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A Mountain Top Experience and More

Most days when I sit down to write, I barely know where to start because there is just so much to see at this time of the year, I'm overwhelmed with things I want you to share. Not to mention, I want to remember this special time in our lives. Although I've said it before, I'll say it again; having a blog to read what you thought in real time is perfect.

Before we get to the mountain top, let's start on dry land, shall we? I need help from my Northern friends! Apple tree?
I intend to devote one post entirely to purple flowers because I feel as if I've seen more of them here than I have in my lifetime. That said, pink has been pretty prominent as well. It is probably the last time I'll be seeing these beauties as there are very few trees left with blossoms.
I did love the earlier bloomers, however, I'm thinking these are my favorites because they are so puffy! Mostly, though, the streets and walks look more like this now.
Have I shown you the pink dogwood yet? So far I've only seen a few of them, but they are oh so pretty, aren't they?
I kept trying to think of a way to describe the incredible volume of blooms on the small azaleas and finally it hit me. More like a bougainvillea than our azaleas, with nearly complete coverage of blossoms, so much so that once they are all open, leaves are hard to find. This one will be a ball of pink in the next few days.
Tulips, as well, have seen their peak, however, there are still some hanging in there, or make that standing tall. This display is along Beach Avenue and the seawall, and for some reason, I've only just noticed that there are some of those big fat tulips in the mix.
Lord have mercy, the trees. The shapes, the sizes, the colors. I am in complete awe and continue to have this poem run through my head,

Trees

I think that I shall never see 
A poem lovely as a tree. 

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest 
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast; 

A tree that looks at God all day, 
And lifts her leafy arms to pray; 

A tree that may in Summer wear 
A nest of robins in her hair; 

Upon whose bosom snow has lain; 
Who intimately lives with rain. 

Poems are made by fools like me, 
But only God can make a tree.
Let me just say, there will be more trees to ogle in the very near future. I will not pretend that I can do them justice with a photograph but it won't stop me from trying!

As we are nearing the last few months of our stay, there are still places we've yet to visit including Grouse Mountain. Saturday, Bruce suggested we fix that. Their website tells more, but around here it is called "the peak of Vancouver." As we traveled up Capilano Road, I asked Bruce if we could first stop at the dam that we visited during dreadful weather. Oh my, what a difference a few months can make.
Foggy, gray and wet, although I was thrilled to get a rainbow in those pictures, I much prefer the above weather! It is still a little chilly, however, the highs are a comfortable mid 60's. Plus we've had very little rain, although there was some overnight it did not hang around. Anyway, could this spot be any more beautiful? I think not.
We took a quick peek over the top of the damn, as I'd assumed the water would be flowing at a high rate with all of the melting snow.
About another mile up the road is the parking lot where you get on the gondola to take you the next 2,200 feet. How have I become accustomed to this????
And while it does not look very large in the above photo, when it landed for boarding, it was another story.
We were one of the first on, and then more people came, and more people, and so on, until it was jam-packed. How packed? Turns out it holds 100 people! Because we were on so early, I snagged a window seat and did not give it up even when a little boy asked me to. Apologizing, I told him that he was not one bit more excited than I was so, I was staying put. Still not the best place to take photographs, I did manage one that shows the water that flows into the Cleveland Dam resevoir. As a reminder from the previous post, this is where the Vancouver drinking water comes from.
Now what? Well, first we tried to see the city below which was easier said than done.
Basically, it lies below the "v" formed by the trees. Next up was finding the Grizzly bears which entailed a bit of a hike over snow and ice, something we'd not really been expecting. At least I was wearing waterproof shoes, whereas B was sporting his tennis shoes and no socks.
Which actually would have been fine except for the places where the snow was deep.
Finally we made it. As we turned the corner to see the bear enclosure, I noticed some steps and wondered where they went. More on that in a moment.
Amazingly, it was not in the least cold, in fact, I took off my jacket because the sun was so bright I was warm. Anyway, the Grizzlies have an interesting story, better read from their website , should you be interested. I will tell you that it was only early last week that they emerged from their den where they'd been hibernating since last November! They are still sleepy because while we were there they remained recumbent. Try as I might I could not get my camera to focus through the wire fence but I did manage a photo of the feet,
and the paws. Do bears have paws, or do I have that wrong?
We ended up having an excellent chat with one of the workers, made even better when she offered to take us back to the lodge using the back way which involved paving! We went by the den the bears used during their first winter on Grouse Mountain, 17 years ago, when they were but cubs.
As you can see, they are clearing the paths for the upcoming season when the bears have free run in the surrounding five acres. The snow was so high! How high? Here's how high.
After watching a film which explained more about the Grizzlies, we had lunch with a view. And what a view it is. Plus, I had my first Canadian Poutine. Delicious, I might add.
While on the North Shore, we popped into WalMart for a few things, including a Scrabble board game. Last night, Bruce beat me by a bunch.

That same evening we went to an event at the brand new Earls in Ambleside, part of West Vancouver. Bruce was Zarita's "in house" consultant for this project, the first "new look" Earls in Canada.
Most of the Earls here have been around awhile, this one is replacing the original Earls which had been in operation for over thirty years. Folks around here will be thrilled, or so I expect, with the new, modern, look. 

It didn't start out to be a long walk after church, but before I knew it, my feet took me to Stanley Park where I could show Bruce how beautiful it is. Neither of us had on the best footwear for this much walking, but we survived. One thing I wanted to point out in the photo below is the tree with the white blossoms.
Before you say, well, what's so special about a Dogwood tree, Gail?, this is no ordinary Dogwood tree. This is an interesting variety known as a Wedding Cake Dogwood! Reading about them when researching Vancouver trees, I'm thrilled that I found one.

Just to be clear, I'm leaving out way more than I am including, should you be wondering.

yours truly,

Gail

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