Amazing Granola, best ski resort, Blackcomb Mountain, Buffalo Bills, Cows Whistler, dog walking, Fireside Lodge, function junction, Gondola Whistler, Greyhound, Hi Whistler, highest cable car, Ingrid's Village Cafe, Mark Richard's Gallery, Marketplace, mountain biking, mountains, Peak to Peak Whistler, Purebread, Riverside Trail, Sam Cooke, Skiiing in Whistler, Stand by Me, suspension bridge, train wreck, Train Wreck Whistler, Valley Trail, Whistler
For those who have heard of Whistler the name conjures up images of beauty, of snow and mountains and the peak to peak gondola which this year was awarded with two world records for “highest cable car above ground” and “longest unsupported span between two cable car towers“. For me I went in the hope of seeing all this but unfortunately I didn’t check the weather forecast and somehow arrived in Whistler on the foggiest, wettest day of the year! Not to fear Whistler still had plenty of things for me to do, I just had to go in search of it and change my plans slightly.
Whistler is known as one of the best ski resorts in the world. Usually every year in October hundreds of people, mostly students, head to Whistler in the hope of working for the season. When you step off the bus and rock up in Whistler it does feel like stepping back into a mini University town filled with snow and a few kids thrown in for good jest. I went to university in Canterbury so am used to small towns but Whistler is its own little village in itself. Sports and ski rental shops populate the town as well as clubs, pubs, restaurants and some beautiful mini art galleries too. I stumbled into one that was simply beautiful called Mark Richard’s Gallery. His paintings are ones you completely lose yourself in and for myself I definitely would hang a few up in my future house.
After having a brief wander round I was starving and as I was treating Whistler as a mini holiday I wanted to get something delicious for lunch. I explored a few places and settled on some healthy lovely looking lunch place called Naked Sprout. There were a few options to choose from although not many. I eyed up one of their sandwiches which looked like a burrito and sounded pretty tasty on paper so opted for that. The curry was extremely inviting but I was keen on the sandwich so chose it and it was so disappointing. Far too much lettuce, not enough flavour, tough wrap bread, it was a bad choice on my part. After having it I was still craving something sweet so popped along a few doors down and found some amazing deli called Ingrid’s Village Cafe and bought myself a cookie bar thing. I then strolled along to the ticket booth for the Peak to Peak Gondola as wanted to purchase my ticket for tomorrow. The gondola costs 52 dollars and is open from 8.30 – 4pm. As I wasn’t doing it today I opted for a walk around Lake Louise which was pleasant enough though I imagine it would be beautiful on a sunny day. The trail took about 2 hrs to walk around and was very peaceful.
I opted to head to the hostel after this with the intention to come back into town after I’d hopefully met some people. I was unsure which hostel to pick between Fireside Lodge and Hi Whistler. After looking on trip advisor Fireside Lodge received very good feedback and was also slightly cheaper so I decided on that one. The hostel was approximately a ten minute bus drive from the village and was super quiet. I was staying in an 18 bed dorm and there was no one there! I felt so lonely and bored! I wasn’t quite sure what to do as I knew I wanted to head back into town but at the same time it was raining so heavily and was pitch black by this point.
After an hour of faffing about I decided to head on out with the aid of an umbrella I had managed to find from lost property and the helpful torch light app on my phone. It was so so dark without the torch I don’t think I would’ve branched back into town because I didn’t have a clue where I was going! When I arrived back in I wandered up and down the streets with the intention of getting some savoury food but as soon as I passed and smelt the ice cream from Cows Whistler I pretty much decided what to have for dinner. I’m still off chocolate for lent (never again I think after quitting chocolate I am now eating more donuts than I ever have in my life!) therefore I couldn’t choose any of the amazing looking flavours so opted for vanilla and strawberry (not as appealing). I then wandered round in the rain searching for Buffalo Bills, talked to a random guy who said last week in Whistler had been beautiful. Wonderful. So after half an hour of having an ice cream walking in the rain and buying some nuts from market place I decided to head back. The highlight of my evening was when I heard a song of Sam Cooke’s blasted out near some sort of open fireplace by the ice rink. That was pretty magical. So the bus came and I jumped on because as an oldie now I didn’t want to end up out for ages then end up having no clue how to get home so I went back to the hostel and just sat there and read. Oh how boring. The more positive side of me thought it’s ok l’ll get a good nights sleep but unfortunately the man sleeping in bed opposite me decided to snore all night long to which point I almost wanted to cry. Note to self, check weather forecasts and stick to a four bed dorm in future.
Despite all this the hostel wasn’t all bad. The man who worked there was very helpful and recommended a trail to do called the Riverside trail, and my search for this the following day led me to have a wonderful day. After heading into town and realising that the gondola might not be best thing to do as the cameras on top showed complete fog I opted to do the trail. A fifteen minute bus ride from the village, Riverside trail has been one of the loveliest hikes I have done in a long time. The trail is approx 5k and when you get to middle you can walk along a suspension bridge. I came across a ridiculously good looking couple who were out mountain biking the trail together with their tiny little dog who ran behind them the whole way.
A shorter walk back led me to the main road where I saw a sign for function junction. I knew function junction led to the train wreck trail and despite the rain and warning from the visitor guides not to do the trail by myself as it was tricky to find I thought what the heck it can’t be too hard to find, so set off with the intention of heading to the train wrecks. I popped into a shop called Olives to get directions and after being given a hand out with directions written on and told where the start of the trail began I still didn’t know where to go! Trust me I’m going to be a whiz with directions after this trip! Luckily I saw a man coming towards me with his dogs and asked him for directions. Well this is probably the best decision I made all day as the man turned out to be on a walk with his dogs and therefore led me on the road towards the train tracks. However it got better because rather than just taking a half hour walk, the man, who I got to know as Mike was so kind he took me the whole way to the train wreck and back. And yes without him I would’ve got completely lost! I was sort of hoping he would come the whole way and take me back because I hadn’t even been tracking where we walked too as I was talking too much and watching his beautiful dog Angus (who looks like murphy!) play around.
Not only did he take me on the walk but he pointed out places to stop and take good pictures and informed me about the mountain bike tracks and the sessions mountain bikers do on the train wrecks. It was also lovely to meet a Canadian and learn more about the city. It took us approximately an hour and 20 mins to get to the train wreck and back. I wanted to walk along the train track and reenact Stand By Me but one, that might have been a bit weird and two, apparently you can get fined if you’re caught walking along the train track so I stayed to the side of it but could still pretend I was in the film!
It was 3pm by the time we got back and I was hoping to get back before 4.30 to ask if I could get on the earlier Greyhound bus as otherwise I would be hanging around until 7.55. The bus was taking forever to come and I was thinking to myself rubbish I’m not going to get back when a man asked if I wanted a lift to the village. Well seeing how friendly the people had seemed so far and being on a time limit I thought why not so jumped in with this man who turned out to be harmless but a bit mad! In the length of the 10 minute car journey he had tried speaking to me in 5 languages, invited me out clubbing with him and told me about how he broke his arm once from a pole dancing session after his girlfriend broke up with him. I can gladly say I made it in one piece to the village and that 10 minutes was more than plenty to spend with Tommy. I also saved myself 2.50 so result in that respect! Arriving back in time, the greyhound bus was already parked up so I asked the driver if I could jump on the bus. Luckily for me there was 2 spaces free so I got to jump on! I had enough time before getting the bus to grab some lunch. For some weird reason I went back to Naked Sprout because I believed the curry had to be better, plus it came with coconut rice which I love. Verdict, it was so bland! That place really needs to readdress their menu and flavours. Disappointed yet again I quickly ran to a beautiful bakery/cafe called Purebread where I bought some lovely but a tad too sweet coconut macaroons and also the nicest granola I have ever tasted! Since visiting I have looked to see if there is a Purebread in Downtown and to my luck there is so I will be taking a trip there soon!
I then made it in time for the 4.30 bus where I dozed off and woke up to the most beautiful view of the lake and mountains. I might not have had a wild night out and been able to do the gondola but my two days in Whistler turned into a lovely, fun adventure which has left me looking forward to going back in the Summer, this time I might bring some people with me.