Whytecliff Park Adventure

I needed a day where I just run away to Canada for an adventure. I kept seeing photos of beautiful beaches and mountains in British Columbia, and I wanted to find one of them and photograph and explore. On Sunday, my boyfriend and I woke up early and set off to the Canadian border. If you read my last Vancouver post, you’ll know that I was stopped and searched on my way up, which made me a little nervous this time, but obviously we got through just fine.

We started our day with a little walk around downtown Vancouver, where we ran into a Thailand festival, Viva Vancouver, as well as an Anime convention happening. The time on our parking ran out, so we decided to hit the road to see what sort of beach we could find. I had heard about Stanley Park, and thought we could head there, but upon driving though, we found that you had to pay to park and enjoy the nature (which I’ve always thought was a bit ridiculous), and it wasn’t exactly the rocky cliffs and rolling hills I was imagining, so we drove on, across Lions Gate Bridge, to see what else was out there.

One of my favorite things to do while adventuring is letting the path take you wherever you need to go, and not really caring where you end up. I’m glad that was my mindset, because after driving on the freeway for a bit, I saw an exit for Horseshoe Bay, and thought that sounded quaint. We took the road down towards the ferry, to a nice little park area near the docks, but it was very crowded, so I continued driving on. This really was the right choice, because after finding our way into a residential area, we happened upon Whytecliff Park, which had the beach I was imagining.

I had no idea this place existed, but it was like fate that we found it. This is the kind of place that the Cascadia area is known for. The beautiful rock formations, tiny islands, lovely summer seaside, and wildlife creatures are what I grew up in and love. After an hour or so of climbing the rocks, and enjoying the gorgeous weather, we decided it was time to head back, but I can’t get the amazing imagery of that place out of my head. It was like stumbling into some sort of secret cove like you see in movies. We headed back to downtown Vancouver and got a famous Japadog, and then headed back to America. It was a really great trek to take to get me into the traveling mood for next month when I leave for Europe.

Vancouver, Composed

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I have lived in Bellingham, Washington for almost four and a half years now, and I hadn’t yet made it the hour-long journey it takes to get to Vancouver, BC. I was told on Friday that I get Monday off as an extension of the Easter holiday. While I wish they had told me earlier that I had a day off (so I could plan for a more epic trip), but with a couple days to think about it, I decided that I should finally cross that item off my bucket list, and go up north, even without a travel-mate.

I got up early to make sure I could beat any traffic over the border, and of course, with my luck, leaving early didn’t help, because I got stopped at the border. Apparently, as a solo, female traveller, with a camera, I looked suspicious, and was taken inside for questioning, and my car was searched. Overall, it only took an extra 30 minutes of my day, but it was really inconvenient and made me think about how this might happen once I get over to Europe for grad school. Since I actually enjoy going places by myself, and don’t need to rely on companionship to have fun in a new place, it’s probably going to look weird to other people, especially border agents. Journalists are also looked at with suspicion, as well as anyone with a camera and no set plan for the day. I’m assuming they thought I was going up to Canada to make some money off my photography, but I wasn’t planning to do that, so I had nothing to feel guilty about. Next time I go somewhere alone though, I will have a more specific sort of plan to tell the border agent, because a lone woman without a course of action probably looks like it might rouse some sort of detainment in the future.

A little bit shaken, I got back on the highway and made my way into downtown Vancouver, where I parked and then decided to explore. My trip wasn’t too exciting in terms of things that happened. I just did a walkabout for about 4 to 5 hours, which was plenty of time for me to come across interesting places and things that I thought would make good photographs. I took my new Lensbaby Composer lens with me and used it 90% of the time, and got some great photos (as posted above). I am excited to take it to Europe with me, because if I got as good of photos as I did in Vancouver, then I am bound to get some career-defining shots while abroad.

Today was the first time since I got back from LA that I journeyed somewhere alone, and I have to say, I really enjoy the simplicity and relaxed feeling of traveling alone. While it can be lonely and makes it a bit awkward to go eat at a restaurant or something, the ability to go at your own pace and not have to wait around for someone else is really liberating. It can feel a little dangerous sometimes when creepy people on the streets try to approach you, but as long as you hold your head high and act like you know what you’re doing, then people will hopefully leave you alone. People can actually really surprise you. I was headed down a sidewalk, and this homeless man who looked sketchy, warned me not to take my beautiful camera down the street or else it might get taken. When I looked forward to where I was walking, he was right! There was an entire hordeĀ of homeless people taking up much of the sidewalk, and it probably wouldn’t have been best to walk straight through there with my camera and purse full of valuables. There is good in everything.

Now I’m back in America, with way too much Canadian money left, and hoping to make it back to Victoria, BC, once more before I leave the Pacific Northwest. I am going to try to make the most of the four months that I have left in Washington, and take little trips around the area that aren’t too expensive. I am a wandering grad, not someone staying stuck. There’s so much to explore, even within a 50 mile radius of where you are, and sometimes the most magical things are right in your backyard!