Wednesday, July 15, 2015

2015 Vacation Recap: Whistler British Columbia Activities Part 2

(photo credit - My husband)

Ready for more excitement from our travels to Whistler? Good! Where did we leave off? We left off with Saturday's activities. Sunday everyone in our group (unfortunately my aunt and uncle already went home) did a waterfall tour on our own. We saw three waterfalls in one day. Alexander falls, Brandywine falls, and Nairn falls. As it turns out, we went from the easiest falls to get to to the hardest. Alexander falls was just off the parking lot, no real hiking involved there. Beautiful falls. Here's a picture of Alexander falls. We spend some time there taking pictures and enjoying the nice view.

Alexander Falls
(photo credit - Me)

Then it was off to Brandywine falls. The trail to see the falls is 1 kilometer or roughly .6 mile. Not a problem at all. This trail was smooth and easy to walk. It didn't seem like it was .6 mile either, it felt much shorter than that. Brandywine falls is very pretty as well. The water is so clear and you could feel the cool air flowing up from the falls. Felt very nice after a hot walk. And I am so glad I bought those shorts from Columbia. There's no way I could have survived all of this hiking otherwise. I would have had heat stroke by the end. And that's no joke. I wanted to jump into the water at Brandywine because it looked so refreshing.

Brandywine Falls
(photo credit - My husband)

The last of the bunch was Nairn Falls. Nairn was by far the hardest hiking path I have ever been on. You take a 1.2 kilometer (.7 mile) hike along a very narrow trail with a lot of loose rocks and roots. Lot of up and down stair type stepping or stepping on roots to get to where you needed to go. You had to keep to the side to let others pass you. There's a steep slope to the river, so I didn't want to get too close and slip on rock and go tumbling down. Unlike the Brandywine trail, the Nairn trail felt a lot longer than .7 mile. Even in shorts I was sweating so much it looked like I took a bath by the end of it. I was nasty hot. 

Close to the end of the trail, there was a giant rock that had a nice little cut out to sit on. My family was already there and was taking a break when we showed up. The rock was nice and cool and it felt good to sit for a minute or two. I was out of breath (because of the altitude or just overall exertion I don't know). I had to take several breaks to slow my breathing down on the way up. We trudged on after sitting on the giant rock and finally made it to the reward.

Nairn Falls
(photo credit - my husband)

Nairn Falls
(photo credit - My husband)

Nairn falls is by far the most gorgeous falls of them all. The pictures above prove it. We were a lot closer to this one than the others, and the power you felt coming from it was enormous. Well worth the hike. Again, I wanted to jump in. I watched the falls for quite a while and then I sat my butt down on some steps. My legs were tired, but at least they weren't dead yet. We still had the .7 mile hike down to do. My mom and I sat for a while and cooled off. Meanwhile there was a second falls that my husband, sister, brother in-law, and the kids went to see. It wasn't too far, but I said no. You had to walk on some slippery stone to get there. I could have done it certainly, but I wanted to just sit.

The hike back down was actually not that bad. It was tough, but no tougher than going up. My husband and I started back a bit earlier than everyone else, because I knew I'd be the slowest. We made our way and took our time. Everyone else did catch up to us eventually, but we made it almost the whole way before they did. Made it to a picnic table by the parking lot and sat for a while. I think everyone was tired after that hike. Nairn was a total of 2.4 kilometers (1.4 miles). The way I walk (and I never think about it), I bend my knees and don't always straighten them all the way when I walk on rough terrain. My sister said I basically did a two and a half kilometer squat.

Onto Tuesday. Tuesday was a very exciting day. And a bit stressful for me. There had been talk here and there about my sister, brother in-law, and three kids doing a zip line. I instantly thought about our vacation a few years ago to Atlanta. We all went to Callaway Gardens and they all did the whole Treetop Adventure. I was thinking that this was going to be somewhat similar. I wasn't able to do the Treetop Adventure at all because of the obstacles in between the zip lines. So I ended up watching. Which was fine, but it looked like a lot of fun. I wanted to give zip lining a try, but I was anxious about the "other" things we had to do. How do you get up to the zip line? Were there any crazy obstacles to deal with? How hard would it be to slow yourself down at the end of the zip? Things like that. I wanted to see what it was like before I committed to it. I was back and forth with the idea for several days.

My sister informed us that she made reservations for her, my brother in-law, the three kids, and my husband. I had my decision made for me. Which was a good thing, or else I would have kept flip flopping and would never have made a decision. I was going. End of story. I wanted to zip line. I wanted to zip line the last time, but those dang obstacles took care of that. So, this was the trip I would zip. Hehehe. And thanks to my sister for making up my mind, although she didn't realize it. I mentioned a few times that I was thinking about it, but I don't think she heard me. I said I wanted to give it a try too, and we signed me up with the group.

The night before the zip, I was so anxious. I couldn't get to sleep. When I did fall asleep, I kept waking up. I woke up for good around 3 AM and just lay there with my mind spinning. When my husband woke up, he saw how worried I was, so he brought up YouTube (love YouTube) and found videos of the actual zip line we would be on. That calmed me down and put my mind at ease, but I was still nervous about it. The only thing I would have changed that day is that I would have taken a Xanax the night before. Instead, I took one that morning. If I had taken it the night before, I would have slept without a problem. However, by taking one the day of the zip, I ended up with looser muscles and had an easier time getting around. So, sleep or easier movement? I think my movement would have been OK if I hadn't taken one, but I'm glad I took it when I did. Lack of sleep doesn't really bother me especially when I'm as keyed up as I was.

The whole experience was a blast. The company is called ZipTrek EcoTours. We took the ZipTrek Bear Tour. We got set up with our harnesses and helmets, and were ready to go. The two guides were very friendly and helpful. The took their time helping me into my gear. We took a bus ride up to where we needed to be, and then we were off. We huked a trail to the first zip line, walked up some stairs and there it was. The first platform. Luckily there were plenty of railings and things to hold onto if I needed to. When my turn came up, I got on the platform, they hooked me to the line, and told me to go when I was ready. I could already feel the harness starting to lift me up, and when I stepped down a few of the steps all I had to do was sit down. I sat and I was off. And it was awesome. I'm a zip lining fool from here on out. If there's a zip line with no obstacles, sign me up. There were five zip lines on the tour we took, and it took us about three hours. It did not feel like three hours. The time flew by. I even let go of the harness thingamajig and just hung there a few times. And the braking at the end? No problem. There was an automatic break thing near the end of the line. When your harness reached that point it slowed you down, and the guide would reel you in from there.

After the excitement on the zip line, we all hustled over to where we were to meet up with everyone else for our "dinner with the bears" jeep tour. No, we didn't actually eat dinner with the bears, but I thought it was a clever name. This was another event that I read about online and was interested in doing, so I was glad everyone was up for it also. We were a bit late getting to the meet up spot and the first group had already left. That's OK, since we had to split into two groups anyway. We just got a late start. We all piled in to a 4x4 jeep with our bear guide and headed off up the mountain to see if we could find any bears. It took about two hours (the tour was three hours long) until the other guide said they spotted a few bears where they were. So we went on over. We saw three bears on our tour. The first bear Alice was by herself wandering around. We actually got out of the jeep and went to look at her. I was a little concerned, but I guess the guide figured it would be OK.

We then went a little further on to see Brownie, a huge black bear just laying around in a grassy field. She was chewing on the grass and just hanging out. We sat there for quite a while and just watched her. She stood up a few time, but always plopped back down. We headed up higher for look down at her, and we ended up seeing a third bear (don't know the name). It was pretty cool to see all of these bears. I love bears. They're so powerful and yet so cuddly looking.

Brownie the Black Bear
(photo credit- Me)

I would have a hard time choosing what would be the highlight of this trip. It would have to be either the falls or the zip line I thing, but I can't decide which one it would be. I would do everything again if I had the opportunity. Only next time, I would bring shorts!

No comments:

Post a Comment