Every weekend, Stefan and I try to plan one 'outdoor adventure' with the kids, so that we're getting exercise, seeing the local areas, and helping our kids enjoy the same. Last weekend was one of my favorite. We decided to spend the day in Canada, packed a dinner, and headed with the kids, bikes, and water bottles up to Vancouver's Stanley Park. Stanley Park is similar to New York City's Central Park in that in the middle of a huge metropolis, it's a fully green space. It has walking and biking trails, multiple jungle gyms, a swimming pool, multiple large beaches that meet the water, tennis, lawn bowling, and I believe golf areas, too. It's 5.75 miles around the perimeter, and that dual (bikes on 'top', walkers, and runners on 'bottom) route is called the Seawall, because it borders the ocean the whole way around.
Here's a view in the shade. This is actual a walking area, where bikers have to dismount and walk their bikes to the next area. There are a few of these around, and it's mostly because they are main entrances, where there could be tons of people exiting or entering the Seawall, and on busy days, it's really smart they have the bikers do this. It avoids a lot of accidents.
Here is a view of the Lion's Gate bridge, which crosses Vancouver into North Van and West Van, and further north, the mountains. It opened in 1938 and one can tell if you cross it. It's three lanes, for heavy traffic. That's not three lanes per side, that's three lanes, period. One side always gets only one lane determined by traffic flow, accidents, and what not. We've been stuck on that bridge for an hour once, and it wasn't fun. It looks pretty, but it's inefficient and maddening to wait in traffic for over an hour just to cross a bridge.
Here's a view of one of the beaches where sunbathers and children swimming and kite-flying were enjoying their Saturday morning. The day we went was one of the warmest days of the year so far, and I got a bad sunburn on my back from biking. This beach is not representant of just how many people were in Stanley Park the day we were there. Within the 5.75 miles, we saw over 1,000 people riding, roller blading, running or walking, sunbathing, or long-boarding. It was amazing. Everyone was out enjoying the sunshine.
My pictures just don't do this park justice, since the views all the way around are just spectacular, especially on a clear day like this. The mountains, the ocean (the sailboats all lined up!), and the sunshine make for a perfect day in my eyes. Lukka even used his tiny little bike to go all the way around along with us, and boy was he tired after that!
This top view is actually outside of the park, as we biked through downtown Vancouver to go to one of our favorite places--Chipotle which is about 2 miles away. Biking is the way to travel through downtown Vancouver, since you don't have to pay for parking and they have amazing, protected bike lanes complete with bike traffic lights. On this site you can see a picture that shows what their protected bike lanes look like, in green. As an aside, everything is more expensive in Canada, even Chipotle, where a burrito set us back $9 instead of the usual $6.75!
Here's another spot where bikers had to get off (you can see the green sign in the back, showing that this was an entrance to the beach, so bikers dismount) and so we stopped in the shade to cool off and snap a couple of photos. It was such a fun day--probably my favorite so far. We went on to spend the evening eating our packed dinner with some friends at Crescent Beach and walking along the trail there before heading back to Blaine. A perfect day to spend in the sun, with some of the best views around!