With the kids grown and out of the house we’ve used the Christmas holiday season to stow the trailer and pamper ourselves while we explore. Both the Capilano Suspension Bridge and  Lighthouse Park have been on my list of places to visit for some time. Theresa had seen that the bridge would be decorated with holiday lights. So for this Christmas, we grabbed our passports and headed to Vancouver British Columbia.

Lighthouse Park

I’ve been through Vancouver a couple of times, but never really had a chance to check out the area. I wasn’t sure the dead of winter was the best choice as it was damp and bone-chilling cold, but as long as we kept moving we could enjoy ourselves.

One of the places just out of town and across Lions Bridge is Lighthouse Park. Parking the FJ we headed out on the main trail and despite there being a covering of snow it was quite a comfortable day.

It’s just a  short walk down towards the lighthouse, follow the wide trail for about 10 minutes. To the right of the picnic tables, a path leads up onto a rocky outcrop giving a view of the lighthouse just over the tree line. Unfortunately the lighthouse is off limits and the only view from the landward sides is from this rocky knoll. Next time I’ll return with a boat.

However, there is another picturesque location is at Starboat Cove. It’s a short 15-minute walk east from the lighthouse where there is a sign for a steep path that takes you down to the beach area. At low tide, this is the perfect area to have a picnic and enjoy the view that extends from the Lions Gate Bridge to the University of British Columbia to Vancouver Island on a clear day.

Today was not that day as we had the pleasure of experiencing light snow flurries on while on the trail.

Capilano Suspension Bridge

During our second outing we headed to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. My curiosity was peaked if for no other reason you hear so many recommendation to visit this place. Well…I can see why. It’s amazing.

Going this time of the year we had the double pleasure of seeing it wrapped in holiday lights. But honestly, although the lights were festive they couldn’t compete with the natural beauty and spectacle of the bridge. What I wasn’t aware of was the deep history of this place.

In 1888, George Grant Mackay, a Scottish civil engineer and land developer, arrived in the young city of Vancouver in Canada. Mackay purchased 6,000 acres of dense forest on either side of Capilano River and built a cabin on the very edge of the canyon wall. In 1889 he suspended a footbridge made of hemp rope and cedar planks across the canyon with the help of August Jack Khahtsahlano and a team of horses who swam the ropes across the river. The ropes were then pulled up the other side and anchored to huge buried cedar logs.

But this is just the start. What happens afterwards reads like a soup opera; much too long to go into detail here, but you read the full story here.

Steve Weileman

I've been lucky enough to have some of my work featured on CNN, Outside TV and, National Geographic. Join me as I continue to both learn the art of film-making and document the exciting new modern world of citizen-science. His work has been featured on CNN, National Geographic, and OutsideTV, as well as numerous local outlets.

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