So, we hopped the first Saturday morning ferry from Victoria to Vancouver. The ride over is about an hour and a half and when the gates opened and we drove off we immediately knew we were no longer in Kansas (or Dodge, as it were). One is all at once in traffic and speeds about 20km over the limit. Then, about forty minutes later the city looms large in the windshield and a bit of excitement bubbles up.
We made our way to North Vancouver to secure our accommodations then we were off. The sun was shining so, down went the convertible top and it would stay that way until sunset. Provisioning was the first priority...bread, cheese, veges...forgot beer.
Our first stop was the Capilano River Fish Hatchery. We skipped the suspension bridge. It has turned into a tourist destination and the 4 tour buses and a ridiculous price of admission was enough to turn us off on this day anyway.
The hatchery is a cool spot with interpretive displays and galleries to observe the fish which populate the river. A twenty minute hike up the hill led us to the Clevland Dam, Greater Vancouver's water supply...who knew?
We hiked about 7km before we headed back to the car to plan out the next destination...Cyprus Bowl.
Cyprus was one of the sites of the 2010 Olympic Games. A series of switchbacks up the mountain with a couple of lookouts over the city made for an awesome drive. Top down, sun shining, Mountain Lupines lining the road...all we were craving was a pint at the top... waa waa waaaa...
The only thing at the top were idle snow makers and earth-movers. Olympics Banners adorning the sides of building hinted at the echo of fun times past and no doubt many a pint of brew. Alas, there was no lounge, no pub, no nothing... a quick walk-about and photo session and we were off back down the mountain in search of libation and late lunch. Kitselano, here we come!
"Kits" is a hippy-come-trendy neighborhood close to the beach and home to some great eats. We found a sunny patio, munched on OK sushi and more than OK mushroom pizza. All washed down with Caesars and Grolsch...the afternoon was ending wonderfully. Wine and snacks on Kits Beach, a little shut-eye and back in the rag-top to Granville Island.
Granville is pretty happening with Emily Carr University, a huge market, Marina, shipwrights, and artisans of all varieties and of course, Good Eats. One last brisk sit for the day at the Stage Door Lounge and it was "top-up" time for the scenic route back to North Van via Stanley Park and the Lions Gate Bridge.
Sunday was family day. A trek into Surrey to pick up Stephanie's Mim who's in for 3 weeks helping out with the new Baby. Stephanie's Aunt and Uncle had their first 2 weeks ago.
Mim had not been to Greater Vancouver in over twenty years so, we did the Lions Gate Bridge, Stanley Park and Granville Island. All had changed a lot according to Mim. Granville was crowded and lively, fresh fruit and flowers were bursting out of containers at every turn. The Sandbar for lunch was tasty as usual. Mim reluctantly tried seared Tuna for the first time and Loved it! We had a long, leisurely lunch with great conversation about Art, life, death, regret, hopes and Music.
Now the rain was coming down for the first time all day and a last quick stroll through the market to buy fruit and bread for ferry.
An hour later we were back in Surrey to meet the new baby and have a quick visit with Aunt and Uncle. We took River Road back to the highway. I love taking new roads and this one did not disappoint as it followed the Fraser River for several kilometres. It was calm and wide and dotted with grass banks, industry and rail.
We missed the 7pm ferry by ten cars. A bummer but not the end of the world. We had two hours to tailgate with wine, cheese, to-die-for garlic butter and Ranier Cherries. Even a cherry pit battle!! We were entertained by Crows dive bombing a Bald Eagle. The Crows gave up after about half an hour. The Eagle didn't budge. There is a salt marsh near the terminal that is home to many Herons, Cormorants and Eagles so, a stroll along the water and a peaceful sit on the rocks rounded out the wait.
We parked our asses in the Sea West Lounge's leather armchairs. It costs to get in but, there's free snacks and papers and a good view of the darkening day as the ocean and sky blend into one...and it's quiet...except for us! The best cap to the weekend we could ask for came as the Skipper announced transiting Orcas off the port side as we entered Active Pass about half the way home. We rushed outside just in time to see six magnificent animals in the failing light heading in the opposite direction. This was Stephanie's first encounter and she was thrilled. I remember my first time to this day and it was a life altering experience.
I have an inkling its going to be a good summer for Orca sightings, new roads, new trails...I can feel it!