British Columbia Travel Diaries Part 3: Lighthouse Park, Whistler and Squamish

Day 9: Lighthouse Park

This day was another semi “lazy” day. We did a lot of grocery shopping, and in the afternoon, we went on a short hike around Lighthouse Park.

lighthouse park british columbia
Walking in to Lighthouse Park. Aren’t these trails lovely?

 

lighthouse park british columbia
Trees, man.

Again: trees are cool. I like trees. And these ones were freaking huge; some were over 60 meters tall and had been growing for over 600 years. The trees are over thirty times as old as I am, and if you think about it that way, it’s kind of mind-blowing.

lighthouse park british columbia
Look! More trees!

We walked all the way down to the eponymous lighthouse itself (I mean, it’s called Lighthouse Park; you kind of have to see the lighthouse). I’m starting to see a pattern here: I enjoy taking pictures of trees, lighthouses, and as you’ll see pretty soon, mountains.

lighthouse park british columbia
The lighthouse.
lighthouse park british columbia
And for all the history nerds (including me), the plaque in front of the lighthouse.

(We also saw a lady wearing heels on our hike, and while it was pretty ridiculous, a part of me admired her for her ability to climb rocks in platform heels. It takes a special kind of skill to not fall in heels, especially on uneven surfaces. I can barely walk on flat surfaces without twisting an ankle.)

After moseying around the area for a little while longer, we went back to our home for our stay and recharged for our next mini-trip: Whistler.

Day 10: Squamish, Whistler, Shannon Falls

We left for Whistler early that day, stopping first in Squamish for coffee and then continuing past Horseshoe Bay and the Chief. I’ve seen the view several times in commercials, but seeing it in person was just… wow. I’m not even going to try and describe it. I don’t even think there are words to describe it.

the chief squamish
Photo courtesy of my mother.

We arrived in Whistler mid-afternoon. After checking into our hotel, we did a quick walk around Whistler Village to look at the shops (and grab some groceries) and the sights. We even briefly stopped into the art gallery my mother used to work at before I was born. As both my parents have spent time there (my dad as a so-called “ski bum” and my mom working in the art gallery), it was very much a walk down memory lane for them.

whistler village

whistler village
Isn’t this so pretty?!

Next, we drove out of Whistler and to Shannon Falls. While my mother stayed in the car (she wasn’t feeling well), my dad and I hiked down to the waterfall. Honestly, I would’ve been fine with just the hike; the forest was beautiful, and it gave me more than ample opportunity to take reference photos for my novel. But then I saw the waterfall.

shannon falls

shannon falls
LOOK. AT. THIS.

I have never in my life seen something so beautiful.

shannon falls provincial park
You guys thought I was done with the tree pictures, didn’t ‘cha?

After dinner out, we returned to our hotel room to rest up for another busy day.

Day 11: Whistler Blackcomb and the Peak 2 Peak Gondola

Our day started with another quick walk around the village before we caught the gondola up to the top of Whistler.

whistler from gondola
Whistler is so expensive, and yet so pretty.

I thought Greece was beautiful. And it is—mind-blowingly, insanely beautiful. But Whistler was something else entirely. As a skier, I was already in love with the place. As an appreciator of nature and pretty things, that was only amplified.

whistler mountain

whistler mountain
Petition for Whistler to stop being so beautiful. My bank account would appreciate it.

We stayed at the top of Whistler for a few minutes, looking around. Then, as my mom went to explore the place a little more, my father and I took the Peak Express Traverse up to the Peak Express chairlift and then continued on through the Matthew and Pika Express Traverses. The hike took about two hours, and I’m still not sure I’ll see anything more beautiful. Most of my BC pictures were taken during this day, because in the wise words of my father, “this is an opportunity we probably won’t ever get again.” (Or at least for a long time.)

pika express traverse whistler
The Pika Express trail, I think? Anyways, these ice sheets are taller than me and it’s kind of freaking me out.

Once our hike was over, we met up with my mom again at the top of Whistler and then took the Peak 2 Peak gondola over to Blackcomb. They give you two gondola options: the regular-floored gondola and the glass-bottomed gondola. We chose the regular one as a) the glass one was a longer wait and b) none of us wanted to poop our pants. Mostly b). None of us are exactly afraid of heights, but there’s something a little unnerving about being suspended several hundred feet in the air by a cable and glimpsing the ground below your feet.

Blackcomb was equally as beautiful, but in a different way. It’s also worth mentioning that the fries sold in the lodge are amazing. (I’m a fry gal. What can I say?)

whistler blackcomb

whistler blackcomb
So much pretty.

After walking around a little more, we took the gondola back down to Whistler. After a brief moment of panic when my father dropped his sunglasses through the slats on the loading platform (we were a couple chairlifts away from the front and he had to hurry to grab them from underneath), we got on the chairlift.

Chairlift from Whistler
Farewell, beautiful Whistler and Blackcomb. You will be missed.

Also, we saw a bear. Just wanted to tell you guys that. It was but a black blob of fur several hundred feet up the mountain, but it was a bear, and I saw it with mine own eyes. Look!

whistler
Actual bear (up by the trees). It is hard to see, I admit.

After a brief stroll through Upper Village, we took the Fitzsimmons trail back to the Lower Village and checked out of our hotel.

fitzsimmons trail
More waterfall, brought to you by the Fitzsimmons trail.

All three of us were sad to leave.

On the way back, one of our many lookout stops was Tantalus lookout. I am a nerd of many things, but Greek Mythology has a special place in my heart. Basically, I hear anything related to Greek myths and I perk right up. And looking over the scraggly, jagged mountains made the name all the more fitting.

tantalus lookout
Mountain nerd alert.

There was also another Squamish story listed on the Tantalus lookout plaque—or as they would call it, the tsekílx. I don’t remember all of it and I can’t find it online, but the gist of it was a group of hunters would go into the mountains with their dogs to hunt. It was very dangerous and a lot of them died from the elements, and when they passed, their spears became the jagged points of the mountain range. Pretty cool, huh?

After a couple more hours, we arrived back in Vancouver, tired but incredibly happy.

Day 12: Centennial Beach and a Lazy Day

As we were going to be leaving the next day, Day 12 was to be a day for packing and not much else. Late in the morning, we went to Centennial Beach to look around, but as it was pretty cold, didn’t stay too long. It was, however, pretty nice to look at, especially since it was one of the places we visited on our trip 13 years previous.

centennial beach
Not exactly your average beach, but still pretty cool.

While my dad went across the border for gas and to do a little more sight-seeing, my mom and I stayed back at the house we were visiting, hanging around the pool and talking. That night was bittersweet, as we knew it would be the last we’d have in BC for a long while.

Day 13: Flight Home

Honestly, there’s not much to say about this day. We got up early-ish, did all our last-minute packing (and as we’re a family of procrastinators, there was a lot of it, and left our family friends’ house around noon. After a bittersweet goodbye (the tentative plan is for me to visit again next summer, because now that I’ve re-experienced BC, it’s hard to stay away. Plus our host family is wonderful and I have secret plans to assimilate into their clan.)

Our flight left at 2. We arrived in at Pearson around 10, and finally got home a couple hours later. Even though I wasn’t happy to be back in Ontario, my bed was a welcome sight.

The thing is, I’m going to miss BC like crazy. Before we visited, I used to feel like Vancouver was in my blood. After spending close to two weeks there, I still believe it. There’s just this relaxed kind of vibe there that I love; unlike other big cities, there isn’t as much of a rush and pressure to move move move.

So if I ever pack up all my things and skip town, you know where I’ll be.

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