Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Summer Vacation 2005
Part IV: All's Well That Ends Well

I can see how you might get the impression that we had the most horrible holiday of our lives, based on my last few posts. In truth, aside from the Bellingham experience (that I will no longer mention unless I find a funny way to do so), we had a spectacular time. And we have the photos to prove it!

Between my newly acquired Minolta DiMage Z1 and my girlfriend's Fuji Finepix A201, we managed to snap off more than 600 shots over the course of 10 days. Naturally, most of them will never get made into prints or emailed out to family, but that's the beauty of digital photography, isn't it? You just keep shooting until you get what you want!

In true tourist fashion, we filled everyday with as much sight-seeing as we could handle. And, although the Vancouver area is absolutely packed with great attractions, it seemed like the best things for us were either off the beaten path, or simply nature itself. We had already done the Vancouver Aquarium the year before, so we decide to avoid that. I was initially quite excited about walking across the Capilano Suspension Bridge... That is, until I found out that they charge $26 per person for the priviledge of walking across said bridge. That's something I'll never do, on principle alone.

The B.C. Mining Museum, on the other hand, turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise. At first, I didn't think I'd be very interested in going to an abandoned copper mine to learn about... well... copper mining, but it was actually quite cool! The best part came at the end of the tour when we were shown how to pan for gold. Yours truly actually found a piece! I'd probably have to go back 1100 more times before I'd have enough to make a ring, but that's not the point. I found gold!

That same day, on our way back from the Mining Museum, we stumbled across a little park north of Vancouver that ended at the shore. We spent the better part of an hour there, just watching the waves, collecting rocks for our kids, and taking pictures of the boats as they went by. It just so happened that one of those passing boats was a B.C. Ferry, a vessel capable of carrying over 350 cars. My girlfriend was quite surprised to find out the size of the waves a ship like that can generate in its wake! It was just after she frantically scrambled up from the waters edge that we decided it was time to go.

In an ironic twist (if you've been reading this little series from the start), we ended up taking one of those very ferries over to Vancouver Island. we only stayed for one night, but it was relaxing to be away from the hustle and bustle of the Big City, even for so short a time. And it gave us a chance to do a little beachcombing in Parksville, just like the year before. Of course, we happened to pick a "protected" beach, so I had to make many surreptitious trips back to the van to drop off our illegal treasures. Seriously, who's going to miss a few seashells?

Before heading home to Calgary, we took one last stop in Hope, B.C. to visit my parents, and it's a good thing we did! There were so many things to see and do there... I never would have guessed! In our final day, we took in an Art Festival, saw some of the most amazing sand sculptures imaginable, and hiked up to Bridal Veil Falls. My girlfriend's ankle was extremely sore, but nothing could keep her from seeing that waterfall, let me tell you! If there's one thing that girl likes, it's waterfalls...

Now, we did a ton of other things during our 10 days, but it would probably take another 10 days just to write about them. Suffice it to say, we had an awesome holiday and can't wait for the next one!

Why does retirement have to be so far away?
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