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Saturday, May 10, 2008

CAPILANO SUSPENSION BRIDGE: Vancouver's Natural Wonder


On Earth Day, Augusut 22, I was privileged to pay a special visit to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. It had been some time since my previous visit so I looked forward to my day of adventure in this beautiful canyon park.

There’s a lot to see and do in the Capilano Suspension Bridge area -- not just the thrill of walking over the swaying bridge high over the white water of the Capilano River below.
There are nature trails and Native carvings and many things to explore in the park.

As you enter, there is an interesting pictorial history of the Canyon and Suspension Bridge, which dates to 1889. And you can browse among the totem poles and other carvings which are the legacy of the First Nations people. Then you step on to the bridge, swaying 230 feet above the floor of the Canyon. At the midpoint of the span, you are 450 feet looking down into the rushing stream far below. You step off the bridge into the forest of cedar, Douglas Fir and hemlock. These towering giants began growing long before the first European settlers every stepped foot in North America.

I wandered along the Cliffhanger Walk first, taking in the sweet scents of the forest and the quiet beauty at the canyon edge. There are ponds teeming with trout and wild flower blooming in mossy glades. I spent a pleasant hour or two wandering the paths and enjoying the views of the Canyon. One of the biggest thrills was ascending the wooden steps to the Treetop Adventure, built in 2003, where an elevated timber frame suspension bridge is strung between the tall Cedars in a series of cable bridges suspended between platforms that reach as high as 10 stories giving you a unique birds-eye view of the forest below.

Back at the Trading Post, there are pricey souvenirs for sale. This is one of Vancouver’s most popular tourist destinations, and the entrance fee is about $25. I was lucky that day to have a media pass which enabled me to enjoy the whole day wandering around the grounds and forest. I took a picnic lunch and enjoyed a rest at one of the tables provided by the forest trail, but there’s a restaurant and snacks available on site. If you can afford it, it’s well worth the day’s adventure and a great way to celebrate Planet Earth!

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