Vancouver 2016: Day 5

After four fun days on the West Coast, our girls’ trip reached its last day.  Although I badly wanted to go trail running on the trail we’d walked the day before (it was beautiful!), my mom caught me in the hallway before I left to slap my wrists as she didn’t want me to get eaten by bears.  #26goingon6

I heeded her warning, and headed down the road to Whonnock Lake instead.  Because bears don’t ever frequent lakes.  😉

Selfie to show (a) how hard I was working and (b) the cute braid Haley did in my hair

When I got back to the house after covering 6 or 7 km (and oh so many hills), everyone was up eating breakfast and packing.

 

My aunt is a very skilled horticulturist, and my aunt and uncle’s acreage is absolutely gorgeous as a result.  I snapped lots of pics as she took us on a yard tour so I could show Dana (and you guys!) when I got home.

 

Take it from the girl who can kill a cactus, my aunt’s yard is breathtaking!  Don’t worry, I didn’t touch anything.

With all our things packed, we loaded up in the faithful CRV for the upteenth time and hit the road.  First stop, lunch at good ol’ Milestone’s.

After stabilizing our blood sugar, we roadtripped up to my uncle Scott’s worksite.  He is currently working up at SFU building a condo building.  Us ladies got a tour of the project, and enjoyed the very high views from the top of the building.  It was neat to have a bird’s eye view of Vancouver!


After the tour, we said our goodbyes to uncle Scott, and auntie Dianna drove us to the airport with a few stops along the way.

Our 2016 girls’ trip to Vancouver was a whirlwind, and we all had a very fun, memorable time.  I was so glad to have the opportunity to soak up some quality time with everyone.  Since I know auntie and uncle occasionally read the blog, I’m sending them a big thank you for hosting the family and I!

Vancouver 2016: Days 2-4

After Haley and I’s whirlwind tour of downtown Vancouver area on the 2nd, it was a relief to go stay out at my aunt Dianna and uncle Scott’s beautiful home in Maple Ridge.

Day 2

Pretty typically, when I travel anywhere I like to start my day with a run to get my bearings.  I woke up to a quiet house and headed out for a run around the neighbourhood, keeping my eyes peeled for the mama bear and three cubs my aunt had mentioned that frequented the area.

The loop I did was just over four km, so I ended up doing it twice because I wanted to test my 5 km time (and finally got a 5 km under 25 minutes – success!).  Of course it was raining a bit as I ran, and there were a few decent hills, but something about running in a new area is always fun.

Back at the house, everyone was eating breakfast and getting ready for the day.  Once all us ladies were cleaned up, we piled in my aunt Dianna’s CRV and headed to Fort Langley for the day to explore.  Fort Langley’s downtown area has tons of cute little shops to explore, and an amazing restaurant with lots of gluten-free options called Wendel’s.


Although Wendel’s was packed when we came in, somehow we managed to find a five-person table and have lunch.  I had the Creole chicken salad and a latte – both were delicious.  And I got to have another g-free, vegan chocolate chip cookie.  * praise hands emoji *

We explored down main street after lunch, although I don’t think any of us bought anything despite all the cute things we saw.

On the way back to my aunt’s house, we stopped at Bruce’s Country Market to pick up some fresh fish and groceries for dinner.  I even nabbed some kombucha!  We spent the rest of the night prepping dinner, then feasting and visiting.

Day 3

We decided to head out to Whistler to visit my aunt and uncle’s son, Chad, and get out for a hike.

Because I’m crazy, I did a driveway WOD first because I wanted to get some strength stuff in first.  I borrowed a travel WOD from Carrots ‘n’ Cake that I afterwards renamed the inchworm express because I did four rounds of 10 inchworms, not to mention the burpees and push-ups involved too.  My arms felt like jello!

We piled into the car around 9 to head out to Whistler.  It took about 2.5 hours, but the scenery was lovely and as always there was lots of visiting, so the time flew by.

many many car selfies

 


Since Chad is a Whistler local and conveniently a guide, he picked a nearby hike for us to do: Cheakamus Lake.  The hike is lakeside with minimal elevation gain, and 16 km round trip.  It was a slightly cloudy day and it was amazing how the lake’s color changed as the clouds moved.


As Dana sets a pretty brisk pace when we hike together, I guess I’m trained now to motor along.  I didn’t even realize it until the halfway point, but unfortunately I’d been rushing everyone along the whole way.  After that, I tried to adopt a more relaxed pace.

Between my little morning workout and the 16 km hike, I was feeling pretty tuckered out by the time we got back to the parking lot.

Luckily, great minds think alike, and pizza was on the agenda for dinner at Creekbread Pizza.  The g-free crust was pretty good, and Haley and I had no trouble polishing off our individual pizzas.


After dinner, we wandered around downtown Whistler exploring.  It is amazingly pedestrian friendly in the shopping plaza (unlike Banff where parking is a nightmare).  By the time auntie drove us back to Maple Ridge, it was dark out and staying awake was a big struggle.  Both Haley and I napped on the drive home, despite my best efforts to stay awake.

Day 4

After all the exercise the day before, I elected to take a rest day and just luxuriate in a sleep-in instead.  It’s so dark out in the countryside where my aunt and uncle live, and blissfly quiet too.  It was wonderful!

We all had a lovely slow morning of breakfast and getting ready, before heading out to the seaside for lunch.  After we parked in White Rock, the first restaurant that caught our eye was Jan’s on the Beach.

Gluten-free fish and chips?  Sign us up!  Haley and Grandma enjoyed the fish and chips (I sampled some of theirs – and WOW they were tasty), while I had the prawn/chicken curry.  Funny thing to have, I know, but I was chilled!

After, we headed down to the pier to check out the views.  Some people trapping crabs caught our attention for a bit (hey, we’re from a landlocked province.)

When we got back from the seaside, we decided to take my aunt and uncle’s dog Sade (a wonderful friendly lab) for a walk on some trails near their house.  Our little walk turned into a pretty epic 9 km hike with some extreme elevation gains!  I didn’t have my phone on me to measure, but I bet we gained 400-500m over 5 km.  Needless to say, we all came home quite sweaty.

We had a late dinner in Maple Ridge at Browns Socialhouse.  The chain is a favorite of my parents, and I can see why.  I had the chicken social bowl and it was delish!


I’ll be back tomorrow with one more Vancouver trip recap about our last day, with lots of pictures!
PS. This is Peanut Butter Kait’s 100th blog post!  Yay!

Vancouver Trip 2016: Day 1

At the beginning of September, I took an extra-long weekend and went to Vancouver for a girls’ weekend with my mom, sister, and Grandma, as an early celebration for my Grandma’s 80th birthday.  We stayed with my mom’s best friend in Maple Ridge and had a very go-go-go visit!  I’ll break the trip up into a few different blog posts so this post isn’t 3,000 words long.

On September 2nd, my sister Haley and I flew to Vancouver and got in around 10:30 AM.  We proceeded to DO ALL THE THINGS as with just two people, you can move pretty quick!  It was a very nice day to spend with just my sister, as she is leaving next week for a lengthy training program in Abu Dhabi.  * cue tears *

We put our luggage in storage at the airport, then caught the ever-so-convenient Skytrain from the airport to the Waterfront station, which is conveniently close to Gastown.

Since it was lunchtime, we browsed restaurant menus looking for (1) gluten-free options and (2) big juicy burgers (which Haley was craving). We wandered along, bordering on “hangry”, and then I noticed a little restaurant just off the street called Meet.  Let’s note the ironic spelling now.  We perused the menu and realized they offered tons of g-free options, plus 5+ burger options, so decided to try it out.  The restaurant was busy and the first thing I noticed was that all the dessert items (don’t you read that menu first too?) were g-free AND vegan.  That’s pretty much like seeing a unicorn!  Haley and I read through the menu and I found myself struggling to pick JUST ONE entrée as everything sounded appetizing.

The server came by to see if we were ready to order, and Haley asked her about the coconut bacon on the menu (picturing coconut-crusted bacon).  The server explained what the bacon was (coconut flavored like bacon), and mentioned that the restaurant didn’t serve animal byproducts.

Suddenly I started to realize what kind of establishment we were at.  I said to Haley, “They don’t serve animal byproducts?” She quickly brushed it off, saying that bacon was a byproduct, where ground beef for instance would just be a meat product.  Of course, with a dawning new awareness, we reread the menu noting the strange names of different items, like “cheez” ( not cheese) and hot chiggin’ things” (not chicken wings.)  We had unwittingly stumbled into a vegan restaurant.


All drama aside, with much laughter at our foolishness, we ordered vegan burgers (mine was the Double Bacon Double Cheez Burger – I know, confusing) and found our meals to be pretty delicious, all vegan nonsense aside.

With our bellies full, we stopped by Purebread to pick up some g-free, vegan cookies which are hands-down my favorite on the planet. Their chocolate chip oatmeal cookie is out of this world!  We also sampled the chocolate peanut butter cookie which was pretty dang good too.  My biggest regret of the trip was not buying two dozen to take home.

From Gastown, we walked over to the corner of Stanley Park (about a 30 minute walk) to rent bikes from Spokes Bicycle Rentals. We rented big heavy cruisers and biked the Seawall.


It was so much fun and we really enjoyed the views!  So much that we missed the path’s turn to return back to Spokes, and continued on to English Bay.  Of course once we realized we’d left Stanley Park, we turned around and headed back to Spokes.  $10 well spent!

From Spokes, we walked another ½ hour over to the water taxi station across from Granville Island, then taxied across to check out the infamous market. As we’d been snacking on cookies all afternoon, neither of us had much room for treats and so amazingly the only purchases we made at Granville were some greeting cards.

From Granville, we taxied back across to the Yaletown station. Haley had pedicures on the brain, so we stopped in to every nail spa we passed looking for two 5 o’clock openings.  Finally she found a salon for us and off we went!  We enjoyed getting our pedicures after our marathon day of walking, and then carried on in search of dinner.

Extensive pre-trip googling of g-free pizza in Vancouver led us to The Parlour. Foolishly, we thought we could just walk in around dinner time and get seated.  Unfortunately, the hostess quoted a 30-45 minute wait so we put our names down on the list, and then browsed some shops while we waited.  With the pressure of getting back to the airport by 8:30 PM to meet our mom and grandma looming, as soon as we were seated, we quickly ordered drinks and pizza, then devoured the food when it came.  Their pizza is 5/5 stars!  Amazing g-free crust that is both crispy and chewy – all you gluten-free people out there know how rare that combination is.  It was a shame to eat so quickly, but we ate, paid, and dashed to the train station – just in time to catch the 8:10 train.

We arrived at the airport and met our family in the arrivals area, and then headed to my aunt and uncle’s house for the night. It was a busy and awesome whirlwind day exploring Vancouver!