So, I’ve been busy. This blog post has been sitting, half-written, in my drafts for over a month now. I guess I’d better get it out!
I’m back home after an incredible trip around North America. My last port of call was in Vancouver, where I was on business. Don’t worry, I had plenty of time for pleasure as well.
What can I say about Vancouver? I’d been looking forward to arriving at this final stop on my West Coast adventure, and was not disappointed. There’s something for everyone here, whether you’re into outdoor sports, nightlife or relaxing at the park or beach. Vancouver has it all, and doesn’t compromise on anything.
I arrived at an appropriate time. As Americans were gearing up for their 4th of July celebrations, their usually more reserved neighbours to the north were already in party mode. The first of July is Canada day, and I was welcomed into the country by a parade, fireworks, and more maple leaves than I could count.
The waterfront was thronging with people of all race, age, and colour to celebrate the nation’s birthday. The parade highlighted the diversity of the country, with many different cultures represented.
Vancouver is a beautiful city bordered to the north by mountains, which I managed to catch an occasional glimpse of through the clouds. But of course, I wasn’t content to observe them from afar, I had to get up there in the clouded peaks!
Fortunately, I had a friend in town with a Landrover and a passion for hiking, and he took us on a day hike along the Howe Sound Crest Trail, passing through St. Marks Summit. The trail was steep and muddy, and in a fairly poor state higher up. We met some park rangers on the way back who told us how the trail’s popularity meant was causing it to deteriorate faster than they could repair with their limited resources. I could see why the trail was so popular, once the mists had cleared at the summit, revealing a vista to remember.
I was staying in an apartment right downtown, not too far from one of Vancouver’s best features: Stanley Park. This huge urban park is an oasis of nature just a short walk from downtown, and I spent many hours hiking, running and cycling along its seawall and through its inland trails. Most of the coastline of Vancouver is picturesque, with beautiful beaches and serene parks.
Of course, I was here at the best time of year. I’m sure it’s different in the winter, but then on the other hand, with so many ski resorts a short drive away, maybe winter here isn’t be so bad. I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing those mountains capped with snow.
My last night was spent in the best way possible: with an epic bike ride around the city, sampling the local beer and returning home after midnight. My three weeks here weren’t enough. I will definitely return.