Whistler is wonderful!
Well, we were flown from Quesnel, B.C. over the wild forest fires to a small airport in Pembrook, then bused to Whistler about a half day early.
Only a few felt dizzy or airsick form the pockets of air and the smoke that grew stronger as we approached. The flight BETWEEN mountain peaks in the clouds, smoke and fog was really something, but we landed without incident, after circling once to allow helicopters to get out of the way.
The copters are staging at the CLOSED DOWN AIRPORT to lift buckets of water from the river and drop on the fires! You've seen this on the news, but this was REAL LIFE!
We arrived in Whistler to see thicker haze than we had in Banff several days ago. The smell is stronger too.
We enjoyed an extra evening off, and we bought some food locally at a grocery store and fixed a meal in our kitchenette room. Broiled chicken breast, canned corn, jar of applesauce, rolls, GARLIC butter (I can't read labels!) and a half gallon of milk! Nice way to cut costs and enjoy a private intimate dinner!
I discovered my laptop was missing, and informed the tour guide of the loss. It was most probably on that last motor coach from Pembrook to Whistler's Hilton Inn, as my wife was feeling ill from the flight and smoke, and I picked up her coat and mine, and my carry on back... so both hands were full. Never thought about leaving the laptop in the overhead.
Fortunately, the connection was made and the bus driver returned it. Another couple had left their phone on the plane! It too was found. So, we're reasonably sane after the curve ball of the flight over the fire. The good news: The local fire appears to be under more control...compared to 0% contained when we were forced to fly. I've snagged two or three newspaper headlines to show the flames. Poor Lilloutte! About 2000 people forced to evacuate their town. They are still threatened! No word on their fate yet.
I hope that the folks back at WTAP are able to find Network News packages about these massive fires to share with our audience. Though far away and not likely to affect our viewers, the shear scope of the damage and fires, due to the Pine Beetle killing trees and then the tinder dry conditions due to the ridge of high pressure.... well, I hope the news does it justice. It would certainly put our trip in perspective.
Some are laughing that we've had a Natural Disaster on every trip now....Hawaiian Earthquake, Irish downpour an flooding, BC fires... Can there be any doubt that Global Warming is changing weather patterns? (It's only a joke for us, but a real point for the world.)
Got a good presentation on sustainability and the life cycle of a tree today. The tour guide of the tree top Eco tour showed us around the Zip-line area, and explained how and why sustainability worked. It sounded familiar, not unlike some of the points being made by the Eco-support groups of Athens and Ohio University. It was a quick and humorous presentation and a very good pitch for the concept. I'm going to look up the book "The Next Step" as a primer.
It's time to select some photos and try to send them along to the station now. We're down to our last three days and the long trip back looms. I hope that it goes better than the trip out here, but either way, I'll be sleeping along the plane ride. It'll be good to see the family again. We have such strong memories and great sights to share. Maybe I should plan to take the kids on a trip soon. Mackinaw Island? Niagara Falls? Grandma and the great lakes? I'm thinking that I owe them a trip or two before they outgrow the family unit soon.
PS: We have learned that Whistler is owned by the same parent corporation that owns Snowshoe, WV! Inter-West has patterned both resorts after the village concept, and they thrive during the summer as well as winter. With such a large investment in the resort, they need to do a better job advertising and promoting the summertime to our region. More people should see them! Maybe we will!