Category Archives: Outdoors

Berry sweet

Another wonderful aspect of living in Vancouver is the abundance of fresh, local berries here in summer.

Lately I have been taking great pleasure in buying blueberries by the scoop at the local grocers for $1.99lb. I have been buying more than I can eat but I just can’t help being a little greedy as I never get to buy berries in bulk like this back home in Australia.

This week we have discovered all of the blackberry bushes growing along the road, around parkland and the school oval where we go jogging. I have even found blackberries growing down the laneway that runs behind our apartment. Happy days! I can’t believe I hadn’t noticed the bushes before but I suspect that the berries have only just popped up as the weather has started to improve here. A lot of the berries are still green, but they are quickly ripening every day. When we found the first patch of blackberries, I was sure that someone was going to come along and pick them all before we would be back to enjoy some. Now that I’ve realised they are everywhere, I can relax as there are enough to go around for everyone wanting to enjoy a few while out and about.

Blackberries remind me of my childhood; my sister and I would dress in our long sleeve shirts and take buckets down to the paddock to pick the berries when they were in season. Mum would make all sorts of yummy treats with these berries – from jam and pies to ice-cream.

Blackberries were and still are my all time favourite berry so you can imagine the joy I am having at the moment walking down the street and being able to now stop and pick a couple to eat whenever I want!

Discovering something new, particularly something so simple that is right in front of you, is always a pleasure. It reminds me to keep my eyes, heart and mind open to receiving the next surprise from the universe!

So many berries to enjoy for breakfast and as a snack!

The Grouse Grind

Hiking up Grouse Mountain

A popular tourist attraction in North Vancouver is the hiking trail known as Grouse Grind, a steep walk up Grouse Mountain featuring a climb of about 850m and covering a distance of 2.9km to the top of trail. It is also a local past time to regularly do the Grouse Grind to keep fit and try to better your time for getting to the top.

So I decided to give it a go one morning along with a lot of other people and was thinking it would be similar to climbing Mt Warning back in Northern NSW, which I had done a couple of times. While I would consider myself reasonably fit, I haven’t done much hill walking of late and soon found myself puffing as I made my way up the steep incline with a million steps. The scenery was spectacular but it was hard to enjoy it while I was dripping sweat and silently cursing my decision to do the climb in the first place!

I made it to the top in an 1 hour 15 minutes, which wasn’t too bad for my first attempt. Once my mind forgets about the pain, I will attempt it again and see if I can get closer to completing the Grind in an hour next time!

I highly recommend taking a change of clothes for when you reach the top as I was covered in sweat and it was cold at the top of the mountain. You also have to catch the gondola back down, which is packed full of people, so best not to be dripping all over everyone else!

Getting back on the bike

Inaugural bike ride to Central Park

After coming to terms with the sad fact that my $20 helmet was NOT going to win me any fashion contests, I decided to venture out on my new second hand bike to check out Central Park.

Given I can’t remember the last time I was on a bike, the main purpose of today’s outing was to work out how to ride this bike and use its gears, hopefully without making too much of a fool out of myself or getting knocked over. After a shaky start, which included discovering clunky gears, slightly flat tyres and squeaky breaks, I’m off and cruising down the bikeway towards the park. Go speed racer!

Less than 1km later my bike chain comes off! Damn, I guess there were a few reasons why this bike was so cheap. Luckily, a bit of MacGyver action on my part somehow managed to get the chain back on again. Mental note – do not use the gears on the left hand side until further notice.

I make it to Central Park and discover another beautiful pocket of forest right in the middle of the city…yay! It’s pretty cool riding through the forest and a pity I can’t take photos on the go to show you what I see (I’m sure there is a way, I just don’t have the technical know how or inclination right now to work that out).

I don’t think I will ever tire of seeing these trees, they are so magestically straight and tall. There are squirrels everywhere, so much so, they are a bit of a traffic hazard and I almost ran over one – he stopped in the middle of the trail in front of me and it was like he just dared me to keep going…so I did. It was a close call but the squirrel is safe and well (they are way too cute to hurt!)

All in all, a good first outing on the bike, despite a few hiccups! It hasn’t put me off riding again and checking out more of the trails in and around Vancouver, however I do think the bike needs a bit of TLC before I venture out again!