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Three New Friends Take a Walk

Bruce has been out of town for three days now,  and for part of that time, I've been slightly out of sync. Monday was a bit gloomy and I barely left the apartment. So, when Jackie suggested the three of us go walking on Tuesday morning, I was totally game. Especially because I was going to be able to show them something neither of them had heard of before.  It was going to be my pleasure to lead them to "Two Spirits." Although Dale has lived in the West End since the early 70's, until I asked him about it, he had heard neither hide nor tail of it.

We are an old group, me in my 60's, Dale in his 70's, and Jackie is 81, although not for a moment would you know it as she is probably the liveliest of the group. An overcast morning was perfect for a walk in the woods. Meeting Jackie in front of her building about two blocks from ours, we then went another block or so and met Dale along Beach Avenue to start our walk, beginning along the seawall. Dale, a former middle school teacher, still loves teaching so he delights in pointing out things he thinks I should know. Mostly I am a willing student, and you'll see what I mean by that later in this post.

The tide was out further than any of us had ever seen, revealing the algae-covered rocks that are normally hidden from view.
Ambling along until we arrived at the Beach Avenue entrance to Stanley Park, this would be almost the only color, aside from green, that we would see for most of our walk.
And although I had walked crazy far in search of the sculpture, I discovered it was almost ridiculously close to Second Beach. At this point, I had taken charge of our mission, leading them into the woods. Just as wonderful as the first time I viewed it, they were both thrilled seeing it for the first time. I had them stand around so I could give you a size reference.
Now it was time for Dale to take over and we followed our leader, all of us marveling at the sheer volume and size of the trees.
Dale led us to Ferguson Point, a scenic overlook that I'd yet to discover on my previous wanderings. The tide was still crazy far out...
On the point is Siwash Rock and the trees above it are where I went last week when I was overlooking the seawall. Back onto the forest trail, I had Jackie step inside one of the hollow trees and she is slim enough to do so.
There are lots of folks who shy away from talking to strangers, however, I am not one of those because strangers often end up becoming friends, as is the case with Jackie and Dale whom I met back in late March, detailed in this post. I have learned a lot from the two of them and only wish I'd met them sooner!
It was loads of fun for me having the two of them to photograph. I may have told you that Dale is somewhat of a Luddite, with no computer or mobile phone, however, he does love a good letter. Because it is uncommon for him to have his picture taken, I will be printing some of these when we get home, surprising him with a letter. I especially love the photo below with Jackie acting like a little girl.
You feel mighty small amongst these giants and most of them are not even first growth for two reasons, one being the storm, and two, logging.
The notches in the moss covered stump are remnants of the logging days. Jackie, well, I told you she was as nimble as a cat!

Handing my camera to Jackie, I had her photograph me in one of the many hollow trees. BTW--when we left for this walk, my hair looked much better!
Seeing this moss covered tree, I thought it could not get any better on this walk,
but it did. That pictured green? It is the real thing with no editing whatsoever. There are so many shades of green that when something is colored otherwise, well, darn, you notice it big time. And so it was, when one of us spotted this, what I've since learned is an edible mushroom called, "chicken of the woods", well, it was as if there was a caution flag laying around.
Squealing with delight, I had to get a close up of this amazing feature in my favorite color.
I am trying very hard not to march there again today for another look! Unreal, right? These mushrooms, while interesting, pale in comparison and that's a pun intended!
We had been walking on the "Lovers Walk" trail, however, when we walked over top of the road that leads to the North Shore, it became the "Lake Trail" merging with what is called "Beaver Lake" trail. Those faithful readers with good memories know why we were going that way.
One of the things they seem to like about me is my enthusiasm for their city. Recently I was gushing over the water lilies in Beaver Lake, and since it had been a very long time since either of them had been there, I was anxious to show them my discovery.
We were not disappointed as you can see, the water lilies were still going crazy and perhaps there were even more of them than before. That is, if such a thing is possible! The beavers remain active felling one of the trees since last I visited.
I told Dale he was behaving more like a straight male when he would not let me get my map out to find the restroom which by now we were sorely in need of! I also told you he was a Luddite, but I did not know that included being map adverse! Eventually we made our way to the Stanley Park pavillion restaurant,
where we dined on soup and sandwiches. Of all things, as we waited for our food, I spied something that definitely captured my attention. Indeed, when the woman came out of the washroom, I did see what I thought I saw...she was wearing a backpack with Orlando Health on it! Speaking with them briefly, I learned that she and her friend were in Vancouver for a few days following an Alaskan cruise and she did work at ORMC. It's a small world indeed. (my former employer, should you not know)

In front of the pavillion, new flower beds have been planted and Jackie identified the deep burgundy small flowers, on the left side, as ones that smelled like chocolate. Although I've forgotten the correct name, she was right...very chocolaty. Furthermore, she said there is a flower that smells like peanut butter so...well, sounds like a match made in heaven, right?
After a stroll through the rose garden, we made our way past the flower gardens where I was finally able to get a shot of these crazy huge plants. Other attempts, made on sunny days, did not work well to show you just how huge these leaves are.
Someone was kind enough to leave a bicycle there for scale!

After paying for our lunch, I told Dale that I got to be the leader, so I took them around Lost Lagoon and to the fantastic community garden on the hill.
There were more blooming succulents there,
oh so fragrant Sweet Peas,
and a flower Jackie could not recall the name of, something with either balloon or globe in it because the buds are shaped almost like an hot air balloon!
Eschewing a bus ride home, we continued down Beach Avenue and by the time I'd parted ways with the two of them, my trusty phone app showed another seven miles in the book.

Who says getting old can't be fun?

your friend,

Gail
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