Charles flips through his photo album of images from his North Shore hike from earlier in the week on his iPhone 5. He has had this phone for a few months, but has had an iPhone for over three years now. Today he had his hearing aid connected to his phone so that with a click of a button he can receive calls directly into his hearing aids. His new technology was sitting on the counter charging up. At 89 years old, Charles enthusiasm and use of technology does not match the senior stereotype.
A couple of times a week, Charles heads out from his suite at Tapestry at Arbutus Walk on hikes in Vancouver and other parts of the lower mainland. In fact, last week he took the Canada Line to Richmond to catch the bus to the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen where he walked onboard to ferry to Galiano Island. He hiked up to the bluffs before turning back to head home. Charles has done countless hikes in the lower mainland and in 2000 he published his first edition of Great Walks of Vancouver.
“Vancouver is a profoundly rural city, although you wouldn’t think so from your automobile. You see traffic jams, urban sprawl, and shopping malls. But often you can walk just a short distance from a busy urban centre and be in near-wilderness… Great Walks of Vancouver describes a 500-km network of trails that lets you explore the whole area on foot”.
– Excerpt from Great Walks of Vancouver introduction
What an intriguing concept. All the hikes outlined in Charles’s book can be accessed via transit and are strategized to complete legs of a longer journey. When asked which hike was Charles’s favorite, he quickly indicated Horseshoe Bay to Lighthouse Park on Vancouver’s North Shore.
The second edition of Great Walks of Vancouver came out a few years ago. Charles graciously offered a copy which motivated me to hike the first leg from Horseshoe Bay to Whytecliff Park. The book is a wonderful companion to the hike with little bits of history and trails marked that may otherwise be easily missed. Walking through these areas certainly provides a much different perspective on our own backyards and how and why they change over the years. Also, you may see a snake on your hike. I did.
Charles is a retired mathematician. In 1968, he moved to Vancouver following a year in the USA from his home in the UK. He started hiking when he became semi-retired in 1976. Since this time, he has completed many hikes including a four-day hike with a group from Vancouver to Keremeos. Charles has also hiked in Japan and in New Zealand which provides some of the best hiking in the world. If you are interested in hiking, Charles is the man to talk to!
Charles’s favorite hiking area has always been Garibaldi Provincial Park. He decided to share his joy with fellow Garibaldi lovers by funding a major upgrade and re-routing of Mamquam Trail. This is acknowledged on a plaque by a major new river crossing. The combination of a new campsite and improved trail will enable more people to enjoy the wilderness experience of Mamquam Lake.
Today, Charles has the freedom and access to transportation to continue urban hiking from his community at Tapestry at Arbutus Walk in Kitsilano. Using his iPhone map app and the Translink app, Charles can seamlessly plan his hikes to enjoy the beautiful nature that is all around us on the west coast. Though he had a couple of falls a few years ago, Charles was determined to rehab his body to continue hiking. He progressed from using a scooter, to using a walker to achieve 10 km, to using walking poles to achieve 10 km. Look for Charles on his current favorite trail, Spirit Trail, on the North Shore which provides a flat and paved surface right on the water’s edge.
If you are interested in Charles’s book, please contact us at email@example.com.
Tapestry’s Outdoor Walking Club
Charles isn’t the only one taking in the lower mainland on foot. Tapestry at Arbutus Walk has it’s own Outdoor Walking Club that goes once a month, usually on the first Thursday.
Locations are carefully selected that are accessible for all residents – including those who use walkers. Their walks take them from the Seawall to the Lynn Headwaters in North Vancouver. Club favorites include Lynn Headwaters, Reifel Bird Sanctuary, and Yew Lake up on Cypress Mountain. Last year’s favorite was Rocky Point Park in Port Moody. The awesome ice cream shop at the end of the walk is an excellent way to finish off the trek.
Walks are usually 30-40 minutes with a “fast” group and a “slow” group so residents can go at their own pace. Everyone can walk according to their abilities and fully enjoy their outdoor walking experience. Lunches are always packed for a picnic as a group either before or after the walk.
There are usually between 7 and 14 people on the trips depending on weather. Tapestry at Arbutus Walk’s Outdoor Walking Club runs April – October.
The first walk of this season was scheduled on a day when it was absolutely pouring rain. The Club persevered and walked a portion of the Seawall in the rain – like the true Vancouverites they are! The walk was finished off with some well-deserved hot chocolate at the Prospect Point Café.
Check out photos from Tapestry’s Outdoor Walking Club on our Instagram page.
Photo story – Horseshoe Bay to Whytecliff Park