Friday, May 31, 2019

A hike in Lighthouse Park, North Vancouver, Canada

After the Quarry Rock Hike we decided to check out another short half day hike nearby. I chose Lighthouse Park for this because of 2 reasons. One, I am fascinated by lighthouses and love to visit them.Two, its quite short.

It was a bright clear day when Suyog, Vinamra and myself started for North Vancouver. We took the public transit to reach the Lighthouse Park entrance. Here, on looking at the map we had two options, either we go through the number of trails to the left and right of the central trail or we take the central trail which would lead us directly to the Lighthouse. We choose the mid way, we decided to walk a bit along one of the side trails and then later join the central hike.
We started our walk through the wide path which slowly tapered off to a narrow one. The tree cover was thick and with the sun peeking in now and then from the thick cover. After some time, we came across a small clearing with just green grass everywhere. This was the Salmonberry Meadow.  I chuckled at the usage of the word Meadow for this patch. It wasn't exactly big enough to be called a Meadow.
After seeing the huge Meadows on the Roopkund Trek in the Himalayas this looked tiny.  Anyway this patch offered a nice stop and we sat on a fallen log here and rested for a while.  We resumed our walk and after some walking, we sensed we had reached the end as we could see clear skies ahead in the gaps of the forest cover. As we approached, what we gathered to be the end, we saw the Lighthouse jutting out from the forest. But before approaching it we took a detour to our left and this lead us towards the sea. There was no beach here just big stones directly overhanging the waters. It offered excellent views of the city and we sat here for a while just taking in the sunny atmosphere and having some snacks.

On our right was the beautiful Lighthouse. This place was named ''Point Atkinson'' by George Vancouver way back in 1792 and the first lighthouse was built here in 1874. The current structure was built in 1912 which still makes it more than 100 years old.  There are also a number of defense installations here built during the World War 2. We saw some of these later when we moved towards the lighthouse itself. But we found out that the main structure itself is not open to public which was disappointing. I love climbing up lighthouses and look around the scenery. We strolled around a bit looking at the few log cabins set up there and a few defense related structures but with nothing much to do we started on our way back. The whole hike was finished in a half day. Quite small but a refreshing getaway for university students during exam days.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Quarry Rock Hike, BC, Canada

Quarry Rock Hike is a tiny trail tucked away in the corner of North Vancouver. With a length of around 3km and an elevation gain of just 100 mtrs its good enough for a short half day outing. Having done 3 Himalayan Treks before and many smaller treks back in India I was desperately looking for a short hike to start things off here in Canada as well. One of our friends in University suggested I try Quarry Rock.

So one fine day(which soon turned to be not so fine) four of us started off for Quarry Rock. Sunil, Suyog, Divya and myself made up the group. We took the public transport buses to reach the quaint town of Deep Cove from where the trail starts. As we got down from the bus, the sky had turned dark and rain looked imminent. Before starting off, we had coffee in of the charming shops there which was bustling with the morning crowd.

The trail starts from an unlikely place. Near someones driveway. It has a small signboard saying its the Baden Powell Trail. From here starts a steep step of stairs. The first section was all stairs but later the stairs disappeared and the rough trail started. The whole section was covered by tall trees the kind of which I didnt get to see in India.  There is nothing else to write about. We crossed a few bridges over creeks and finally after an hour of walkin
g we reached the main view point of Quarry Rock. The views were spectacular. The dark and overcast skies gave the whole landscape a moody vibe but we enjoyed it nevertheless. We sat here for a while enjoying the views. But within minutes it began to rain again. Suddenly I remembered that we had packed some chai in a thermos from home. So we quickly took it out and right there, standing atop those rocks, in front of the awesome views we had some hot chai. It was wonderful. Soon, the intensity of the rain picked up and we started on our way back. After maybe 40 minutes we reached the base and we walked back to the center of the village. Here we spotted a nice park with a shelter in the middle offering views of the sea and the many boats parked near the banks. We sat here for sometime chatting with a fellow hiker who came with his dog. After almost an hour here we left. We boarded the bus back to downtown and thus ended my first hike in Canada.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

A short outing to Steveston, Canada

After coming to Canada I couldn't go on any proper trips for the first 3 months. Now, going 3 months without a trip is too much for me and I was beginning to get uneasy. So I had to go somewhere. After exploring the countless options I settled down on the little sea side town of Steveston. This is because of 3 reasons. One I wanted to go away from the city. Two I didn't want to go to the mountains. Three I wanted to visit a small town. Steveston fit the bill perfectly.

The trip was short so the account here is short as well.

My partner on this trip was Suyog, part of our group of 7.(We jokingly call ourselves 'The Magnificent Seven') We started from our respective homes at around 7 am. He, from his home in Kerrisdale and myself from my campus residence. We took the bus to Bridgeport and from there we took another bus which took us directly to Steveston.

We got down at the turn of the road near the Steveston beach. The first sight that greeted us was open lands and the serene waters of the sea ahead. The sun was shining warmly above and the sky spotlessly clear. The mere sight of the clear skies and the rolling ocean lifted our spirits. We strolled ahead and stopped near the edge of the water to take in the views. The water was gently lapping on the beach sand and on the logs scattered across the length of the beach. Far ahead, as were looking, a ship moved briskly over the waters as if gliding, towing behind it another vessel carrying a container. Our heads made a right to left motion as we followed the ship's path only moving ahead when it disappeared near a bend far away.

We resumed our walk and made our way to the right deciding to go as far as we liked to. After sometime we came across the Steveston Fishermen's Memorial. Its a simple structure with circular walls inside of which stands a tall pole. It actually represents giant fishing net needle and commemorates the lives and deaths of fishermen working out of Steveston.

Moving ahead we came across a stream joining the sea. This stream was parked with many boats and yachts. Far away I could see mountains topped with snow. The whole scene reminded me of the Mt Fuji posters that were so common in India when I was a kid. It was wallpaper worthy scene.

From here we moved on to the opposite direction, retracing our steps to where we started and continuing in the opposite direction. As we strolled along at a casual pace, we passed by a number of boats parked on the right. A little bit ahead we spotted a fish market. Eager to check out the stuff on sale we made our way on to the little jetty holding the makeshift tents. We went from stall to stall, asked a few questions about the fishes to the sellers. Some of them were very patient and explained to us what each kind of fish they were selling.

Next we came across a Tannery Museum which unfortunately was closed. I was actually looking forward to visiting this Museum but since it was closed there was little I could do so we continued on our walk. A couple of minutes later, we saw the famous eatery ''Pajo's'' setting its fish and chips stall. It looked like there was still some time before they opened for business so we went past it making a mental note to have some of their famous fish and chips on our way back.

Next we came across the museum showcasing the fishing industry of the 19th century. Steveston was one of the hubs of the fishing industry back in those days and the remnants can still be seen now. This museum contained some of the building structures of that era. Again it was not open but one can walk inside the park like museum, which we did.

After roaming inside the premises to our heart's content we started on our way back. We retraced the whole way we came by. In between we stopped for a plate of Fish and chips. It was delicious.

Overall it was a wonderful half day trip enough to keep my mind content for the next month.