Get out there!

Grouse on the way up

We real­ized that this Fri­day very will might be one of our last days of warm weath­er, and it was an unchar­ac­ter­is­ti­cal­ly clear day (as you can see). So on a whim, we hopped on a #4 bus to down­town, con­tin­ued on the Sky­train a cou­ple of stops to Water­front sta­tion, got on the Seabus to Lons­dale Quay in North Van­cou­ver, and prompt­ly stepped on the #236 bus to Grouse Moun­tain. I men­tion these details because it’s remark­able that all of these unplanned con­nec­tions gave us a trip time of no more than 50 min­utes, door to gondola.
Grouse Moun­tain is a unique attrac­tion. I don’t think I know of any oth­er place where you get a nice high peak that looks out on cities, oth­er moun­tains, a riv­er and an ocean, and is reach­able sole­ly by pub­lic trans­porta­tion with no pri­or plan­ning. It’s also well main­tained and com­fort­able. After a spec­tac­u­lar gon­do­la ride, up top we ate a nice lunch at the Alti­tudes Cafe (includ­ing some absolute­ly won­der­ful fish soup that was chunky and spicey). We saw a bit of the lum­ber­jack demon­stra­tion (a charm­ing bit of Uni­ver­sal Stu­dios-style ham­ming it up), and gawked at the white wolves, griz­zly bears (and I saw first­hand that bears do not nec­es­sar­i­ly shit in the woods, but some­times do it very much in plain view of hun­dreds of tourists, for­tu­nate­ly behind an elec­tric fence). We saw paraglid­ers and heli­copters take off, and walked all the way to the sum­mit to take in a pret­ty stun­ning panora­ma. The air was thin and a bit chilly, but not uncom­fort­ably so.

Tomor­row is the annu­al ‘Grouse Grind’, where thou­sands of Van­cou­verites walk up the moun­tain for char­i­ty. I’m glad we did­n’t run into that. I’m also glad that we did final­ly make it to Grouse, though. We had orig­i­nal­ly planned it for my birth­day, but the smoke from the Burns Bog fire (which was final­ly put out a cou­ple of days ago after burn­ing for 11 days) and an affair that took over the facil­i­ty kept us until today. There’s a slide show on flickr of our trip at:

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