Well somehow I have managed to do a fitness post twice within a week of each other. I know, I'm surprised too but turns out I’ve been doing so many outdoorsy things the last three weeks. While in Canada we found many things we wanted to do and all were outside because the weather in Vancouver was absolutely gorgeous. The high every day was about 73 degrees which was so nice! Especially since when we left Los Angeles there was a heat wave, so I was stoked to escape the 104 degree weather.
On Friday we decided we were going to go to Grouse Mountain. It’s the tallest peak in Vancouver and has spectacular views. We had to take a Sky tram from the bottom of the top of the mountain. If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen two timelapse videos of my ride up and down the sky lift. Once we arrived at the top there were so many things to do… Well, at least that’s what we thought. There was a lumberjack show (yawn), kids games like corn hole and jenga (double yawn), and a small snack bar that only served one thing (are you bored yet?). There was a large bear enclosure that was supposedly home to two big grizzlies, buttttt they must have been sleeping because we couldn’t see them anywhere. At the very top of the mountain was a windmill with 360º observation deck. We needed to hop on a chairlift that would take us up there, and I’ll be honest, I was nervous. I DON’T like chair lifts. But the ride up was actually very relaxing. The cool mountain air was refreshing, and we could see so much on the 5 minute ride to the very top. And guess what? I even spotted the bears sleeping at the top of their enclosure!! Nobody else could see them, but I have experience spotting curled up balls of fluff that look like sleeping bears (Cooper looks exactly like them). I love bears, they remind me of my late Grandpa Bear so anytime I get an opportunity to see a bear, or buy a bear, I'm all in! Well, not buy and actual bear, but you know, like a bear cookie jar or a bear salt shaker. Yes, we have both, don’t judge me…
Once we made it to the tip top of the mountain it was just a short, dusty walk to the windmill; The Eye of the Wind. It was huge. About 200 feet above us was the observation deck and the only way up was in the smallest elevator I have ever seen. The “Maximum Occupancy” was eight people, but there were four of us in there and we barely fit. I don’t think you could even fit eight toddlers in there. When the doors opened we were presented with panoramic views of Vancouver and beyond. We could see for miles. Hundreds of miles. Maybe? I’m not really sure. It was a little hazy out that day and we really had no idea what we were looking at. I swear I could feel the whole thing swaying in the wind, and the curved windows kind of gave HB vertigo. Not to mention there was no AC in there and it was just baking in the sun. Safe to say we probably spent less than three minutes in there before heading back down.
After that we decided to take some pictures and enjoy the scenery. The sky was gorgeous, and the trees were giant. I love the mountains. We took the chair lift back down and saw a crowd gathered around the bear enclosure. Turns out the bears were wide awake now, and the staff was feeding them grass. Coola and Grinder were their names and they were sooo cute. Reminded me of my little Cooper Tino back home. These two were so big, and we were so close. Only about 10 feet and a thin chicken wire fence separated us. It was really cool to see them walking around and just enjoying the day, much like we were. We couldn’t help but think that these bears had a great life on the mountain, but at the same time they are trapped in a cage. They are in their natural habitat but constricted on where they can go.
And that’s about it for Grouse Mountain. We stopped in the gift shop before getting in the LOOOOONNNNGGGGG line to take the tram back down. They had some cool souvenirs, and even an outfitting shop for serious hikers, but we left empty handed. Overall, Grouse Mountain was kind of boring. Pretty, for sure, but just…. I don’t know, not much to do. Great for kids, and field trips, but for two adults it’s a bit of a waste. Maybe next time we will do the Grouse Grind (a 1.8 mile hike that gains 2,800 feet in elevation) and get a real workout in….. Maybe hahaha.
Saturday morning we decided to take advantage of the free bikes our hotel offered for guests. Vancouver is a very bike friendly city, with bike lanes everywhere. It is probably one of the main modes of transportation during the warmer months. Unfortunately we got out of bed too late and all the bikes were gone, so we went to breakfast to kill some time. When we were done there were luckily two bikes available. HB hopped on a navy blue BMW bike (fancy!) and I rode a white Specialized. We were allowed to have the bikes for 3 hours and wanted to make the most of it riding around Stanley Park.
Stanley Park is a park…? Like an island, but not really because its connected by bridges..? But anyways, its a huge, gorgeous park that is home to many things. The Vancouver Aquarium is right in the middle, along with numerous venues for weddings and events, and a HUGE public swimming pool. The outside perimeter of the park is directly next to the water with a one-way bike lane circling the entire thing. It was great. We stopped a couple times just to take in the sights. We even saw a few seals resting on the rocks. On the far side of the loop is a pretty nice beach, though the water looked chilly for sure (but I guess thats what you get in Canada). The loop was about 8 miles and took maybe 1.5-2 hours with all the stopping we did. I wish we would have known about the bikes the first day we arrived, I would have enjoyed doing this ride every day we were there. Multiple times a day even. That means I liked it A LOT. For me to volunteer to exercise multiple times a day, you know I must have loved it.
On Saturday night we took the free shuttle up to Capilano Suspension Bridge. The great thing about Vancouver is that all the touristy places offer free shuttles to take you to and from downtown. Very convenient. The suspension bridge was exhilarating. It is a cable bridge that stretches 450 feet across a canyon, and 200 feet above the river below. The thing about a suspension bridge is it sways back and forth with every step. Not only is the wind blowing it from side to side, but the hundreds of footsteps from all the tourists are making it bounce up and down, too. It’s definitely a bit unnerving at first, but I made it across just fine.
On the other side of the bridge was a walking path that took us through a beautiful forest. The wooden walkways and staircases weaved in and out of the trees and around a few small ponds. There was even a tree top adventure that took us up into the trees. They were like mini suspension bridges going from tree to tree with observation decks at each one. These were only about 40 feet long and 20 feet high, so it was nothing to worry about.
And then I realized, to get to the other activities we had to cross the big bridge AGAIN. This time I was prepared and documented it via Facebook Live. I’m not sure how it looked on screen, but that thing was shaking like Shakira in the Hips Don’t Lie video. Shoutout to everyone who tuned in! Once we were back on the main side we headed to the final exhibit; the Cliff Walk. This was a series of floating metal and glass walkways that shoot out from the edge of the cliff. You are literally being held up by a few cables and floating 200 feet above the canyon floor. You, and about 50 other people. It was crowded. I also streamed this experience on Facebook Live, so go check it out if you’re interested. Capilano Suspension Bridge was fun. There was a variety of things to do, and the gift shop had a great selection. We grabbed a few souvenirs and headed back to the shuttle.
All in all we had a great time exploring Vancouver. The city has so much to offer, and I think we barely scratched the surface. There is a small airport for seaplanes on the water that can take you to even more destinations. Vancouver Island is a short flight or boat ride, Whistler is just a few hours to the north, and we can’t forget the whale watching. There are plenty of things to do still left on our list, and we can’t wait to go back someday.