Surprise trip to Whistler

The second of the Big Three Surprises was only a few short months after the first. In June of 2011, we had our third anniversary. We had a nice dinner and a good evening.

A couple of days later, while Hillary was busy doing other things, I packed a small suitcase with what I guessed was a decent assortment of clothes for the two of us.

Hillary would have been on compressed hours at that point, so the following weekend would contain her no work Friday.

I recall check in time for the train being fairly early. As in, I had to get Hillary out of the house much earlier than she would have on a typical Friday. She would have been awake and up, but I'd ride to work probably before she got out of pajamas and before a shower. That wasn't going to cut it today.

I don't remember the precise deception. It likely went something like this, "I really don't feel like going to work today. Let's go get breakfast somewhere... Oh. Hm. I think I have a meeting at 10, so yeah. Let's do the breakfast and then I'll head in! Let's go!"

I do remember taking the pre-packed and hidden suitcase downstairs while she was in the shower and throwing it in the back of our car.

Cleaned up, dressed and ready to go, we got in the car.

Hillary was somewhat surprised when I turned onto the highway.

"Where are we going?"

"Uh. Somewhere?"

At this point she clearly knew something was up. I continued to sort of hedge. As we headed westbound on Highway 1, I think she still thought that we were just going to a different breakfast place. Perhaps somewhere downtown.

Then we went over the Second Narrows Bridge. "Are we going to Whistler? But we have nothing packed."

I turned off the highway in North Vancouver to head down to the train station. I wasn't really talking much as my voice would give things away. I was just grinning. Hillary was guessing and monologuing, "No. Not Whistler, what are we doing?"

I think it was when we turned the corner onto Philip Avenue that you could see the Rocky Mountaineer train. "Are we taking the train? We are!"

The ride up was beautiful. While we wouldn't take it again and really, once was enough, the train trip was definitely worth doing. The train went really slowly past some of the more spectacular waterfalls. It never went terribly fast, to be true, but it was a scenic tour.

The Rocky Mountaineer had, at the time, a complimentary bus which would take you to one of a few of the higher end hotels. Evidently they knew their demographic. We were not staying at those. We took the bus to the hotel closest to ours and huffed the suitcase up and over the hill to the Tantalus Lodge. A longtime family favourite place to stay and one that Hillary and I would stay at at least a half dozen times.

We did Whistler things that weekend. We walked around. We had a nice dinner. We did a hike around Lost Lake. We sat in the hot tub. We spent time alone together. Hillary was maybe five or six weeks pregnant at this point. We'd told both of our parents, but that was about it. We knew that barring anything going wrong, this would be our last anniversary where our family was just the two of us.

On Sunday afternoon, we huffed our stuff back over the little hill and hopped on the bus back to the train.

It was a good weekend.

Hillary would reference this trip somewhat regularly. I know she told the story of it a few times. The trip a year and a half later with Isaac would ultimately supercede it as it was slightly more elaborate, but this was a good one.