Adventures on Vancouver Island

This past weekend I met up with my friend Teresa for a visit.  She’s been in the area for about a week on vacation, visiting her family in Comox – a nice little town on Vancouver Island. I got up early Saturday morning to catch the 8:30 a.m. ferry, and was super excited to see a friend from home!

When I arrived, Teresa was waiting with her cousin Claire, who is also visiting but lives in Ireland. We said our hello’s and from there we began our day! First, we drove about 40 minutes and stopped at a nice park. Everything was so fresh and so green! There were tall trees everywhere and the sun was shining. What a beautiful day! As we walked along the paths, we came to the largest tree in the park – a giant Douglas-fir. It is over 800 years old, 76 metres tall and nine metres around. It was over 300 years old when Christopher Columbus came to North America in 1492. The Douglas-fir is one of Canada’s oldest living tree species and can live to be over 1,000 years old! Here is a picture of me with the tree, so you can see for yourself how large it is!

We continued out walk through the park, seeing hollow trees, large roots and insects along the way. It was a nice walk. Once we decided to leave, we hopped in the car and were off to the next destination! We made a pit stop at a nice area by the beach, to take a few pictures. The mountains were tall and the water was clear, it was a truly beautiful sight! In the distance, railroad tracks could be seen in the mountains.

After walking around and taking many pictures, Teresa, Claire and I had worked up our appetites! We decided to head to the local shopping mall to get something to eat, and of course, shop. Within a few hours, our bellies were full and we each had a few shopping bags… so we headed to Comox where Teresa’s family lives. Later that evening, we walked to a nice restaurant where we enjoyed a nice dessert with a glass of wine. From our table, the harbour and mountains could be seen – it was the perfect end to the night!

Have you been to the Island yet? There is so much to do there, including surfing in Tofino, visiting one of their many parks, and even kayaking. The island itself is is 460 kilometres (290 miles) in length and 80 kilometres (50 miles) in width at its widest point. It is the largest island on the western side of North America at 32,134 km squared and the world’s 43rd largest island, Canada’s 11th largest island and Canada’s second most populous island.  Major cities on Vancouver Island include Victoria, Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Parksville, Courtenay and Campbell Rivier.

I hope you get to visit the Island this summer!

– Laura

What Are You Doing This Long Weekend?

This weekend is supposed to be a nice one! I have a few things on my to-do list that I want to see during the next few days. One of them includes Lynn Canyon Park. The park officially opened to the public in 1912 and has been a popular destination among tourists and local residents ever since. It’s a great location for a  picnic, a leisurely hike, or a refreshing swim in one of the many popular swimming holes!

The Lynn Canyon Suspension bridge is one of Lynn Valley’s best kept secrets. The 50 meter high bridge stretches accross a beautiful canyon boasting raging waters, waterfalls and deep pools below. The bridge is a popular attraction among tourists and locals alike, the best part is that it is free of charge for all to see. Crossing the bridge is always an exciting experience, it bounces up and down and sways from side to side with every step. It is quite narrow and becomes a little nerve racking when there are several others trying to cross at the same time.

Not only is there a suspension bridge, but there are also twin falls.  A short wooden bridge crosses the raging river and there are two breathtaking waterfalls below. This bridge is a lot more comfortable than the Suspension Bridge as it doesn’t shake with every move. As a last stop, you can relax at a swimming hole which is popular among local residents who visit the park on a regular basis and tourists on a short visit. The 30 Foot Pool is a short walk from suspension bridge and doesn’t involve climbing hills or stairs. It is pretty easily accessible.  There is a small beach area near the swimming hole that is covered with small pebbles and good to lie down a towel or a blanket.

Getting There

If you are traveling by bus there are various routes to take depending on your location. From Downtown Vancouver take the sea bus across to the Lonsdale Quay bus loop and take either bus #228, or #229.

Bus #228 will take you to Lynn Valley Center, which is about a 10 minute walk from Lynn Canyon Park’s main entrance. Bus #229 will take you directly to Lynn Canyon Park’s main entrance.

If you are traveling from East Vancouver, Burnaby, or Metro Town area take any bus to Phibbs Exchange. The most common busses are #130 via Metro Town, #28 via Joyce Station, #210 via Downtown Vancouver.

From Phibbs Exchange take bus #229 which will take you to Lynn Canyon Park’s main entrance.

Hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Cheers,

Laura

Picnic Locations and Recipe

With so many restaurants around town, it can get expensive always going out for lunch and dinner. This weekend, why not go out for a picnic with a friend or loved one? Take advantage of the beautiful weather and visit one of Vancouver’s many picnic sites.

Stanley park is a beautiful oasis, surrounded by plenty of trees and nature. It also has many beaches nearby to splash around in, or, you can simply enjoy the sounds of crashing waves. In west Vancouver lies Whytecliff park, where the coastal scenery is beautiful.

Buntzen Lake is perfect for an outing with a group of friends. There’s tons of grass and tables available for your food. Bring a few fishing rods with you, ’cause you never know what you’ll catch! If you’re looking to put your hiking shoes on, Stawamus Chief is a great way to work up your appetite. Also known as “The Chief”, this area is north of Squamish. To get to the top you must hike 1 and a half hours – but it’s well worth it! The views of Howe Sound, the Squamish Valley and the Garibaldi Highlands are just amazing!

No picnic is complete without potato salad! Here’s my very own recipe for you guys to try out – it’s delicious!

Potato Salad

  • 8-10 red potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs, chopped
  • 1/3 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 green pepper
  • 1 red pepper
  • Fresh dill ( I use about 3 tbsps)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  1. Place your eggs in a pot of water and boil for about 10 minutes. Let them cool, then cut into chunks.
  2. Place the potatoes in a pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, and cook for about 12 minutes, or until they slide off of a fork when you pierce them. Drain, and transfer to a large bowl to cool.
  3. Chop up your celery, onions, green pepper and red pepper into small pieces. Cut your potatoes into chunks as well after they have cooled.
  4. In a medium bowl, mix the sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, eggs, vegetables and dill together.  Pour over the potatoes, and gently toss to coat. Chill at least 3 hours in the refrigerator before serving.

That’s it! Hope try out this recipe and enjoy one of the picnic locations! If you don’t try the potato salad, there will be a ton of it at the INTERNeX BBQ KICK-OFF (hint hint).

Cheers!