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Thursday, September 01, 2011

A PEAK EXPERIENCE


My friend Rick had won tickets for the Grouse Mountain Sky Lift so he invited me to accompany him on a day-trip. It was only the second time for me to go up the Lift and for Rick it's been many years since his last visit.  You can ride the lift for $39.95, expensive, but there's lots to see and do when you reach the top.  The gondola swings 300 meters above the treetops and travels up the mountain in only 12 minutes.  The views are fantastic, but just wait til you actually get to the top!


The first thing we did was relax with a coffee at the mountain-top cafe and enjoy the view of Vancouver far below.  It was a clear enough day you could see all the way to Vancouver Island and past Point Roberts in the States.
Our first stop was at the Logger's Show.  They perform at intervals during the day and it's well-worth taking in the brave and often goofy antics of the loggers,  illustrating what old-time lumber-jacks did in the woods.
This unexpected character almost gave us a heart-attack with his antics high atop the pole.  Along with all the other performances by the two lumber-jacks who perform their various stunts such as axe-throwing, sawing contests and climbing,  it was an excellent show!

There's lots of things to do on the mountain including zip-lines, para sailing and the various shows including ecological lectures etc.  Of course, in winter time this mountain is a popular skiing resort for locals.  And hikers love climbing the famous Grouse Grind Trail.

Para sailing
Rick and I walking around to see the two orphaned grizzlies, Grinder and Coola, who live in a natural habitat enclosure.  A ranger gives a talk about the bears during the day.  Grinder was found wandering alone on a logging trail, half starved, at Invermere,  while Coola was the only survivor of a car crash near Bella Coola that killed his mother and brother cubs.  They've been cared for on the mountain for several years and are now pretty well full grown bears who wander contentedly in their forest home and bathe in the pools.


We were just in time to take in the Birds in Motion show next.  These are birds of prey who perform and fly about while the trainer gives you the story about each bird.  The first was a Harris Falcon from the desert of South America. He was the only bird not found locally.  The next was a red-tailed hawk, then a great horned owl (I loved this guy!), a turkey vulture and a bald eagle. 
Turkey Vulture

Bald Eagle

One of the newer features on the Peak is the Eye of the Wind, the worlds first and only wind turbine.  You can take a glass elevator to the top of the tower to get another panorama view.  It costs $19.95 to go up in the glass viewer.  You can reach the wind turbine by gondola, but we attempted to walk. It's a long, steep climb up there.  I took it slow and easy with a few stops to catch my breath.  Rick went on ahead, but I just went as far as it took to get a good view of the wind turbine and that satisfied me.  At least the walk down was easy!

Eye of the Wind
If you can afford to go, I highly recommend a visit to the Peak for a day's outing. It's great fun for the whole family and of course it's a major tourist attraction too.  Try to go on a clear day so you can enjoy the magnificent views.  Rick suggested we should have gone a bit later in the day to catch the late-afternoon sun and early sunset.  Maybe we'll do that another time!

View from the Peak



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