In the fall of 2021, my girlfriend and I were eager to travel. It would be not only our first trip (by plane) since the pandemic, but also our first trip together. British Columbia seemed like the safest choice given the various COVID-19 restrictions that our world was facing.
Although we spent most of our trip in Vancouver, we decided to rent a car and take a day trip up to Whistler Village. BC Highway 99 (known as the Sea-to-Sky Highway) has some of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen in Canada! However, as we arrived at the Olympic Village, we were met with disappointment. To be fair, it was a rainy day and I’m guessing Whistler is a bit more lively in the winter. So, having made the just under 2 hour trip, I quickly Google searched something else to do in the area. One recommendation caught my attention: The Whistler Train Wreck.
Now, we aren’t hikers. And it was pouring rain. But the various websites sold me with phrases like “easy trail,” “all abilities” and “for all ages.” Surely, we could manage this short 2 km trail. Wrong. After just a few metres, we were climbing down steep paths, sliding on slippery rocks and eagerly trying to follow the slowly disappearing trail. “We don’t have bear spray,” I thought about half way through the trek!
Finally, after what seemed like forever, we reached the site. 7 CN boxcars scatter the area, each painted with vivid colours. The logging train that once carried these boxcars derailed in 1956. During the salvage operation, some of the cars were dragged and left in the forest. Today, it’s a popular tourist attraction with stunning views of the magnificent Cheakamus River.
I was thrilled when we saw another young couple with their dog. If we got in trouble (remember this is bear country), we had others around who could help. But as we ventured around the site I was shocked to see families, young kids and strollers! Apparently we had taken the wrong trail. The new (shorter) 1 km trail we should have taken was conveniently maintained, adorned with informational plaques, filled with helpful signage and connected to a parking lot! In these situations, you just have to reflect and laugh. In the end, it was worth the adventure (even if our socks were soaked).