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Canada ’17 – Jasper Lakes and Canyons

As we were making our back into Jasper this morning, we were caught in a traffic jam, which as we moved slowly along, became clear it was actually an animal jam.

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The reason for the traffic jam

We figured we were already in the traffic jam, so we may as well pullover and grab a few photos.

Today we were all about water.

Our first stop (well technically second after the little guys above), was Medicine Lake.

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Medicine Lake

Medicine Lake is part of the Maligne Valley watershed which is mainly glacial fed.  It is a geologic anomaly in the sense that it is not actually a lake but rather an area in which the Maligne River (flowing from Maligne Lake into the Athabasca River) backs up and suddenly disappears underground. During the summer months during intensified meltwater runoff the lake (which during the winter months is a meandering frozen river) fills to levels which fluctuate over time and with the runoff events.

Much like a bathtub that is filled too fast for it to drain, it becomes laden with water until it can slowly drain as the tap flow is reduced. The underground system is extensive and during the 1970s researchers used a biodegradable dye to determine the underground river’s extent. The dye showed up in many of the lakes and rivers in the area to the point where it became clear that the underground system was one of the most extensive in the world.

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Medicine Lake
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Medicine Lake
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The imposing Colin Range flanking the side of Medicine Lake.

From Medicine Lake we headed to Maligne Lake.

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Maligne Lake

It is famed for the colour of its water, the surrounding peaks and the three glaciers visible from the lake and Spirit Island. Maligne Lake is fed and drained by the Maligne River, which enters the lake on its south side, near Mount Unwin and drains the lake to the north.

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Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake is the largest lake in Jasper National Park. The valley in which the lake lies was carved and excavated by valley glaciers, and the lake has been dammed at its northern end by an end moraine deposited by the last glacier, which flowed down the valley towards the Athabasca River. The glacial deposits and landforms forming the end moraine are excellent examples of glacial deposition.

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We walked the Moose Lake Loop.

The Moose Lake loop trail stays mainly in Jasper’s woods, and there are so many pines in the area.

and with summer in full swing there were even some pretty flowers in bloom.

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many of the dying and dead trees were covered in this.

The path is well maintained and is easy to follow and meanders through the forest and emerges at Moose Lake, unfortunately no Moose for us today.

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Moose Lake
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Moose Lake

We followed the path and veered off onto the path taking us to the shoreline of Maligne Lake.

We wandered up to the point.

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Maligne Lake

We wandered our way back along the shoreline to the car.

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Canoe’s for hire at Maligne Lake.
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Lots of walking trails and activities to choose from at the Lake.

Looking back up the lake from the bridge.

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Looking downstream from the bridge.

We left the lake behind and were hoping to find a nice little shady picnic area by the river for lunch. We found this little river bend but unfortunately there wasn’t any shade or facilities.

We eventually found a little carpark area at one of the trail heads to stop for a quick bite to eat before making our way to Maligne Canyon. The scenery on the drive was again spectacular.

Six bridges have built across Maligne Canyon allowing hikers of all abilities to explore this incredible area.

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Maligne Canyon – which bridge will you take?

We started at the top of the canyon and walked down and back to fourth bridge, but opted to drive to fifth and sixth to save a little time (and our legs!)

The canyon is constantly being eroded by the churning and swirling of the water. The effect of this has made the width 2 metres (6.6 ft) across at some points and a depth of 50 metres (160 ft).

In some sections the water gently flows over, in other areas it pounds and smashes it way over and through the rocks.

Taken in the same location, these two pics below show the ‘normal’ flow of water versus the use of a filter on the camera lens to ‘slow’ the water down and obtain that silky water effect.

The water pools, then drops, pools then drops.

After we managed to make our way back up from fourth bridge, we jumped in the car and headed for fifth bridge.

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The view from fifth bridge.

Sixth Bridge.

From Sixth bridge we decided to head out to Edith Lake.

From Edith Lake we headed further around to Lake Annette. The light was looking quite amazing by the time we arrived.

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Lake Annette
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We wandered the shoreline for a little while passing the quick sand pits – we figured we would take their word for it and avoided the area as signed posted!

The afternoon sun and light was just gorgeous so we took the opportunity to take a leisurely walk around the lake.

We had had quite a few big days back to back, and we were hitting the road again tomorrow so we opted to start to head for home before sunset.

As we were driving past the river area, that we pass on each trip in and out of Jasper, the road was lined with cars and we were trying to figure out what was happening, and then we realised, everyone was enjoying a later afternoon ice bath in the river. We (well I) couldn’t resist joining them, Tash well she was much less enthused with the idea!

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Selfie in the middle of the Athabasca River.
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Frozen feet after walking in the glacier fed Athabasca River (and the start of some serious tan lines!)

The weather was starting to turn so we left the river behind and headed off home.

The storm looked quite menacing but we managed to make it back to Hinton before the weather hit, so we decided to try and see if we could spot the local wildlife before it got too dark. Beaverlake Boardwalk was only about 2 minutes from home.

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Beaverlake Boardwalk
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Mr Beaver! he finally made an appearance almost on dark so i just managed to capture him.

With Mr Beaver spotted it was time to head home for a feed, pack a good nights sleep.

 

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Canada ’17 – River to Mountain

After our late dash to Jasper last night due to our sunset stop at Rearguard Falls, we arrived at our AirBnB accommodation in Hinton, about an hour outside of Jasper quite late (pretty close to midnight actually). With summer in full swing, the accommodation is Jasper is either booked out or out of price range, so this little AirBnB seemed like a good second option. It was a 1 bedroom, basement apartment and we were pretty happy with it when we arrived. It had plenty of space and was clean and comfortable.

After a few big days, we had a lazy start to the day with a bit of a sleep in and we headed to the Visitor Centre in Hinton for some current maps and to check out if there was anything new we should visit since our last time here in Jasper (way back in 2006).

Given it was dark on our way out, we obviously didn’t get a good look at the drive from Jasper to Hinton, so we were keen to hit the road this morning, our destination today Athabasca Falls.

We weren’t too far into our drive out of Hinton before we started to follow the Athabasca River and those glorious milky glacial waters, so when there was a pullover, we had to stop.

Oh my word, road trips take on a whole new meaning over here!

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Just you know, the view out the front window!

We stop at the Mount Hardisty, Mount Edith Cavell and Athabasca Pass lookout. The pullout gives some really good views of the mountain peaks, and there are little wooden plaques pointing to each of the mountains.

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Rodger just chillin at the lookout.
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More stunning road trip views.

We finally arrive at our intended destination – the majestic Athabasca Falls.

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Unlike many of the other falls, these start off quite unassuming.
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Stunning views of Athabasca River and Mt. Kerkeslin.

As you make your way along the path, the falls start to take shape, however, at this point first time visitors still can’t see the full falls, but can start to hear them.

… and then around a small bend in the path they start to open up

The walk is all paved and there a few bridges crossing the river giving spectacular views back to the falls and of the mighty canyons it has gauged its way through over the centuries.

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Looking downstream

You can also walk around to the other side of the falls.

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Looking back across the falls.

 

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Almost at the bottom

We walked all the way down to river level

After spending probably way too much time at the falls, we headed back towards town. We made a few stops along the way.

We were jumping back and forth about what to do next – do we go up the summit again or head out to Pyramid Lake where we hadn’t been. Even though we had done it before, with the weather and skies being so clear we decided to hit the Jasper Sky Tram.

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Who can resist bears!
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Alright! Going Up!

It’s always a little difficult in most gondala’s/trams etc to get a really shot as the glass is usually quite thick, scratched and throws serious glare and shadows, but i wasn’t going to miss this view.

Looking back down to the base station.

Looking over the township of Jasper

Looking up the valley

Boy did we make the right decision. The view was spectactular and the skies were even clearer than we thought, so much so that Mt Robson was visible, which we are told is extremely rare – score!

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Mt Robson in all her glory.

So its 6 o’clock at night, what do you do? You decided to summit the mountain! Yep we figured we were there, the weather was perfect let’s do it.

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We’re going up there, over there to the right
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and when we get over there, keep going.

Its possible we are idiots! But up we go …

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Look at that view.
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Pretty sure even this dude was throwing some shade our way for walking up here.
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Still climbing
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These chairs are synonymous with Parks Canada, so finding them up here was pretty cool.

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We took a side trail
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Looking back – you just see the top of the Sky Tram summit station to the left in front of the rocks.
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The views are certainly worth the hike.
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Whoo Hoo we made it! Whistler’s Peak conquered.

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We didn’t do too bad, making the summit in about an hour with quite a few stops along the way, but it was 7.30pm and we were getting pretty hungry so we humped back to the Sky Tram station to get us back to the bottom of the mountain.

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This little guy was keeping watch on everyone as we made our way back down.
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I love the patterns that nature makes all on its own.
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The light on the way back down the Sky Tram was stunning.

We eventually made it back to the bottom of the mountain by about 8pm, so considering i think we did alright.

We headed back into town and smashed some chinese, and i mean smashed because we were starving and watching this sunset unfold, whilst the Rocky Mountaineer prepared to leave – i mean come on! I’m supposed to be on holidays here!

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There she goes – Rocky Mountaineer leaving Jasper on sunset.

and on that note, it was time for us to head for the hills and get home for a somewhat early night.

 

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Canada ’17 – Chasing Waterfalls

After a late night smokey arrival, it really was not surprise to wake up to minimal visibility across the township of Kamloops.

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Smokey morning views from Ramada Kamloops.

As we started to make our way out of Kamloops, some of the smoke haze was lifting, and Rodger has us doing some more random roadside stops.

We stopped for a food/comfort stop at the beautiful North Thompson River Provincial Park located just off Highway 5 and situated at the confluence of the Clearwater and North Thompson Rivers. Little did we know that we would spend most of the day traversing the North Thompson River.

(North Thompson River Video)

From North Thompson River PP, we headed to Wells Gray Provincial Park, where we proceeded to lose several hours chasing waterfalls, hiking in the glorious sunshine and turning a 5 hour trip into about 12 hours – we’re getting pretty good at this! Thank goodness its summer and daylight is almost endless 🙂

Wells Gray Provincial Park protects most of the southern, and highest, regions of the Cariboo Mountains, covers 5,250 square kilometers (524,990 hectares or 1.3 million acres) and is British Columbia’s fourth largest park. So there was plenty of space to lose time in.

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We couldn’t resist taking this snap at the Visitor Centre

Our first stop was Dawson Falls, is one of seven waterfalls on the Murtle River.

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Bad Selfies are a must

Our next stop was Helmcken Falls is a 141 m (463 ft) waterfall and is the fourth highest waterfall in Canada, measured by total straight drop without a break.

A quick stop at the Murtle river bend at Majerus Farm.

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We then headed up the dirt track – yay – to Green Mountain Lookout.

Next stop – Spahats Falls is a 60 m (197 ft) tall waterfall on Spahats Creek where it drops into the Granite Canyon of the Clearwater River.

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Spahats Falls

By now the afternoon was well and truly behind us with dinner time fast approaching, and we were still quite some distance from our destination – Jasper.

With so much more still available to explore, we reluctantly left Wells Gray PP behind us and headed back to the highway.

As sunset was approaching, we rounded the bend and saw a sign for Rearguard Falls, we pulled into the carpark thinking we would probably need to give it a miss, it was after all 8.20pm and sunset was 8.30pm and the sign said 30 minute walk.

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Rearguard Falls

We looked at each other, looked at the car, nahhh, lets do it! We jogged our way along the path and as we the falls came into view we stopped dead in our tracks. We had no idea what we were going to see, but we certainly didn’t expect the sight in front of us.

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Rearguard Falls

We were blown away, and boy was that jog worth it!!!

The falls located in Rearguard Falls Provincial Park on the Fraser River about 115 km (71 mi) downstream from the river’s source at Fraser Pass.

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With sunset upon us and the light starting to fade we grabbed a few final shots before making our way back to the carpark, where the light on the mountains was just beautiful.

By now it was dark and we really needed to make tracks for Jasper!

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Canada ’17 – Sea to Sky Highway.

Today we said good bye to our lovely Vancouver hosts, and hit the road ready to navigate our way through the city traffic and across Lions Gate Bridge and onto the Sea to Sky Highway, our destination for the night Kamloops.

We managed to navigate the city traffic without incident, and soon found ourselves on the Sea to Sky Highway with some of the most spectacular views a highway could possibly have!

There was a little tourist pullover to signal the start of the highway at Horseshoe Bay, where we of course pulled over.

We were very happy to see these little guys again – Bear Bins = we not in the city anymore !!

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Bear Bin

We haven’t introduced our wheels yet. This is Rodger, he looks a little clean right now, but hopefully we might sort that out before too long!

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Rodger Dodger.

It wasn’t too long before we were pulling over again, and i’m getting the feeling this is going to be a long day (little did i know!).

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Panorama shot from a little pull off area looking over Porteau Cove.
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Porteau Cove from up high

Our next stop was Furry Creek, where we parked alongside the railway line, made our way across the railway line and followed a dirt track – which may have a been a golf cart track down to the water edge of Howe Sound.

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… this carving – just WOW!
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Howe Sound as seen from the waters edge at Furry Creek.
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Howe Sound, Furry Creek
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Furry Creek

The flowers growing along the pathway/golf cart track were just beautiful.

We decided to backtrack a little as we missed the turn off for Porteau Cove Provincial Park.

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Porteau Cove Provincial Park
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Porteau Cove Provincial Park

Next adventure stop – Shannon Falls Provincial Park – home to Shannon Falls, the 3rd highest waterfalls in British Columbia.

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Shannon Falls PP
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Shannon Falls, Shannon Falls Provincial Park.

The park was quite busy and after a few drive arounds and almost deciding to drive on we finally scored a park, and we were very glad we did, the park is stunning.

What we didn’t know was that from Shannon Falls PP, we could actually walk to the Sea to Sky Gondola. The walk was really pretty through lovely green forest and it wasn’t too difficult or too long.

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Beautiful lush forests

As we emerged out of the forest, we could see the cable car above our heads.

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Whoo hoo, we love cable car rides.

We grabbed our tickets from the counter

Joined the queue and waited for our chariot to arrive.

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There she is!

We arrived at the top, and if a cable car ride wasn’t enough, there was a suspension bridge at the top! Day Made !!!

As you rise from the water’s edge on the valley floor, the view opens up before you: the bright blue water of Howe Sound, dotted with green islands and backed by the steep mountains of the Coast Range; the majestic Stawamus Chief; and a bird’s eye view of the town of Squamish with the rugged, snow-capped mountains to the north.

The views were totally stunning, spectacular, beautiful – all the words you can think of!

Howe Sound …

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Howe Sound from atop Sea to Sky Gondola

Suspension Bridge fun …

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Mountain Views

Before too long it was time to join the queue to head back down the mountain, and continue our onward journey.

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The road and carpark is over the hump

The last leg

Those views …

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The Gondola starting point

We walked back to the car and rejoined the highway. With the snow melt well and truly underway, the colours of the water and the rushing water were just too much for me and there were a few random roadside stops.

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Down by the water
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Love the water colour
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Rushing Water
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Rush Rush Rush

The next planned stop was Brandywine Falls Provincial Park. We made our way across the railway tracks again and followed the path to the falls.

The 70-meter (230 ft) falls have their origin in the Powder Mountain Icefield to the west, and are formed by the lip of a lava flow flanking the west bank of the Cheakamus River.

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Looking downstream to Daisy Lake.

From Brandywine Falls we made our way to Vancouver’s summer and winter playground – Whistler Mountain. Unfortunately, the cable car wasn’t running, so we wandered the village a little bit, watching all the mountain bike riders come careening down the mountain at break neck speeds before settling on a little pub for a drink and feed.

By this time it was early 7pm (you have to love the long Northern summer endless hours of daylight days), and i had estimated we still had about 5 hours drive Kamloops. Obviously this didn’t stop the random (and many) roadside stops.

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Whistler Mountains from Green Lake.

The railway line was running alongside the road and the river as we left Whistler and it was one of those “Canadian” shots i had to grab.

At every bend the temptation to stop and get this shot, that shot was always to hard to pass up.

As the sun began to set the light hitting the top of the mountains was just beautiful.

As we hit Duffey Lake, the light was almost gone in front of us, and the colour was just hanging on behind us, and i knew i had to stop and grab a few shots.

With light well and truly disappearing, it was time to get serious about the drive and focus on getting to Kamloops before the sun was up!

We arrived about midnight, after a few detours, and few hectic sections due to some serious wildfires burning through the surrounding areas. Tonight’s accommodation was the Ramada in Kamlooops, and we were very glad to climb into that bed.

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Canada ’17 – Beaches and Parks

After another good nights sleep, we decided to jump in the car and take a tour of the beaches and parks VanCity had to offer.

The first park on the days hit list was Queen Elizabeth Park. At 152 metres above sea level, it’s the highest point in Vancouver and makes for spectacular views of the park, city, and mountains on the North Shore.

The 52-hectare park is home to the stunning Bloedel Conservatory.

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Bloedel Conservatory

The park is located on Little Mountain, it’s surface was scarred at the turn of the twentieth century when it was quarried for its rock, which served to build Vancouver’s first roadways.

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The view is so spectacular even the sculptures want in on the photos!
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Those city views with the mountains in the background.
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Vancouver City

Next stop Pacific Spirit Regional Park. But first up we had to do a quick drive by to see where a friend used to live, before arriving at Acadia Beach located between Spanish Banks and Wreck Beach.

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Acadia Beach selfie

We stopped at Spanish Banks West for some lunch.

There seems to be a theme on the beaches here in Canada – logs and volleyball courts. Why? The volleyball courts i get although maybe not as many as there seems to be but the logs! Yeah i don’t think that’s going to catch on at home anytime soon.

We then made our way to Burrard St Bridge.

As it was such a beautiful day, we took the opportunity to wander around the edge of the bay.

Before arriving at Kitsilano Beach, one of the most popular beaches in the city.

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The Kwakwaka’wakw Centennial Pole by Mungo Martin.

We had parked at Vanier Park near the museum, but unfortunately we really didn’t have time today to take in the exhibits.

From here we headed to Stanley Park, a 405-hectare public park almost entirely surrounded by waters of Vancouver Harbour and English Bay.

First stop inside the park was Brockton Point for The Stanley Park Totem Poles. The nine towering monuments tell the stories of First Nations history and culture.

Rising on Brockton Point, the new bronze sculpture – dubbed Shore to Shore – depicts a little-known but colourful figure from the city’s past, the whaler known as Portuguese Joe Silvey. The sculpture, which took five years to complete, depicts Portuguese Joe and each of his wives alongside a monument of intricately carved designs crowned with the head of a raptor, representing both the Canadian eagle and the Portuguese açor. It’s set on a a field of black and white stones, imported from Portugal and arranged into an intricate, swirling design. It sits near the site where Portuguese Joe once had a home in Stanley Park.

The views back to the city and mountain were spectacular.

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Stanley Park views

From here we continued to follow the seawall, a stone wall that was constructed around the perimeter of Stanley Park to prevent the erosion of the park’s foreshore.

We saw the cruise ship starting to move through the harbour and decided to try and capture it going under the Lions Gate Bridge.

The bridge from the other side.

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After a long day it was time to head home for a quick shop, some dinner and to pack – tomorrow its time to leave Vancouver and head for the mountains.