Day 5: Biking in Stanley Park; Lynn Canyon; Grouse Mountain
Day 5 in Vancouver was a good day. A really good day. Let’s just get right to it:
Biking the Seawall around Stanley Park
We rented our bikes from Bayshore Rentals, and were so happy with their service. They are located just a couple of blocks from the entrance to Stanley Park, were super friendly, and had great prices. They charge by the quarter hour (after a 2 hour minimum), and are so helpful in making sure you get a bike that you’re comfortable with.
This was probably my favorite part of the trip- and that’s saying something after Victoria! I think, actually, that it was everyone’s favorite. It was the most perfect weather, and the views of the city and the water were breathtaking. The boys are at the age where they biked on ahead and did their own thing, while Carey and I stayed together enjoying our time together.
The seawall is divided into two lanes- one for walkers/joggers and the other for bikers and skaters. This is great cause you don’t feel like you have to dodge people all the time. We biked maybe a little more than a third of the entire seawall- which is 22km (13.7 miles) long.
Half way through our ride we all stopped for a picnic lunch. I loved hearing my boys talk about how much fun they were having, and seeing them get excited about it. We only had one accident, when Steven went a little too fast down a hill and didn’t give himself enough time to break. He cut up his knee and scraped his hands, but was back on the bike without complaint. (Steven wants to be a PJ for the Air Force, so a little tumble is not a big deal for him.)
After a few hours it was time to be on our way, as we had other plans for the day. Nobody was ready to go. There was still so much more of the seawall to explore, but alas, it was time to move on. Next time we go, we plan on making a day of it and biking the entire seawall.
Lynn Canyon Park
Next we headed to Lynn Canyon Park.
Well, actually, we headed to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. I had been looking forward to braving the suspension bridge and tree walk, but Carey was not looking forward to the crowds. We got to the parking lot and there were so. many. people. I was ready to tackle it but Carey wasn’t feeling it. On top of that, the guy working at Bayshore Bike Rentals told us we should avoid it and try Lynn Canyon instead- it would be less touristy. I didn’t want to hear it, because sometimes when I get my mind set on something, I just don’t want things to change.
But as we walked through the parking lot, I looked back at Carey and saw his face. He was trying to make sure we all had a good time (like he always does). And I realized that I was being a little selfish (like I usually am). So I stopped, we had a little chat, and decided to jump back in the van and go to Lynn Canyon. I’ll be honest. I was feeling cranky about it. But luckily that wore off- easily, once we got to Lynn Canyon Park.
The area was so fresh and beautiful, and as a bonus- no admission fee (as opposed to the $180 we would have spent at Capilano)! There were still lots of people, but not nearly as many, and they were mostly around the bridge.
The bridge. I was nervous. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I have a very deep, very big fear of bridges. Living in Portland, I’ve had to deal with it regularly and I am a lot better now than before we moved here, but it is a real thing. So why the heck did I want to go and walk across a suspension bridge?!!? Well, I’m trying to do things that scare me, trying to get over fears and things that hold me back. Walking the bridge was more of a metaphor for me, and I will not get into that here because this is a fun travelogue post and not a serious life motivating overcoming your demons sort of post.
I did it. And really, it wasn’t so bad. I even sort of wanted to stay on there and maybe even start rocking the bridge a little. But I didn’t.
But the bridge wasn’t the best part, and this is why I’m so glad we went to Lynn Canyon. The trail hike was amazing. It has been a long time since I’ve been hiking. I don’t know why- life has just gotten in the way the last couple of years. We used to go all the time. And this hike reinvigorated me! It reminded me how much I love to be outside and away from it all.
We followed a river for a little while, and found a nice quiet spot to sit and just be. It was a really good afternoon.
After a few hours we walked back to the car and drove over to Grouse Mountain. Guys, I’m not going to lie- we spent a good chunk of money there. Between our tickets to get up (we did the Alpine Experience) and dinner, and then other rentals and plenty of hot cocoa, this was definitely the most expensive part of our trip. Luckily it was budgeted in and on top of that we under budget at this point because of our plan changes earlier in the day. It was so worth it.There are some things you pay for and they don’t mean much, and there are others that you just know will stand out in your and your children’s memory forever. This was one of those lasting memory ones.
We took the tram up the mountain. It was full. Lots of people stuffed into that little tin can. Some with skis and snowboards, and others (me) quietly holding their husbands hand and praying the whole time that we didn’t fall to our death.
We survived the ride and stepped out into snow. So much snow! It felt like Christmas with the trees lit in reds and whites. We walked over and checked out the amazing view and just took it all in for a few minutes.
Dinner was at Altitudes Bistro, with an amazing view of Vancouver almost 4,000 feet below. I don’t remember what we all ate, but dessert was Apple Crisp, and it was divine.
After dinner we went on a sleigh ride, which took us past the slopes. Then the boys did some ice skating while we waited for the sun to completely set.
My favorite part of the evening was the Light Walk. There was a path on the snow that took us into the wooded area, and it was all lit up. There was nice music playing and the lights were surrounding us. It was magical.
As usual, my boys ran on ahead of us. At one point toward the end of our walk, we caught up to them. They were laying in the snow looking up at the stars. We joined them and we all just lay there looking up until our bums were too cold to take it.
We made our way back to the lodge and out on a patio where we had another amazing view of the city, lit up in the dark. It was approaching closing time, so we took the tram back down and headed back to the hotel.
TIPS OF THE DAY:
- Sometimes you just have to give a little. Be mindful of who you are traveling with and respectful of the things they want to experience. It really can be win-win.
- The three things we did today – Biking the seawall, hiking at Lynn Canyon, and Grouse Mountain – could have each taken the entire day, and I recommend that you let them.
- You have to experience Grouse Mountain at night. You won’t regret it.