Old Man's Beard, or Usnea as it is technically called, is the lichen seen hanging from tree branches everywhere in the mountains in Whistler and much of the world. It hangs from tree branches looking like greenish-grey hair.
Glossary of Hiking Terms Whistler Hiking Trails
Whistler has a dizzying array of things to do and places to see. Some are obvious and hard to miss, such as the often visible Black Tusk that dominates the backgrounds of millions of holiday photos. Other places around Whistler are less known, easy to miss, or simply buried in the endless wilderness everywhere you look. These places are not terribly hard to get to by car if you know where to aim. Here are some of them, if you have the time or inclination for a road trip, make Whistler even more amazing and definitely more interesting.
Alexander Falls is a very impressive 43 metre/141foot waterfall just 30 minutes south of Whistler in the Callaghan Valley. Open year-round and located just before Whistler Olympic Park where several of the 2010 Olympic events were held. There is a nice viewing platform on the edge of the cliff across from the falls which crash fantastically into the valley below. The parking area and viewing platform at Alexander Falls is one big area just 40 metres from the main road (to Whistler Olympic Park). The adventurous can find the obscure trail that leads to both the top of the falls as well as, with great difficulty, to the base of the falls. For a unique and breathtaking spot to share a beer on the outskirts of Whistler, Alexander Falls surely ranks quite high. Of impressive waterfalls in the Whistler area, Alexander Falls is one of several spectacular ones. Others in the area include the amazing Brandywine Falls, Rainbow Falls, and Nairn Falls. Along very difficult hike to Wedgemount Lake you will see the incredible Wedgemount Falls. Down in Squamish, 45 minutes south of Whistler, you will find Shannon Falls.
Northair Mine is a surreal little world of colourful murals on abandoned cement foundations, surrounded by an astoundingly tranquil little lake in a secluded forest. Just a short logging road off of the Callaghan Valley Road takes you to this unusual little abandoned mine. You would have driven by the turnoff if you have been to Whistler Olympic Park, which is just a couple kilometres away. Northair Mine gets its name from the Vancouver based mining company Northair Group. The mine was in production from 1976 and extracted 5 tons of gold before being abandoned in 1982. Northair Mine is tricky to find and even when you near it, the turnoff is not obvious. However, once you find it, it is quite a sight. The area that encompasses Northair Mine is huge. About 2 kilometres long, edged by a cliff on one side and a beautiful lake on the other. A nice, smooth gravel road runs through the area, along the edge of the lake toward Whistler Olympic Park. Another gravel road runs through the massive cement foundations of what must have been quite a large building. Beautiful graffiti art covers some of the cement pilings and scattered remnants indicate that this skeleton of a building has been home to its share of gatherings since being abandoned.
The North Arm Farm in Pemberton, just a 40 minute drive north of Whistler is startlingly beautiful in a wonderfully charming and unexpected way. And even more unexpectedly... it's free. Free to wander through the fields of strikingly colourful and organized crops laying seemingly at the foot of the wildly spectacular Mount Currie. Along with the beautiful setting and views there is an area surrounded by animals. Chickens, pigs and geese crowd around you hoping for scraps from the farm shop. The Farm Shop and Cafe are fantastic as well. A surprising variety of bakery and lunch items crowd the counters. Along with shelves and bins of farm fresh produce. You suddenly realize that you just came through what could be called Pemberton Farm Experience. All for free, except of course for all the amazing food you are inevitably going buy before leaving. North Arm Farm stretches over 60 acres along the Lillooet River and boasts a wide array of organically grown produce. From asparagus in April, to beans, peas, corn, squash, carrots, beets and their celebrated pumpkins in October. They even have seasonal You Pick berries, flowers and pumpkins.
Porteau Cove is well known in the Scuba Diving community for amazing diving. In fact a ship was purposely sunk in the area to increase the already amazing diving appeal. Other underwater curiosities make this a well used and beautiful place to dive. On any given day, you will see groups of scuba divers in the distance or getting in or out of the water. Their entry area by the boat ramp has a nice description of what is under the water that makes it such a fascinating place to dive. One the pier you will find an interpretive tour of sorts as their are descriptions, every few metres along the railings of what you may see from the pier viewpoints.is a beautiful little stop on the way to or from Whistler. You will notice the lack of washroom stops on the way to or from Whistler on the Sea to Sky Highway, and if nothing else, makes Porteau Cove a perfect rest stop. Aside from washrooms there is a wonderful pier with viewing platforms that hover high above the ocean of this majestic and enormous Canadian fjord - the most southerly fjord in North America. There is a nice campground that extends down the shore towards Vancouver.