Spanish Banks – UBC Botanical Gardens

My friend Karen who lives nearby in Burnaby, picked me up this morning for a walk-about along the beaches of the Spanish Banks then up to the Botanical Gardens of the University of British Columbia.  Earlier in the morning I was awakened by the start of the annual Vancouver Marathon.  The muster point was near my family’s home – 17,000 runners from 65 countries around the world were gathered just down the block from us.  Our drive to the Spanish Banks, part of English Bay that separates North and West Vancouver from the rest of the city, was not direct. There were many blocked off roads due to the Marathon in progress.

Spanish Banks 1
View of Vancouver from the Spanish Banks

The Spanish Banks were so-named because Spanish navigators first surveyed and charted the shallow banks on the south side of English Bay.

Spanish Banks 2
Across English Bay, a view of North Vancouver, with Cypress Mountain ski runs still snow-covered and visible behind, in the middle.
UBC botanical gardens fern
One of many magnificent ferns unfurling in the UBC Botanical Gardens

Karen and I arrived in time for a guided tour of the hanging bridges strung between gigantic Douglas and Grand Firs and other huge, ancient conifers and maples. We learned about some of the many ferns, like licorice fern that live on the bark of certain trees. The design of the narrow, hanging bridges and fixed platforms is such that trees are not stressed or harmed, using a system of adjustable harnesses and rigging. It’s brilliant, though traversing them can be a bit of a thrill for people who have any trouble with heights and wobbly footing.

Domestic evergreen
Wee evergreen, practising for Christmas?

Back in the city, at my brother’s home, I noticed their little evergreen bush was adorned with the fallen pink petals of cherry trees.  In this huge bustling city of concrete and glass, there is a feast of colour and living, growing, breathing plants everywhere I look.  Soon I will be travelling south to the dry deserts and natural rock monuments of southern Utah.  What an amazing, diverse world we live in.

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