17th Jul 2012
Monday 16th July, 2012
I promised that today would be slow one, it was, we left here at 1.30 pm to walk to the shopping centre, found something else to load the suitcase a little more, what you give one, you give to all. We picked up some takeaway dinner and walked back through the track we have taken other times. We did talk to a man who appeared behind us, he explained that he was on his own these days and that the beautiful garden along the track and main road was all because he had ‘time to spare’. Hostas, Asiatic lilies, impatiens, ferns, salvias, ornaments and lots of rocks he had wheel barrowed from the nearby river, all make for a very pleasant avenue to walk through. This area is all amongst large trees and he had irrigation going to help some new plants he planted a couple of days ago. Well done, nice to see a man interested in his garden. He lived in a three storied complex that is owned by Rotary International, (he didn’t know Rotary was World Wide), they all pay a certain percentage of their taxable income as their rent and it seems he was the unpaid gardener; all around the buildings was as neat as a new pin, lots of pride in his surroundings.
Tuesday 17th, 2012
Another very warm day. We caught the bus at our front door at 10.45 am to be taken to Grouse Mountain, not very far from here. First of all a stop off at the Capilano Fish Hatchery, on the Capilano river that has been damed and had special concrete rapids for the salmon so they can continue their journey to their spawning areas farther up stream. We drove along side the Capilano Dam, which is almost to Grouse Mountain, all the water or Vancouver comes from here and is apparently very soft water compared to anything else close by. Next,
the Capilano Suspension Bridge, the first hemp rope bridge was slung across this deep canyon in 1889. Today, 450 feet of wobbling planks hover far above the Capilano Canyon Floor. Apparently tens of million have visited this site from around the world and when you see the photographs, you will understand. It was the most weird feeling, ‘drunk in charge’ or in a choppy sea with a large swell under it. Many very frightened people, who either suffered the walk or were seen to be making a hasty return to solid ground. When we reached the other end, we decided not to walk the trails, instead found an empty seat and sat down to enjoy our lunch, so didn’t get to walk the boardwalks in the treetops (Redwood trees for Africa), or the cliff top walk. The Owls were not at home, instead a very real looking stuffed toy that was fooling nine our of ten people, twits, it had a makers tag on its leg – dumb. Back on the bus and a short drive to the base of Grouse Mountain and our six minute ride to the top in the large Gondola, jam packed with about thirty five people,
standing shoulder to shoulder. Sadly the view was spoiled with a huge blanket of smoke, from Siberia we were told, so a postcard will be the order of the day as it was no good for photographs. Finally, we have seen a bear at close quarters, albeiet in an enclosed area. The two we saw, were huge brown bears had both been hand reared from cubs, however, we will make do with that, I wouldn’t like to meet one in the wild, eating Saskatoon Berries.
This area is a 365 day year, snow in the winter for snow activities and in Summer, tramping, biking and outdoor past-times such as bird watching. Grouse Mountain was one of the Olympic ski venues, the snow was scarce and had to be trucked in by the millions of tons to make it usable. To get it to the right places, it was taken from the trucks and dumped by helicopters – an extra million or two added to the budget.
At the top, we saw a small ‘lump’ of snow, otherwise it was scorching hot, again many burnt shoulders and noses. Massive statues, made with chainsaws, were alongside the paths. They were very well done, lots of detail. We watched a Lumberjack show, which was very well done, pole climbing, underhand chopping, crosscut sawing and log rolling. Perhaps some of the Field Days competitors could come and show them a thing or two, except one of the pole climbers was the world champion and the commentator was a girl from Auckland who works here for the Summer – she came across very well. We moved on, to watch the ‘Birds in Motion’ show, owls, an eagle and a new era vulture; all flew to poles very low across the heads of the grandstanded crowd, amazing to see them at such close quarters. Time ran out for us we didn’t want to be the ones everyone on the bus was waiting for at the bottom of the Gondola so made our way back to the terminal, jumped in the Gondola and zoomed to the bottom. We had to wait for two more Gondolas to get all our passengers on board the bus, they were cutting things rather fine as by now it was 4.30 pm and we had been told to be back by 4.14 pm. Because we had been last on the bus and on the way, we were first dropped off and home by 5.00 pm, although we haven’t had a long day, because of the heat we were happy to be back. We have missed some really bad weather in Saskatoon, the Charabin garden has been under water and now we hear that Calgary has also had really bad thunderstorms and heavy rain, the other bad news is the shooting of two people in Toronto at a Street Party BBQ – seems as though it was gang related and at least the fourteen year old girl was an innocent party. There is huge uproar about the guns that are brought in from America over the boarders, these shootings are becoming more and more common and of course now they worry about revenge killings.