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Inukshuk (translated as almost man) is a series of rocks stacked and positioned upon one another to simulate a human image. First Nations (or we might call them Native Canadians) use these images as trail markers, sometimes with one arm extended to indicate a direction. Presiding over the peak of the 7,160-foot-tall Whistler Mountain the Inukshuk were examining soon will be the most famous one in the world as it becomes the symbol for the 2010 Olympics. It stands about 20-feet tall. Our tour guide, Marty, took us up early on a perfectly clear, crisp morning in his raggedy old Hummer, with roll bars rather than a roof. There we basked in the quiet, scenic splendor of this spot with 365-degree views of the dramatic Coastal Range. Sticking up to our southwest like a middle finger was Black Tusk peak, a distinctive volcanic feature, many miles away, where serious hikers and campers challenge themselves.
Our week at Whistler also included a tree-top stroll where platforms, suspension bridges and boardwalks are strung through the tops of two-hundred-foot-tall Douglas fir, red cedar and hemlock trees. Kim is not fond of heights so she and Rick stayed back to wander around the shops and feed the birds. Our guide, a young man named Rob not Bob, but Rob, he admonished us - has remarkable knowledge of the natural phenomina that created this unique ecosystem. Bob was nearly as knowledgeable as brother Doug. The valley below was created by the glacial stream of gray-green water that continues to cut deeply into the side of the mountain where these huge trees dominate. We scanned the slopes for wildlife but none presented except a few black-tail deer and lots of birds. Too bad Kim wasnt along to feed them.
When our time was up we loaded up the van and embarked on the 4-hour drive back to SeaTac Airport in Seattle. The rain came in intermittent torrents. The Caravan served us well all week. Although handling is a bit compromised when so fully loaded we certainly cant complain.
The Dodge Caravan earned a Best Buy award from Consumers Guide for being best in its class each year since 2000. While Ive not driven all the competitors in this class Ive driven a good number of them. There are some that handle a bit more crisply, some with more power, and some more stylish in design, but overall, I think the Best Buy award is well earned by Caravan - utility, comfort and luxury are admirable.
As for traveling with all those Zachows, I can appreciate what saints their parents must have been traveling with this clan when they were youngsters.