Vancouver Vibes in 48 Hours

Piggy backing off my recent post reminiscing our hiking adventures in British Columbia, I wanted to review our collective 48 hours in Vancouver – so here it goes!

We arrived in the evening and made our way to the old fashioned Victorian Hotel in the Gastown district. Before booking our hotel I researched the neighborhoods a bit and wanted something that felt unique to the area with walking distance to fun restaurants and bars. Plus I love historical areas so the Gastown district was perfect because we found an eccentric spot close by for dinner and drinks at The Diamond! We stopped at another cute bar on our way back to the hotel and took in the nightlife and I remember feeling like I could spend a good chunk of time in the area.

Burrata, basil, and heirloom tomato salad at The Diamond.
The Victorian Hotel

The next day we hit up the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge park just outside the city. We didn’t rent a car because we were only in town for a very short period of time so we opted to use the free bus transit service the park offers from select parts of town. Finding the location for transit was super easy and was about a 15 minute ride (the ticket also included a free ride back to the city after the park, so it was a great perk!).

The suspension bridges of Capilano.

We had a great time exploring the area up in the air! It was such a unique and fun experience in the massive redwoods of Canada. Tip, if you’re interested in exploring I would go as early as possible in the morning because this park gets super crowded and it’s hard to have an intimate experience. We didn’t like how packed it got towards the end of our visit, but it was so pretty we didn’t care.

Once we made our way back to town we wanted to explore more of the Gastown district as well as downtown, so we walked around and got a few beers and bites along the way.

The famous clock of Gastown!

This is the point of our trip where we met up with my sister Krista and drove off to Whistler for our hiking adventures for a few days, but we all planned additional time in Vancouver on our way back.

After our amazing time out in the mountains of Whistler, we made our way back to the buzzing city life of Vancouver to our hotel downtown. We felt so sore and tired that we wanted to treat ourselves to a super nice spot to rest for our last night and it did NOT disappoint. I mean look at this view!

View from our hotel room at the Hyatt Regency, in downtown Vancouver.

We treated ourselves to the best pasta dinner and wine, but I didn’t get any photos of this experience nor do I remember where we went (just the dinner conversation will have to live on in my memory ❤ ). Krista left super early the next morning, so John and I spent the rest of the next day hopping around different breweries and boutiques in Gastown since the weather was pretty rainy and there are many good options close to us.

We LOVED Postmark Brewery – from the design of the logo and coasters to the interior design of the building, to the food menu and of course the beer. This was our favorite brewery hands down. You MUST check them out if you are in the area (plus their IG page is gorgeous and I still follow them 2 years later).

Hamburger with a side of the BEST tomato soup I’ve ever had at Postmark Brewery.
John is a Saison man.

We walked throughout more of the Gastown area which was so charming and fun. Not to mention we found some fun souvenirs and enjoyed walking the cobble sidewalks and taking in the vibe of the city.

We found the cutest place on the corner with delish brews and mac & cheese with views of the area called Peckinpah. I remember they played vintage disco music from San Francisco on the record player and knew this place was legit. Definitely stop there if that’s your thing!

Please note, we all wore plaid the entire trip. It was uniform – when in Canada, wear plaid. PLAID FOR LIFE!

Loved our experience in Vancouver and can’t wait to go back!

Bobby Hill forever.

Wish we had more time to explore the city and surrounding areas, but I just know we will go back because this corner of the world is so damn beautiful and fun! I still sport this plaid Canadian jacket I got 2 years ago. From the moment we arrived I felt like I belonged in Vancouver and enjoyed every minute of our trip – the city, the hiking, the beauty of the wilderness. I love the PNW so much and this was just an extension of that.

Mad love and respect for Canada…until next time!

British Columbia Hiking Adventures – September 2018

I would never call myself an “outdoorsy person” until a few years ago. And even then, it’s not natural for me, but more like I’ve grown into not being “an indoors-only person.” Sort of like an indoor-outdoor cat. While living in California and being with John for many years, I became more comfortable with hiking, camping, and wilderness adventures that would have definitely intimated me 15 years ago. But adventure has always called me, especially when it’s outside of my comfort zone! So when my sister Krista asked us if we wanted to join her on an REI guided hiking trip in British Columbia, we didn’t hesitate.

It was 3 days of hiking ranging anywhere from 7 to 10 miles per day, upward of 3,000 elevation gain in a single hike. Labeled as moderate it was no joke, and to train John and I did more advantageous hikes (2-3 a month, from 5-8 miles each) for 10-12 weeks prior to leaving. This meant I had to acclimate quickly, get boots that were easy to break in (hello Danner boots which I LOVE), and build my endurance. While I have always been a workout fiend completing multiple half marathons and ongoing weekly circuit training sessions, serious hiking is a totally different skill set, and despite that I was in shape – I felt very unprepared for what I was about to get into! I will post the hikes we did for training with a whole separate piece on my favorite hikes in California, but just know many miles went into preparing for this experience throughout summer of 2018.

The REI portion of the trip was 4 days / 3 nights at the Whistler Lodge with about 12 other guests plus 2 guides. It was nice being able to hike throughout the day and stay in a comfortable room and hot tub after (as opposed to backpacking) but I’m pretty sure anything you do in this area would be considered amazing due to the sheer beauty of everything. John and I met my sister in Vancouver and rode up to Whistler together, and we sandwiched some Vancouver fun on both ends of the hiking portion (which I’ll cover in a different post).

We hiked in our group of other like-minded individuals from all over, though John and I tended to stick with Krista the majority of the time in the back, as it was challenging for all of us at different times. Plus I enjoy taking my time and hiking slower than others (maybe because I’m short with short legs? I don’t feel the need to rush and walk fast and lead the way, I’d rather be the tail end so that when or if danger appears I am likely more safe 😉 ha!).

Day One was spent hiking all of the Joffre Lakes trail, from the first to the second lake, and the hardest portion of getting to the third lake with the glacier at the very top. This was one of the most BEAUTIFUL places I’ve ever seen in my life. It is the picturesque vision you imagine being enthralled in when you think of hiking in Canada.

On our way up we made a stop at the second lake and John had an incredible nature experience – check out this bird that landed on his hand as if he was a character in a Disney movie!

Going up was steep but I did it without using any poles. Once we were up at the top lake we were able to view the glacier and enjoy a nice picnic. However it started to rain and coming down was super challenging without poles so one of the guides lent me theirs and I was able to make it down the large slippery boulders. This was the scariest moment for me as I felt very anxious being the last one in the group, moving slowly to ensure that I didn’t fall in the pouring rain – but in the end I made it out only 15 minutes behind everyone else and was able to take my time, so I call that a win.

Day Two we made our way up Skywalk Trail on Rainbow Mountain in a beautiful old growth forest. It felt as if we were hiking in Lord of the Rings or some fantasy flick and was one of the coolest settings I’ve ever been in!

I used the poles for the entire journey on this day because this hike was super steep (upwards of 3,100 elevation gain), and because we were slow pokes we broke the bigger group of 12 into two, with the fast walkers leading and our group casually took our time. This was nice to not feel rushed and enjoy the amazing scenery, but also because this was a very long hike and if you had any goal to make it to the top you had to book it (even that group didn’t get all the way up after hiking 9 hours).

Krista also experienced a freak accident! Somehow a yellow jacket nest ended up on the ground and after many people walked over it, they buzzed out piping mad and stung her 4 times on her legs! It was so crazy and she ended up getting steroid shots from her legs ballooning up. We laughed about it later but in the moment was so bizarre.

This was John’s favorite hike and a special moment for us to share together!

After hiking we went out to dinner with our group and got to know everyone a little bit more; there as a newlywed couple from Ohio, an older couple from Houston, someone who came alone from Maryland who also went on an REI adventure in Iceland, a newly divorced older woman from South Carolina – so many unique folks!

We had one more excursion on Whistler + Blackcomb Mountain (where the 2010 Winter Olympics were held) to close out our REI adventure.

The weather turned extremely cold unexpectedly and the area had the first snowfall of the season over Labor Day Weekend! This changed our plans because none of us were prepared for hiking in the snow, and we had to do a less intense trail on the middle of the mountain (as opposed to the top). While riding the ski lift up to the top before we changed direction, I completely freaked out and felt so ill-prepared for the snow, (all while Krista laughed at me 😉 ) so I felt great about changing plans. Though John did try to go as far as he could into the unknown abyss…

It was nice closing out the intense few days of hiking with something a bit easier and relaxing, as that is my kind of hiking! But I know we definitely want to go back and explore. I think British Columbia Canada is one of (if not THEE) most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

The next area in Canada we want to hike is in Banff National Park, and hopefully after the nightmare of Covid we can make that happen! I had an incredible time with REI on this guided trip and would totally book something similar again. Having a guide allowed us to experience places we never would have found on our own and we felt safe and relaxed not having to worry about how we would get from point A to point B. And we loved our group too!

I’m also glad I got to experience something life-changing with not only my amazing partner John, but with my sister Krista as well. We loved our trip and frequently bring up those memories. ❤

Krista didn’t miss traveling together in that crazy white van though…that will not be missed LOL.

Feel free to ask me any questions about this REI trip or specific trails mentioned!