After the rain cleared, the dazzling sun lit up the day tempting us outside into the gusty north-westerly winds. Neither the beach nor the dykes appealed in such conditions, and we suspected the Stanley Park seawall would be too crowded on a fine weekend afternoon. Did we dare brave the traffic over to the North Shore? Would there be any parking at Lighthouse Park?
Well, we did, and the answer was no, but we knew of a spot just outside the park with roadside parking long enough to cover our sunshine and fresh-air expedition. We knew that despite being exposed and breezy on the rocky bluffs, the tall trees of the park would offer plenty of protection from the wind, and we could enjoy a short walk in their company.
The wind in the treetops was the best kind of white noise, a steady shushing a hundred feet above our heads. Out on the rocks it faced competition from the sea, the waves offering a different kind of white noise of crashing spray. Above all that the calls of a flock of unknown shore birds caught my ear as they flitted from rock to rock.
On through a salal canyon over rocks and roots and mud, water cascading off spouts created between rock steps, then out to the shore again for that Instagram view of the lighthouse.
Another sound, a harsh chattering call cut through the wind and sea; a mating pair of bald eagles perched in the broken top of a Douglas fir, framed by the swaying wind-swept branches of neighbouring trees.
Calmer on the other side of the lighthouse, with views of the city in the afternoon sun, and a kayaker riding the waves. The first signs of spring beginning to show with salmonberry buds, a lone skunk cabbage shoot, and a handful of salal flowers.
We completed the loop with a walk through the Valley of the Giants, a calm and quiet finish to our wander.