Written July 21 from Nairn Falls Campground. Posted from Pemberton Library and Community Centre
Ummm. Waking up in Vincent with the sound of the birds and dappled sun overhead is beautiful. The stifling heat is gone, at least for the time being and so is the headache that plagued me yesterday though the hottest part of the day. Having spend a quiet, news free weekend, I was not prepared for what I heard when I turned on the radio as I drove. Kelowna is fighting several wildfires. The forecast is grim. Heat, wind and no relief in sight. As I left Horseshoe Bay and started climbing the sea to sky highway toward Whistler, I started to see the roadside fire indicator signs. All were pushing high or extremely high. What a stark reality check in a land that appears so beautiful it is hard to imagine anything but good happening here. As I drove I found the radio’s constant messages of fire doom needed to be turned off. I have no urge to drive into a fire, so I do need to be kept informed but the news is over bearing, over kill and just too much. This morning in the cool green shade out of touch with the outside world, it is impossible to think that this weather has a sinister side.
Yesterday I drove along sea to sky highway, I was impressed at the repairs and changes that have been made in anticipation of the Winter Olympics. It has been widened where possible, new turnouts have been added and they are in the process of making several new rest areas, many at scenic spots. Much of the road is still under construction and because of the mountains in the way, still winds and twists but on the whole it was a great drive. The scenery as I left Horseshoe Bay was truly breathtaking with the water and jagged mountains to my left and sheer rock faces on my right. I had a hard time driving. Sometimes I would see a view so heart stopping that I would want to take pictures but there truely is no place to stop. My progress was slow as I stopped at every place I could and snapped happily away.
With my eyes firmly on Whistler, I hadn’t noticed the town of Squamish on the map but it was hard to miss as I drove by. Tucked into the mountains, Squamish is known for its spectacular rock walls and outdoor activities. It is a climbers paradise. I am no rock climber so didn’t feel the urge to stop for that but there was a great tourist info/interpretive center. I spent a good hour there looking at the exhibits and watching a kayaking movie. It made me wish all the more that I had my little red Kayak with me.
After spending some time in town seeing sights, I hit the road again. The temperature was rising steadily. I wished I had made different wardrobe choices but then again, naked was not an option and probably would have been uncomfortable with the seat belt on.
Whistler was not what I had remembered. To start with, the last time I was there it was early June. Some of the people I was with were skiing. It rained and was cold. At that point the village was just that, a village. Although when we were there everything was under construction and yesterday I saw those dreams fulfilled.
The actual town of Whistler is a cute little Bavarian style village with a very mall like feeling. Stores and restaurants are tucked around large hotels, all very tastefully blended in so they are not overwhelming. There were thousands of people, loud music and a carnival atmosphere. Combined with the brilliant sun and heat, I found it just too much and fled to this beautiful shaded campground. I wanted to check out the museum but like so much in this area it is closed and waiting to re-open shiny and new for the Olympics.
My choice of Nairn Falls Campground was easy. It was the only game around. The RV park in Whistler was packed and was offering field camping. I couldn’t imagine pulling over and parking in the sun. I was nursing a full blown migraine by then and just headed north. At the time, I could imagine myself continuing until I found cool, even if that meant hitting the Arctic circle. Thank heavens I didn’t have to go that far. I pulled over into the campground, thankful for the shade and just sat quietly for a couple of hours til just before dusk. Then I ventured out along the high narrow path to see the falls. The air above the rushing river was cool and even though the path was quite a climb I was glad I had come. I saw a sign warning me to watch for and protect the tiny Rubber Boa, Canada’s only boa constrictor. Apparently he looks just like a long brown worm and can be easily stepped on. I didn’t see him. I assumed it was too hot for even snakes to sun themselves.
The falls was quite a sight. Fast water forcing itself thought glacier formed pots. I stood on the lower viewing platform willing the spray to shower me but I was just out of reach. As I stood near the edge I was mindful of the signs that warned me not to get too close. The current looked wicked. On the way back I made my way to the river which was bone numbingly cold.
At the end of the day I realized that without couch surfing contacts I become just a tourist. I don’t really get the feeling of the communities that I am in or going through. That is sad because for most of the rest of BC I will not be staying in homes but in campgrounds.It is much more expensive financially and I feel the loss of connection doing that. At the campground I met several great people but they too are traveling and don’t know the area. That is a different community. I wonder if I will have to start to wander up onto veranda’s like Nan in “The Pull of the Moon.” Perhaps not. I will however keep my eyes and mind open to the experiences that I am having.
Today is gearing up to be another scorcher but for now it is cool. I can hear the traffic out on the road. Unlike the northern roads of Vancouver Island, these are well used and busy. I wonder what today will bring. When I leave here I will be looking for a library or place to get wireless access so I can send this off. I was actually able to use my cell phone here in the campground but not the computer. Here with mountains all around me, I was impressed to have anything.