Just across the bridge from Vancouver, almost literally a stone’s throw away, lies one of the most beautiful parks I have ever laid eyes on. I can’t remember just now who recommended that we visit Stanley Park… I think it was my dad or my aunt in Seattle, but whoever it was was right on the money with that one.
We were a little bit frustrated after having to navigate the city for about an hour (after leaving the comfort of iPhone Google maps behind in the US) with only a miniscule box on a one page map in a Wal Mart road atlas to guide us. We had planned on just popping over to the park to eat lunch, which obviously didn’t happen the way we planned, so we were both that kind of grumpy you get when you are really hungry but just can’t eat. We pulled off of the highway into the park, and knew instantly that we had made the right decision. An upscale marina sat to our right, while a seemingly unending forest stretched out to our right. Even though we were hungry, we ate quickly so we would have time to explore.
I had been picturing a little city park. You know, the ones with dilapidated picnic benches and dirty swing sets. But this was like Christmas come early. We walked through the lush, green rainforest, oohing and aahing over the size of the massive pine trees (don’t know if they were really pine, but they were something like that.) There were geese and squirrels (apparently in Canada squirrels are black?) running around everywhere. We made our way to the other side of the peninsula, and walked back along the shore. I was watching out really hard for starfish, but I didn’t see any. I hope I do in Alaska. As we made our way back around to our car, we came upon a clearing where a bunch of totem poles had been erected. Each had a different significance, and most represented different tribes. I learned that the totem on top of each pole (usually a bird) is called the “Thunderbird”. You learn something new every day.
Everything was perfect that afternoon, until we tried to find our way out of the park, which was nearly impossible. But, we did it, and headed on for Whistler, not knowing what other wonders would be in store for us.