I did a lot of walking today. A LOT OF WALKING! Not only on nice flat paved surfaces, but up on incredibly steep dusty surfaces, and down on incredibly steep and narrow and rocky surfaces. After my morning walk, my dad wanted to go on the Highnotes Trail, which, he warned, is a really hard hike.
After taking the gondola to the Roundhouse Lodge up on Whistler, we took the chair to the very tippy top of the mountain, where I'd never been. Now, it was cloudy and foggy and impossible to see the spectacular view that undoubtedly lurked beyond the gloom. But the temperature was perfect, and I was happy. Because seriousy, the only thing that can improve an open-air ride over a rocky abyss (that is a seriously steep chair ride) is one which has you traveling through a foggy abyss hovering over a rocky abyss.
Because Mom was left back at the Roundhouse overlooking an inukshuk, we decided not to make the entire hike. Instead, dad said there was a shortcut--a road leading back up to the peak.
This all started out fun and well. The trail wound past another
inukshuk and then, down. Occasionally, they'd bolted a chain into the rocks, but for the most part, we were on our own clinging to the steep path. Geology-loving me was happy for the chance to get close to so many interesting rocks and lichens.
Then we reached the junction with this "road" my dad had spoken of. We were greeted by a grinning Japanese family about to descend on the next stage of the trail. Beside them was a sign suggesting that if you feel your hiking abilities are giving out, then take go back up to the peak and take the chair down. That's the way we went, because of time, rather than ability.
What the sign should have said was, "If your hiking abilities are giving out, you're fucked."
Normal people use these things called, "switchbacks" in order to ascend steep surfaces. Not these people! I've never been on such a steep slope for such a long time. And the road itself was very roadlike, except that any vehicle that tried to drive up it would slide backwards into the abyss. It was alternately dusty and gravelly, and not very good for getting a firm foothold. And it just kept going up. Every time we thought we'd hit the top, it was just a slight bend (nothing, of course, that could be called a switchback.)
Compounding the climbing misery was the fact that I am not absolutely certain I'm allergic to sweat. I was itchy itchy itchy the whole way.
Eventually we did hit the top, and being hardcore, of course, decided to walk down rather than take the chair. That road's not too bad, and had the bonus incentive of the Harmony Tea Hut, where my dad was very disappointed to learn they didn't have any soda, but rather, only Vitamin Water and Powerade. He was also amused by everyone's fascination with the lone chipmunk scavanging crumbs. Hey, I haven't seen a chipmunk in years! Only squirrels.
The road down to the Roundhouse was steep, but at least it was down. We hooked up with Mom and took the Peak to Peak gondola
, which was pretty awesome. The giant towers got me all giddy. It's also a silent ride, since unlike the regular gondola which has thunkaty thunkaty towers every hundred feet or so, there's just four, so there was only a slight hum and the whispers of the dozen passengers in Spanish and Japanese and a bunch of other languages. I think English speakers were in the minority.
Once we took the open chairs down Blackcomb, and my bare arms were completely numb from the wind, I decided to walk the 4.5 kilometers back to the lodge. It's mostly flat, and I needed the thinking time. I brought my notebook and stopped in the many parks to lie in the grass and scribble notes.
And I'll probably take another walk this evening, because that's what I do in Whistler. I walk a hell of a lot.