Vancouver, Day 2: A hike through Lynn Canyon


After such a late night last night, Tom smartly didn’t make any busy plans for today. It’s nice to not have the “vacation obligation” to check off a list of sights or museums for once. It felt like my New York trip, wherein any time spent with my host was time well spent. It would be a trip not measured in the number of famous buildings or statues that I saw, but rather the quality of conversations and laughter that I shared.

That being said, we woke up around noon and got a slow start. We had a “breakfast” of eggs, bacon and toast at Tom’s place, showered, and were out the door by 2pm.

I'd say "we took the bus" but really, we took busES to Lynn Canyon Park. Tom is pretty bad at following Google maps instructions (I’ll admit that I’ve had my fair share of problems, too) and his phone’s compass was wonky, which led us to taking at least one bus more than necessary to get to our destination. The buses were usual city buses save for the final one that dropped us off, which was more of a tiny hospital shuttle van with a back wheelchair door. Tom was as equally confused as I was.

The drop-off point was in a suburban-looking area, but after walking a couple blocks we arrived at the entrance to Lynn Canyon Park, which was free, much to my excitement. The place was more crowded than the park we visited yesterday, as there appeared to be a school group with about fifty teenagers on top of the regular visitor population. We were able to lag behind at times to avoid their noisy chatter that ruined the effect of the forest’s quiet dominance.

Going up and down the icy wooden stairs through the forest required focus, so I was sure to stop myself every fifty feet to just look up and around at the bright green mossy trees and snowy landscape surrounding me, and to take deep breaths of the musty, earthy scent. Near the bridges and river, the water was vigorously rushing down the edges of the rocks, and there were plenty of signs to warn against stupid behavior. So many signs, in fact, that there were more of those than actual maps, as some of the warning signs were just vague sketches of the land with skulls and crossbones indicating fatalities or injuries near the drop-offs. That’s great, but which way is north? This isn’t helpful at all!

We saw a few of the major waterfalls and hiked along the icy wooden walkways before we came to the edge of the park on an access road. There was a map there, which indicated a few more paths nearby, so we decided to explore them. They weren’t along the water and therefore didn’t feature more waterfalls, which meant for a lot less foot traffic. We started going on one of the trails and realized that it wasn’t a trail, despite the footprints in the snow. It was hard to tell what was a trail and wasn’t, as there were never any trailheads or markers. We forged our own path, though, finding our way over a lightly babbling brook into the forest so deep that when we closed our eyes, all we could hear was soft wind and trickling water. It was so peaceful.

When the path seemed to dead end, we decided to go up, climbing along a somewhat steep hill to a road. It was much easier to hike on this trail, or lack of trail, since it had no icy wooden walkways to slip on. Crunchy snow was much easier for our shoes to grip onto.

We came upon an asphalt road about a block away from the same subdivision that the bus dropped us off at. We used Tom’s phone to guide us to the bus stop, where we waited thirty minutes for a bus home. After one transfer, we were back on Lonsdale Ave., the main thoroughfare in North Vancouver.

Even though we ate our “breakfast” only about four hours previous, we were ravenous by the time we got home. I craved meat in the form of a burger, so we went to Browns Socialhouse, an upscale pub with the usual contemporary American (or Canadian?) menu. The waitresses all wore skin-tight black cocktail dresses, and TVs displaying various sports surrounded us on all sides. It definitely wasn't going for a Hooters vibe, but it appeared to cater towards a certain clientele, despite the tables being filled with families, groups of women, couples, and groups of men.

Our waitress happily refilled our water pitcher no less than three times throughout the night, because apparently Tom and I were both one drop of water away from turning into a pile of powdered bones and flesh. Thanks, North America, for free water when I need it. It is my most treasured resource on this planet. I ordered a bacon cheddar burger with BBQ sauce and sweet potato fries (Canadians call them yam fries), which I devoured as though I hadn’t eaten in days. Tom packed in his burger as well, and even though our hike today wasn’t rigorous, it clearly sparked an insatiable hunger in us both.

We headed back to Tom’s place on foot, as he doesn’t live far from the restaurant. It felt super late but it was only around seven at night when we returned. Cullen, Tom’s Australian roommate, was scrambling around the house getting ready for late night snowboarding. The nearby Grouse Mountain had 24-hour skiing/snowboarding this weekend. Tom and I were going to join, too, but we were going to go in the middle of the night so we could watch the sun rise. As Cullen prepared and Emily, Tom’s Canadian roommate, watched idly (she has work tomorrow and won’t be joining), I asked them both for some gear, as Tom didn’t have any spares.

“Do you have a spare jacket?” I asked

“I do!” Cullen chirped.

“And… ski pants?”

“I do, but they will be huge,” he told me as he passed me a pair of baggy khaki-colored pants. I tested them and the drawstring top ensured a semi-proper fit.

"And goggles? And a helmet? And boots?”

He jokingly acted frustrated at my many requests as he passed me a sticker-covered helmet and some goggles. Emily let me borrow her ski boots, which I thought might be too small, but fortunately were just right. She warned me that Cullen has a huge head and I might need to wear a hat underneath the helmet to keep it in place. “My head is also huge!” I replied, and sure enough, the helmet fit me like a glove… like the gloves I also had to borrow from Cullen’s Unofficial Rental Gear Company.

So then, I was set. I profusely thanked them both and Cullen said “No worries, just buy me a beer.” Done!

With that, Tom and I went to bed at an early hour (8pm), setting our alarms for midnight, as we hadn’t yet heard back from Tom’s friend who’d be driving us, and we didn’t want to miss our ride.