Saturday, June 18, 2016

Walking my socks off in Vancouver - Lynn Canyon and Horseshoe Bay

When I woke up on my second day in Vancouver I was still unsure what adventure I was going to get up to.  I knew I wanted to walk but I had about ten ideas floating around and just couldn't decide.  As I was making final preparations to leave (still not knowing for sure) the phone rang.  The phone?  Yes I had a phone in my room in the know when you see things but they don't really register?  Or is that just me?  It never even occurred to me to actually phone people.on it..I hadn't yet turned my UK mobile phone back into a Canadian cell phone so I wasn't able to make any calls on it and I just figured I'd have to make do with Facebook or wifi messaging via iphone.  Anyway...and I am getting to the point of this..I answered and there was my Vancouver walking friend Verni on the other end.  She had mentioned perhaps walking together on Tuesday but nothing was arranged or decided on.  So we discussed possibilities and I mentioned I had always wanted to visit Lynn Canyon Park in North Vancouver.   I wasn't sure if she would want to go as it wasn't a sanctioned walk and Verni is a dedicated Volkssporter.  She jumped at the opportunity and we made arrangements to meet at Waterfront station at 10:30.

So I headed out for some breakfast.  Well!  I wanted to find a cute unique cafe/coffee shop on my way to the station but do you think I could find one?  Vancouver hides its coffee shops well.  I ended up at Tim Horton's...ugh.  Okay nothing against this very Canadian institution but when I am traveling I want to visit locally owned places.  So I had my bagel (which is never toasted the way I want it to be...) and coffee and headed off...only to find a cute cafe around the corner.  Grrrr... I had loads of time so decided to walk into a bit of Gastown.

I then met Verni at the station and got on the Seabus which crosses the Burrard Inlet to Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.  From there we got a bus up to Lynn Canyon.  The bus dropped us off near Dempsey Road as Verni wanted to try a different route rather than the normal entrance. However somehow we ended up on the more challenging Baden Powell Trail rather than the flatter Rice Lake trail she had planned for us to hike.

Lynn Canyon Park is 250 hectares of coastal temperate rainforest with the average age of trees in the park 100 to 150 years old.  Here is a map of most of the area - I've highlighted the area we walked.  Not far but far enough!

Luckily Verni let me use one of her walking sticks and gave me a helping hand when the rocks were a bit steep.  I didn't take pictures of the bad parts (why I don't do that is beyond me - just to have a memory of the horror!) - I was too busy trying to stay upright!  Let's just say you stepped from rock to rock going down or up.  My favourite - NOT.

I liked this bit!

I love this kind of trail!!!  Flat!!!

Normally I hate stairs but after those rocks these were a beautiful sight - especially short wide stairs.
Greedily I inhaled the beautiful scent of the trees and the fresh air - I just could not get enough of that smell.

We reached this point and when I saw the kids I thought "okay surely the path will be much easier now with those kids on the trail"  I was right.

We walked over the suspension bridge and had a fabulous view...

Verni admiring the view.

We ran into some fellow Volkssport walkers from Nova Scotia and walked with them to the pool area above.

Back to the suspension bridge and then we decided to walk to 30 Foot Pool on a different path.  I didn't want to wear myself out as I knew I wanted to go to Horseshoe Bay and do some more walking...we sat down and relaxed at the pool before heading back over the Suspension bridge to the cafe.  Sadly it was closed.  So we continued walking to the main road where we got the bus back to Londsale Quay and had lunch there.

Verni set off for Vancouver and I then caught the first of two buses that would take me to Horseshoe Bay.  Around 90 minutes later I arrived at the Recreation centre where the walk box was located for the 5 km walk I planned to do.

Ah you're talking.  Nice wide trail with benches and I can stick my nose up in the air and inhale the wonderful smell of the forest rather than watching my feet in case I trip and break my neck on roots or rocks.  As you probably guessed this was once a railway track.  On a wet winter morning in 1972 a southbound freight train derailed sending boxcars and lumber down the cliff onto Marine Drive.  No injuries were reported thank goodness  but it damaged two houses and hastened the decision to abandon this area of the track - needless to say the local residents were very relieved!  The train now traverses a 1.2 km tunnel instead.  And the old track is now the Seaview trail which is part of the Trans Canada trail!

Fisherman's Cove

Oh how I loved this trail.  Not busy but enough people walking dogs or jogging by that you didn't feel like your personal safety was at risk. (or that you might potentially be an inspiration for an episode of "Criminal Minds")  I walked close to 2 km and then turned and walked back.  I would do this trail again in a heartbeat and maybe even go further next time if the knees allowed me to.

I then made my way into the village of Horseshoe Bay on trails and sidewalks with a beeline for the restaurant I had eaten at last time I was there in 2011.  Back then it was a sunny lovely day and I had a glass of peach cider with a fantastic salad while sitting on the upstairs deck watching the ferries come and go.  It was one of those experiences that was pure bliss. just can't go back...I wasn't hungry for a full meal but I did want something to eat so perused the appetizer menu.  Nothing appealed but the seafood soup - they were out of it.  She wanted to upgrade me to one with more seafood in it - $13.99?  I don't think so!  So I ordered a pear cider and sat watching the ferries even though it was starting to cloud up a bit.  I still enjoyed it but it would have been nice to have had something nice to eat.

I wanted to catch the 7:20 express bus back to Vancouver so after I finished my cider I quickly grabbed a Greek salad to go at the coffee shop below and dashed off...

What a fabulous day!  I would definitely revisit both Lynn Canyon AND Horseshoe Bay...there is just so darn much to see in Vancouver that three full days wasn't enough and I felt stressed trying to figure what to do. A return trip SOON is a must I do think!  But I still have day three to share..coming up soon!

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