We actually wanted to go to Whytecliff Park in North Vancouver, but our navigation system somehow misled us and proposed a u-turn near Porteau Cove. So instead of following its instructions, we spontaneously decided to go ahead and stay at Porteau Cove.
Once there, we found one of the rare parking spots left, took our backpacks and started exploring the area a bit. Surprisingly enough, there were not many people walking along its rocky beach, so that we nearly had it for ourselves. Ben and Tom had a good time there, playing in and at the water, and they liked climbing that dead tree lying on the beach. I had to follow them, of course, to get some great pictures. I am still fascinated by the natural beauty there: the rocky coastline looking over Howe Sound to the mountains beyond. And look, some of those mountains still had some snow!
Anyway, we followed the coastline until we came to a little lagoon at the end of Porteau Cove’s campsite where our boys had some more fun playing in the water.
After having spent several hours there, we headed towards the pier again, got into the car, went along the Sea to Sky Highway (yay!) and headed towards Vancouver where we wanted to say hi to Jack.
Although the weather forecast predicted a 60% chance of rain today, we nevertheless went to Alice Lake Provincial Park, a most beautiful place to spend a day hiking, geocaching and enjoying nature at its best. In summer this is also a great place for swimming, kayaking and relaxing at the beach. We decided to tackle all four lakes which are, by the way, fresh water lakes, and what better way to do so than hiking along this 6 km Four Lakes Trail that covers, as the name says, all four lakes. After having had some lunch at Alice Lake, where there are plenty of picnic benches available, and seeing a Canada geese family with five goslings at the lake, we headed towards Stump Lake where our official walking tour was about to start. Stump Lake had some beautiful yellow water lilies to admire. Besides we saw so-called floating gardens that are made of sphagnum moss and sedge. Those plants anchor to a fallen log, grow out over the surface and then form such floating gardens. Great, eh? On our way to Fawn Lake we passed a wild creek and made our way towards it. Once there we could not only admire the water paving its way along the little stones but also see those beautiful mountains, still covered in snow. From the creek it was back into the wilderness again, and after an uphill hike we could even see it again from above. On our way we saw a Douglas squirrel which, unfortunately, was too fast to get a picture of and a black wild animal. Well, it was not a black bear, but black and wild it was, this black slug… And then it looked as if we had found a moss covered orca in the woods. It really does look like one, doesn’t it? Along the trail we also saw young ferns and some Cornus canadensis or bunchberries which they are called, too, and which are native to Canada. Finally we arrived at Fawn Lake where quite a few people were resting on some logs in front of it – and we had a rest, too, before continuing our hike to Edith Lake. Once there, we saw some anglers trying to catch some fish. From Edith Lake it was another smaller uphill hike before finally getting onto the long downhill walk to Alice Lake where we passed a little creek, crossed a nice little bridge and enjoyed some tiny waterfalls. Just look at the crystal clear water! Then we stopped to admire this beautiful old stump, and from there it was only a very short walk until we reached Alice Lake where we once again sat on one of those picnic benches – in the sun! – to enjoy some afternoon snack before heading back home. Alice Lake itself is also a very stunning place with its beaches, picnic areas, a great playground – and all that surrounded by mountains and forests. Simply beautiful! On our way back home, we decided quite spontaneously to stop at one of those viewpoints along the route and did get a great view of Watts Point (known as Xelxwelítn, meaning Europeans) and Howe Sound. All in all we had a wonderful day hiking along the most beautiful Four Lakes trail where we could walk in the wild, untouched nature and see lots of Pacific red cedars and Douglas firs, among others. And we also found some geocaches hidden along the trail. Anyway, I especially love those moss covered trees and still can’t believe that we are living in the Pacific temperate rain forests with its lush vegetation. We will definitely be back soon.
Sunday showed its sunny side so that we couldn’t resist and head out into the sunlight to enjoy a great day in sunny Vancouver.
On our way to Stanley Park we observed one of the blue herons standing in the water near Devonian Harbour Park and trying to catch some food – and that it did! It just seemed as if its food didn’t want to be eaten and tried to seal the blue heron’s bill. After this exciting experience we continued our walk to the Vancouver Aquarium where we couldn’t wait to get inside once again. Well, it was only the second time this week…
We headed to the first sea otters’ habitat where we watched Tanu and Katmai at feeding time. And then we saw that Elfin, the male sea otter, was in his habitat again – happily playing with a red ball. They are all so cute, and I simply can’t get enough observing them.
Then we went on to have a look at Hana and Helen who were happily swimming in their smaller habitat, especially Helen swam around all the time – on her back!
Opposite them the sea lion jumped out of the water while two seals were looking out of the water.
But as huge Jack and Daisy fans we simply had to go down to their underwater viewing area. Surprisingly, Daisy came down this time posing in front of the cameras – just like a little diva, but so super cute! The funny thing was that Jack didn’t come down as long as Daisy was there, instead he hovered nearby observing the situation. It looked like as if he had been parked there.
Then we made our way to the 3:30 pm dolphin show but had to stand in a second row as it was really crowded. As always, you could see that Hana and Helen had great fun during their training session which was commented on very enthusiastically by Lauren, a passionate interpretive specialist for marine mammals at the Vancouver Aquarium. After the show and a little chat with Lauren we went to see Hana and Helen at their underwater viewing area and were amazed how close they swam by.
After having spent some time there, we headed to Aurora and Qila’s underwater viewing area, sat on one of the benches and just watched those beautiful belugas in action.
From there it’s just a little walk to Jack and Daisy’s habitat where we spent the rest of the afternoon playing with Jack (me) – and yes, he came down very often – or taking pictures of him (mostly Marcus, sometimes me as I was busy playing with him…). We were literally the last two persons to leave Jack. Strangely enough he somehow sensed that his fun was over and he stopped playing, and it seemed as if he was saying something like ‘You can’t go now. I’m so cute!’ That was heart breaking…
Anyway, we really had to leave the Vancouver Aquarium and strolled through Stanley Park where we saw two squirrels until we arrived at the Lost Lagoon. There we saw a blue heron, together with two ducks, on one of those logs placed in the Lost Lagoon. After a while a tree swallow landed on a bird house nearby. Of course, the usual Canada geese and seagulls were present, too. And then, just like some days ago, a male red-winged blackbird appeared, quickly followed by a female one.
At Devonian Harbour Park we couldn’t believe our eyes as we saw another pair of black-winged blackbirds there. The Canada geese family and their goslings from last time were swimming on the pond before heading onto land for their lunch or dinner.
As we had to get back to Burrard SkyTrain station, we walked along the seafront, passed the marina and saw two seagulls checking out their seafront property, i.e. this interesting piece of art. A bit further on we also had a great view of the Convention Centre, the sea plane terminal and Vancouver harbour. But we had to get some rest on those lovely benches at Jack Poole Plaza (who can’t resist sitting on those huge benches?) where we could once again enjoy the view of Coal Harbour, Stanley Park, North Vancouver and the mountain range with those funnily shaped mountains.
As you can see, we had a most fantastic day which simply has to be repeated soon!