The area surrounding Whistler is dominated by the Coast Mountains. The Sea-to-Sky-Highway passes through this beautiful landscape, where the Shannon Falls cascade more than 300 meters down to the valley floor, making it the third highest in British Columbia. Equally stunning are the Brandywine Falls, where the creek drops some 70 meters over the edge of a cliff.
In Whistler we meet up with Daniela, a friend of mine from Germany. She’s been traveling for the last two years and we first met in New Zealand. Now she is working at the Whistler Hostel. To continue our couch surfing experience we stayed with her and her three roommates for two nights. Then we moved to the hostel, because it was quite crowded after all.
On Friday and Saturday Daniela was able to take her free days to do some hikes in the area. Our first destination were the Joffrey Lakes. Three turquoise glacier lakes surrounded by high mountains. We were lucky with the weather, because the smoke from the fires was getting less, so we were actually seeing the surrounding scenery. We took advantage of the sunshine and the swinging rope to jump into the freezing water. It was still worth it.
The forecast for the weekend was not as nice, so we did a smaller hike to Loggers Lake and sure enough it did rain on the way back. A good reason to stop at the Whistler brewery to sample their many different beers. Their slogan was quite fitting – “Brewed in paradise, enjoyed on patios”.
On Sunday we decided to rent mountain bikes for half of the day to do some trail biking in Whistler Village. In winter the trails around Lost Lake are used for cross country skiing, in summer by bikers. Although we were all beginners we started with the medium difficulty right away, because the easy trails are either paved or just plain gravel. We enjoyed the time, but were really exhausted after four hours.
Back at the hostel we had to decide what to do and where to go next. Based on the weather forecast, Whistler would be the best option, but then we wouldn’t get anywhere closer to Edmonton. The other option was going all the way to Waterton Lakes National Park in the south of Alberta, where the forecast was most promising. Additionally it was one destination on my long term Canada bucket list. So that’s where we went next. Google maps predicted 12 hours without traffic – very optimistic considering a maximum speed limit of 100, a distance of 1150 kilometers and the fact that the Rocky Mountains were between us and our destination.
In the end it took us two days to get there…