Words and photos by Tom Hoy
Whistler lives up to everything they said about it: the partying, the unbelievable powder days, and the friends you meet.
Life is pretty expensive there, but many of us work hard, pay our ridiculous rent, and use the rest of the money to go travelling. After living in Whistler for around a year and a half, I was fortunate enough to do a few road trips and work in America for another six months. I’m definitely grateful I did—the landscapes are simply unbelievable and change rapidly every couple hundred kilometres or so. When we hit the road from British Columbia, we all felt like cancelling the trip after only a week when our car (that my friend had bought a month prior to the trip) broke down and needed a full engine rebuild, I got tonsillitis and we were already running low on funds. Lucky we stuck it out, and these photos should explain why. This series of images were taken on the road from some of my favourite spots, including Yosemite, Yellowstone National Park, and Alaska.
Two friends and I travelled down the coast of California with the aim of making it to Yosemite by nightfall. We only just made it and went straight up to Tunnel View where we were welcomed by an amazing sunset, followed by this twilight before the valley went into complete darkness. Good start to our five-night stay in Yosemite, to say the least.
With plans to hike only to the top of Yosemite Falls, the rocks and even better vantage points kept pulling us higher and higher up the trails. It was getting dark pretty quickly and we were advised by other hikers to head down before dark if we weren’t equipped properly. Politely not listening to their advice was one of the best things I have ever done. The three of us stood up there as the golden light poured into the valley below before turning the sky into a sea of pink, purple and orange.
See… I wasn’t lying. We all yelled out at the top of the lungs out of pure joy and excitement at what we were witnessing. The hike down in the dark with nothing other than a thin jacket (it gets cold really quickly at night here), a few snacks and a headlamp each was fun, although we kept spooking each other about getting stalked by cougars the whole way down.
As we waited for the sun to set, my friend Jack was sitting on a narrow rock ledge that was about a metre wide. I’m a little afraid of heights and couldn’t even climb up here for that reason, so I ran to another viewpoint and saw the perfect opportunity to take this image as the sun lit up Half Dome in the background.
This day was dark and gloomy with a bit of rain around, which seemed to keep the tourists away. We managed to make it up to Taft Point with only a couple other hikers around… and a crow.
Taking a cruise through Glacier Bay in Alaska with my parents was nothing short of spectacular. Here, a yacht docks in front of Reid Glacier. It’s a place I’d love to explore via sea kayak some day.
The colours of the land in Alaska had me mesmerised as soon as we drove in. Paired with the sheer scale of the mountains and the wildlife that roam these lands, it’s an adventurer’s paradise.
Bison roam and rule the lands of Yellowstone National Park, walking the roads in their herds amongst the cars who are forced to slow down (for obvious reasons) and take in the wilderness around them. It’s pretty surreal, and something I’d recommend for everyone to do if you ever get the chance. Other than to shed fur and deter biting flies, male bison roll in the dirt to leave behind their scent and to display their strength.