Over there

After spending an occasionally drizzly day weaving my way through downtown Vancouver yesterday, I was ready to explore a bit further afield. The forecast had been for showers and sunshine, but I was prepared to expect the worst. Fortuitously, the weather actually cleared, and my day was spent outdoors in lovely, if cool, blue skies. I had more Fringe locations I wanted to visit, and as with Sunday, I used those destinations as a way to see the town.

Today, then, I spent most of my time up north on the other side of the lake. I took a brief detour in the opposite direction to visit the Bishop house in southern Vancouver, but then returned to the waterfront to catch the Seabus. This ferry crossed the water, revealing again how beautiful this city is. Framed by mountains, straddling the water, forested hills - it's amazing. I then hopped onto a bus and headed up to the Lynn Canyon park.

The reason I was visiting was because it was the site of Rice Lake, which stands in for Reiden Lake in the show. The opportunity, though, was to wander through Canadian wilderness. I caught a bus right to the end of the line and started walking up into the national park. I had flashbacks of the planetary walk in Zurich, and wondered if I was any more prepared today than I was then. I followed dog-walkers and crossed what seemed to be an innocuous bridge, only to discover it was about a sixty metre drop onto rocks and river below. Hardly the River Torrens.

I was following directions quite closely and made my way up to the park rangers clearing. I read all the signs and studied the map and knew where I was headed, but also noticed the large BE BEAR AWARE signs. Bears, eh? I've never had to worry about bear safety before. Make a lot of noise, it said, and don't wear earphones. That's comforting. I strode off along the main road and enjoyed the quiet atmosphere, clear sky, cool breeze, and stunning scenery. Rounding a corner and reaching an intersection I discovered how poorly signposted everything was, but made the right intuition and ended up at the lakeside.

A couple of families were there with little kids, teaching them to fish. Both had women instructing the children - no men in sight. The kids were running about excitedly and then would be reminded that if they weren't quiet they'd scare the fish. So there'd be a minute of deliberate quiet, before excitement broke out again. I sat on the dock in the sun, admiring the stunning view, remembering the episodes that took place here, and enjoying the peace.

I took a more rugged, but shorter trail back to the ranger base, and then followed some signs to a 'suspension bridge'. I was intending to visit the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge while I was on this side of town, and was pleased by the idea I may be able to walk straight there. As it turned out, there are two suspension bridges. This one was similarly precarious, with a high drop over water and a lot of ominous WARNING: EXTREME DANGER placards along the fencing. Creepiest of all was the ragged remains of a missing person sign, describing a six foot, tan, man that had disappeared. Gulp.

I caught the bus back into town after having lunch at a little hikers cafe, and then visited a few more filming sites around the docks area. After that, it was back on a different bus and out again to the Capilano bridge. This one was a definite tourist attraction, with costumed workers, traditional shops and plenty of Asian visitors. The bridge was bigger and better, though swayed surprisingly far in the breeze and with the rhythm of those crossing. A treetops walk up the hill actually felt the most unsettling of all the things that day, due perhaps to the visibility of the ground below you and the fact that the platforms weren't screwed into the trees - just tightened around them. A cliff walk on the other side was a bit of a thrill too.

After an hour and a half there, it was back on the bus, back on the ferry, back on the train, and then a short walk home to the guesthouse. A few Brits and I had arranged dinner plans, so I did some washing and then headed down to a pub for a meal and a drink. Kate, in her 40s, works in radiology, while Mel, 20s, was here on a cardio conference. We had a lively, fast-paced discussion about everything from the economy, to indigenous populations, to health. Very enjoyable, particularly in watching two smart women debate slightly different perspectives on big issues from similar medical backgrounds. Life's unsung pleasures.