Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 3 - Vancouver North Shore

Capilano Canyon and Grouse Mountain
Had a bit of sleep in today because was up until late sorting my photos and chatting with the family back in Australia. I had to repack as well because I was moving rooms so I could start the tour tonight.  I was officially sharing so very frustrating having to repack but got there in the end.  I had to get Alison to print out some stuff for me which I forgot to print which was very annoying.  So ducked across the road to see her and brought a nice warm jacket so I am officially Canadian up with the beanie that I got yesterday and my new jacket. 

The hotel recommended that I catch the free bus to capilano so I took off to the hyatt and got to see more of the city as I power walked thru the city.   My feet were really starting to feel the walking from the day before. But then again I am carry my weight plus the weight of my backpack which is understandable. 
I loved the drive to capilano the homes were so beautiful and quaint shadowed by the mountains even though it was still really misty. At least it has stopped raining.  The shuttle bus driver as a abolsute character and complete nut job… but very funny he kept us amused for the 30 mins drive. Capilano was so pretty and quaint.

the sign as you come in 

I love the colours in this 

Expensive but worth it.  I undertook a history tour when I first got there.  

the Story centre 
He took us through the history of the park and how it was purchased 2 centuries ago because of the amazing hunting that was in the area. They decided to build the suspension bridge because that is where their property was located but couldn’t done the canyon to cross the river. So they had to journey down river for 10kms to be able to cross so it would take 2 days just to cross the river for the good game.  Then word got out amongst the locals that the suspension was a sight to be seen and tourists starting arriving and they started to charge a dime 5cents for each crossing which was in 1889. Then the park kept on getting sold on to different owners and they took us through the different owners and their sordid pasts. J Each of the park staff were dressed in the period costumes and was very well done. Especially the guy that met the bus he was like the mayor but .. only younger and very cute. Just wished I had gotten a photo of him.  We got introduced to the kai plano totem poles and what role they play to the first nations. We met a carver called ben and he took us through the stories of the totems and what each one represents and what the significance is.  He also showed us how he carves them. We then were off to cross the bridge. I decided to wait…

The entrance to the bridge
about the bridge

Like the big scardy cat that I am I didn’t want to be on the bridge while everyone else was on there because I didn’t know how I would go so high up and swaying at the same time. I wandered around the gift store.  And finally made my way onto the bridge. Camera looped around my neck and me holding on very tightly.  I stopped a couple of times going over to just take it all in but it is hard to photograph with one hand so gave in and took my hand off the bridge and just got the shots that I wanted.  I was probably on the bridge for 5 mins as it is very long and you have to wait for everyone to take their turn with the photos. Made it across to the other side and found a whole another world and adventure.

Me standing on the squirrel

They had a nature walk and tree tops walk so I did the tree tops walk which is a smaller version of the suspension bridge. It was really cool with the bridge build around all the older cedars.  Walking to the walk I stopped because I was changing my lenses and also to get out my smaller point and shoot and iphone.  At that moment… I saw…  my first squirell…  it was so cute but soooo fast so didn’t get a photo but got a photo on my shoes as a I STOOD on the squirrel when he ran under me on the walk way.  I loved the tree tops…  it was so beautiful and wet and so cold but beautiful clean air…  I then went down and did the nature walk which was great and the types of animals that live on the forest floor and got some amazing shots overlooking the canyon on all my cameras…  Yes I just said all my cameras…  I really loved it in there the scenery was just amazing.  Because there were a number of people there they were spending a fair bit of time at the photo spot so I sat down on the stairs and changed lenses and took it all in.  I loved the atmosphere of the place and quiet and just enjoyed. I took a photo on my iphone and decided to overlook the roaming charges and sent a picture and birthday message to the wonderful Kell.  I was definitely enjoying her birthday for her.  Just had to make sure I didn’t send it too early or I would have woken her up since Australia is a day ahead.  It will be a interesting phone bill when I get back home. 

I crossed back across the sway bridge especially considering how much my feet were aching but spent more time on the bridge as I had a brief glimpse of sunlight!!!  Yes sunlight peoples sunlight…  the cloud and mist was still there but sunlight was starting to poke through.  I took some great shots from the bridge looking both ways along the cnayon – I would have liked to go down to the canyon floor but that didn’t seem possible.  But enjoying the enormity of the suspension bridge was enough.

I grabbed some lunch and was chatting with a tour bus operator and he was from the USA and loved his job.  But he did suggest that I head up to Grouse Mountain despite the cloud and fog because it was clearing. 
So caught the local bus up the mountain and went past some amazing homes and it was so amazing to live on the sides of the mountain.

Caught a glimpse of dam just at the base of the mountain and it was massive. 

Even though I couldn’t see the top of Grouse Mountain I decided to go up and try it.  The ride up was awesome and I realised I am not as scared of heights as I thought.  The mist over the trees and looking back over the city as amazing…  nothing short of beautiful the massive cedars rising up and I saw a wolf languishing off to the side enjoying the rare glimpse off the side.  They are local to the area so you can see them any time.  Once I got up there I went and watched the national geographic special on the 2 bears that they have living onsite. The only thing I didn’t like was the fact that it was all benches and no backs. The poles hurt my back after a while but then again I think because my feet were tired and feeling like I was getting a cold.  I just wandered around the grounds and saw the bears and enjoyed the view. I wish I had gone up on the ski lift but it was freezing and thought it was another cost as it was more expensive to get up there than Capilano.
Personally I think Capilano presented better value for money. 
I went out to the observation deck and sat out there and enjoyed the sun for about 40mins while watching the clouds move across the mountain and the city.  What I got to see was beautiful and very scenic with the sun coming across the ocean onto a cargo ship. 

Headed back down via the gondola and then caught the bus back into town.  The bus went through the suburbs which were so quaint and pretty nestled into the hills. Pretty much your stereotypical northern American home but they do front porch really well in comparison we do the back deck really well.  Caught the seabus from Lonsdale across to Vancouver which was beautiful coming across the bay into the city. So pretty especially the sun began to dip lower.  I took a couple of  shots overlooking the ocean and then caught the train from waterfront to the station near the hotel.

Hanging baskets are everywhere in Vancouver and later discovered in all the small towns 

By the time I got back there was a meeting of the tour group. Just gave me chance to meet the group but the girl I was sharing with wasn’t there but met her when finally made it up to our room. I had agreed to go out to dinner with one of the girls…  but I dragged her along to take some city photos which turned out ok.
the science centre 

We just found our way to the IGA which seem to be as proflific as starbucks…  but much cheaper than Australia… by now it is 8.30pm I was starving and tired as so I just wanted to get something to eat so I got maccas yes I know before you all start yelling at me..  but I did learn something.  Their large is our super-size.  So never again…  my only 1 experience so far with Maccas overseas.  Went back to the room and got to know my roomie for the next few weeks…  it is going to be interesting because she is a early to bed and early to rise and I am the opposite…  but 7 days in we are doing well…  J

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