It wasn’t too long before we were lured by the call of the Canadian mountains and fortunately they weren’t too far away from central Vancouver. An easy trip was the run to Capilano, which is just across the harbour and sits just outside the edge of a residential area. Although when you are actually there it feels very much as if you’re in the wilderness. However, the down side is that its close proximity does bring a lot of tourists. The big attraction of Capilano is the initial walk across the suspension bridge that crosses a rocky stream many metres below. Although the swaying bridge is a little like walking on a boat on choppy seas, it’s worth it for the spectacular view. Once you reach the other side there are plenty of smaller tree-top walks where you can experience the dense pine forest as it must have been before the old logging days.
On another day we ventured slightly further afield to Grouse Mountain, which on a clear day, can be seen quite easily from Vancouver itself. On the day we went, there was a great deal of cloud and we thought that the viewing might be quite limited. We boarded the Swiss- style aerial tramway that took us upward through the clouds to reveal a beautiful vista drenched in sunlight. While there was plenty of ice still left over from the winter, the temperature was quite warm and although we couldn’t see the view downward due to the cloud, our vision of the neighbouring mountain ranges was very clear. It was truly rugged and spectacular. Jules and I spoke in admiration of those adventurous folk who originally made it to the top and of those who continued to do so in search of good skiing long before the cable car was built. As we made our way to the summit, in the distance we could see a wild bear feeding in one of the clearings, which reminded us that this still remains essentially a wilderness area. You can certainly see spectacular photos of this region in glossy coffee table books but as we discovered, it doesn’t come close to matching the experience of seeing it in person. Vancouver is certainly fortunate that such scenic beauty is literally on its doorstep.