Kamloops and Whistler
July 4 - 6, 2019
We left Jasper on the 4th of July headed for Kamloops. Right away we began celebrating our Independence Day by singing a bunch of patriotic songs, lead by one of our tour members. Not far down the road it was time to turn our watches back and hour as we passed into the Pacific time zone. We stopped at a cafe where we packed our own sack lunches. They had a selection of drinks, sandwiches, salads, and deserts from which we could choose.
About 11:00 we stopped in the small town of Valemount where we listened to a presentation about Salmon and their life span, their different types, and their importance to British Columbia. After the talk we ate our sack lunches before getting back on the bus. It became obvious that we were out of the Rockies as we approached Kamloops. We arrived late in the evening but we had a pre-ordered dinner in the hotel. Kamloops is the tournament capital of Canada for many sports. We were in cattle country, cattle being the leading industry. It is also known for pulp and paper, and education. There is an International University that specializes in nursing.
On July 5 we left Kamloops for the very windy drive to Whistler. Along the way we have learned about controversial topics faced by Canadians. We met one head on that morning when we made a visit to the Kamloops Indian Residential School. It was created in 1893 and ran until 1977 with a goal to “Christianity and civilize” the native Secwepemc population. These First Nation children were removed from their families and placed in the school where they were punished if they tried to speak their native language or practice any of their tribal customs. The lady who told us about this school had been a resident there herself. This practice was a deep dark secret, unknown to the other residents of the town. Needless to say, it had a very traumatic effect on these children, lasting into their adult lives. It took a long time, but eventually the Canadian government somewhat apologized for the atrocity. We also learned more about the First Nations current challenges and those they face in the future. In ways they live in two different worlds.
We made a number of timely rest stops along the way to stretch our legs and use the “washrooms.” A little before noon we stopped in the town of Lillooet where we visited the Hat Creek Ranch. This is a restaurant, but also a place where they put on a fun show. We sat on bleachers around a wood floor, under a tin roof. A lady “cowboy” rode up on a horse drawn stagecoach and jumped out to give us a performance. She set about showing us how ladies dressed at the time of the gold rush. She dropped her accent, pistol, chaps, cowboy boots, and cowboy shirt. This left her in bloomers, chemise and a corset. She explained the difference between bloomers, pantaloons and drawers. She then put on a bustle, skirt, top and gloves to become a proper lady of the time. By then it was time to have lunch. We had pre-ordered from a few choices. I had a grilled chicken sandwich and Paul had a beef hamburger.
The very windy part of the drive was after lunch. There were a number of interesting things to look at. Our guide had asked me to give my “Smartphone” Photography talk. She really wanted me to give it, and thought it might be a diversion for the group as the road was curvy. I knelt on the front seat so I could show what I was doing, while Janine, our guide, held the microphone for me. I’m not really sure how long I took, but there were a number of the group who were following along and testing the things I talked about. There was no way for me to show my example photos, but it worked when I presented to the Yellowstone group on the bus, and again with this one. Afterwards I received a number of compliments and “Thank You’s” for sharing. The road got really curvy as we came down from the pass, and we negotiated a number of hairpin turns. We all cheered as John, our driver, brought us down to the flat land.
We arrived in Whistler in late afternoon. It was somewhat comical when our group filled both elevators in the Delta Hotel and kept going up and back down and couldn’t get the doors to open on any of the floors. What they eventually learned was that you had to put your room key into the elevator console to make it then open the door. It is a security thing. We went out to grab some dinner and turned in early. It had been a very long driving day.
July 6 was spent in Whistler. The weather hasn’t gotten any better. It goes from sprinkle to downright raining throughout most of the day. In the morning we walked to the Upper Village section to visit the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Center. It was a beautiful building and several guides showed us around and explained to us the various exhibits depicting the two different First Nations people who had agreed to share the land in the area.
The afternoon and evening were on our own, to explore Whistler Village. At one location they had converted ski lifts to bicycle lifts that would alternate with bikes and people going to the top. The bikers were decked out in all kinds of protective gear for the challenging ride down the mountain. We had lunch at a restaurant where we could watch the riders come down the final run to the base. It was raining quite hard all afternoon and evening, which didn’t make it very inviting to do much walking around, but we did some, then got packed ready to leave in the morning for Vancouver, BC.
Vancouver is next. Still having a good time with a good bunch of fellow travelers.
Grace and Paul Pitzer are retired school teachers who love to travel and share their stories and photos with others.
Grace and Paul Pitzer
We hope you will keep checking back regularly to see what is new. I'm always out and about with some camera and love to stretch my skills and add to my volume of work.
Motto: "Pack light and take lots of pictures."