It was the best of times.
Charles Dickens got the first part of the famous phrase right, as when we crossed the border, we left America and the bad weather behind. At Whistler Blackcomb, we skied the famous Blackcomb Glacier, ate poutine and beaver tails, mountain biked, horseback rode and did some wildlife watching. From Whistler, we moved onto Vancouver, then onto Penticton, in the Okanagan Valley.
Over the following two days, we had the chance to do some skiing at the world-renowned Blackcomb Glacier, where despite having some troubles right off the bat, Brett triumphed over the steep, pesky t-bars on the backside bowl. Another standout from the day of skiing was the awesome air that Jonah caught while sailing off of a 15 foot kicker on the backside of the glacier, impressing even the professional trainers and coaches teaching the freestyle camps!
On the second night, the trip got to enjoy the village at the base of the hill. The following day, while almost half of the trip was skiing or snowboarding, the other half basked in the culture of the booming village at the base of the slopes and went on a difficult bike ride around the surrounding area. The bike ride proved to be more enjoyable than difficult, as Ross, Jenna R, and Matt, were tearing down the path like true seasoned veterans of the demanding sport of mountain biking. That evening, we were the gracious guests at a ranch, where Ryan A and Sami S both faced their fears of horseback riding and looked glorious atop the galloping steeds, before settling in for a barbecue.
The subsequent day, we ventured back south along the gorgeous coastal highway, through the Rocky Mountains, into Vancouver, where we welcomed Cody onto our trip, as we stopped at Granville Island for a delicious lunch at the expansive market, where Julian started to drool over his savory crepe and where Lee tried his first bubble tea. From Granville, we traveled, through the city, to the second largest urban park in the world, Stanley Park, where we attempted tandem biking. Although it didn’t come too naturally to the vast majority of us, Noah S and Aaron C found a brilliant shortcut as one of them took the handlebars and pedaled, while the other jogged beside! Following Stanley Park, we got to enjoy a night at the University of British Columbia aquatic facility, with Olympic regulation diving blocks and just a whole lot of fun to be had. We stayed at Totem Park Residence, and were all thrilled to invite Stefan and Ryan C. back to the group…we missed you guys! The following day, we got to demonstrate that this group of 44 is a bunch of citizens of the world, as we cleaned up a park and the surrounding neighborhood, ridding the brush of the invasive Himalayan Blackberry Bush and some Purple Loosestrife. After enriching our souls, we traveled onto Kits Beach, where we enjoyed some beach volleyball, basketball, swimming, photoshoots and an all around great time. Subsequently, we got the chance to indulge in some shopping on Robson Street.
From Vancouver, we travelled to Penticton, BC, located in the Okanagan Valley, which is referred to as the “Northern Desert,” and also plays host to the Loch Ness Monster’s cousin, the Ogopogo. Our time in Penticton was awesome, as we didn’t see a cloud in the sky for the entirety of our stay! Camping was a great experience, as we set up camp beneath an awe-inspiring shear rock cliff but a stones throw away from a lake. On our first full day in Penticton, we ventured to Sun Oka, the lake where Jenna L and Olivia got up on a wakeboard for the first time, under Chloe’s masterful tutelage! While they were wakeboarding, Aaron S, Joel L and Matt were topping 35 mph on the tubes, catching some major air off of the massive wakes. While that was going on, Rich, Seth, Max, Dylan, Andrew, and I were flying on the banana boat, tipping, flipping and flopping, before retiring to tubing down the lazy river that runs through Penticton. Later that night, we had a pizza party at a bowling alley, where Jake, Ean, and Noah M became the professional 5-pin rollers, resembling The Dude from Big Lebowski.
The following morning, we packed up our site and headed out for Banff National Park. That drive, while long, is one of the most scenic drives that the world has to offer, along Highway 1, the TransCanada Highway. Just as the sun was setting, we pulled up to beautiful Lake Louise. Today, we were off to join cowboys from around the world at the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede! There, we attended the rodeo, where we got to see some of the world’s best bareback and saddle-riders vie for the bronze trophies that are heralded in the cowboy community. We got to explore the midway, play the carnival games and ride the ferris wheel and roller coasters.
Stay tuned for more from the Northwest Odyssey, as Ulysses’ epic was nothing when compared to the adventures we’re experiencing!
Until next time…
The Westcoast Blogger