Touch Wood Sculpture Exhibition at VanDusen Botanical Garden

Today we finally set out to explore the Touch Wood Sculpture Exhibition at VanDusen Botanical Garden. The weather was perfect for a leisurely stroll through the garden, and we saw a lot of the sculptures, but as you can see in the pictures, four of those were our favourites: Shattered Spheres (made of cedar shards) by Brent Comber, Cedar Ravens (stained with black milk paint) by Paul Burke, Nine Sentinels (broadleaf maple forms, standing in a circle) by Brent Comber and finally, Chickadees (various songbird houses, made of mixed woods) by Nathan Lee and Trevor Coghill.

Naturally, we also admired all the natural beauty there, including those beautiful sunflowers and water plants like water lilies.
Near the Nine Sentinels, with all those coloured maple leaves, it already looked like a bit of autumn. Besides, I also liked those reflections of a tree in the water, amazing, eh?

Anyway, as it was only early afternoon and we were in Vancouver already, we thought why not head over to the Vancouver Aquarium for a short visit? And that was what we did…

(to be continued…)

A hike around Sasamat Lake

As it promised to be a warm summer day today, we made our way to Sasamat Lake, which is only about a 30 minute drive from us.

When we arrived, we noticed that lots of other locals had had the same idea, as White Pine Beach and all other places around were packed with people, having brought everything for a whole day’s outing, including barbecues of all sizes.
Anyway, we still found a nice spot in the shade, and our boys couldn’t wait to jump into the water which was quite warm actually.

After having had some lunch, we went for a little hike around Sasamat Lake which was really nice, especially as most of the trail leads through the forest, is in the shade, and gives you spectacular views of the lake. On our hike, we also saw some Canada geese swimming on the lake, and some beautiful yellow water lilies that were frequently visited by blue damselflies. We even found some geocaches, but had to be very careful, because, surprisingly enough, quite a few people enjoyed the same hike that we did.

Although we enjoyed the swim (our boys) and the hike (all of us) there a lot, we didn’t stay too long and headed back home where Ben and Tom enjoyed swimming in the pool for hours…

We have been to Alice Lake

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.

Beaver Lake, Vancouver Aquarium and Lost Lagoon

We decided to do some geocaching in Stanley Park and especially chose everything around Beaver Lake.

On our way to Beaver Lake, there were two squirrels having late breakfast or early lunch. And then, we were finally there and could enjoy the beautiful lake full of water lilies. There even were some ducks – and we saw a blue dragonfly!

We then decided to pay a visit to the Vancouver Aquarium – and we even saw a little squirrel on our way. Once there, we saw Jack, the harbour porpoise, playing with a leaf, Helen and Hana, the Pacific white-sided dolphins, performing in front of an audience and the sea lion swimming endlessly.

Of course, we had to return to the Lost Lagoon (where we saw a blue heron, ducks and a swan) to round up our wonderful day. It’s always so peaceful and quiet there, and we are enjoying each visit there so much.

By the way, we did find some geocaches!

Our visit to Bodiam Castle and Pevensey Castle

Today we went from West Sussex to East Sussex where our first destination was Bodiam Castle, a moated castle near Robertsbridge, dating back to the 14th-century. Our second stop was Pevensey Castle, a medieval castle in the village Pevensey.

The walk to Bodiam Castle was very pleasant itself, especially as we could always see the castle on our way there. Crossing the wooden bridge into the castle was great, too, and lots of ducks and carps were in the water saying hello to all the visitors. Once inside, we could see all the remaining parts of it and had a fantastic view of the countryside around it from one of the towers. In one of the towers there even were some bats. Once outside again, we had lunch on one of the benches with a great view of the water, the water lilies, the ducks and, of course, the castle itself.

Some miles away a public footpath led us to Pevensey Castle where we spent some time exploring the grounds. Afterwards we had a lovely walk around the outer curtain wall of the castle. As we were ready to leave, the sun came out and gave us one final look at the castle in the sunlight.

It was a very beautiful day we enjoyed very much. Oh, and we found some geocaches at both castles, too.