Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Going transatlantic

3rd August 2019

A North American outing always seemed a long shot yet it has come to pass. My base became Vancouver in British Columbia so it was a Canadian escapade too. It might have been that all the Canadian reading of spring, summer and autumn of last year made the trip an eventuality in the end. The next step was to find a usable base for making use of just such a thing.

It also turned out to be one where much had to be learned for this was my first transatlantic leisure trip and there only was a business one to Delaware as a predecessor. Dealing with time zone differences that meant that so much of the day was outside of normal European business hours was another consideration as was the subsequent ongoing reacclimatisation to the home time zone afterwards. It was for that reason that I bookended the trip with a few work-free days before and and after going for the purposed of preparation and recovery.

There was a certain trepidation too because I used the services of an airline that I had not known before though that became an unrealised fear when it was boredom during the flights that turned out to be the bigger intrusion. Being to tired to read meant that I got to observe others binge-watching videos and cartoons on the online entertainment system when the scenery underneath us did not attract attention. This needs rethinking for future long haul air journeys.

In Vancouver itself, finding one’s way about the place meant getting to know its superb urban transport system composed of frequent bus, rail and ferry services. City parks are in abundance too and some are large enough to occupy entire days. It is very possible never to leave the city with all there is to be found there, especially when you consider that I was there for only a week.

Still, that left enough time to find my feet and get used to the very different time zone. Stanley Park saw visits the first and second days of my stay before I left the city to go on a day trip to Vancouver Island. That took me to the provincial capital of BC, Victoria, and offered sights of the islands that we passed on the way there. The third day was spent in Vancouver where a visit to Pacific Spirit Provincial Park accompanied the decision to purchase bear spray in advance of some hiking.

There were two hiking days and both were without bear encounters and I was not disappointed for I overcame another fear. The first of these took me into the Lynn Valley near North Vancouver on a day when temperatures reached around 28° C. Nevertheless, I was under forest cover most of the time so that shielded me a little while I ventured as far as the Norvan Falls while fitting in a loop around Rice Lake. The next day took me to Squamish where my rambling took in Alice Lake Provincial Park along with a broader sweep of the countryside surrounding Garibaldi Estates and Garibaldi Highlands on another warm sunny day.

With my hiking days behind me, the bear spray was handed into Vancouver Police Department Property Office in advance of my return home after a satisfying and packed stay in Canada. There was much to learn and much to experience and warm sunshine was the main weather type. In a lot of ways, I only scratched the surface of what was there but it was a good threshold to cross and the countryside was as good as anything that I have found elsewhere. Once I work out what to do during those long flights, a return visit cannot be discounted.

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