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Saturday, May 24, 2008

A RAINY DAY HIKE IN THE LYNN VALLEY CANYON

It's been years since I last hiked in the Lynn Valley Canyon in North Vancouver. My friends were visiting from Germany this week and we decided, in spite of a steady drizzle of rain, to visit the famous canyon and suspension bridge.

The Lynn Canyon officially opened way back in 1912 once a streecr line was completed in North Vancouver. At that time, the canyon was officially designated as a municipal park. The suspension bridge also officially opened that year and became a popular visiting destination. It cost 10 cents to cross it back then and people would inch their way cross the wobbyly structure grasping the hawser, just as they do today, although the bridge has been reconstructed and is now a free attraction.

The narrow wooden bridge sways precariously 166 feet above the gushing white water of Lynn Creek. If you have a fear of heights, it's not recommended you cross, but if you want a small thrill, it's worth the experience. The more people using the bridge, the more it jiggles and sways, so hang on tight as you cross, and don't run! The bridge is 100% safe, but in the past there's always been some fool who attempts to jump from it or from the rocks above the Creek and ends up losing their life.

The view from the bridge is spectacular, especially at this time of year with a spate of gushing water coming down the canyon from the snow-melt on the mountains.

Once you cross there are various interesting hiking trails through the lush rain forest. The one we took was to Twin Falls, about a twenty minute hike through the forest at the canyon's edge to a wooden bridge that takes you back to the other side. Be aware that there are several flights of wooden steps to climb up and down, so if you're not in good shape, don't attempt it. There's also the famous 30 ft. deep pool where over the years people come to swim in the summer. I can recall doing so myself. But be careful and obey the safety rules or you could get swept away by the fierce currents when the water is moving fast.
The park is a total of 250 hectares. There are some guided tours starting from the Ecology Centre at the Park's entrance. The Ecology Centre opened in 1971 and has an informative display of flora and fauna and a Kid's Exploratorium.

In spite of the drizzle, we picniced along the way (I wish they had covered picnic areas where we could have taken shelter). You had to watch your step because of the slippery paths due to the rain. But in all, it was a refreshingly pleasant day's hike. I'll definitely go back another day during the summer when it's not so wet! There are always plenty of people on the paths, even in the rain, so you'll never be alone in the forest and so long as you keep to the designated trails it should make for a pleasant day's outing.

PARK FACTS:
It's free to go into the park, and parking is free. The Ecology Centre is open 10 a.m - 5 pm daily (closed weekends December to January)
For information call 604-981-3103
www.dnv.org/ecology

TO GET THERE:
Buses run from the Londsdale Quay. A short walk into the park is required.
Driving: take Upper Levels Highway (Highway 1) to Lynn Valley Road exit (19) Follow Lynn Valley Road NE past the Mountain Highway intersection, then continue to Lynn Valley Road to sign for Lynn Canyon Ecology Centre.

www.seethenorthshore.com/lynn/lynn.htm
www.findfamilyfun.com/lynncanyon.htm
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