A hazy shade of summer

The bright blue skies that have so far adorned our photographs started to hide behind a fine, yet firm, veneer of haze that covered Vancouver about two weeks into our trip. It was smoke from forest fires, which were mercifully far away but prevented us from seeing the sights in their full splendour for a while. So we took the opportunity to stay local, spending time at parks, meeting some lovely mums for playdates (Natasha via the extremely helpful Kitsilano Moms Facebook group, and Grace via a mutual friend in Sydney), and taking advantage of a truly excellent local facility called West Side Family Place which provides a kind of drop-in playgroup every weekday morning (amazing!), and a toy lending library which is open every Tuesday (double amazing for travellers like us with limited toys!).

And we also found some fun things to do where the haze didn't matter. As a minor vertigo sufferer, Lynn Canyon Park provided a less heart-stopping (and significantly less expensive) suspension bridge experience than the nearby famous Capilano Suspension Bridge, and the easy forest trails on the other side of the bridge allowed for plenty of scampering opportunities when little Miss was fed up of being in the carrier. I tell you, this trip has done wonders for all of our fitness levels: her balance is coming on really well from negotiating forest terrain; all the backpack- / child-carrying (and sometimes both at once!) is a great workout for us thirty-somethings, and young Master H climbed well over 200 steps coming back from this first wee family hike!

(By the way, I promise you that none of these blog photos are edited in any way (other than occasional cropping). The forest light here in Canada can be truly ethereal at times.)

lynn-canyon

lynn-canyon

 lynn-canyon

lynn-canyon

lynn-canyon

lynn-canyon


Next on the list was Maplewood Farm, a super wee place where we saw a cow being milked, and had a great time playing in the goat enclosure.

maplewood-farm

maplewood-farm

We also ventured into the city, having only really travelled through it up until now. Vancouver is really pretty small so we were able to cover quite a bit on foot, from the controversial steam clock in the historic gastown district to the architecturally-intriguing Vancouver Public Library in the heart of downtown.

steam-clock

library

And near us is the VanDusen Botanical Garden, where I had a minor selfie stick fail in that I couldn't get the Bluetooth connection to work quickly enough so I had to hastily take the photo with my other hand while all four of us were looking vaguely in the right direction...

vandusen-garden

vandusen-garden

vandusen-garden


Then, just as the smoke started to clear, we chased it down again... at the Abbotsford International AirShow! Now given my dearly beloved is a huge fan of fighter planes (he was my first call when there was a spare ticket at a girls' Top Gun outdoor movie night and as predicted he rocked up like a shot; plus we've driven to Miramar in San Diego at least twice that I can recall), I've been to a few airshows before but for some reason this one was the one that got me hooked. I really loved the family outing aspect of it - Master H was so excited at getting to sit in a helicopter that he asked to put the seatbelt on, and Miss H thought my pulled pork macaroni cheese (why haven't I discovered this before now?!) was the best thing since bananas that day. (Note for parents: in a moment of genius we thought to take our noise-cancelling headphones which I'd highly recommend for anyone going to an airshow with a 2-year-old. Our daughter didn't care but Master H was a bit shaken up at first by the really loud planes.)

abbotsford-airshow

abbotsford-airshow

abbotsford-airshow


Coming up... Deep Cove, and we finally get to the fabulous mountains!

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Cheerio, Chicago