Being outdoors in the sunshine and heat was the perfect way to spend our May long weekend. Though camping over the long weekend was at the back of our minds for weeks leading up to it, we had made no specific plans. But when the sun woke us up in our Vancouver apartment on Saturday morning, we couldn't resist the call to spend the weekend outside. We packed our camping gear and hit the highway within about an hour after waking up. (I love that our camping gear is almost always in the "ready" state!) We weren't sure where we would end up, but I was interested in going through the Fraser Canyon along Highway 1 north of Hope.
After about 4 hours of driving through beautiful escarpment, we settled on a campsite along the Thompson River. The temperature had reached about 30 degrees, so we setup our tent quickly (with only few accidental barefoot steps onto the hot gravel) and sat in the sunshine overlooking the water.
The site was spectacular, with rushing water to watch, bears to observe, and passing train cars to count. We didn't even put the fly up, so we could look up at the stars through our tent's mesh roof.
We ended up finding the site quite loud and had difficultly sleeping, with the trains coming through at all hours, so the next morning we packed up and continued to head north along Highway 1, passing big horned sheep and deer along the way.
We eventually turned onto Hwy 99 and found another beautiful spot along the lake. The new spot was significantly quieter and calmer – the peace we were looking for!
We were able to take a walk around the lake, play tons of cribbage (Chris and I both managed to forget to pack our books in our haste to leave!), and watch the fish jumping in the lake.
On our way home on Monday, we stopped at Seton Lake for breakfast and a quick dip into the glacial waters. The lake was frigid and caused quite a bit of cold pain in our lower legs and feet, though both of us still went in twice.
By the time we got to Whistler, the roads were packed and I wished we were back in the quiet of the lake. We eventually made our way through traffic and over the Lions Gate bridge and spent the rest of the day on an outdoor patio.
Cribbage board for entertainment
Extra sleeping mattress to stay cozy
Beach towels to dry off the glacier water
Picnic table tablecloth to feel homey
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, fresh fruit, and refried beans
Lunch: Salmon and avocado salad
Snack: Boom Chicka Pop popcorn
Dinner: Zoodles (zucchini noodles) with ground turkey and tomato sauce
The other evening Chris and I were sharing a few drinks in the Cactus Club lounge while the Canucks hockey game was on in the background. There was an aerial view of the Lions Gate Bridge shown before one of the commercial breaks, and I mentioned to Chris how much I loved that bridge. (To be clear, I love the way it looks. Sitting on it in traffic on the way home from Whistler on Sunday afternoon is not one of my favourite activities.) We started talking about how we've walked over bridges like the Golden Gate and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, when it occurred to us that we'd never walked over the bridge in our own backyard! We made plans to remedy that this coming Saturday.
This morning we set out on our urban hike from our apartment in Yaletown, down Robson Street, through Stanley Park, and over the Lions Gate Bridge. The walk was an adventure from the beginning, as we started our hike heading west on Robson while everyone else was going east towards the Whitecaps game. I felt a bit like a salmon swimming upstream. We also had to make our way through the Celtic Festival crowds in front of the Art Gallery and the meandering shoppers on Robson.
We don't get to Stanley Park very often - in fact, I've probably been there less than a dozen times since we moved to Vancouver 12 years ago. Walking through the tree covered paths past the lake and Lost Lagoon reminded me of how beautiful this urban space really was and that I should make an attempt to get here more often (after all, it's only about a 30 minute walk from my home).
While we were in Stanley Park, the sun came out for the first time in what felt like weeks! I got a little excited!
As we made our way towards the base of the Lions Gate Bridge, I started to get a bit nervous. The sidewalk was quite a bit narrower than other bridges I've crossed, the pedestrian area was shared with cyclists, and there was a rather larger than expected gap between the base of the sidewalk and the railing.
It was also quite the adrenaline rush though! Looking down at the cold water far below us, feeling the bridge shake from the traffic, and getting pushed by gusts of wind made the trek to North Van quite heart-pounding! Just as I was starting to acclimatise to being on the bridge, we were treated to the rush of a large container ship passing right underneath us. Looking down onto the ship, with all its shipping containers, bulk bins, and control towers so far below us gave me a view onto the ship I never had before.
When we finally made our way back over the bridge and returned to Stanley Park, we decided to try a different route home. We went by Prospect Point – an area in the park well known to tourists, but as a local, I had never actually been – and then made our way through the forest back to the lake, taking a quick break to chat with one of our friends who rode by on his bike, then headed back through the downtown jungle, getting home just as we were starting to get quite hungry.
15km hike through downtown Vancouver
Breakfast: Protein pancakes
Lunch: Chicken and couscous salad
Dinner: Grilled salmon and greens