Hikes #12, 13, and 14: Sea to Sky

Hike # 12: Hike to bathroom from our campsite (Orcas Island) and hike to our tent (Whistler, B.C): Total mileage too numerous to count.

Alright, I did admit that I was going to stretch my definition of hiking on this trip, but when I started thinking about it, I should count these small treks as a hike. Let me explain. For the trail leading to the washroom from our campsite on Orcas Island, it went from the back of our tent straight up about 20 ft. This also included a lot of small roots to stumble over, and often left my calf’s burning and me out of breath. I have often joked that our small treks to the bathroom really keep me in shape. I have even gone so far as to consider each morning before going to the washroom walking around the block first. It sounds crazy, but I think after the summer trip is done, I’ll have walked an extra 10 miles during these treks. As for the walk to our campsite in Whistler, it too is a trek, maybe not a back packing kind of trek, but a walk in site, in which our car is far away. I love it, as it keeps these old bones warm until our next hike.

Hike #13: Stanley Park, Vancouver, B.C.

Ah…Stanley Park. We have been here before, and I think it’s actually prettier than Central Park in New York. It’s a gorgeous wooded city park, nestled on the coast, with many wooded trails throughout. Today’s hike led from the aquatic center/ children’s park (which was bustling with day camps) to a beach and then off into the woods. Along the way we came across a mama racoon who eyed us with contempt as her children scurried behind her. We walked away slowly as if they were black bears. I find it interesting how mom’s across the species have a drive to protect their young.

City park hiking is superb as it mixes the feel of hiking through a forest, with city views every now and then. Remember, I’m both a city mouse and a country mouse. I think that I woud feel right at home in Vancouver. Now if I could just talk the whole family into following us.

Hike #14: Lost Lake trail, Whislter B.C.

Once we hiked all of gear to our walk in campsite, we decided that we needed a walk to rejuvinate us, and get our bearings. We have never been to this part of B.C., and have only ever heard wonderful things, therefore we were excited to start. We were told that a trail behind our camp ground would lead us up a mountain and to place we could swim. Great we thought, swimming in a lake is our favorite thing to do. So we grabbed out stuff and headed out. We were happy when we found the sign to “lost lake” and headed up, only to find that the trail forked at some point with no signage! Ugh! This goes back to our general theory, people give horrible directions, no matter who they are. So after many aborted attemtps, and asking other frusturated hikers, we gave up finding the “lost lake” and played a round of mountain disc golf with rocks instead of actual frisbee’s at a course along the trail. Funny how when your looking for one thing you can find another. Improvising is the key to having fun and keeping things moving along, even when the directions suck!
July 18th, 2013

At Second Beach

City Park

Great City Parks: Stanley Park, Vancouver

Our ride into Vancouver contrasted well with the majesty of Stanley Park.  After waking up in Surrey, B.C. we asked the teenagers at the Holiday Inn Express the best route into the city.  They suggested going west on Hastings Street.  This path into the city was gritty and bad ass and felt more Miami Vice than Northern Exposure.  After weeks of being in gentle and kind Canada, the shirtless man being hauled away by the police and the menacing youths looked all so … American.   As we got closer to the park the scenery changed into high end cafes, local coffee shops, and hipsters out for a stroll.  We stopped several times to ask directions (we hardly ever ask directions once due to Corey and I being incapable of processing more than a few sentences of any direction related paragraph spoken to us).

Stanley Park is beautiful and even more so when you realize that it is set in a world class city full of bustle and industry.  Within the sanctified air of dense evergreens it easy to forget the millions living nearby but out of sight.  But the park still has its quirks.  For one, the famed miniature train is set in an “Aboriginal Village” that charges you admission to enter.  That would be OK if the village offered genuine insight into aboriginal life, but apart from some dancing and story telling that felt more like preaching, the village mostly consisted of shops and overpriced coffee.  The train ride was cool, but this was another fee paid on top of what it cost to enter the village.  However, the ride featured an inspired Aboriginal story that incorporated costumed dancers acting out scenes as the train passed by and made me forget the $30+ (village fee and train) the short trip cost.

The park is hard to get a handle on the first time out and we did what most people do; drive from parking lot to parking lot.  Locals and smarter tourists than us whizzed by on bikes as we parked next to over packed tour busses.  We did do some light hiking in the Cathedral Forest (with me realizing that our family was both completely alone and within a few blocks of seedy Hastings Street).  We also admired cargo and cruise ships docked near a beach within the park. 

Reminiscing about Stanley Park is putting me in a comparing type of mood; Central Park vs. Stanley Park (I think Henna and I would choose Stanley, Corey always goes with NY), Stanley Park vs. Prospect Park (I call that one a tie), Central Park vs. Prospect Park (Prospect Park going away) and that great big rose garden park in Portland vs. Stanley Park (I go with Stanley Park because of the beach and totem poles).  There are so many great city parks out there with each one a reflection of its host city.  Please, tell us about your favorite city parks.  Hennacornoeli minds want to know.

From Surrey, B.C. to Ladysmith, B.C.

The distance between Surrey and Ladysmith is 100 miles give or take.  To travel that distance one needs not to get sea sick, patience to wait for a ferry, and enough money to pay for the one way fare (about $80 for two adults, a child, and a loaded down Subaru).  The passage lasts about an hour and a half and offers amazing scenery.  We were told we might see whales but were not that lucky.  I scanned the seas with my binoculars and got very excited the first time I spied a dark mass only to discover it was some driftwood.  I have no pictures of the passage because I wisely (sarcasm) left the camera in the car.  I also should let everyone know that even if I had taken pictures, I currently have no way of uploading them to my computer (I lost the miniscule cord needed to perform that task).  I am hoping to replace the cord and when I do I will upload many, many photos.  I promise.  We got off the ferry and stumbled through Nanaimo.  I was surprised to be back on HWY 1- island version.  Four lanes here but moving at at Jamaican, laid back rate.  Speed limit 80 KPH (about 50 MPH).  We got lost headed to our cousin Lucretia’s house and had to call her from Ladysmith.  Once there we had a lovely evening with Lou’s friend Roy, David and daughter Mariah (whom is my daughter’s age and has been a sporadic pen pal to her and is now a bff), Pam and Dan.  Lou made a wonderful dinner and an amazing pie for dessert and conversation touched on the Canadian education system, fishing, and travel.  After being on the road for over two weeks we felt at home.

Prior to the ferry trip we spent the day at Stanley Park in Vancouver.  Vancouver is a hard city to label.  We entered via W. Hastings street and were amazed at the grittiness of it.  Shirtless young man in handcuffs, questionable woman on the telephone, open drug sales, and a true sense of chaos just around the perimenter of the downtown.  Downtown looked like any downtown and then the park which is a jewell- a forest in the middle of a city with beaches, totem poles, bike trails, and plenty of child friendly parks.  And busloads of tourists, many of whom were on some sort of cross Canadian tour.  It cost us $3 an hour to park.  If I drove a tour bus it would have been $40 an hour.  Our first stop was an Aborigional (Native American) “village” complete with traditional dancing and a miniature train ride accompanied by a story that I had trouble following.  We then drove around the park and did some light hiking in the “cathedral” forest.  Leaving the park we saw a glimpse of the city that people fall in love with- interesting little shops and resteraunts, plenty of coffee shops, and people of every nationality walking about.  I would love to see Vancouver again.  Today we are off with David and Mariah hiking to the water to maybe see whales.