Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sea to Sky Gondola Squamish, BC-Aug 25 2014

Dian and I thought we would cough up $30 each and try out the new gondola close to Squamish, BC. It just opened this year and looked like a good way to get up the mountains without too much effort.  We left the house at 8AM and got to the "base camp" at 9:30.  The ride takes about 10 minutes and takes you up to 885 meters.  Once there a very nice lodge awaits.  A few trails into the wilderness begin here and we chose the Panorama Trail which was about a mile long and relatively easy.  There are 2 other trails (Als Habrich Ridge and Skyline Ridge) that lead toward the higher peaks which appeared to be far in the distance.  Estimated time to get to the alpine and back on these trails is 6-8 hours.  The trail we chose was, for the most part, in the forest with a few lookout points.  Our objective is to find wildlife and we didn't see much on this hike.  A few chickadees, a warbler, Stellar's Jay and Raven were all we managed to discover.  The chickadees and warbler were too far away to positively identify.  To sum up;

Pros-close to Vancouver
       -first class facilities
       -not expensive (compared to Whistler).  The lifts at Whistler are $45-$50 and you should spend the night to eliminate the long drive back to the lower mainland; however you get to the top of the mountains at Whistler.
       -exceptional views.
       -a great place to get to the alpine for the physically fit.

Cons-We hoped to get to the alpine without hiking for 6 hours.
        -a lot of people on the lower trail.
        -very little wildlife at lower elevation.

Base Camp 

The staff are very friendly.

Sea to Sky Highway and view of Howe Sound.

A suspension bridge leads to a lookout and trailheads.
Overlooking Squamish
Squamish view and Garibaldi Mountain in the centre.
The lodge and Mt. Sky Pilot with Mt. Co-pilot
View of Howe Sound from the Lodge.
A view of summit of the Stawamus Chief.  Rock climbers travel great distances to test their abilities on one of the largest monoliths of granite in the world.  The climbers here are about a mile away.

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