jen yu: canada 2007 - day 1

canada 2007 - day 1

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joffre lakes, whistler farmer's market
july 23, 2007
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The immediate dilemna of vacationing with my parents was how to fit in a few of the hikes we wanted to do (which were too demanding for my parents) and also how to keep my hyper-active 66-year old father occupied and entertained. I was put in charge of the week's itinerary, so I had several interesting hikes picked out of varying difficulty and then some in-town activities. As it turned out, this was an incredibly stressful way to spend my vacation.

Jeremy and I got up later than usual and were out the door for a hike at 8:30 while my parents attended some time share sales pitch for the morning. We decided to give Joffre Lakes a try because we love alpine scenery and especially paternoster lakes. The drive was much longer than we had originally anticipated and it took an hour to reach the trailhead. The weather was overcast and very humid. The trail itself began innocently enough through a lovely conifer forest with lush green undergrowth. Before we knew it, the level trail had arrived at Lower Joffre Lake, the first of three beautiful turquoise lakes full of glacial melt.

That is where the trail grew steeper, muddier, and climbed through trees and across scree fields. The mosquitoes were also active, but not crazy agressive. If you were stationary for long enough, you would certainly be bitten. Parts of the trail began to take on the characteristics of a New Zealand track, which was all good and fun except for the oppressive humidity and biting insects. A few light rainshowers were a welcome relief from the dense, moist air. When we came upon Middle Joffre Lake, the mountains looming at the far end were stunning to behold. A lovely cool breeze met us at lake's edge and we lingered for a few pictures and to consult our crappy little map. The trail then skirted the lake's north shore before climbing up to cross the source stream which was a raging torrent of white water. Before long, we had arrived at Upper Joffre Lake which is just as beautiful as Middle Joffre. From that point we had a nice view of the Joffre glacier group.

By the time we headed back down the trail, we knew we would be late getting back to the time share where my mother (the woman who would call out the entire Royal Canadian Mounted Police if I was more than 5 minutes late) would be fretting nervously over a thousand horrible death scenarios. We made fast time back down the slippery and rugged trail to the car. As soon as the car entered a zone of cell reception, the iphone alerted us to a message... from my mom, of course. Rushing a hike is a bit of killjoy, no?

After a light, late lunch at the time share, we took my parents to the Whistler farmer's market to have a look around. Most of the items for sale were exhorbitantly overpriced and of pretty mediocre quality. There were more crafts than produce, which I always find disappointing in a farmer's market (I mean really, think about the name *farmer's market*). Clearly, most of Whistler targeted wealthy tourists. It was one big money-squeezing scheme.

At the far end of the market there were several stations set up for children to try modified bungee jumping, rock climbing, and other fun activities. I got some gelato for my mom to share with Dad. That was pretty darn good. As the gelato was polished off, we walked up the ski hill trail and across to some other trails.

For dinner, my folks took us to Hy's, which my dad touted as the best steakhouse in Whistler. We were beginning to see a pattern for Whistler. Mediocrity at highly inflated prices. The steak at Hy's was okay, but clearly no true chef worth their salt would douse a good steak so heavily in such rich and below-average sauces for nearly double the price of a good restaurant. Hy's was underwhelming at best. I was not liking Whistler very much. We hit the sack early for an early start the next morning.

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