Activities

Finding Stanley in Vancouver’s Stanley Park

Stanley Park is Vancouver’s crowning glory. Its dense rainforest and pristine coastline belie its location at the doorstep of one of Canada’s largest cities. I visit the park often, usually for cycling, but I rarely take the time to truly appreciate how the park came to be and what it has to offer. I realized how little I knew about the park, including who this Stanley guy is. So, last week, I spent a slow, relaxed day in Stanley Park, on and off my bike, stopping at monuments, reading plaques, strolling through gardens, riding along lesser used trails, and finding Stanley, among other notable people.

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Categories: Biking, British Columbia | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Vancouver cycling: Stanley Park-UBC-Fraser River-Arbutus Greenway route

Last weekend, we cobbled together an awesome cycling route around Vancouver’s West Side. The ride provides exceptional diversity: beautiful beaches, rivers and parks, lovely neighbourhoods, giant cedar forests, equestrian centres, First Nations communities and the University of British Columbia (UBC). It’s mind-boggling that we saw all this, and more, in only a 46 km (29 mi) loop (technically, a lollipop). Most of the route is on dedicated bike paths, and the majority of on-road sections have bike lanes. The unseasonably warm weather and spring blooms added to make this a perfect day on our bikes.

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Categories: Biking, British Columbia | Tags: , , , | 43 Comments

My 10 most memorable wild animal encounters

On my morning walk I passed a sign that read Warning: Bear in Area. My first thought was that it’s awfully early in the season. I didn’t end up meeting any big furry creatures, but it got me thinking about the wild animals I’ve seen during my travels abroad and on local adventures in western Canada. Just like memorable monuments, landscapes, or people, wild animals encounters have left indelible impressions on me—most of them positive, and a few not. So, in no particular order, here are my most memorable critter experiences.

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Categories: Wildlife Viewing | Tags: , , , | 55 Comments

Why did I never turn right? Hiking in Horseshoe Bay, British Columbia

For year now, when I need an easy, no-fuss hike, I just walk out my door to a trailhead about 10-minutes away. The path immediately gets me into the deep forest above Horseshoe Bay. After 500 m of uphill grunting, there’s an intersection. I’ve always turned left. It’s like I’m on autopilot. Left is to Whyte Lake, a pretty, little lake that makes the perfect one hour, door-to-door outing—a reliable and predictable bit of fresh air and exercise. A few months ago, I bucked the routine and turned right.

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Categories: British Columbia, Canada, Hiking | Tags: , , | 67 Comments

Winter hike to Garibaldi Lake, British Columbia

Garibaldi Lake, located in Garibaldi Provincial Park near Whistler, British Columbia, is a popular summertime hiking destination. A few weeks ago, on a crisp sunny day, I finally got to hike there in winter. Verdict: It’s a gorgeous cold weather outing. The blanket of white adds a simplicity to the landscape making it appear even grander than in summer. And, there’s a peacefulness that comes with the largely monochromatic scene. Strangely, I can thank the pandemic for allowing me to hike to Garibaldi Lake this winter.

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Categories: British Columbia, Canada, Hiking | Tags: , , , | 50 Comments

Teaching an old swan new tricks

Welcome to hell ladies,” he says in an Eastern European accent. I grimace as he presses down on my stiff upper back attempting to coax out an extra millimetre of flexibility. I’m finally ticking ballet class off my bucket list, but now I’m wondering what possessed me to do this.

This piece about my foray into adult ballet is a slightly edited version of the one published in the Canadian newspaper The Globe & Mail (Aug.19,2020). It’s a departure from my usual topics in this blog, but what’s usual these days? Hope you enjoy it.

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Categories: Crazy Fun Stuff | Tags: , , | 36 Comments

Deciduous conifers of Frosty Mountain: Manning Park, British Columbia

No, it’s not an oxymoron. While hiking the Frosty Mountain trail in E.C. Manning Provincial Park, I was introduced to the alpine larch, a deciduous conifer that sheds its needles every fall and grows them back in spring. For a few weeks, in late September/early October, the Frosty Mountain larches become a blaze of golden colour. My hiking buddy Eva and I timed our October 2 hike perfectly for this stunning fall display and learned some cool things about British Columbia’s toughest and oldest tree.

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Categories: British Columbia, Hiking | Tags: , , , , | 53 Comments

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