From Pemberton to Whistler – another flat
Before I finally head from Pemberton to Whistler I need to stop once more at a bicycle shop. First I want to give it another try to find someone who is capable to fix my lights and secondly I need to inspect me rear tire. Since a couple of days I have to pump it up every morning a little bit. So there must be a puncture again somewhere. At the bike shop I meet Bill who is touring through Canada as well. He has to replace a broken spoke. Next he wants to climb up the mountain road towards Lillooet (Duffy Lake Road) which I came down just yesterday. He is even carrying more load than me it seems. Certain parts of the climb he is up to have grades of 15% – RESPECT. We exchange a bit on experiences with campgrounds on the way and he reveals the secret how he keeps his chain so free of dirt (https://youtu.be/D12BFIXZCes). While mine seems to collect every piece of dirt on the road his looks almost brand new after more than 700km on the road. Certainly worth trying it out one day, but maybe not on this trip…
Instead of patching the tube I buy a new one at the bike shop. But before I place it into the tire I sorrowly check tire and rim and actually find a small piece of metal which looks like a tiny paper clip. It went straight through the tire and I can only remove it with the leatherman which Bill borrows me. It’s the 2nd time I pull such a piece out of my tires and I wonder why there are so many of those on the road and why I’m collecting all these. Bill explains me, that these a part of the wiring inside the truck tires. And actually I drove past a lot of exploded samples since I started in Whitehorse. As all the dirt and crap gathers on the shoulder of the road where I have to ride, it’s no wonder that I picked up these little bastards.
When I’m finally done with fixing the tire it’s almost 3pm. It’s only roughly 50km to Whistler but there are again some meters to climb. I have to hurry a little bit – again. Luckily the rain which was out in the morning has gone and I can start my journey in dry weather. Other than normally I don’t do many stops today to take fotos. The scenery is somewhat “normal” by now and the low hanging clouds block the potential spectacular views on the peaks of Whistler and Blackcomb. I hope for tomorrow – it’s supposed to be sunny and warm.
down that hill – an unplanned trail run
In Whistler I booked a hostel for 2 nights. It’s somewhat outside of Whistler Village and was part of the olympic village during the olympic games in Vancouver in 2010. I’ve decided to not touch the bike the next day and go hiking instead. I take to bus to Whistler Village and want to hike the Rainbow Lake Trail. According to my guide it will take me about 5 to 6 hours. But it didn’t tell me that I need to invest one more hour to actually get there from Wistler Village (as I don’t have a car). Since it’s already noon, I have to hit the throttle to be back before sunset at 7pm. The first few km of the trail are in dense forrest, passing just another waterfall. They have become somehow normal for me, since I’m on this trip. I take some photos but quickly move on, since there are two beautiful lakes and nice mountain scenery further up the trail. The vegetation changes the higher I get. It becomes less trees and more bushes and flowers and more colorful. It adds red, yellow and purple to the green of the pine trees. And also the peaks of the surrounding mountains come into picture more often now.
Around 5:15pm I finally reach Rainbow Lake. Normally I should return now since it’s been a while that I came across another hiker and I seem to be the only one still out here. On the info board at the lake I see that it’s 1,5 more km till the viewpoint from where I can also see the other lake. I decide to not loose time and continue up till there and return immediately. I still have my headlamp with me I can use downhill. I quickly shoot some final pictures and then stow all my gear in my backpack and strap it tight and start running downhill. It’s difficult terrain and I have to be careful to not slip or stumble over a rock or roots. After only 2km I feel strong pain in my leg muscles which forces me to slow down. For several km I’m only able to walk slowly until the pain slowly gets less. I decide to still walk the steep parts but continue running in the moderate sections. Finally I make it, despite the pain, on-time out of the forrest and back to the Rainbow Park which marks the beginning of the trail. The sun is setting and paints a beautiful picture on the Alta Lake. The final km back into the village I continue walking slowly, which is already hard enough. The 11km downhill run have (more than 700m elevation loss) have stressed completely different muscles than my previous 38 days on the bike. I can already predict that I will suffer a few more days from this.
Hiking with Alex and Reinhold
Due to the tough exercise yesterday I decide to stay one more night in Whistler and to postpone my trip to Vancouver by one more day. Last evening two British Bikers (motorbikes) recommended me to do the Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler. This time I want to start earlier to not run into the same time constraints again like yesterday. I take the bus to Whistler again and want to get some additional information on the trail in the Visitor Center. There I meet Alex and Reinhold – two Germans who are travelling through Canada in a Minivan and just arrived in Whistler. I tell them about my journey and the hike I want to do today. They ask if they can join me – since I don’t want to do another crazy downhill trail run I’m actually happy about some company today. We agree that I will check for the information on the trail while they relocate their car to a public parking lot. The guy in the visitor center explains me, that the trail up to the Blackcomb Mountain is only open on weekends, since it’s Wednesday we have to chose for another hike. He recommends me a few which are all close to my hostel. Luckily we can take the car from Alex and Reinhold to get there, so we don’t lose too much time and we pick to do the Crater Rim Trail.
The trail starts at the Whistler Interpretive Forrest and although it’s considered to be moderate I find certain parts pretty steep since I’m still suffering from yesterday. After 2 hours of hiking we reach the Loggers Lake. Unfortunately we don’t have our swimming gear with us. The lake is inside an old volcano crater and supposed to be pretty warm as it’s still heated from below. On the way back we pass by another waterfall or rough water. There are some guys we already met at the Roggers Lake who have found a spot where it’s save to jump into the river. They are performing crazy moves and getting filmed by two other guys. It looks a bit hazardous and certainly requires some practice. But these guys seem to know what they’re doing. We continue the descent and reach the parking lot again by 5:30pm. We decide to check out Function Junction which is supposed to be a hip and alternative neighborhood. It’s less than 2km from the parking lot so we decide to walk that way. The quarter basically only consists of two streets with a few stores and bars. I buy myself something for dinner at an organic super market (Olives) which was recommended to me by Scott, my former warmshowers host in Pemberton. We finish our sightseeing trip at Function Junction at the Whistler Brewery and taste some of their craft beers which actually taste pretty good. It was a fun day with these two fellow Germans and we had some interesting conversation along the trail.
On the way back to the parking lot I propose to Alex and Reinhold that they could also join me for dinner in the hostel. I don’t have enough food to share, but at least they will have a proper place to cook and eat. I give them my bottle of mustard which I’m already carrying for multiply weeks now and have no use for it anymore. They can immediately use it to spice up their dinner. After we’re finished with eating we move over to the lounge area and continue talking till 11pm before I finally have to say goodbye to both of them as I’m pretty tired from the previous days and I want to recover a little bit before I continue towards Vancouver.