I finished the last Larsson book and packed up to leave Vancouver on Friday. Beofre leaving however, I had to get snow tires on the truck, and Dave insisted I get the engine noise checked out before I left. It has been noisy for so long that I was used to it and didn't think it was unusual, but he did. He thought it was my water pump and as it turned out, he was correct. Good thing I got it checked out I guess, but between that and the snow tires I dropped $1400 in two days at the same auto shop. That hurt.
My intention was to visit yet more friends who live in Whistler and then pick up the last of my stuff at D'arcy before heading east. I had wonderful sunny clear weather for the scenic drive to Whistler, and arrived in time to go for a lengthy hike around the neighbourhood. Lots of great views of the surrounding mountains. This picture is of the Armchair Glacier, just to the "left" of Blackcomb and Whistler ski mountains.
We walked out to Green Lake, where we saw a beaver lodge built into the shore and considerable beaver damage among the nearby trees. They had felled a bunch of trees, some of them quite large. One tree had been girdled but not felled. Several trees had fallen only partially, hung up in other trees. The girdled tree had another felled tree leaning on it so if they ever chew threw they will get two very big trees in one.
Whistler is a well-known resort town, houses there sell for millions of dollars. We walked through a neighbourhood of some of those million-dollar homes. They are fairly spectacular, with large wooden beams and lots of glass to take advantage of the surrounding mountain views. But they are also crowded together like a subdivision. If you want privacy in Whistler, you pay way more than a million or two for it.
My friends in Whistler live in a cabin that he, Keith, built in the early '70s, before Whistler was a money destination. It is well done, he being an engineer, but he says that for Whistler it is a tear-down. They are doing some renovations to make it more comfortable but there is no point in renovating for resale value because all the value is in the site, not the house.
We watched the Stellar's Jays on their deck, they come for the peanuts that Keith and Judy throw to them. One jay is quite fearless, he takes the peanut from your hand. In the morning he perches on the patio door frame, insistent on his peanut handout. Other jays are not so bold, they wait hidden in the surrounding spruces to pounce on a thrown peanut. They are very beautiful birds with large black crests bigger than the eastern Blue Jay's crest. But just as raucous.
On my second day in Whistler we drove out to the Olympic Village, built near the old site of the town dump (I have to laugh at that). We then followed a trail up the Cheakamus River, across a suspension foot bridge and back down the other side of the river. Along the way we looked at many mushrooms. Judy had recently been on a mushroom identification walk in Whistler and wanted to reinforce her newfound knowledge of mushrooms. It was quite interesting all the different kinds of mushrooms we saw, but being rank amateurs none of us knew their names or edibility status.
At night we could see lights on the two skiing mountains, Blackcomb and Whistler. Tiny lights outlined the lifts to different ski runs and one bright light identified a shelter high on Blackcomb. We speculated as to why it was lit up, Judy told me their was a summer road up there and we wondered if maybe they were provisioning the cabin for the winter when the road was closed.
Besides the Stellar's Jays I also saw my first Clark's Nutcracker, hanging upside down from spruce branches prying loose the seeds from the spruce cones. Smart and handsome looking bird.
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