We’ve enjoyed our time here in Whistler and will be heading back to Vancouver tomorrow morning.
Due to the nature of the development here – pedestrian mall/ski resort connected to a curvy street and trail system – it’s easy (at least for us) to get lost. Charlie, who has had an excellent sense of direction all his life, was even getting confused. Since we call him our GPS, Laurel said maybe we should hold him out flat and spin him around to recalibrate him like the iPhone compass.
On Friday we walked about three miles each way to Alta Lake which was stunning.
Today (Saturday) we walked over to the Squamish and Lil’wat Cultural Center. Those are two First Nations tribes who collaborated to build this museum that displays their artwork, canoes, and information about their lives on the coast. It’s a beautiful, fairly new (2008) building but was nearly empty. I hope they can afford to continue. We got a private guided tour since no one else showed up. We’ve heard a lot about how much the peoples of this area relied on the cedar for…everything. They built their canoes, homes and totem poles with it, used it for diapers, (There was a lot of drying and then soaking and I don’t know what all that could take over a year before they could use it for some purposes.) made rope and baskets with it, and about a hundred other things that I forgot.
The Squamish lived in longhouses while the Lil’wat lived in pithouses – man-made caves – insulated and camouflaged with dirt and plants on the roof, supported inside by cedar logs.
Laurel wondered how the mountain goats were sheared to make the yarn for their blankets without the use of metal tools. David, our Squamish guide, told us that they used obsidian, very sharp volcanic glass. We’re still not sure how they corralled the wild goats, but we learned that they also bred a long-haired dog, now extinct, whose hair they also used for blanket weaving.