Eight beautiful hikes in Vancouver, B.C.
We stepped outside of YVR Airport and my husband, Kevin, said, “Smell how fresh the air is...”
We had just spent a month in Los Angeles, followed by five amazing months, in one of the most peaceful - yet chaotic countries in the world– India. After six months of dust, dirt and traffic, inclusive of a hospital stay for food poisoning, I could relate to my husband's statement 100%. The air outside of YVR, even next to the taxi stand, smelled GOOD!
India was incredible. I will forever be grateful for our travels, but in that moment, my first breath of Vancouver air, not only filled my lungs, but it felt like it rejuvenated my very being. I was home, at last.
During our first week back, everyday felt like a new adventure, like I was a tourist in my own city. Our dog Zorro was incredibly happy to have us home.
Jet-lagged, Kevin and I would wake every morning between the hours of 3 a.m. to 6 a.m. and the three of us would hop into the car and choose a different trail to enjoy. I have enjoyed the sites and sounds of Vancouver for over twenty years now, but it felt new to me again.
Our first day, we visited the Vancouver Endowment Lands near UBC. With our walk starting at 7a.m., the trails were nice and quiet. We were immersed in nature and solitude, yet only minutes away from the hustle and bustle of the UBC.
The Endowment Lands are filled with a maze of trails, which intertwine and lead you to, guess what… more trees and more trails. It’s a world unto itself – one you don’t mind getting lost in, and even if you do get lost – guaranteed a jogger, dog walker or parent with baby in tote, will be sure to help you find your way. But… when you’re under a shelter of old growth trees, surrounded by the gorgeous sounds of the ‘wilderness’ and you’re breathing in fresh clean air – time is certainly not of the essence.
Our second day took us to our favourite walking spot, Lynn Valley Headwaters in North Vancouver. I love this place. It was a beautiful sunny March day, stunning. And it's even more beautiful in the summer. In July and August, we regularly pack food, sun screen and drinking water, and make our way to ‘our special spot’ in Lynn Valley. The trip includes a walk through the trails to let Zorro burn some energy off. Next we carry Zorro, who is 30 lbs and afraid of water, over the creek. Finally, we reach our destination and spend the afternoon relaxing in a pool of icy cold, and perfectly rejuvenating, river water. There are many ‘pools’ for soaking in at Lynn Valley, but this spot, is extra special, with rocks formed into the shape of couches, and three pools that are terraced with water flowing into each one. Zorro on the other hand, steers clear of the water. The heat of the day is too much for him, so we build him a shelter to keep him cool. For us, however, the fresh flowing water is absolutely divine.
Day three, we found ourselves in Stanley Park. You could spend a week exploring the 1000 acres of trails in Stanley Park. From Beaver Lake, to the 8km circumference of it’s scenic seawall, Stanley Park is a scene to be seen. Not only are you surrounded by trees, but the wildlife is abundant, too, and if you choose your trails right, on one visit you can feel the breeze off the ocean, enjoy the serenity of small hidden lakes or watch the swans and geese frolic in the ponds. Stanley Park trails are enjoyed by walkers, runners, bikers, in-line skaters, raccoons, swans, dogs, Canadian Geese and more.
Day four we hiked up through Buntzen Lake in Port Moody, Day five Trout Lake near popular Commercial Drive, Day Six McDonald Beach near the airport in Richmond, day Seven along the seawall in False Creek (we were thankful to have our i-phone with us, as early in the morning this place is incredibly photogenic.) and day eight, we walked the length of the pipeline that extends out into the ocean at Iona Park and then strolled along its rugged beach.
I enjoyed being a tourist in my city, immersing myself into its many beauties with new appreciative eyes. As the weather warms up, I will be delighted to venture out even further into the Lower Mainland’s many hiking trails. I hope that as I’m soaking up the cool fresh waters in Lynn Valley this summer, I will be able to look at Vancouver with the same love and affection, that I have for it now. But how dare I say that?
I’m in the most beautiful city in the world. Of course I will.