June 16, 2009

Canadian Tidbits

Still haven't touched the photos.

Why? Well, we got in Saturday night at 11 pm. The next morning we scooted up to SF to pick up the mutt. That night, we met a friend for dinner. Then yesterday, after work, we had dinner with my women's group. In celebration of the birthday of the group's founder, we had a dinner with all our spouses (and our mutt!). I'd thought we were having an outdoor barbque, or I'd never have asked if we could bring the dog. Instead, it was a sit-down dinner for 11 people. Oops . . .

Now I'm back at work where it's blissfully slow (lots I could do, little I HAVE to do).

Sooooo...a few anecdotes from our trip.
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Our last morning in the Vancouver B&B, we were joined by one other guest. Turns out she's a well-known Canadian poet. We ended up talking for 3 1/2 hours! By the end, it was Jrex and she chatting away while I scooted downstairs to pack up all our stuff and load it in the car. I'd scheduled us for kayaking and was nervous we'd be late. (We were, but they let us shift our reservation, so it worked out fine.) The Poet was really great at drawing Jrex out. Made me realize what things might have been like had Mom lived. The Poet felt very similar to my Mom (though she had a lighter sense of humor): acreative, intelligent, compassionate writer who is aging gracefully and filled with life.
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Then, in Whistler, my introverted husband did it again! He bonded with our B&B owner about wine. The two of them would talk and talk and our breakfasts turned into brunches. It was really fun. We found out that the Canadian government has a stranglehold monopoly on wine distribution. No other importer. No other source. Therefore, an $8 bottle US, can cost $35 in a Canadian wine store. We'd fallen in love with Vancouver and were playfully trying to figure out how we could move there. That wine news put a big crimp in our happy fantasy . . .

We did three gorgeous hikes. The first took us up high enough to see a glacier (we hiked through an afternoon thunderstorm!). The second took us up to a lake that was still coated with thin ice. While we sat on the shore, we heard crackles and cracks of breaking ice. The last day, we wandered along a fairly level trail through a temperate rain forest to a view from a lower lake.

Despite running up and down stairs during the conference, I was woefully out of shape. By the third day, I had to rest. We took the gondola up Whistler mountain only to find out at the top that all the hiking trails were closed due to snow. Jrex was bummed, but I was (not-so) secretly relieved. Having nothing else to do, we took the Peak2Peak gondola across to Blackcomb. This is a new option that goes across a deep valley between the two mountains. It was a bit freaky to pass the last gondola tower on one mountain and look ahead to a huge span before the next tower.

Over on Blackcomb, it looked like there was a little less snow. I saw a ranger and asked if we could hike anything. He looked at my long nylon pants, trekking poles, Asolo mountain boots and told me we could sneak around the gondola and head up the mountain towards a certain hut. Basically, they didn't want tourists in flip-flops braving what snow was left and trying to flounder through it. I passed the news on to Jrex, and then spread out in the lodge while he made the trek up (in shorts and hiking boots).

Jrex'd been gone over an hour and I was starting to get a little worried when the ranger came into the lodge and asked us all to make our way to the gondola. There was electrical activity and they needed to clear the mountain. Obviously, that really freaked me out! I told him my husband had gone up toward the hut, he reassured me that they'd go find him. Then as we all left the building, another ranger announced we needed to go back inside, they'd shut down the gondola. Fortunately, Jrex walked up just then. He'd been rained on twice, but decided after the hail that he should turn back.

After waiting an hour to see if they could restart the lifts, they announced we'd be trucked down the mountain. They put out a call for any trucks in the area to come ferry us down the mountain. First out were the old people, which was as it should be. However, after that, I watched group after group pushing ahead and getting loaded in. I wanted us to join the push and get out of there, but my sweet, courteous husband was waiting for permission. It wouldn't have been a big deal, but the pattern for how we both were handling the situation was SO reflective of how we both do life. My pushing (steamrolling) drives him crazy, his waiting for things means I'm usually 'stuck' waiting with him. We got really pissy with each other. I had my journal with me, so I could just vent and fume (which was definitely better than taking it out on Jrex).

Soon after my journal venting, the rangers came to invite us to join the line. We got a ride soon after that. Our driver was a ski instructor. She'd been up at the glacier on Blackcomb setting up for classes next week when they saw lightning. She picked up her skis so they could ski down. As she held them, they became so charged she had to throw them away from her. Freaked them all out and they got out of there FAST.

Turns out the way down is the road that gets used for bear tours, and sure enough, in one of the lower meadows, we saw a big black bear (not a grizzly). Bonus!

5 comments:

Asianmommy said...

Wow--what an adventure-filled trip!

Lil Sis said...

wow wow and wow, sounds amazing:) Glad you had such a great time and didn't get struck by lightening!

Mama Nabi said...

Vancouver seems to have that effect on a lot of people. My sister and her ex husband used to talk about relocating there.

Inkling said...

Wow. I never thought about electrical storms on a mountain before. The things I learn....

Whistler is where we got engaged, and I love that place, even though watching people ski there pretty much sealed the deal for me to be totally afraid to ski anywhere outside of the flat midwest. Those folks were fast! And it was steep! Holy cow!

And yes, should you come through Squamish some day again when everything below my waist finally works after this long childbearing adventure, I would love to have you come climbing with us. Of course, you are better than I am, so I'll need to get practicing. JRex could content himself with the hike to the base of the climbs if he really is against being tempted to scale a big wall. =)

scarp said...

I am a bit jealous - no money equals few excursions, much less ones that include B&Bs and gondola rides....

I´ll content myself with yesterday´s splurge on an ince cream cone while the in-laws watched the baby...