Monday, 8 October 2012

You never know until you try!

First off, Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers! I hope you are all enjoying the long weekend, especially those fellow Vancouverites enjoying this gorgeous sunny weather we are being spoilt with! We here in the Velo Family have been having a great little weekend together, with the highlight so far being our adventure on Saturday. Having done so much in the city throughout the summer on our bikes, my husband and I decided to use this and the Remembrance Day long weekends to try and do things we have been meaning to do outside the city but have been hesitant to do due to distance or just lack of time. So Saturday morning we set off from East Vancouver to Burnaby Mountain to go for a family hike.
Coralie and Etienne all ready for a hike,
complete with "crazy legs"
Cruising along in yoga pants and runners,
dressed for the destination!

After a hearty breakfast, we packed up a lunch, hitched up the bike trailer to Chris' bike, and set off for the 16 km journey along the Central Valley Greenway towards Burnaby Mountain. Heading East on the CVG is something we don't do very often, except as far Rupert and the grocery store there. As a family, we have never gone as far as Burnaby Lake, and I was surprised to realize how easy it is to get there. It is essentially a flat ride all the way, most of which is along cycling/pedestrian dedicated pathways, well away from exhaust fumes and cars racing to get to family gatherings for the long weekend. It was a beautiful ride, especially with the trees now changing colours, and my only complaint is that cycling on gravel is not the most smooth of rides. We also managed to go the wrong way just a handful of times, but as a result, I now know how close we are to the Burnaby Lake Sports Fields, which should come in handy for when my son starts playing soccer!

Crossing over Winston Road and heading East
The colours of Autumn
Pained bike lanes in Burnaby 
Riding alongside a freight train...pretty cool!
Once we reached the trail head for the hike up Burnaby Mountain, it was about time to refuel. We sat on the rocks and enjoyed some lunch, which, coincidentally, managed to lighten the backpack Chris carried along the back, so win-win for him! Once fueled up and ready to go, we set off on the 2 km hike from North Road up to SFU. It's been some time since we went for a proper hike that involved some challenging terrain, so while the kids had a bit of trouble from time to time on the more immediate sections, it was a great achievement to finally reach the top. While the kids didn't ride their bikes to the trail, I am pretty darned proud of my active kids, willing to come along with Mom and Dad on their silly little adventures. For Chris and I, the hike was a revelation that our kids may not be quite ready for a hike as intense as the Grouse Grind, but because we tried, we know they can handle some pretty gritty trails.
Hiking up the "Grinding Gears" trail...
it's a Black Diamond for those on Mountain Bikes!

Looking down to the city and the Island
Mountain in the background
We took a quick walk around the SFU campus, being sure to stop for a Popsicle treat, before heading back down the way we came. Going dawn, while slightly faster, was actually much trickier. Because it has been so long since we've seen rain here on the West Coast, and because the trails are shared with Mountain Cyclists, the terrain was quite dusty and soft, meaning that slipping and falling on your behind is very probably. In fact, only one of us made it to the bottom without slipping, and that was my husband, the member of our family wearing a pair of heavily worn shoes with little treads left. Despite that though, both kids enjoyed themselves thoroughly, Coralie leading us on the way up and Etienne leading the whole way down, running so far ahead that Coralie and I found ourselves frequently some distance behind Etienne and Chris who did his best to stay with him the whole way down. In Etienne's own words as he raced down, "This is SO FUN!"

Three dirty bums!
Needless to say, once we reached the bottom of the trail again and reunited with our bikes, the kids got back into the trailer and we headed home. By this point, we were obviously all pretty tired, so we opted to hop onto the Skytrain at Production Way station and caught the train West and home. We got home just before dinner, everyone ready to relax, and the kids were in bed by 7:30, which in our house on a weekend is quite early. I'd like to say that Chris and I were shortly behind them for getting to sleep, but being gluttons for punishment, we then went out to celebrate our friend's 30th birthday, including dancing away to music from from the 90's and reliving our teen years. Overall, it was a day filled with adventures and trying something new, and I'm so glad we conquered yet another item on our to do list. Next hike...the Stawamus Chief?
We made it, and are still smiling!

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