my2cents

2. June, 2006

Half way through

Filed under: North America 2006 — frightanic @ 04:02

We ended up staying five nights in Squamish. After three nights at the hostel we transfered to Sunwolf Outdoor Center for the next two nights. They have very cosy and cute cabins with wooden furniture.

The first day in Squamish we hiked up the famous climbing rock 'The Chief'. Supposedly, its the world's second largest free standing rock (~650m) after the one in Gibraltar. The trails are rather spectacular and very steep – even for a Swiss. Unfortunately, the peak was wrapped up in clouds. The visibility was about 20m when we arrived at the summit. We met a nice Canadian couple and were able to feed squirrels, though.

The next day we decided to rent mountain bikes to explore Squamish' backcountry. And we sure did – but not as we expected! At the visitor center we had previously bought a hiking/biking map. It turned out it wasn't very accurate (anymore).  We had been following the route of the famous Test of Metal bike race for a few kilometers when all of a sudden we found ourselves deep in the rainforest one tiny single trails. The map actually told a different story, but we just kept following the 'Test of Metal' signs. There were so many roots and rocks on those trails and they went up and down that we had to push the bike rather than to ride it. It went on and on…until we were totally lost in that jungle. Akiko was afraid we would have to spend the night in that forest and was at the brink of tears. All we could do was just to follow those yellow signs. Finally, after almost two hours we spotted houses through the trees. Home! Safe! So, left the marked trails and headed for the houses straight away. Thanks to the street signs in that area and with the help of our map we managed to make it back to the bike store before they closed.

When we arrived at Sunwolf around noon their "school bus" was about to leave with a couple of British for a riverrafting trip. Since it was a warm and sunny day (nice for a change :-)) we decided to hop right on. So, our host ran out to the bus and held them back. We jumped into wet suites and off we went! We had an awesome time on the water, but it was frikkin' cold.

On our last day in the Squamish area we decided to see some snow in the Garibaldi Provincial Park. From the parking at the park entrance we followed a trail up to the Red Heather shelter. Very soon we ran into snow on the trail and the higher we ascented the thicker the snow layer became. However, since that snow must have been there all winter and spring (after all its June already) it was very compact and rather easy to walk on. Up at the shelter there was about 1.5m of snow on the ground still. If we had planned a two day trip we would have proceeded all the way to the Elfin Lakes. The area up there is beautiful and so quiet at that time of the year.

Yesterday we spent a few hours in the car driving from Brackendale to Kamloops following the highways 99 and 97. Once we passed Whistler the landscape changed and signs of civilization became rarer and rarer. 100km without a house, a shop, not even a gas station…

The next two days we'll spend at the High Mile Adventure Resort about 25 minutes from Kamloops doing ??? Probably, some kanoeing and fishing.

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