Squamish – With The Chief, Canyon and Tantalus

Squamish was one of the significant place that we passed while we were on our way to Whistler. Before reaching the town of Squamish, we’re able to have a short glimpse of Stawamus Chief (or The Chief), The Chief is a granite dome and considered to be one of the largest granite monolith in the world.

DSC05022Stawamus Chief (The Chief)

Next, to Stawamus Chief is Squamish town. Since I was inside the train and just passing by, I had a quick look at the nearby port and its surrounding area.

Squamish Port

Squamish Port

 

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Around Squamish Town

Few more minutes passed and we reached the beautiful spot which later I learned that it is Cheakamus Canyon. The first time I saw some parts of the canyon, I was already amazed. There is a river beside the train tracks and discovered that it is Cheakamus river. Aside from the river, I never thought that I will find a beautiful canyon. The train followed the tracks within Cheakamus Canyon. I got excited when the train slowed down and I got a better view of the canyon. Around the vicinity, we crossed river, creek and lake, all the sceneries that I witnessed fascinated me. The water flow in the streams in the canyon was breathtaking and I felt great with the beauty of the nature that surrounds the train.

 

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Cheakamus Canyon

 

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 Around Cheakamus Canyon

I honestly admired all the people involved in building the tracks in the early times. They made a great effort where to put the tracks of the train because I never disappointed for everything that I saw while traveling with Whistler train. They knew exactly the best spot where to be able to see the wonderful nature in Squamish.

 

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Cheakamus River

Another scenic view in the area that I saw was after we came from Whistler. The bus tour where I hopped on from Whistler Village stopped at Tantalus Lookout. The lookout is located exactly along Sea to Sky Highway (major road) from Vancouver to Whistler and vice versa. The lookout viewpoint is towards Tantalus Provincial Park where Tantalus ranges can be seen. The sceneries we’re all breathtaking, I never expected that few minutes stop in the highway was great indeed.

 

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Tantalus Lookout and Tantalus mountain ranges

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Whistler – Warm Haven in Cold Paradise

Whistler becomes a buzz word while I was in Canada because the next Winter Olympics which will be happening in 2010 will be held in Whistler. I was so happy that I will be able to visit Whistler because I knew that I will not be around during the Olympic season. Before I even arrived in Vancouver, I had been planning my tour since I had only two full day weekends, two nights and half-day (just almost 5 days) to travel around British Columbia and I don’t want to waste my time just being at the hotel.

I was booked for Whistler Mountain and Forest Tour via Whistler Glacier Dome train last June 14, 2008. I booked the tour with Vancouver Landsea Tours and Adventures. Because the location of my hotel (Ramada Hotel) was in Burnaby, the tour company told me that they will not be able to pick me up from the hotel that I was staying. I was advised to go to Hyatt Regency hotel at Burrard Street. Therefore, I woke up early and went to the said hotel to join the group tour. After meeting my group, I was dropped off at the Whistler train station since my tour includes Whistler train.

Inside the Glacier Dome of Whister Mountauneer TrainInside the Glacier Dome of Whistler Mountaineer Train (quite blurred)

DSC04966 Lions Gate Bridge view from North Vancouver DistrictLions Gate Bridge (From North Vancouver District)

Vancouver View from West VancouverVancouver view from West Vancouver

Bowen Island view from West Vancouver Bowen Island view from West Vancouver

Whistler train station is in North Vancouver railway station, this was where the Whistler train left Vancouver. From the station, we passed  Lions Gate Bridge a suspension bridge that connects Vancouver to North Shore of North Vancouver and West Vancouver.

The train route follows the coastline of North Vancouver to West Vancouver near Marine Drive, then the rest of the tracks is almost parallel to Sea to Sky Highway. The trail seemed designed for a great train ride. The panoramic views along the Strait of Georgia, sceneries together with Bowen and Gambier Island from Lions Bay, Furry Creek and Squamish were really amazing.

Falls view from Moutaineer Train Falls view from Moutaineer TrainFalls view from Whistler trainDSC04990 View from Lions BaySome photos while on our way to Whistler (along Sea To Sky Highway)

DSC05013 Mountains near Squamish (on our way to Whistler) DSC05016Scenic view near in Squamish

Riding in a train like that seems like a cruise because the dome train I took was more luxurious than the other carriage of the Whistler train. The travel was comfortable and enjoyable. I admired everything that I saw all the way from Vancouver to Whistler.

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Almost at Whistler

Whistler Village

Finally, we arrived at Whistler Village. Because I booked Whistler tour via train, I was separated in my group tour on the way to Whistler, they came to Whistler via tourist bus. I met the whole group and the tourist guide again in the village. I remembered that our guide told us that while we’re in the village, we have free time to spend and try things that we like. The group agreed to come back at the meeting place in a specific time.

Whistler Mountaineer StationWhistler Train Station

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Some snapshots in Whistler Village

While in Whistler, I grabbed the opportunity to walk within the village. I was able to reach lake called Green Lake and found out that it was the Whistler airport station. Yes, it is the airport because it’s not the same like common airport we used to, it is an airport for a sea float plane, where small plane flies but lands in water either in harbor or lakes.

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Whistler Airport at Green Lake (and its surrounding area)

Since the area is being prepared for the upcoming Winter Olympics in 2010, there were constructions going on in different parts of the village, but the construction activities did not hinder the normal operations in the village and tourist keeps on coming.

Blackcomb Mountain

After walking for sometime around Whistler Village, I decided to ride gondolas to reach the mountain summit. I saw Blackcomb mountain booth. I bought the ticket and went on queue for gondola. The gondola that I saw in the area are open type gondola because it is the rides of people who does the skiing in the mountain during winter season and because the winter was over,  the same gondola brings tourist like me to reach the top of the mountain.

During my ascent to the summit of the Blackcomb mountain, I was able to see the panoramic views of mountains around the area. If I saw Rocky Mountains in Banff from the ground, I was overwhelmed because I witness different angle of mountains from the top. And because it was Spring season I saw some parts of the Blackcomb mountain that still have snow and iced which a leftover by Winter season. I was lucky that I was wearing winter jacket at that time because I experience the cold wind from the ground up to the summit. I spent some time at the peak of the mountain by taking photos, by just looking around 360 degrees and by appreciating all the things that my eyes reached. I never experienced a mountain like that before where it felt like the other surrounding mountains were so close to me. It seems they were all reachable and I could just grab them with my bare hands with the blink of an eye. I told myself how beautiful and great the place where I was standing.

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Panoramic Views at Blackcomb Mountain

I looked at my watch and decided to descend the mountain. I reached the ground of the mountain the same way that I reached the summit.

It was great to see a beautiful village surrounded by mountains. I was ecstatic and I never thought that a remote place like Whistler is a beautiful community covered by natures wonders. It was really a wonderful place for me. I really enjoyed my walk along the village and my rides in gondola. Discovering the place from the ground, from the sky and from summit made my experience memorable.

My group tour met together again. And in few minutes we left Whistler Village and we started driving back to Vancouver.