Lighthouse Park – West Vancouver

Nature, Photographs

During the recent BC Day holiday, we decided to check out Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver. Apparently we weren’t the only ones with this brilliant idea. Fortunately, we managed to find a parking spot at about the same time we were getting ready to switch to our  plan B (which was a good thing considering we didn’t actually have a plan B).

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After a quick read of the park’s information board, we decided we would head straight down the main trail towards the Point Atkinson Lighthouse. Although we expected the lighthouse to be the main attraction, the walk down the trail was nothing short of spectacular. Centuries old trees, and massive granite boulders, form natural boundaries along the path that gently winds downhill towards the Burrard Inlet.

The next surprise was the multi-coloured Arbutus trees. Such a contrast from the Douglas Firs, Western Redcedars and Western Hemlocks.

The trees eventually give way to a spectacular shoreline. The giant boulders provide a wonderful vantage point to enjoy a panoramic view of Vancouver. From here you can see all the way from Stanley Park to the University of British Columbia. The view on this day was hampered by a smokey haze from distant forest fires, though it was still pretty amazing!

We finally we made our way over to our original destination point – the Point Atkinson Lighthouse. This 100+ year-old structure, that stands 60 feet tall, is still in operation today.

The Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve – Chilliwack, BC

flowers, Nature, Photographs

I have a fascination with birds and am always on the lookout for places they are known to congregate. The Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve is just such a place. Although we didn’t time our recent visit during the best viewing season, we still managed to spot a few of these long-legged beauties.

Even if you aren’t interested in birds (which I find hard to imagine!), perhaps you will enjoy taking a stroll along one, or more, of the walking loops located throughout the Reserve.

The Tower Trail boasts … wait for it … a tower! If you aren’t afraid of heights it is worth the short trip up to the top. In addition to being a great vantage point to take in the surrounding landscape, there are several interpretive signs that make for an interesting read.

It pays to take your time as you wander down the cottonwood tree-lined trails – there are many tiny treasures to take in.

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Maplewood Flats – North Vancouver, BC

flowers, Nature, Photographs

The Maplewood Conservation Area is easy to miss if you aren’t expressly looking for it. This 96 hectare gem, managed by the Wild Bird Trust of BC, is tucked between the Dollarton Highway and the Burrard Inlet. 0X8A0123

It seemed to be relatively quiet on the day we visited “the mudflats” (as it is known to many of the locals). With the exception of a few bird watchers, we felt like we had the place all to ourselves. 0X8A0023To our right, as we headed toward the entrance to the trail area, we were greeted by an ironic public art installation – From Shangri-la to Shangri-la. Artist Kevin Lum’s creation pays homage to the squatter’s shacks that once dotted the local shoreline. The original shacks, many of which were homes to artists and writers, were burned to the ground in the early 1970s by the District of North Vancouver.

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From Shangri-la to Shangri-La ~ Artist Kevin Lum

It was just a short walk down the trail to the waterfront.

While the waterfront views were amazing, we also managed to find some interesting inland sights.

Green Timbers – A Cool Escape!

flowers, Nature, Photographs

Every time I pass by Green Timbers Park in Surrey, I make a mental note that I should visit. Well, today I finally did. It doesn’t look like much from the road but, according to Google, this urban forest has over 10 km of nature trails, and a regularly stocked fishing lake. The Park is also home to the Surrey Nature Center. What a beautiful, and serene place. Despite today’s heat (30° celcius) the forest trees provided protection from the sun. What a wonderful place to spend a Sunday morning.