Vancouver

Our Cruise ended in Vancouver. For those of you who have been following along, I left our vehicle in the basement parking lot of a very nice Westin hotel, parked snuggly in their underground garage, while our family convened in Alaska. It waited patiently for Mrs Bear and I to reclaim it. We were then to spend a couple days touring Canada’s Pacific City. This we did, but Mrs Bear’s leg fracture changed up how we spent our time. No taking the train into City Center, hiking the surrounding nature trails, or visiting the marina district. Instead, we chose an activity or  two each day that got Mrs Bear outside where we could navigate her newly purchased wheel chair on paved paths. Occasionally, she would suggest an activity she thought I might like as she worked through her apprehension and guilt about needing me to continually assist her…despite  my assurances that I wanted to help, and a modified trip plan was far superior to doing the journey solo.

 

Our first activity was to find a botanical garden, Queen Elizabeth Park, in Richmond, the city to the south of Vancouver.

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If you closely inspect the pic above, you will see the Vancouver skyline with the mountains in the background…An interesting side note: About 70% of British Columbia is at least 3000 feet above sea level.

Queen Elizabeth Park is at the top of a knoll in an old quarry. More on this when we get to Butchart Gardens, but this park, as well, was landscaped in an old quarry. Given both of our staminas, we didn’t roll down into the sunken garden, choosing instead to stay on the edges and dine at their beautiful cafe with the views you see in the pictures.  We also got to visit their aviary:

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The next day, we drove through Vancouver into the mountain foothills to Capilano River Regional Park. This river gorge is the site of a 460 foot, simple suspension bridge that spans the river at a height of 230 feet. The bridge was initially constructed over 100 years ago, and has been strengthened with steel cable from the original ropes. It is just wide enough to allow two-way traffic, and it definitely swings with the breeze and human movement.

Mrs Bear stayed on the land’s edge while I crossed the bridge. My younger daughter has a game she likes to play while traveling…”Is It Rustic or Creepy???”  The Capilano Bridge was my first time example of something that was both rustic AND creepy.  If a person was coming from a city or suburb, and came To Capilano to experience crossing a gorge on a flimsy bridge to then walk through a beautiful fur tree forest, they would think it is rustic. BUT, if you were just in Alaska for an extended time hiking it’s glaciers and seeing its mountain lofts every day, this crowded and noisy demonstration of city slickers swinging on a bridge while somehow trying to balance as they’d shoot their selfie would be highly creepy. It just depends on your perspective.

The park did a creditable job of building in wooden plank walkways through the forest on the other side. I actually enjoyed the forest walk, and then quickly crossed over to hook back up with Mrs Bear.

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Next, we drove further up the mountain and took the tram up Grouse Mountain for lunch while looking down on the city.

A couple observations about Vancouver. This is a very international city… Lots of people from all over the world, both residents and visitors. And the residents seem to be a little less in a hurry. For example, drivers are polite and less aggressive, despite the fact that there are a lot of them. It also seemed to me that Canadians seem to respect and show esteem to their First Nation People. Mrs Bear pointed out that this is “now,” and there may have been growing pains to reach this acceptance.

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A final photo of Vancouver, taken from our hotel room at sunset. Now it’s time to pack up and take the ferry to Vancouver Island.

 

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