I haven’t posted for a while; partly due to some personal stuff, being busy, and a surgery. However, we have been getting “out there” with many rainy day trips to Lynn Canyon, Pacific Spirit Park, Stanley Park, and Deas Island. These last three are only about 20 mins from where I live and makes it very easy to get into the trees without going to far.
UBC Botanical Gardens is a perfect example of this.
Literally across the road from Pacific Spirit Park, the gardens have a large variety of things to see. They have a large collection of magnolias, maples, rhododendrons (my mom loves these), an alpine garden, a native species rainforest garden (Cool fact: We have the only coniferous rainforest on the planet here), Asian gardens (including the Nitobe Memorial Garden) and an amazing food growing garden for teaching food growing techniques.
The trails are normally accessible, but they are currently upgrading decades old irrigation and drainage and there is construction and mud on a lot of the trails. (The boys ended up with muddy knees but that’s pretty much par for the course). The staff are great and they will provide you with a map and trails that can get you around most of it. The work they are doing is to increase accessibility to a lot of areas so be patient, it’s for a good cause.
The Gardens are amazing and there are so many educational opportunities that it is hard to touch them all in one visit. However, although we did explore the gardens it is not why we went…
We went for the Greenheart Treewalk. I have been trying to increase my oldest sons bravery and sense of adventure and I wanted to test how far he has come. He has scrambled up and down rock faces and crossed a lot of suspension bridges but this was different. I should mention here that I do not like heights all that much myself, but will always challenge that fear.
You have to pay a little extra to do the Treewalk and they will give you a code to open the door that secures the area. They also do Guided Tours for the TreeWalk.
The TreeWalk is a series of suspended walkways and platforms high above the forest ﬂoor. The 310 metre long, tree top canopy walk, is carefully hung from Douglas firs and Cedars some of which are over 100 years old. The whole system is attached to the trees without nails or bolts and utilizes a cable tension system so that it doesn’t hurt the trees or surrounding ecosystem!! The bridges link a number of platforms where you can stop and admire the beauty of the canopy and forest floor from a maximum height of about 23 metres (75 feet) off the ground.
My boys loved it!!! Due to my youngest sons special needs he cannot walk the bridges (Yet! 😉 ) so I carried him in my freeloader carrier. He was giggling the whole way as the bridges swayed back and forth (yes, they move quite a bit). My oldest loved the view, and I had to remind him to not swing a few times. No fear at all! He kept mentioning that it looked like the planet of Endor (the Ewoks home planet). He mentioned to me that I should get my charity group to put on their armour and do a photo shoot there. (For those of you that don’t know I am part of a charity group called the 501st that dresses up as Stormtroopers and other Star Wars characters for charity).
Without a carrier the Treewalk is not accessible; however, that shouldn’t necessarily stop you. The forest floor is criss-crossed with accessible trails underneath the Treewalk. If you take the whole family some of you could be up in the trees while others can watch from down below. It could make for some amazing photos from both perspectives.
So whether you go to enjoy the accessible trails around the gardens, the Greenheart Treewalk or both I recommend it, and I recommend taking a camera.
The Walking Dad