North Vancouver, a city separated from the City of Vancouver by a shallow coastal fjord called the Burrard Inlet. It is one of the most scenic places in British Columbia. The picturesque surrounding North Shore Mountains, virgin Douglas forests, snow fed rivers along with the urban comfort makes it even more special. But what touched me most is its unprecedented access to the nature. You can just nourish your senses and enjoy the pure bliss of nature. During my short stay in Canada I managed to visit two of the most popular destinations of North Vancouver.
Capilano Suspension Bridge Park
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is the longest and highest of its kind. The warmth and professional attitude of volunteers of this place will instantly make you feel at ease. The bridge built on River Capilano is 140 meters long and 230 feet high above the river. It is huge and beyond any description. The magnificent sight of the bridge from the point of entry was thrilling. I already had butterflies in my stomach. And then as I gently started walking on the bridge, it started oscillating. I could hear many ‘Oohh’ and ‘Awwh’ around me. Let me tell you that I too joined the group. The thick steel cables did give much confidence but I was hesitant till the end of the bridge. It took us to the West Coast Rainforest of British Columbia, which is the largest intact temperate rainforest zone in the world.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park has the facility for the students to work together with the rainforest rescuers to learn about its ecosystem. Being a student of Geography I found that very interesting. Students will get an opportunity to learn identifying each species of tree, understand their interdependence, the type of soil in which they grow, understand the importance of decomposing organisms and observing the living examples. It is best place to witness the natural process of soil formation. A heaven for Biogeographers.
Now, the most exciting part of the journey will begin. Cliffwalk, is the most recent addition to the thrill and charm of the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. It started in 2011. It is a heart –stopping experience! It is an elevated and narrow walkway protruding out of the steep granite cliff face above the Capilano River. It took us to the unapproachable and remote parts of the park. Few ejected parts of the walkway are made of very thick and strong glass which will take you to the extreme point towards the deep canyon. Incredible work of engineering.
The dense forest can be covered by the Treetops Adventure. This is a magnificent walk from one Douglas-fir to another through a series of elevated suspension bridges, some as high as 110 feet from the ground. It is indeed a distinctive adventure which has become one of the quintessential activities in Vancouver.
It was incredible to know that we were in the middle of the coastal temperate rainforest which is approximately 500 years old! The main species here are Douglas-Fir, Western –Red Cedar and Western Hemlock – all evergreen trees. The trees are tall and enormous. The tallest among these three is the Douglas-fir reaching heights of up to 120 meters.
Grouse Mountain – The Peak of Vancouver
Named after a ‘Blue Grouse’ bird found on its Alpine Slopes is an all season destination for nature lovers. The pristine natural beauty of the place will have an indelible impression on your mind. It is just 15-minutes from downtown Vancouver. We spent the entire day over there enjoying the nature.
A Skyride Gondola will take you to the serene Alpine station at 3700 feet above the sea level. The spectacular panoramic view of the city, the Pacific Ocean, and the neighboring peaks of the surrounding mountains will take your breath away. I could even see the small inlets and bays around the Mainland Vancouver.
Grouse Mountain is a refuge for endangered wildlife. Visualize a wildlife shelter where endangered animals exploring and playing around in a safe and secure place. That’s the safe haven, a mountain –top habitat for two orphan Grizzly Bears, Grinder and Coola. Theatre in the Sky also holds a movie on their journey to the Grouse Mountain Refuge. The research, education and conservation center at the top of the Grouse Mountain works constantly on rescue and rehabilitation of endangered species from the whole world.
One of the most popular summer programs is the Birds in Motion. Each demonstrations feature Hawk, Great Horned Owl, Falcon and a Bald Eagle. As always, I enjoyed and appreciated the passion and affection of the naturalists out there. They were in love with these birds of prey.
The Grouse Mountain is the paradise for Skiing. The severe winter in Canada cannot bind people from going out and having fun. Skiing is the hot favorite activity in winter. Grouse Mountain generally gets the first snowfall in the month of October and it can snow as late as June. One can select the ski runs for varying levels of experience. There are specific terrains marked for intermediates and experts. It is said to be best suited for beginners.My husband tried his luck and found it quite a difficult job although. But nevertheless he enjoyed every bit of it.