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Friday, August 18, 2017

Vancouver Travel—Whale Watching

Based on Google Search results, the following two locations near Vancouver are top whale watching spots in North America:
Later I have watched below video and found out  about Vancouver Whale Watch located in Richmond, British Columbia.


Here is a travelogue that chronicles my whale watching experience in a beautiful summer morning. As the photos reveal, there is no whale spotted on that day. However, the whole trip was still very rewarding and the tour company also gave us a free pass with no expiry date for future whale watching.

How to Get There


To reach Steveston Fisherman's Wharf, you can:


For both routes, you can:


Photos


Below photos (click to enlarge) were taken on 07/30/2017.  In the morning, it was cloudy.  But, during the day, it turned sunny (temperature: 28°C).  Before the tour, I have decided to visit the nearby Garry Point Park first.  Boy!  I was glad that I have made that decision and been rewarded with some gorgeous views of shorelines.

Around 8:30 am, I walked from the Park to the Fisherman's Wharf.  There were already a crowd of tourists there.  However, I was able to book a trip on the Express  (a 45 passenger zodiac style vessel).  The whole trip on the water took about 4 hours.



 Garry Point Park



Steveston Fisherman’s Wharf




References

  1. Visit Richmond, BC (video)
  2. Vancouver Whale Watch
    • 12240 Second Ave #210, Richmond, BC V7E 3L8, Canada
  3. Richmond/Delta/Tsawwassen

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Vancouver Travel: Queen Elizabeth Park

At 152 meters above sea level, Queen Elizabeth Park (or QE Park best of the area) is the highest point in Vancouver and makes for spectacular views of the park, city, and mountains on the North Shore.

The 52-hectare park is home to the Bloedel Conservatory. There is also a gorgeously landscaped quarry garden, the arboretum with its collection of exotic and native trees, sculptures including one by internationally renowned artist Henry Moore, and diverse recreational offerings such as tennis, lawn bowling and pitch & putt. The park is also the perfect setting for fine dining at Seasons in the Park, a picnic or stargazing!

How to Get There


If you use public transit system like I do, here is the way to get there:
  • Taking Canada Line Skytrain to the King Edward Station
  •  Walking south towards the Park along Cambie St
You can also read the official site for more directional details.

Photos


Below photos were taken on two days (07/28 and 07/29) in 2017.  On both days, the weather (temperature: 24°C) was great.  The pictures are ordered roughly by the route of my visit:
  • Duck pond
  • Small Quarry Garden
  • City and Mountain View from the Top
  • Large Quarry Garden

Duck Pond


Small Quarry Garden



City and Mountain View on the North Shore


"Photo Session" Statues



Bridge Over Large Quarry


Walkway in Large Quarry



Maple Tree in Large Quarry


Bloedel Conservatory View from Large Quarry


References

  1. Queen Elizabeth Park
  2. Bloedel Conservatory
  3. Canada Line Skytrain
  4. TransLink
  5. Vancouver Travel—Climbing Grouse Grind Trail to the Peak of Vancouver
  6. Vancouver Travel—Grouse Mountain (The Peak of Vancouver)
  7. Vancouver Travel—Stanley Park
  8. Vancouver Travel—Charleson Park
  9. Vancouver Travel—VanDusen Botanical Garden

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Vancouver Travel—Grouse Mountain (The Peak of Vancouver)

Grouse Mountain best of the area is one of the North Shore Mountains of the Pacific Ranges in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Exceeding 1,200 m (or 4,000 feet) in altitude at its peak, is the site of an alpine ski area, Grouse Mountain Resort, which in the winter season overlooks Greater Vancouver with four chairlifts servicing 26 runs. In the summer, Grouse Mountain Resort features lumberjack shows, a birds of prey wildlife demonstration, and a scenic chairlift ride.

Public access to the mountain top can be by
  • Swiss Garaventa aerial tramway, or
  • Grouse Grind hiking trail (Open for hiking May-October.)

Photos


Below photos were taken in the afternoon (temperature: 27°C) on 07/26/2017.  They are roughly ordered in the time of my visit.


Lumberjack Show


Eagle (Birds in Motion)


Eagle Perched on Demonstrator's Hand


Vulture (Birds in Motion)


Vulture Also a Good Hopper


Owl (Birds in Motion)


Owl Flying towards Camera


Falcon (Birds in Motion)



Falcon Following Bait 



Falcon Captured Bait


Vancouver Viewed from Mountain Top


Grouse Mountain Resort Viewed from Top


Cable Car Viewed from Parking Lot


Cable Car over Parking Lot



References

  1. Grouse Mountain Official Site
  2. Vancouver Travel—Climbing Grouse Grind Trail to the Peak of Vancouver (Travel for a Purpose)


Friday, August 11, 2017

Vancouver Travel—Climbing Grouse Grind Trail to the Peak of Vancouver

The Grouse Grind outstanding is a 2.9-kilometre (or 1.8 miles) trail up the face of Grouse Mountain, commonly referred to as “Mother Nature’s Stairmaster” which has 2,830 stairs in total. As official site warns:
This trail is very challenging and not for the average hiker (note that the later part is my comment)
On average, it takes up to an hour and a half to complete the hike. But, for the first timer, two hours is recommended. The hiking is one way (i.e., downhill travel prohibited) and almost non-stop because you can be bitten by mosquitoes if you stand still or sit down. Finally, try to carry a backpack as light as possible or you could regret.


How to Reach the Trailhead


For most locals, they drive to the parking lot at the base of mountain. However, for a traveler like me, I have taken public transit system to there:
  • Taking Canada Line Skytrain to the Waterfront Station
  • Transferring to Seabus from Waterfront to Lonsdale Quay
  • Transferring to Bus 236
  • Walking across the main road from the bus stop to the trailhead (see the photo above; note that the gate was closed in the picture; however, it will be opened if the trail is open)
Note that I have bought a DayPass Ticket (i.e., Paper Compass Card) for the above transportation, which costs 10 CAD on that day. On the way down, I have spent 10 CAD for the cable tramway ride and, then, have taken free shuttle bus back to Canada Place.

Photos


Below photos were taken in early morning on 07/26/2017 (temperature: 26°C). On the trail, there are sign posts showing¼, ½, ¾ distance (see the middle photo). If you reach the peak of Grouse Mountain, you will be rewarded with gorgeous views of Vancouver at distance (see the last photo)










Saturday, August 5, 2017

Vancouver Travel—Stanley Park

Stanley Park best of the best is a 1,001-acre public park that borders the downtown of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada and is almost entirely surrounded by waters of Vancouver Harbour and English Bay. In 1886, it was turned into Vancouver's first park from the land of nonaboriginal settlers and named after Lord Stanley, 16th Earl of Derby.

This park is home to some of the city's favorite, most-visited attractions. In fact, you could easily spend more than a day here and still not see everything this urban oasis has to offer. If you want to experience the park the way the locals do, walk, cycle or jog around the nearly 14-mile-long Seawall that hugs Vancouver's waterfront.

If you're not up for the walk, you'll find several bike rental companies near the park. With your bike, you'll be able to explore the more than 17 miles of forest trails that are much less crowded than the rest of the park. Travelers recommend biking the South Creek Trail, which leads to the lily pad-covered Beaver Lake.


Bike Riding


I have rented bikes twice on two days in 2017 Summer from two different shops:
  1. Spokes Bicycle Rentals
  2. Bikes and Blades Rentals

My personal preference is Bikes and Blades Rentals because its cheaper rental and personal service. On the day that I have finished the 14-mile-long Seawall bike route in Stanley Park, I have spent roughly two hours and the rental fee from Bikes and Blades Rentals is just twelve Canadian dollars. So, don't choose the closest shop (i.e., Spokes Bicycle Rentals) from Bus Stop; do walk a little bit down Denman St to check out other bike rentals and you won't be sorry.



All people walk their bikes up the Denman St towards Vancouver Harbor first (purple path) and ride the bike only from the waterside (red path). The 14-mile-long Seawall bike route in the Park is running counter-clockwise. In most bike routes, it's ONE WAY (see picture below). So, make sure you ride the bike on the right side (i.e., not on the pedestrian side) and in the correct direction (see the arrow sign; note that below picture shows blade, but it's similar for bike).



Photos


Below pictures were taken in late Summer morning (temperature: 25°C) on 07/28//2017. You can click on them to enlarge.








References

  1. Bikes and Blades Rentals (718 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G 2L5, Canada)
  2. Stanley Park (Wikipedia)
  3. Stanley Park Reviews (U.S.News Travel)