And here's part 2 from our trip to Whistler two weeks ago. The reason for us driving up there was to check out the amazing giant snow walls on Whistler Mountain in every spring.
The reason for snow walls is a service road up the mountain that the crew has to open for performing summer maintenance for sky lifts. It follows the a ski run called Pika's Traverse which is an easy green ski run down the mountain.
Even though it was over +30C down in the valley, the weather on the mountains was cool and breezy. The snow is also so cold that it cools the air even more so dress warmly!
The further one walks, the taller the walls rise.
During winter this green run is so easy and fast to ski down, but it's a different story heading up. It's a fairly steep and exhausting climb!
The risk of avalances is still possible - in June!
Looking back where we came from.
On a beautiful day the views are out of this world. The Harmony Bowl area in the picture is one of our favorite ski areas in Whistler. Blackcomb Mountain on the opposite side (connection over the valley via Peak 2 Peak gondola, see my previous post).
Last winter Whistler received 12.34 meters (485 inches!!) of snow which is only slightly more than on average. Up here most of the snow is still intact and here is where the biggest snow walls are also located.
It is incredible that all this snow fell during this past winter and all of it will also melt away during the summer. It's quite a transformation in landscape during a year!
I have no idea how they plow the route through this section and how long it takes... Crazy Canucks!
Finally on top!
Black Tusk in the background is a famous local landmark. This was an amazing place to enjoy the warm weather for a moment. Just be aware that it is really bright up there and sunglasses are a must!
I highly recommend checking out the giant snow walls if you are in Whistler around end of May and beginning of June when the ski season has just ended and the service road opens. It is worth it.
Even more spectacular snow walls can be found on Mount Baker, WA where they receive world record amounts of snow and the walls are 7 meters tall still in August. The only thing to take into account is that the road to the parking lot on top doesn't open before July due to so much snow. It's still a nice trip and doesn't require hiking like in Whistler.
Having lived 4.5 years in Vancouver we have been to almost every part of the metropolitan area. However there are still some small pockets that remain and one of those is the small Westham Island in the Fraser River delta in Delta, BC.
Like the name suggests, it's an island connected to the mainland only with a small bridge. A scene in the X-Files was shot on this bridge.
About half of the island is farmland and the other half is a protected migratory bird sanctuary named after George C. Reifel. It's a swampy area perfect for waterfowls to rest on their long migration between South America and Alaska.
I was slightly surprised that there is a $5 admission fee to visit the area. There is even a gift shop!
Inside many birds are very accustomed to people that often feed them with seeds that one can buy.
On a nice summer day the area makes for a nice quiet walk.
There are booths to observe birds without disturbing them. We only saw few common bird species, but there are over 250 in the area.
The bird tower offers a view from above.
Deltaport container port in the background.
Huge marshland covers most of the coast of Strait of Georgia.
Small ducklings are always cute!
On the way back we did stop at Emma Lea Farms (also on the island) for some fresh strawberries.
Hey, I can see my home from here!
It was a nice visit and I was surprised how huge the island actually is. It makes for a nice day trip for families looking to feed some birds and there were lots of families wityh kids. Just look out for some over-protective Canada Geese.
Lougheed is one of Burnaby's four town centers. Also this area will soon see tall towers go up as the plan calls for twenty new towers of up to 70 floors in height!!
Surrey is the second biggest city in Metro Vancouver with over 500 000 people and growing fast. Actually so fast that the city will overtake Vancouver in the next decade. For a city of its size, Surrey doesn't yet have an amazing skyline, but it is building up all the time.
The crane on the left is for 3 Civic Plaza which will be the tallest in the city with 48 floors and 163 meters (double the current height) once completed. That's in the epicenter of Surrey Central, right next to the city hall (not visible).
All photos taken some 10-15 kilometers away from Burnaby's Metrotown.
Three weeks ago there was a massive out of control wildfire in Burns Bog wildlife area in Delta, BC. I could see the flames and the crews waterbombing the fire all the way from our place.
It took them several days to put out this fire that was close to industrial areas and also not too far from many homes. Here are some photos from the Burns Bog fire aftermath. The fire got started near these four antennas and one of them collapsed from the heat.
You can tell the burned bog and forest from the red tone.
Strong winds caused the fire to jump the four-lane highway and almost burned down the industrial area next door. It is incredible how the fire stopped (or the firefighters managed to stop it) just meters from the containers.
Traffic lights in this intersection are functional although the fire burned all around it.
End of July means that the Celebration of Light fireworks festival is back again! Here are few photos of Netherland's nice show this past Saturday. All photos are taken from our 46th floor penthouse, some 14 kilometers away.
Notice Lighthouse Park's small lighthouse in the middle. The huge mountain in the background is Bowen Island.
Grande finale was colorful.
Finally a bonus photo with Vancouver skyline. The tower under construction on the foreground is called Modello and it is topped out, but shame about it at least partly blocking our view of BC Place (the pink building).