An Eastbournian Abroad with Ashley McMillan: The colours of fall

Fall in all its glory. Picture by Ashley McMillan
Fall in all its glory. Picture by Ashley McMillan

So despite my protestations about the lousy weather we’d been experiencing and our local ‘need’ to ensure our stunning surroundings were sufficiently crusted in the dusty white stuff, autumn or ‘fall’ as it is known around these parts, can be simply quite beautiful as we watch the leafs and fauna turn their various glorious colours and slowly drift toward the floor.

It is quite the picturesque postcard scene – picture a moment or two in say Maine, New England and maybe you can get some idea of just how colourful it really is. To some around here, this is actually their favourite time of year. The only problem is that the gorgeous colours don’t last all that long before they all turn and the branches shed themselves of their attractive armour – ‘gotta’ look quick to capture the moment, right!

So it’s kind of quiet around here and not many people are getting to really appreciate just how nice Whistler can be at this time of year. This does of course follow the fact that the main Whistler activities and attractions are closed down for the next several weeks until the impact of the full blown winter season hits us. After all, the infamous bike park closed down just over a week back, as did the gondolas that thrust you to the peaks of the local mountains amongst the boundless vistas that are usually only reserved for the gods. Doesn’t then help when a few businesses are temporarily closing their doors whilst they tend to a few minor renovations or upgrades in preparation for the impending hectic winter visits.

So why would you choose to visit Whistler right now – just when everything is shutting down and things are a tad quiet at times? Well, those that do arrive in town at this time get to see the many colours of ‘fall’ that others have the misfortune of missing out on. Despite my remarks suggesting that nothing is open, most restaurants are still operating and in fact have some fantastic deals on, which many a local will also take advantage of – including me tonight! This affords those of us who are struggling to scratch a living and keep the weight on our bones (not really mom!), the opportunity to dine out in establishments perhaps only reserved for that very, very rare treat.

Now, whilst there still isn’t any snow around at the valley level (this could change in the next couple of months!), the network of hundreds of kilometres of hiking and biking trails are in fantastic shape and now, above all other times, you virtually have them all to yourselves (some locals have been known to look forward to this time if only for this reason). There are still many black bears (the slightly more bump into and escape with your life kind) around to be spotted. Given our poor summer and previously exceptionally long winter on the mountains, the bears typical berry crop was very dour and now that what little on the mountains has died off again, this has forced many of these ursine creatures down for us to get a closer look. You only have to walk just outside of the village to know they’ve been through a little before you as they always tend to leave a little welcome card, so to speak.

Personally, I won’t be getting out of the village too much on any walks thanks to this infernal stress fracture of my cuboid bone (behind the metatarsals in the middle of the foot). I am now finally weight bearing again and off those darn crutches, but I’m still hobbling around with a leg length discrepancy owing to this great big ‘airwalk’ boot I’m destined to keep on for the next month. Kind of rules out any running in the New York marathon then! If it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve at last come to accept my current ‘condition’, it might grate on me a little to hear everyone inform me, “See, I told you that running was bad for you!” Grrrr! So do I go to New York and be a spectator at this great prestigious event? I’m not great at ‘sitting on the sidelines’. I’m a competitor and have to be involved and know already that I’m going to wrestle with my emotions between being strung out and frustrated and allowing myself to enjoy the atmosphere.

Thank god that’s all I really have to worry about in life, eh?! Yes, I recognise that others are less fortunate than me and I really can be sitting in the lap of the gods at times, but truly, if I don’t get to start running again soon and back into some training to give myself a new race goal to aim for, I think I’m actually run the risk of being committed!!