The day after the lovely mountain hike, we went for a walk to Stanley park. And here is where I got to do something that I couldn’t do in Edmonton: We went to the beach. By foot.
Of course, on a beautiful holiday Monday, the beach was packed with people. Fortunately, it was Third Beach, the furthest from downtown. So, it was possible to get a small patch of beach to put our stuff. Then I did my standard practice of changing under a towel, and I was ready.
The water was cold, but not nearly as cold as the lake the previous day. My feet did not go numb. And after awhile, I got used to it enough that I could actually go swimming.
Really, this beach was better than some I’ve gone to in the Caribbean. It was sandy, and there weren’t sharp rocks in the water. It wasn’t as warm as a tropical beach, but I’m Canadian and that doesn’t bother me.
I will see if I can go again. I’m also intrigued by “Wreck Beach” which I’m told has more privacy.
It is a beautiful long weekend in Vancouver. Additionally, it is the first nice days here in months.
Now that I have someone to hang out with again, we decided to go do a hike. There is a website called Vancouver Trails that describes all sorts of hiking trails in the area. They even, conveniently, had a blog entry on May Long Weekend Hikes. Great!
So, I decided we should do the Sendero Diez Vistas trail. As advertised, it should have great views. It was only an hour away, which made it the furthest I’ve driven in Vancouver since I arrived. I think I might be coming close to the time where I need to fill my car up with more gas. But I think I can survive another month. That would make it nine months since I arrived.
The trail is around Buntzen Lake, which is managed by BC Hydro. It’s technically a reservoir. Unfortunately it is also a popular beach. Going into the park was a bit of a conga line of cars. As soon as I saw the overflow parking, I ducked in and found/made a parking spot for myself. I figured the main lot would be impossible, and we weren’t even heading in that direction. Once we started, it did take us a bit of time and wrong direction to find the trail head.
We crossed a floating bridge in a marshy area and then started climbing up. That wasn’t too bad. I don’t mind upward climbs, but they do have an unfortunate after-effect known as the downward climb/plummet. It took about an hour and twenty minutes to get to the first view, and it was glorious. I don’t think I got good pictures from any view; it was very bright with some hazy clouds. Not conducive to good photography. They still look impressive.
Two hours in we got to the second view, and it was packed with dozens of people. The problem with the view points was that it caused people to bunch together. We still got a nice spot to sit and eat lunch and watch. This was the best view of the whole trip with views of all of Vancouver, far in the distance. You could almost see all of Stanley park, but the tip was hidden by the foothills of Mount Seymour. The ocean inlet of Indian Arm was there to see.
Five minutes after leaving, there was another view point, with no people. I guess everyone had stopped for lunch at the previous because it had been the first spot after a long time. If we had kept going, we would have had more privacy.
After that, we continued along. The views were never quite as good. And some were just not there anymore because the trees had decided that they deserved to see it more than the hikers. When we got more into the forest it was another level of beauty. I liked seeing the moss covered rock walls and undulating terrain. It looked like a great place for a fashion shoot, but I would not want to have to deal with trying to get diva-like models up there.
Of course the downhill came. Steep too. I had not brought poles, but I should have. It wasn’t a serious problem not having them, but it did not help my injured knee. But if I paid attention to my injured I probably wouldn’t have even gone out.
Towards the north end, the hills stopped and we turned back to the lake. We rested at a pumping house and ate again before continuing. After we crossed a suspension bridge we got to North Beach. I had prepared for this; hauling swimsuit and towel with me the entire way. This beach was a five kilometre hike from anything, so it wasn’t crowded, although there were people. (And a pushy goose.) I thought it would be nice to take a swim there to refresh. Ha ha. After testing the waters out with a quick wade, I was reminded that I live in Canada where the lakes are begat by glaciers. It was refreshing to wade for half a minute, but that was it.
The rest of the hike back to south beach was easy. We passed over a tunnel that had been dug to Coquitlam lake that was responsible for filling the reservoir and giving the power generators their water.
South beach was still filled with a lot of people. They had a nice fenced in area where dogs were allowed to play off-leash and get into the lake. I accidentally let two escape.
Since we only had one kilometre to get to the car, I changed into my swimsuit and got into the water. I was, surprisingly, able to get Catalina in as well. Up past her knees too. The freezing cold water was good for our joints after the hike. I did do my best to impress her by doing a bit of swimming. Refreshing!
After that, a quick walk back to the car and home. The initial plan had been to go out for a nice steak dinner, but pizza seemed like a better idea when we got home.