After our day trip to Squamish a few weeks ago we have been itching to get out again and explore the amazing places that are on Vancouver’s doorstep. I’ve mentioned long before we came to Canada how much we want to hike to Garibaldi Lake (the background of our blog is a photo of the lake), but as it’s an 18km round trip, we figured we’d build up our fitness with some shorter hikes first. Having done our first ‘shorter hike’ today, thank fuck we decided to start small!
Natalie and I took a trip to SportChek in the Pacific Centre Mall a couple of weeks to get ourselves some proper footwear for our future hikes. We spent bloody ages trying to find the right pair for each of us, but we got there in the end with the help of a very nice sales guy and a mock piece of rock in the middle of the shop which you walk over to make sure the shoes you’re wearing fit properly when on rough terrain.
With the weather due to turn very crap (in fact, it already has, as I type this it is pissing down outside) over the next week, we wanted to make the most of what was left of the decent weather this weekend. We checked out the brilliant Vancouver Trails website in order to find our hike for the weekend; you can filter trails by region, public transport access, difficulty, distance, and various other options, which makes finding a suitable trail really easy. We settled on the Capilano Canyon hike, which at only 2.6km, seemed like an easy place to start. Various wrong turns meant we ended up doing about 3.2km in total, which isn’t far, but there were lots of ups and downs in elevation which made it quite tiring.
We headed over to North Vancouver on the SeaBus and then jumped on the 236 bus from Londsdale Quay up towards Grouse Mountain. A few stops before you reach the Skyride up Grouse Mountain you can get off the bus at Cleveland Park, which is on the South side of the amazing Capilano Lake. After getting off the bus we walked towards the lake and were greeted with some amazing views of the water and the surrounding mountains, where we stopped for the ‘Nick and Natalie Special’ picnic; cheese and ham baguette and a packet of crisps.
Capilano Lake accounts for 40% of Greater Vancouver’s water supply, which is pretty damn impressive. Right next to where we had our lunch is the Cleveland Dam, which holds back the water from the lake. Fortunately for us the dam was open which meant that as we crossed it to start our hike we got to see the incredible sight of a shit load of water pouring out of the lake and down into the Capilano River. I’m sure there’s a more technical term for this, but regardless, it was bloody amazing! Pictures don’t really do it justice, it was so loud and was really a great start to our hike.
After taking in the views from the top of the dam we headed into the forest. Despite following the directions on the Vancouver Trails website we managed to make a few wrong turns, but it didn’t matter too much, it was great being outdoors. At times when the trails were quiet it felt like we were completely alone and in the middle of nowhere, it was awesome! There were a few spots along the way where we had some amazing views of the river; it was near impossible to get any photos that did it any justice unfortunately, so you’ll have to take our word for it, this place was beautiful!
Around halfway through our walk we stumbled upon the Capilano Salmon Hatchery. In typical fashion, we didn’t read anything, therefore all I can tell you about the hatchery is that they have a shit load of little fish, which turn into big fish, and then I assume they release them into the river to eventually be eaten by bears. Here’s some pictures and a video.
We left the salmon hatchery and headed back up towards the dam, this time on the other side of the Capilano River. This section of the hike was pretty tough as there was quite a high elevation gain, plus we were coming from an area close to the river where it was nice and cool (so much so we could see our breath), and as we got closer to the dam, the hotter it got. It wasn’t a sunny day at all, but it was really muggy; we were sweating like Japanese prisoners of war, but happy ones. (AP quote for you there). When we got to the dam we got a brilliant view of the water falling down into the river below, here’s a video to show what it was like.
We climbed the stairs to the top of the dam and that was the end of our hike. We’d walked 3.2km in total, and according the the Endomondo workout, which we used to track our hike, we had a total ascent of 2520 feet, and a total descent of 2723 feet, which explains why we were so knackered! We hopped on the bus back to Londsdale Quay and then on the SeaBus back to Waterfront station, before heading home. All in all, it was a bloody good day out, and I’m already looking forward to our next hike.
We ended the day by cooking a lovely meal at home, and even did a quick Car2Go trip over to the Olympic Village to pick up some alcohol as we’d run out (we went there because they sell Rekorderlig Cider). It’s now pissing down with rain and we’re watching Tom and Jerry cartoons . We’ll probably do bugger all tomorrow as the weather is crap, but if we venture out we may go and check out Science World; we’ve been looking at it out of or apartment for weeks but we still haven’t visited!
In other news, Natalie landed a bloody brilliant job working with a property management company in downtown. They pretty much built and manage the whole of Yaletown, which is a large area of commercial and residential buildings in downtown Vancouver. Well done Natalie! We now both have 9-5, Monday-Friday jobs, which mean we will always have the weekends to explore and have fun! Yay!
To end this post, here’s Natalie in the Olympic Village with a ridiculously large bird!
…and here is a golden sunset from our apartment.