After The Canadian Cross Country Road Trip.
ARTICLE #13: BRITISH COLUMBIA PART THREE- ENJOYING THE OCEAN BREEZE AGAIN.
Have you ever wondered why we follow the paths of life we embark? With all the different career choices and ways of life that are available to us how it is that we decide to focus on one or several different choices? They're variable reasons, of course, depending who you talk too. One individual might say it's a family tradition that has been carried out by generations before him/her. Another group of people could say they are following a cause that is important and has personal value to them. There are some that will take a chance into a decision to hopefully find out what their true calling could be. The last example fits my description. Throughout my years of discovering myself, I never had a clear line of sight toward where I wanted to go in life. It's been a lot of trials and error, wiping the drawing board down and starting a new plan from the ground up. With each lesson I learned from the experiences I've gone through, there have been times I can't help myself and ask the above question. The upside of this is I'm always in a different state of life, and my headspace has changed from the last time the question has been brought up. It's as if I'm performing a self-evaluation on myself and where I'm at that particular moment. I like to believe I'm on the right course, but it'll depend on what becomes my answer when I ask myself that question in the future.
It’s been three days that I’ve been in British Columbia. I’ve gone on the Trans Canada Highway through Mount Robson Provincial Park, in through the city of Kamloops which then introduced me to the amazing landscape of the Coquihalla Valley. From there I spent time in the cozy town of Mission while heading west on Highway 7 alongside the Fraser River. I tried my chances towards the massive city of Vancouver but failed because my brain decided not to function anymore. A series of speed bumps killed my back, and I foolishly left my car door open while I walk into the woods oblivious of the free garage sale I was leaving behind. All that questioned my overall mental state so I decided to retire the idea of exploring the city and take a break within the tremendously beautiful Hemlock forests and mountain landscape that is Golden Ears Provincial Park. The story continues with the rested French explorer slowly getting out of his old faithful tent that has been a great shelter throughout his trip. Does he want to see a tent after this trip is over, my guess is no. An overcast morning was coming to light, and I felt as pleasant as a cool summer breeze. My mind was a 100% rested and recovered, my body was cracked and adjusted, and my intention of getting to Vancouver looked pretty bright. I made the decision of heading to a Tim Hortons to get my breakfast and once again attain some cell phone reception and reconnect to the world. For some people, one day can be a long time to be away from your social feeds. With a rested body I was ambitious with the idea of seeing the famous Stanley Park, then head north to see Whytecliff Provincial Park, and then finish the day off with the town of Squamish. With a bagel, a muffin, and a coffee becoming my fuel for the first leg of the day, I was ready to rock and roll. Onto Highway 7 westbound, I made my way towards Highway 7A, then the Trans-Canada Highway, which at this point is Highway 1, past North Vancouver with no problem at all, and then south on Highway 99 which brought me to the amazing Lions Gate Bridge. From that point, I reached Stanley Park. This 405-hectare public park is a whole bucket of various goodness. Originally being home to indigenous people for thousands of years before the British colonized in the Fraser Canyon Gold Rush in 1858, this location has become a must stop for tourists and random wandering Frenchmen alike.
I parked at Prospect Point and took my bicycle as my primary mode of transportation. The trip down to one of the beaches proved to be a lot of fun but also a huge pain because I’d have to paddle uphill to get back to my car. There was a lot of going on that day. I wanted to get my first shot for my daily vlog and I couldn’t help but notice this young woman walking down to the water to go for a swim. The temperature was less than ideal for me to consider swimming in the water, let alone in the ocean, and this person was motoring quite quickly through the water with little issue. She must have done this once or twice. With the courageous swimmer fading out of my composition I grabbed my camcorder and filmed my shot. I noticed in the distance that there was a group of people that were moving gear and lighting. As I got closer, I realized it was a film production. Big cameras, tents for the staff, groups of people huddled in different areas of the beach; it seemed like something good was happening. I continued on my way along the paved trail towards the second beach. I had my go pro camera and boy did it come in handy in this next scene. I got in an area where there was car traffic and right when I got close to the motor vehicle lane there was a 300,000 plus dollar Maclaren MP4-12C Spider that drives next to me. Being the car nut that I am, I tried following the eye candy as much as I could. The car eventually gained speed and left me with a huge smile on my face. After getting back to reality, I continued onward with my two wheel steed towards the second beach area. I was impressed by the sheer size of the place. Many different things were happening that it's hard for me to remember while writing this. I followed the North Lagoon Drive and rode underneath Highway 99 and kept following the Vancouver Seawall trail with parts of the city of Vancouver appearing across the harbor. It was relaxing even with a significant amount of people that were cycling that day. The pathway was divided for pedestrians and cyclists which made all the world of a difference for traveling around the area, especially when you’re not familiar with it. After a little bit of time with pedaling up a series of hills, I made my way back to my car. With Stanley Park in the bag, my next destination of the day was going to be outside of town at Whytecliff Provincial Park.
Located North West of Stanley Park in North Vancouver, Whytecliff Provincial Park is a great getaway from the traffic of Vancouver City. Being a natural marine sanctuary, and home to 200 plus marine animals, this location offers great views of the surrounding islands within the area. The weather was tremendous and with a little bit of overcast, it gave me a great opportunity for mid-afternoon photography. The tide was low which was perfect because it gains you access to Whyte Island. The area also serves the purpose of providing ferry routes since the Horseshoe Ferry Terminal is nearby. I was happy to see the ocean once again. Having the Atlantic Ocean as your childhood playground and your adult retreat from life was a blessing while living on the East Coast. Standing alongside the rocky beaches with the ocean waves slowly coming onto shore brought me back to that headspace of peace and the comfort of home. In the future, I’ll always wanted to explore new places and gain new experiences but eventually I know with time that I will want to go back to where it all started. After finishing my lunch alongside the shore, I grabbed my camera bag and walked to my car. My last destination of the day was going to be Squamish. Located north of Whytecliff Provincial Park, Squamish is a beautiful mountain town. Offering great opportunities for outdoor activities like going to the Sea to Sky Gondola that brings you at an elevation gain of 3011 feet towards fantastic views of the area. There are mountain bike and hiking trails, and one of the more renown sports that I’ve learned while being there was mountain climbing. One of the first parks I arrived was Stawamus Chief Provincial Park which had a lot of people coming back from their day of climbing off the face on the massive granite monolith that stood behind the park. After not succeeding in finding a location for the night I went into town to get some food. The mountain towns are the best for me. I love the speed of the traffic, the people are usually very friendly and helpful, and the atmosphere is very calm. When I came into the parking lot for where I was going to get some food I received a compliment for my bicycle. At first, I didn’t know if the individual was kidding, but this middle age man was sincerely giving me a compliment. As far as I was concerned, my bicycle was the Toyota Prius of mountain bikes. There are crazy mountain bikes that are riding in these areas. The North Shores of British Columbia have given birth to aggressive styles of riding and the bicycles that ride in these conditions need to be able to take the abuse. As I was telling the man of my experience with my bike, I noticed I had a flat tire. I wanted to ride early the next day, so I looked up a mountain bike store, and since this is a small mountain town, it was quick to find.
With a tire tube in my hand for my bicycle, I made my way to my car. I was thinking of the conversation I had with one of the sales rep in the bike store. We had a short talk with a young woman that was getting her bike tuned up and the conversation turned to what was my business in the area. After mentioning that I was crossing the country, the sales rep and the young woman said they were both from the East Coast. It’s a small world after all. The owner of the bike was a student at the University of British Columbia, and the sales rep was working and living on the West Coast to pursue his interests in the outdoor sports. I got into my car and noticed that there was a Tesla Supercharger station behind a restaurant with a Tesla Model S charging from it. By now you can probably tell that I follow cars. Throughout my trip across the country, I noticed that the idea of adopting alternative methods of transportation like going completely electric is becoming bigger and bigger. I noticed a lot of Tesla Model S cars in Montreal, Quebec than in Edmonton and Calgary, Alberta, and then quite a few throughout British Columbia. Since the release of this car, I’ve considered more and more of wanting to try this platform out. I would even want to try in long distance travels like what I’ve being doing for the past two months. With time I’m sure that will be a possibility. I still had a little bit of daylight left before I had to find another location to camp for the night, so I got back on Highway 99 southbound and stopped in a parking lot that faced the Stawamus Chief Mountain face. There was a set of small trails that went into the woods so with blind confidence I took off into the trails. With a little bit of perseverance, the time I took away from finding a campsite paid off. I was staring at the North view of the Howe Sound Mouth with beautiful sun rays coming out of the sky through the clouds with the mountain landscape in the background. The foreground was the Squamish Terminals which looked fitting with the wooden logs sitting in the water. My day was complete with having the weather clear up and providing me with a spectacular view like this. I’m certain that there that have been better climatic conditions than this but when you have someone that randomly stops somewhere and gets this type of shot within the first five minutes, it's a blessing. With the last location checked off my list, it was time to make my way down south and try to find somewhere to spend the night.
My end destination of the evening was going to be Porteau Provincial Park. Located south of Squamish off highway 99 I was crossing my fingers that I was going to find a place to stay the night. I arrived at the campsite, and sure enough, it was full. Luckily there was an overflow that I had access too. I was relieved, right up until I saw what the overflow was. The area didn't look much like an overflow but more like the guest parking lot for the park. There was a strip of grass alongside the car park which also served as the tent sites. Yay. What made matters a little more concerning was about twenty feet away from the strip of grass were a set of train tracks. I was hoping that whatever train that needed to use these train tracks had already passed for the day. With my tent set up and my optimism cranked up to ten, I went to bed feeling pretty accomplished. I knew at a young age that I liked to explore new areas and be with nature. I didn’t know how I was going to accomplish this personal curiosity of mine, but I knew that I wanted to take small steps in learning how. Jumping into an idea face first with little to no knowledge is a scary move that can spell potential failure. I wanted to explore as much of Canada as I could because I wanted to get familiar with the country that is my home. Another reason was that I wanted to see how I would make out in a situation of traveling. I never took this much time dedicated to one particular initiative. The idea of spending as much time as possible with photography and filming was intimidating when I lived my life focused on a full-time job. Changing that to laying down on an inflatable mattress twenty feet away from a set of train tracks and having my home shared between a tent and my car took some getting used too. These are the types of challenges that I found fitting for myself. I was intimidated from the moment I left the keys to the home I had spent the last three years in before I left for this trip, to the moment I left my hometown to start my Canadian cross country photography run. Gaining the sense of fulfillment is different with everyone and the stories that unravel with that individual becomes one of the many examples of how beautiful we are as creatures which is what makes life so fascinating. That seemed like an excellent way to set the tone for the rest of evening, up until at around 2:00 am I was alarmingly awakened by what I was fearing the most that night, the soothing sounds of tons and tons of screeching steel and large diesel engines roaring by my little tent. Tomorrow is going to be a tough day.