Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Shimmering Shannon Falls

We went to Squamish two Saturdays ago to take Takuya, our Japanese homestay student, on an outing. Squamish, north of Vancouver, is known as the "Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada." Surrounded by mountains, Squamish is located at the head of Howe Sound between Vancouver and Whistler.

The scenic drive on Highway 99, or Sea to Sky Highway, is always worth the trip. (Click to enlarge)

It took us about an hour to get to our specific destination, Shannon Falls, said to be the third largest, or highest(?) waterfall in Canada. The last time we went there, we hiked up the mountain on a winding trail. I did not get to the top because Markus and Gabriel were still very young then. This time, we were prepared to go all the way up. Unfortunately, the old trail was gone and in its place were concrete steps that led to a viewpoint, which was only a short distance up.

Takuya, Markus and Mickey at the Shannon Falls viewpoint

Disappointed, we headed back to the park table where Bud, still healing from a sore knee, had stayed behind with our food and his writing stuff. On the way, the boys and I passed by the creek to which the waterfalls flowed. We decided to stop. Markus was very excited at this mini-adventure. He hopped on rocks as he crossed the shallow but rapid current. I followed suit.

Markus and Mom get to play in the creek. Yippee!

Amazing how nature can bring out the child in you. I felt like a child again, hopping here and there, playing with the water, balancing on a dead tree trunk. At first I thought I could easily walk on two tree trunks that formed an L above the creek. I was okay walking on trunk#1 about three feet above the water. When I reached the end, I could not clamber up trunk#2. My legs weren't long enough. My fear of heights got the better of me and I froze, unable to walk back to where I came from. After several minutes of standing there, I sensed Mickey walk up behind me.

"Mom, what are you doing?" he asked.

"I can't go up. Go on. Go past me," I replied. He understood he had to pull me up.

"Better not drag me down," he warned.

With one hand on the trunk for support and the other grasping Mickey's hand, I gently pulled myself up. I was not as concerned about falling into icy cold water, which was very shallow anyway, as much as falling on rocks. OUCHH!

Making it to trunk#2, I thought aloud, "Now how am I going to get down?"

"Good luck," Mickey replied as he walked to the far end towards the riverbank. Oh God, pleease don't let him fall!!! I silently prayed while watching him balance. A mother never stops worrying for her child, does she? Certainly not this mom.

After Mick safely jumped down 4 or 5 feet to the ground, I was relieved and thankful. Now it was time to think about ME. Well, I managed to clamber down where the two trunks intersected. Then I rested on a large boulder to regain my bearings.

Unlike Mom, Markus had no problem hopping from rock to rock and balancing on tree trunks

Mickey became preoccupied with building stone figures like the inukshuk made by the Inuits. He carefully balanced one rock atop another for as many as 6 rocks altogether.

Mickey was good at this.

Looking for a greater challenge, he did it on the ends of branches protruding over the creek.

Wow, steady hands!

I made 4 stone figures of my own and took a few rocks to make another one at home.

Mom's stone figures

Takuya did his own, too.

After about an hour at the creek, we returned to our base to eat and play at the park some more.

Takuya showing card tricks

We had fun but I hoped Takuya was not as disappointed as I was at our short hike. I know a far more challenging trail -- the Grouse Grind!

Coming up - the gruelling Grouse Grind hike...

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