While the number one topic of conversation in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland varies between the weather and real estate, or more specifically rising housing costs and property values, it sometimes takes a gentle reminder to make us realize we live in paradise. Nestled on the edge of the ocean and surrounded by mountains the scenery is stunning, it's never too hot or too cold, there's no humidity, no bugs or poisonous creatures, and we have plenty of fresh water. Our only real problem is the rest of the world has now discovered us and the city has become too popular for its own good.
Transit expansion is proceeding at a snail's pace while meanwhile the roads and bridges are completely grid-locked from dawn to dusk. Unaffordable, high density buildings are replacing single family homes and nobody can afford to buy anything suitable for raising a family. Weekend getaways are almost impossible with massive ferry and border line-ups, the parks, beaches, and bike paths are over-crowded, as are the recreation facilities and other local attractions, and everything else has been booked up long in advance.
|Lower mainland view from Mt. Seymour|
|Section of the Baden Powell trail|
The only solution is to get off the regular weekday routine and take some time off during the week to head for the hills. They're open year round and, while everyone is grinding it out in the workplace, the mountains are practically empty. All you need is a good pair of boots and some waterproof clothing to go hiking or snowshoeing and best of all, it's free.
As much as I love to take advantage of living next to the ocean and going for my daily swim I have to admit that I'm also increasingly falling in love with the hundreds of miles of trails that exist within our local mountains. Within minutes anyone can be at the nearest trail head and enjoying the beauty and serenity of the forest not to mention getting some healthy exercise in the process. And the views of course are amazing, a coastal mountain high.
|1st Peak on Mt. Seymour|
|View of Howe Sound from the Chief|