Off to Whistler

Made a headlong dash for Whistler this weekend.  Going to Whistler before the Games was something I “had to do”, but when the time came, I had a lot of resistance and put it off and put it off.  Oh well, we made it out, feeling unprepared and leaving too late, but as long as it gets done.

After an eight hour drive shared with my friend on thankfully bare roads in the passes, a fantastic meal in Van that included seafood and Bailey’s ice cream, and a sleepover on a king sized bed, I was off for Whistler solo.

I’m so glad for Stanley Park.  It really is a jewel in the city, and somehow that abundant lushness dampens the buzzing of frantic city energy, if just for the moments of passing through it.  Even the token postage stamp of a forest that it is still puts the rat race in perspective, as the canopy dwarfs the traffic and the bucked up windfall on the side of the road reminds of the strength of natural forces.  Then you roll out of that reprieve onto the threshold of Lion’s Gate bridge, rather a beautiful sample of engineering.

The Sea to Sky is finished now.  There’s a little bit of falling rock remediation happening still, but the new highway is a far cry from the last time I drove it- in white knuckled terror trying to keep the speed of traffic in an endless narrow lane on a wildly curving road all construction zone with high-hoes swinging over traffic and equipment perched on the edges of cliffs and rocks with only the Pacific behind them. I won’t forget that drive soon.  I was sure I would die.  Even packed with not a cars length between us and the lanes demarcated by orange cones, everyone wanted to get to Vancouver at the usual 100-km/hour rate.  Phew.

Now the Sea to Sky is smooth and arching and you rise up out of Vancouver, sail over the crest of a grand hill, and the Gulf Islands appear before you, with the ships and tankers becalmed in the foreground ocean glittering under the giant sky, and the distant mountains of the mainland hinting raggedly at their majesty.  This is why Vancouver won the Olympics, and this is what will really dazzle our international guests.  The beauty of the west coast is breath taking.  Mountains, rainforest, ocean, and islands, all together.  And the highway north offers some damn good views of it.

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