Monday, January 14, 2013

Sunday Stroll

      Friday dawned sunny, bright and freezing cold- this is often the trade off in our city- when the cloud cover leaves the temperature dips- today that means it is snowing. We took full advantage of the clear skis and spent most of the weekend outside enjoying our brief respite from the rain. For our Sunday Stroll we headed to Lighthouse Park in West Vancouver- the Mr. and I have hiked there many years ago and thought it would be a good trail for the Littles to try out.

    A well maintained trail run directly from the parking lot to the beach- it is a series of very large hills but was still pretty easy for the kids- they walked the entire way this weekend! Over sixty five hectors of old growth forest - mostly giant Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock and Western Red Cedar - the many years of human interaction with the forest has badly damaged it and so it is imperative to stay on the designated trails.

     As you come to the end of the trail an outcropping of ancient granite juts out into the ocean- where Burrard Inlet meets Howe Sound- the landscape here is harsh but beautiful. If you intend on going down to the beach be prepared for some light rock climbing- strollers are not advised- sturdy, waterproof shoes are!

    Sitting out on those rocks- even on a beautiful day- it is easy to see why the first lighthouse keepers wife found it so difficult to live in such a remote environment. Looking out across the water from Point Atkinson( location of the actual lighthouse) over the water- watching the city going about it's business- so far removed.

     This little slice of old growth forest on the edge of our city is also a historical gem- the original lighthouse was built in 1874. The lighthouse was first manned by Edwin Woodward and his wife Ann- Edwin - until Ann declared the place to be too isolated and they relocated to Ontario.

       Look to the trees and watch for the eagles that nest here- we watched three( possibly more- it's tough to say) bald eagles for over an hour circling the sound looking for a meal. Ducks, Western Grebes, starfish, mussels, hermit crabs- this little cove has it all! Our Littles also declared this to be the best beach glass beach around!

       The little beach below at Starboat cove was the perfect spot to stop and have our lunch- sandwiched between the amazing granite rocks, piles of driftwood and the water we tarried in this spot for quite awhile. Climbing the giant rocks, wading in the tidal shallows or if you were me sitting on the blanket and just listening and watching to my my family play.

      These family hikes on Sundays are one of the best parts of our winter so far- exploring places close to home that we have over looked in the past. Our Littles are getting better at the long walks- this time for the most part carrying their own lunches and water in their own back packs. Teaching them to be accountable for their own belongings as well as their own actions in a place where we can all really cut loose- at the beach we have very few rules!

     At the end of our days we like to talk about what our favourite parts of the day were- I find this not only encourages a family conversation around the dinner table but it also encourages the kids to remember bits about the day and try to remember specifics as we go along.  We all agree that the hike at Lighthouse park is one of our favourites with a little something for everyone- The Boy decided climbing on the rocks was the best, Miss Lo (as mentioned) had a blast collecting beach glass for her collection, the Mr. and I were both amazed by the sheer size of the trees. Watching the eagles was also a highlight for us all!

      We all give this hike two thumbs up- as mentioned this hike is not for people using a stroller- there is some rock climbing- or more specifically scrambling. We saw several families with younger children on the path- there are quite a few steep drop offs so it is advisable to keep your kiddos close but overall I felt this was a safe hike. Overall it was a great day- I will hold onto that bit of sunshine as the snow and snow- rain falls today- a little sunshine to carry around in my heart and in my head all week!

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