Financially Independent, Retired Early(ish) at 57.

Day 10 Canada/Alaska – Whistler -one of the moments I’ll remember forever.

Today was a free day in Whistler. Both Megan and I had elected to do different activities in the morning. I did zip lining; she did a tree top walk. I raced out to the room first, then realised about an hour later that we hadn’t organised a time to meet up afterwards.

‘Oh well, too late now,’ I thought. ‘If we meet up, we meet up. If not, we’ll just share our adventure stories at the end of the day.’

The zip lining was a series of 4 zip lines, each getting longer. It was fun, but of course the actual time on the lines was all too short.

The scenery was great, though.

Here’s me, just to prove that I actually did it.

The lines all went over this river. As it turned out, Megan was down below one of the lines and saw us all fly merrily by over her.

Now, I know this bird looks like it’s a fake, but I promise you it isn’t. It’s called a Stellar Jay. I’ve read about blue Jays all my life, but I had no idea they were THIS blue!

We all had lunch together at the Irish pub when we got back to town, then I decided to go and see the Lost Lake, a place one of the zip-lining guys told me about.

I took the free shuttle bus from the town, then walked the last little bit.

There were a few other people on the path.

Look up!

Here it is.


The river that I was zip-lining over this morning drains into this lake.

I stayed here for about fifteen minutes, then headed back into town, walking with a nice American family for a little while.

I waited at the bus stop, but it was taking SO LONG. So I decided to walk back into town beside the golf course.

I’m pretty sure this is bear poo.

I was unconcerned and snapped a picture. The next day, I discovered that the bear near the gold course had charged at a couple from our tour. I should probably have been a bit more cautious about walking alone.

I got back to town and decided that I might as well take a gondola ride up Black Comb Mountain. I was a tiny bit outraged at the cost – $75. But my mantra of “You only have to do it once” kicked in and I paid.

When I asked how to get there, I was told that I needed to take the bus again. I walked up the steps and down the steps (again). I went back to the number 5 bus stop, threw my jumper and drink bottle down on the seat and let out a loud sigh as I sat down.

An American couple walking past laughed and the man said, “ That was heartfelt!”

Yes, I was getting tired.

Black Comb Mountain is named because the top looks like a rooster’s comb.

Another tourist I talked to told me that she had seen a bear from the gondola on the left-hand side. I kept my eyes peeled but saw nothing.

The gondola rose and rose. I could see the snow line slowly getting closer. I saw a building and gathered my things together, ready to get off.

Really? I was happy for this to be the height of the ride.

As we rose higher and higher still, my annoyance at the $75 fee quickly wore off. This was a big gondola. Surely the view would be worth it.

I started to hear wind whistling, so I did up my Antarctica windbreaker. I decided that before I did anything else, I’d duck into the café and buy an icecream, just like I did in Santiago a couple of years earlier, and The Great Wall a few years before that. (I enjoyed reading the Great Wall post. It brought back memories.)

Every time I use a gondola – I must have an icecream!

It’s my new travel tradition.

Fortunate Frogdancer scored a free icecream! This is a new flavour, especially commissioned for the mountain. I was the first tourist to try it – for free in exchange for an honest review. It was nice, but I wouldn’t book a plane trip from Australia just to try it.

I sat next to a window overlooking the mountains, eating the ice cream and staring at the view.

As I was sitting gazing over the Rocky Mountains I had a Moment. I was just really emotional thinking that it was so crazy that I was actually here – just me, Frogdancer Jones. Then as I was looking at the snow glinting on the mountain tops with the blue sky behind them, the Beatles came over the sound system with “Here Comes The Sun.”

It was perfect.

I’m actually dictating this paragraph on my phone and I’m seriously choked up. I nearly didn’t do this gondola ride and I’m very glad that I changed my mind. This is one of those special moments, as I’m gazing across all of these mountains stretched out before me.

It’s one of those moments I’ll never forget. 

And makes me feel so humble and at the same time so glad that I’m here. I really, really don’t understand people who don’t want to travel.

I walked to the side window and chatted with a couple of women from England. The mountains stretching off into the distance were stunning from every angle.

After I’d delivered my honest review, I went outside to see if I could get a better photo. The wind was picking up, so it was a bit chilly, but the views more than made up for it.

When I was out there, an Irish girl asked if I’d take a photo of her and her mum. We got to talking, as you do, and it turns out that her mum also had 4 kids, is divorced and is only now starting to travel.

Her daughter has been living in Calgary for the past 18 months.

She was saying that in Calgary last winter was the coldest she’d ever experienced. It got down to -46C, and she said she went outside with her hair wet. It froze in icicles and you can break it off.

“Nobody warned me that when you go out and your eyes tear up from the cold, your eyes can freeze shut. Snot freezes in your nose and the next day after I went walking around I had all these little tiny red spots on my face which turned out to be frostbite, or frostburn anyway. Nobody warned me!”

They were absolutely lovely. We stood out in the wind talking away until common sense prevailed. We went onto the deck out of the wind and kept nattering away.

Another similarity is that the mother and I both bought ourselves almost the exact same emerald ring. Hers, on the right, is more impressive than mine, but mine was bought in a far more exotic place. Thailand. 🙂

Anyway, we had a lovely chat for about 20 minutes. Travellers are great because we all just have a zest for seeing things and doing things. We’re like kindred spirits. It doesn’t matter what age you are or where you’re from – we’re happy to have a chat and swap experiences.

I’m so glad I took this tour up the mountain on the gondola. I so very nearly didn’t and I would’ve been just wandering around the streets of Whistler looking at shops. I’ve had a Moment and I’ve met some really lovely people.

Again, the photo doesn’t do it justice.

The icecream alone may not be worth jumping on a plane and coming over, but this view certainly is!

I was waiting to get back onto the gondola to go back down. I was savouring every last second of the mountains. I was eye-level with the ring of mountains behind the town and it was beautiful.

Back down the mountain!

My last eye-level view of the mountain tops.

See the flag on top of the fire hydrant? This is so when it’s snowed under, the fireman can see where it is under all the snow.

It’s difficult to imagine everything being covered with snow to that extent.

When I got back to my hotel, there were some people in the vodka room I told you about yesterday. I took a quick snap on my to the lift.

When I got there, Megan was back and we talked about our days and then had dinner with a dull couple from the tour.

Since being in Canada, Megan and I have become invested in ‘Jeopardy Grand Masters’ and tonight was the Grand Final. We made sure we were back in time to see it.

Tomorrow – back towards Vancouver!

Dad joke of the day:


  1. sandyg61

    Well done for pushing your limits. I’m scared of heights and managed to do the Peak to Peak gondola in Whistler as well as gondolas in other towns as well. I’m so glad I have those memories and the photos I took.

    • FrogdancerJones

      The peak to peak wasn’t open that day. I would have done it as people say it’s incredible.

  2. Maureen

    Fantastic post! I’ve been trying to embrace saying ’yes’ to any opportunity that comes up and your post really reinforces that concept. Just reading your posts inspires me.

    • FrogdancerJones

      Aw thanks! I’m having a ball out here.

  3. Josie

    What a wonderful post! Love all your photos!
    I also try to avoid a knee-jerk no for expensive experiences while traveling. And I have never been disappointed!

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