Hi, my name is Sandra and I am addicted to the outdoors.
Last week (including Sunday, because in Sandra-World, Sunday is the last day of the week :P), I went on four hikes, and a paddle board excursion. It was my last free week in Vancouver this summer before I actually had to buckle down to study and pack since I leave for Taiwan on Saturday. In result, I’ve been feeling a constant flow of adrenaline rushing through my veins and it feels. So. Effing. Good.
On Wednesday, my two friends (Sharon and Amy) and I did the infamous Grouse Grind- a 2.9 kilometer hike with an 853 meter elevation. It was a non-stop uphill hike (but we obviously needed a couple brief breaks…) that felt never-ending. But the feeling you get when you take the last step to the top is the absolute best- basically the feeling I look forward to that gets me through every tough hike. The view from the top was nice, but to be honest, not spectacular. Too many trees in the way! Grouse is definitely a good hike if you’re looking for a challenge or a damn good workout, but if you’re there for the view, I recommend Stawamus Chief, which I will get to shortly!
Deep Cove + Quarry Rock
I’ve always wanted to do lake activities, because that’s not something there is a lot of in Taiwan, so on Friday, Amy and I went to Deep Cove to standup paddle board for the first time! It is definitely easier than I imagined, and unless you have reeeaaally bad balance, then you should be totally fine. I was deathly scared of dropping my phone into the water because I insisted on bringing it out to snap some nice pictures, but I seriously didn’t have to worry about that at all. (Tip: wrap your phone in plastic wrap to make it semi-waterproof!) The board is big enough that you feel safe and stable, and only gets slightly shaky when the currents are stronger. The only problem I had was that my arms are not very strong (still working on them arms, okay?!?) so they tired out super quickly.
After paddle-boarding, we did a short hike up to Quarry Rock. Our research told us it was an easy hike so we thought sandals would be fine. But nope, avoid hiking in sandals at all costs if you can. I mean it wasn’t horrible hiking in sandals, but the trail consisted mostly of dirt paths and tree roots, and sandals made it 1000x more easy to trip and fall. Despite the hike being short and easy, the view from the rock overlooking Deep Cove was sooo nice and calming. Throughout our hike, we were definitely judged for wearing sandals- we both heard people whisper to each other “omg!! sandals!!!”, which I actually found kind of entertaining.
Now onto Stawamus Chief, my favourite hike of the week- it is a bit further up north so we drove up in Chelsea’s car. The Vancouver Trails website claims that this is an intermediate hike (Grouse was marked as a difficult hike), but in all honesty, I think this was just as difficult as Grouse. Amy agreed with me and since we did Grouse just a few days before the Chief, I think we have a pretty good sense of comparison between the two. There are a total of three peaks, and we decided on hiking to the second peak. Like Grouse, the Chief consisted of endless stairs and dirt paths uphill, but around 2/3 of the way up, there is a big rock for you to take a break at and enjoy the scenery. The last part of the hike up to the peak was my favourite- it consisted of big rocks you actually had to get on your all fours to climb over. There was a chain attached to the side of the rocks to prevent falling. BUT, the moment we started climbing, it started raining. By the time we were almost up at the peak, it was literally pouring. Being the troopers that we are (heh), we had to get to the top because heck, we didn’t hike an hour and a half up a mountain only to be defeated by the weather. Even with the rain, the view was absolute gorgeous. It overlooked a turquoise body of water (probably should have searched up the name but oh well) and mountains. The climb down the rocks was a bit challenging, because the rain made it pretty slippery. Amy took a little tumble (and a million little slips) and scraped her butt which was kind of really funny (sorry Amy, but you were laughing too!!). Right when we got to the bottom of the big rocks, it turned sunny. Thanks a lot, Mother Nature. But I will definitely be back at the Chief someday to take on the third peak!
Capilano River Park + Cleveland Dam
Yesterday (aka Sunday), was my last day of Vancouver-adventure-time of the summer. Sharon and I decided to head over to the Capilano River Park and Cleveland Dam for an easy hike to relax a bit from the previous days. She’s probably one of my favourite people to travel around with because we both would go to great lengths just to snap a nice photo. We climbed over the railing to get a picture of our feet dangling over the dam. I don’t know what we looked like from the back, but I can imagine it wasn’t the prettiest sight. We got a bit lost in the trail because there were different trails that led to one another, with some trails being a lottt longer than we anticipated. Good thing we realized early so we were able to head back on time to catch our 3:30 showing of Jurassic World!
With so many adventures packed in just a few days, I am still not satisfied. Something triggered inside of me in the past few weeks that opened up this constant craving for more adventures. Too bad my summer in Vancouver is coming to an end, but that just means more adventures in Taiwan coming right up! Now all I need to do is find some people to go on more adventures with me…
And on a side note- I’ve already decided I am going to invest in a GoPro (looking at the Hero3+ silver edition) when I go back home, so look out for some sick photos/videos coming up in the near future!