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: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ddrucker/sets/1005306/