Romer’s, River, and a Ride

I’ve discovered my new favourite cycling route and it’s close to my home—even better! It borders the Fraser River which isn’t quite as glorious as the ocean, but hey, it’s still water.

The Artist and I had discovered the River District earlier this summer after a friend’s recommendation to eat at Romer’s Burger Bar.      

I forget what burger this was but it was delicious.

I forget the name of the burger but it was delicious.

Then we decided to bike there one Sunday morning. We took Kent Avenue east, a semi-busy industrial street that eventually leads to a dedicated bike path along the water.

The light gravel path is flat, making it a nice ride.

IMG_2283

Looking west towards Oak St bridge

IMG_2281

Looking east to what lies ahead

IMG_2285

Elegant townhouses along the way. Love those oval windows and steep angular roofs!

River District feels like this mysterious up-and-coming neighbourhood at Southeast Marine Drive and Kerr St that no one really knows about. And yet obviously people do because there’s quite the vibrant community there—condos, townhouses, a park, a Farmer’s Market every Saturday in the summer, and a bustling Romer’s Burger Bar (maybe because it’s the only restaurant there at this point).

IMG_1677

The website markets the River District as a “master-planned” neighbourhood similar to Yaletown, yet without the steep prices.

Here’s a blurb about it:

River District is Southeast Vancouver’s newest and largest waterfront community. River District, an award-winning project being developed by Wesgroup Properties, will be a complete community with unique sustainability features.  Covering 130 acres and including 7,000 homes, River District will include shops, restaurants, schools, daycares, parks and a community centre. Designed by a world-class team of planners, architects and engineers, River District will offer a new way to live, work and play in Vancouver.

Yeah, I’d live, work, and play here.

IMG_1684

The pier near Romer’s

IMG_1678

the main intersection

IMG_1691

IMG_1689

IMG_1682IMG_1680

If you keep following the bike path, it won’t be long before you reach this park in Burnaby, making you feel pretty hardcore that you just biked to a different city.

IMG_2288

Advertisements

The Gorgeous & Gargantuan Garibaldi

“You pick the hottest days to go hiking,” my mother texts me when I tell her what I did on Saturday.

IMG_1766

Yup. Saturday was a hot one for doing Garibaldi Lake. But the 3 hours of mostly switchbacks up the mountain were in the shade, so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. We took the scenic detour through Taylor Meadows, making it a 5.5 hour round trip.

IMG_1749

The trail is nicely groomed.

IMG_1745

At long last, we reach Taylor Meadows. According to the Vancouver Trails website, “going left and adding a few kilometers onto the hike takes you up through Taylor Meadows, a magnificent area filled with colours from alpine flowers that cover the sides of the trail during the late summer and early fall.”

We didn’t see any flowers. Granted, it’s not quite late summer. It was still beautiful being up at tree level and seeing the towering peak of Black Tusk, but when you’re expecting wildflowers à la Sound of Music, it was a little bit of a letdown.

IMG_1754

IMG_1765

Black Tusk is the dark peak to the right.

IMG_1753

It’s a few kilometres from here to the lake, where all that work finally feels worth it when you glimpse this:

IMG_1780

And this:

IMG_1768

View from the middle of a wooden footbridge that gets you over to the lake.

IMG_1770

The view from the other side of the bridge.

IMG_1777

Walking around the lake to find a perfect (and less crowded) spot for lunch.

IMG_1783

to the island, it is!

IMG_1784

IMG_1781

The group I was with spent 2 hours at the top, eating lunch, taking a dip into the turquoise glacier lake (some even swam out to the island of inukshuks you see in the distance), and enjoying the spectacular views. It’s a shame to climb all that way and come back so quickly. That’s why next time, I would even want to spend a night camping, although the work in bringing all that gear up on your back would be that much more difficult.

IMG_1793

IMG_1798

IMG_1804

Using a water filter for the first time. What a great invention!

This was probably my big hike of the summer. In comparison to The Chief, I enjoyed it more. Yes, the way up felt like it would never end sometimes, but I liked that the trail was so well groomed and there weren’t any stairs or gigantic roots to trip over.

Plus, there was this bonus viewpoint on the way back:

IMG_1808

IMG_1809

Goodbye, Garibaldi! What a beautiful part of the world we live in!

IMG_1790

St. Mark’s Summit

Last Saturday, a couple friends and I climbed St. Mark’s Summit, probably one of my last hikes of the summer, sad to say. It’s number 3 on this list, which, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m slowly working my way through.

St. Mark’s Summit is accessed from the northernmost parking lot of Cypress Mountain, following Howe Crest Sound Trail East that starts near the Lions Express chairlift. I think this might have been the first time I’ve been on Cypress Mountain.

Olympic rings on Cypress Mountain

Olympic rings on Cypress Mountain

The trail was gorgeous, offering glimpses of Howe Sound and the Binkert Lions along the way. I always love hikes that give you pay-off as you climb, not just at the top (which is my biggest beef with the Grouse Grind).

Wildflowers along the trail.

Wildflowers along the trail

Glimpse of Howe Sound along the trail

Glimpse of Howe Sound

A shot of the Lions from Howe Sound Crest Trail

A shot of the Lions from Howe Sound Crest Trail

We got to the top in just over 2 hours. The beginning and end sections are fairly easy, but the middle section contains a series of switchbacks over some very uneven ground/root systems. I didn’t have hiking boots on and I managed fine, although you do have to pay more attention with where and how you’re placing your feet on the way down (I tend to find the way down harder for this reason—maybe my knees are getting old already).

A wooden bridge crossing

A wooden bridge crossing

Climbing over a rock near the top

One of the steeper sections

Reflection pool

Reflection pool

Considering it was a Saturday, I was surprised the hike wasn’t as busy as it could have been, at least not along the way. There were quite a few people at the summit though, which isn’t a very large platform to begin with. People took turns shifting out of the prime location spots to take photographs.

From St. Mark's Summit, you can see Bowen Island (the large one on the left) and the smaller Anvil Island (centre)

From St. Mark’s Summit, you can see Bowen Island (the large one on the left) and the closer and smaller Anvil Island

You can see other hikers enjoying the view from the next bluff

Other hikers enjoy the view from the next bluff

The view was incredible, not quite as amazing as the Chief, but still pretty close. It also wasn’t as hard of a hike though. I would classify it somewhere between Dog Mountain and the Chief.

St. Mark's Summit. Random person got in my photo

St. Mark’s Summit. Random person and dog got in my photo

If you walk a little further, there is another bluff you can sit on and enjoy the view. My friends and I stayed up here a while to enjoy lunch, and then headed back down in about 1 1/2 hours.

View of Unnecessary Mountain (left) and the Lions, poking up like ears

View of Unnecessary Mountain and the Lions, poking up like ears

A long way down from the ledge we ate lunch at

A long way down from the ledge we ate lunch at. You can spot a ferry in the distance leaving Horseshoe Bay

It was a great day hike I would definitely recommend!

 

Hiking a Canyon or Two

For the first time in a long time, it hasn’t rained this May Long Weekend (even though rain was predicted!), so this called for a hike to the North Shore. Vancouvertrails.com is a great resource for finding hikes in the Greater Vancouver area based on region, level of difficulty, time, etc. My boyfriend and I did the Two Canyon Loop that takes you through Lynn Canyon and the Seymour River Canyon. It took about 3 hours. We parked at the Seymour-Capilano Water Treatment Plant and went clockwise so that we ended with the Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge (which is a great and free alternative to the more famous Capilano Suspension Bridge).

IMG_7822The hike was labelled “Intermediate” and for a while we were wondering why because it seemed more like a walk than a hike, especially as the beginning was all downhill along the Homestead Trail that led into the Seymour River Canyon. We took a few detours to enjoy a peek of the rushing river:

IMG_7797IMG_7803IMG_7805The Homestead Trail meets the Baden Powell trail which we then followed to climb out of the Seymour Canyon.

IMG_7815After crossing a bridge over the Seymour River, the hike began to feel more “intermediate” with this steep set of stairs and then a number of switchbacks uphill to get out of the Seymour River Canyon.

IMG_7812Here’s the view once the ascent had plateaued a bit:

IMG_7814After crossing under these power lines, the Baden Powell Trail then takes you across a road through the forest toward Lynn Creek. There’s a section with wooden boardwalks to help prevent erosion of the trail.

IMG_7818IMG_7831Eventually we reached Twin Falls with a beautiful view of the waterfalls and a bridge that crosses over Lynn Canyon (foreshadowing the larger and more popular bridge to come).IMG_7834IMG_7830After climbing up a littler further and taking pictures of old trees and lettuce leaves, we reached the popular Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge.

IMG_7819IMG_7821IMG_7853This bridge sways 50 metres above the canyon and was built in 1912 when the Lynn Canyon Park opened. You can read more about it here. I didn’t find the bridge particularly scary, but then again, I like heights and happen to love bridges. Many people’s dogs, however, weren’t so keen on crossing a narrow, moving bridge jammed with traffic.

IMG_7843IMG_7850IMG_7838On the other side, The Ecology Centre is a good place to use a washroom that’s not an outhouse, get a snack, and take a break at one of the picnic tables. From there, it’s only about a 10 minute walk back to the water treatment plant where the loop began.

IMG_7852The Two Canyon Loop was a great activity on a sunny Saturday afternoon that lets you take in two rivers, numerous waterfalls, old logging forests, scenic views, and a suspension bridge—not bad if you like to see a lot in a relatively short amount of time!

IMG_7845