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The August Report Chapter One - Whistler and beyond · 9.08.12 by colin newell

OK so the blog has been running a little dry lately. Alright, the oil pan is completely dry and the engine has seized. It happens.

Heck, I imagine that Stephen King freezes up for a moment or two now and again.
I am back.

Let’s see if we can kick start things a bit by talking about a recent visit to Whistler, British Columbia a few weeks ago.

Whistler 2012 - the visit, food and drinkWhistler: 96 km North/North East of Vancouver on a pretty cerebral piece of 2 to 4 lane highway called the Sea to Sky.

It is an improvement over the wish-for-death falling rock scar encrusted piece of tarmac that it used to be less than 10 years ago. A successful bid for the Olympics and an infusion of around 1 billion dollars tidied it up some.

And on our most recent visit to this pricey get-away for rich folks, I did not even recognize the drive.

I have been up to Whistler a few times starting in the early 90’s and the twists and turns alone give you a gripping sense of your mortality.

And of all the trips I have made to Whistler have been in the spring or summer. I do not ski. Never have. Likely never will. Not that I do not like the cold or enjoy a festive mosaic of white. Not at all. I just fear injury to my hands, arms or legs… which I value dearly the way they are right now – thank you very much.

Anyway – Andrea and I went up to Whistler so she could attend a conference/summit. And I got to play for 3 or 4 days.
This time of the year, Whistler is known for legendary hiking, biking, climbing, walking and even a little late season skiing.

I did a fair bit of hiking around Lost Lake – Lost Lake is part of an very impressive system of shared biking and hiking trails that are as easy as they are challenging. With names like “Tin Pants”, “Vimy Ridge” and “Shit Happens”, you know that there are trails and obstacle strewn pathways that could hurdle a grown man into a life of paraplegia in a heartbeats worth of inattention.

Which exactly why I stayed on trails named “Girly Man” and “Nancy Drew”…
Ain’t to proud to weep at the first oak twig that falls across my pristine hard pan trail folks.

Anyway, once I figured out the trail system and the signage (only used my GPS once in 3 days!) I spent several hours every day making my way through cougar and black bear infested bush trails. In reality, I was generally more in danger of colliding with any number of mountain bikers sailing passed me every few minutes. I walked with determination, generally off to one side of the trail – wore colorful shirts and was often engaged in a conversation of my VHF Ham Radio (more on that later…)

Clearly there is lots to do in Whistler for the outdoorsy type person. Especially this time of the year. Whistler-Blackcomb is a fabulous facility for downhill cycling – likely World class I imagine. At any given moment there were 50 to 70 mountain bikers (all ages and genders) queued up for the T-bar lifts and a continuous stream of bikers flying down the trails coming out of the trail end chutes only to queue up again for the 15 minute ride to the trail head area some 2700 feet higher!

In the next chapter we will talk about the food and drink of Whistler – some surprises and a few disappointments.

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