I spent my Labor Day weekend in - guess where? - our neighbor to the north, Canada. Roman, my old college roommate, is applying for Canadian citizenship and can't quite leave the country yet, so we flew up to Vancouver to meet him for four days of camping and fun. Remembering the advice of other Canadians, I grabbed a Loonie coin (the Canada $1 coin) from my desk at work and dubbed it the "Lucky Loonie," stuck it on the dashboard, and hoped for the best.
Our line at customs was byfar the fastest. We got one of two campsites at the campground we wanted. I got pulled over by the cops for not having my headlights on, but that's because the Loonie slid off the dashboard at one point (I ended up keeping it in my pocket). Yup, a run-in with Canadian law could have easily been avoided with the power of the Loonie!
But I digress.
We picked up Roman very late on Friday night and crashed in a Vancouver hotel until Saturday morning, when we drove Highway 99 north into the BC wilds. We ended up a little bit north of the town of Sqamish, at a campground called Alice Lake, so we could be centrally located by the much larger (but vehicle-inaccessible) Garibaldi Provincial Park.
Our plans of hiking were killed by the awful rain - a hard, cold rain much unlike the typical Pacific Northwest weather - so we waited for Crabby to join us, set up our tents, discovered the amazing selection of Canadian Tire (imagine Wal-Mart mashed together with Home Depot) and bought a rain tarp, under which we sat cold and sullen.
We wandered around the park for a while, scoping out the trail and tryng to stay out of the rain.
The next day was even wetter and colder - in the morning. We drove north to explore the resort town of Whistler, scouted the site of the 2010 Olympics, and tried not to buy anything in the overpriced shops. By late afternoon, the rain stopped and everything started to dry out (and not a moment too soon, either: our tent's waterproofing was starting to fail).
The next day, we did the long hike. Playing around in a riverbed:
A view of Mt. Garibaldi, the main feature of the park:
That night, we wandered out to one of the lakes and sat to look at the stars. It was amazingly clear; we saw all kinds of shooting stars and what I swear was the ISS at one point. It was the perfect cap to the long weekend.
Yesterday we packed up and headed home, dropped Roman off at the airport on the way and made it back by mid-afternoon - enough time to shower and do some laundry.
Today: back to the grindstone.