yes, really and truly, a black bear by the side of the road! it was just eating grass and hanging out. r spotted it (he is a good country boy) and we all piled out, cautiously, and did the tourist thing. it didn't look all that scary, but then we stayed far away. after a bit it got bothered by us all gawping and padded off into the forest. i feel i have done my duty properly by VTA now. we're going raccoon-hunting in stanley park this arvo.
anyway, this was on the way back from our roadtrip to whistler yesterday. g drove (took about two hours) along the sea to sky highway, with spectacular views, reminiscent of the great ocean road:
this is one of the islands off the mainland:
the whistler township itself is pretty tacky. it's like a disneyland version of an alpine village, but in the most magnificent setting. the ski runs dominate the skyline (still some snow left):
we were good tourists:
how did that get there? whoops.
we puddled round there for a while, had some lunch and looked at impressively tacky merchandise. would anybody like a toy moose dressed in a mountie outfit riding a toy horse? g'wan!
then we went to find some natcha. we drove round and round and round trying to find blueberry hill lake, and found it embedded in a mass of "privately owned" signs: private roads, houses with moats and private paths to the beach. a very interesting insight into the monied classes of vancouver. the road up and all around the village was a mess of construction sites, preparing for the 2010 winter olympics. massive amounts of money going into it.
so instead we took a turnoff to brandywine falls on a whim and landed up at the most impressive waterfall. we walked through beautiful pine forest to get there, and stumbled over the whistler train rumbling through. see VTA for photos of it.
this is the forest. if you look down the bottom left corner you can see little people. i was trying to explain how different these forests are to the australian bush and succeeded in rambling like a loonie and making no sense. these ones are so green, and smell all different. . .
and this is the view from a bit further down the river. that's the snowfields up the top there:
this was sort of what i imagined canada to be like. there was pine trees and snow and bears, and i was a bit cold round the edges.
the drive back was again, speccy:
i was dead by the time we got home, and a bit cranky, but VTA was perky, and bought wine and dips so we could go to a potluck down the street with my housemates. then we watched _better than chocolate_, which is such the cutest movie ever. and all filmed on the drive! i'm afraid i spent the whole time squeaking "i've been there!"