One of my favorite experiences in Vancouver occurred on the first weekend! I love hiking and exploring the outdoors so I did a lot of research before the trip on the best hiking spots in the Vancouver area. This allowed me to waste less time looking up the information when I was there and spend more time exploring. The first weekend I sent out a message asking if anyone in the group wanted to hike Bowen Island, letting them know it was a fairly intense hike and that we would need to leave by eight in the morning if we wanted to return before dark. I figured it would be a really good way to get to know some of my colleagues and spark good conversations. I woke up the next morning and was so excited to realize six of us were about to embark on an amazing adventure.
The sun was shining and the sky was clear. A perfect day for hiking! We began by taking the bus from Downtown Vancouver through North Vancouver to the Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal. From there we boarded a giant ferry headed for Bowen Island. Bowen Island is a small island with a tiny town located off the coast of North Vancouver. The majority of the island is an ecological preserve and the forest is defined by enormous red cedars, green bogs and huge granite outcroppings. Once on the ferry we spent the entire ride on the front deck taking in the picturesque mountain landscape. Very rarely do you get to see mountains and forest that come directly to the ocean edge.
After arriving on the island we followed a set of directions I had written down to find the trail head and began our four hour ascent. The hike was incredible. It was steep and fairly demanding but the surroundings were exquisite and the giant tree canopy kept the forest floor nice and cool. As we hiked and talked we learned more and more about each other and I really enjoyed the company. I was excited to spend a term exploring and learning with these people. At the top the view was indescribable! We were so high up we were looking directly at the mountain peaks north of Vancouver. To the west was the Pacific Ocean, appearing endless and directly southwest was the City of Vancouver itself. The buildings were so tiny you could squish them between your fingers. The moment was so rewarding. After hiking and traveling all day we had reached our goal.
For the rest of the term we always looked back on that hike and the fun we had. You could barely make out the peak of Bowen Island from Downtown Vancouver, but we were constantly pointing it out to people saying, “We were up there!” It encouraged us to continue spending our time outdoors and experiencing the lifestyle and culture of Vancouver, BC. The time I spent in Vancouver was very rewarding and I am happy I had the opportunity to participate in the program and make so many good friends.
– Cody Tucker, Architecture in Vancouver