Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vancouver--A Day in the Mountains

We discovered no shortage of things to do in and around Vancouver, but many of the popular tourist destinations were EXPENSIVE. In fact, everything in Vancouver (and Canada in general) is just plain expensive now, with the U.S. $ so weak, especially. Two of the major tourist spots, Grouse Mountain and Capistrano Suspension Bridge, would have cost us a fortune, and they were advertised so heavily in every travel publication that they were bound to be overrun with tourists. We decided to take the unbeaten path instead.

Not too far from Vancouver is a FREE suspension bridge in the forest: Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. Unlike the privately operated Capistrano Suspension Bridge, Lynn Canyon is a public park full of old-growth forest and wonderful hiking trails, in addition to the bridge and an ecology centre. The whole area was beautiful. Here are Chris and Kieran on the bridge:

Take a look at this gorgeous old hollow trunk with a tree growing right out the top of it:

More photos of the bridge:

And from one side:

Nadine was a bit nervous about the bridge beforehand (she is not crazy about heights), but she did just fine as far as I could tell!

The boys enjoyed hiking on the trails and playing in the forest...

Well, the kids WERE having fun until they disturbed a yellowjacket nest and Garrett got stung! As you might know about yellowjackets, they can mark someone as an aggressor and keep pursuing that person. In our case, they marked our whole group because they definitely pursued us. Mike got stung on his neck, and several were circling around other people. Finally, we ran back up the hill to get away from them, ending our nice little hike.

Back across the suspension bridge we went:
Nick was a mite freaked out by the bridge, so Mike carried him back across:

Then we went to the great little ecology centre, which had nature films and displays, a gift shop, and a puppet theatre and play area for the kids:
After stopping for lunch, we went onto the "Sea-to-Sky Highway," which British Columbia recently improved for the Olympics. It's a beautiful drive, although the skies were hazy because of the high number of forest fires in BC the week we were there. I'm sure it would have been far more scenic with clear skies.

Nearly to Squamish we stopped at the gorgeous Shannon Falls.
As native Oregonians, we are spoilt with multiple scenic waterfalls, but Shannon Falls did not fail to impress me! The kids enjoyed jumping from rock to rock, Kieran threatening to get soaked of course.

The older statesman, Chris:

This photo doesn't do it justice. Simply beautiful!
We enjoyed our little foray out of the city for the day. Vancouver has so many scenic, gorgeous spots a stone's throw from the city!

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