish, the Stawamus Chief. In order to get to the top you have to climb ladders and haul yourself up chains. The views from the top are amazing with views up the valley towards Whistler and down onto the Howe Sound.
Claire persuaded me to get on the back of one of these nervy beasts and to be honest I was bricking it. But the guys at Sea to Sky Stables give you a quick lesson how to steer one of these Horse things and plonk you on a "plodder" and you're off. We did a trail ride through the wooded valley floor and through rivers and stuff. I must admit I quite enjoyed it...
Whistler Mountain Bike Park
Today was my turn! I got to ride the Bike Park at Whistler.
After hiring a mental DH bike, it was time to hit the trails via the comfort of a Cable Gondola. I started off easy on some Green trails but quickly progressed on to harder Blue Trails like "Smoke and Mirrors", "Ho Chi Minh" and "Heart of Darkness". Next up was a couple of Runs on A-line which is a table top fest. Minced down the first run, but by the end of the second run I was clearing the tabletops. :0O
Halfway down A-line there is a little spur trail called Old School, which is a North Shore style Timber trail about 8 ft in the air and with a rather large drop at the end. How the hell I didn't kill myself on it I have no idea. But I cleaned it. Just.
By that point my arms were shot so I just chilled on the Blue runs for the last hour.
While I was doing that Claire was spending the GNP of a small nation on beauty treatment or something...
Ooo big bike:
Car - Van
Back to Van to take the Car back. A pretty chilled day in the end with plenty of coffee breaks. (Good coffee in Canada.)
Storyeum Stanley Park Cruisers
We had a touristy day in Vancouver today and took in the "Live Action" Museum thing which was really good and pretty informative about the birth of BC.
Then it was off to Stanley park to hire Cruiser bikes and lark about in the park.
Kitsilano back to sea
Last day in Vancouver today and we spent it in Kitsilano, a cool little Neighbourhood South of Downtown. Just chilled really.
Had to get the train back to Seattle in the afternoon.
At the US border we had a visit from the Department of Homeland security. Boy they are they fun fellas...
Sea in a morning
We had a morning in which to "see" Seattle. Seemed nice enough.