Lynn Canyon Park – west coast rain forest

In those long ago days back before the dawn of time, when dinosaurs walked the earth and screeching winged beasts flew hither and yon overhead, I used to walk down to Lynn Canyon Park from the ol’ homestead in North Vancouver.

That’s because, back in that fine day,  no one felt it necessary to drive one’s offspring everywhere … it was either walk or fly … and not having yet been granted my wings, it was walking for me. The walk was relatively pleasant, not least because in those far away days, not that many vehicles plied the dusty roadways. I always took advantage of the opportunity to gather cast-away pop bottles from the ditches, since my 35 cent allowance did not go very far (and my sweet tooth was even then highly developed). The old wooden high-ceilinged grocery store that formerly graced the corner of Lynn Valley and Mountain Highway had a vast array of penny candy placed in glass jars temptingly arranged on the counter near the door; when not spending my money on 55 cent packages of cigarettes (Rothmans as I remember … so long ago), I spent it on vast quantities of cheap sugar treats.

Back in the day, the Lynn Canyon Park was simply a park, not an Ecology Centre. It had no concession stands, no ranger stations, no washrooms … nada, nichts, nothing except trees, plants, cliffs, and water. And a suspension bridge. I loved the suspension bridge; higher than the one you have to pay for in Capilano Canyon (although not as long), it swings mightily back and forth to the dancing feet of folks racing across it. The first time I went with my mother to the suspension bridge was when I realised that she was deathly afraid of heights. She backed up and away from it so fast I barely had time to blink.

These days things have been upscaled a bit; there’s a concession stand that even sells beer (much to Ty’s delight). But the main reason for going there, the forest and the trees, is essentially the same as it was when I was young (Oh sweet bird of youth, where have ye flown?). On a recent dull day Ty, Christine, Brubin, and I fired up the Modo car and headed north to the canyon. Once across the suspension bridge, we walked along wide paths, some with long, steep wooden staircases, down past Twin Falls to Lynn Creek and back up again to the Lower Seymour Conservation Forest.

I used to like to wade up to my hips in the creek in my jeans, enjoying the glacial cold water on a blistering hot day. Over the many years since I last visited Lynn Canyon and now, twenty people have died in this park, some of whom are memorialised with bronze plaques such as the one above. Every year people take their lives in their hands, by going out of bounds, cliff-jumping, sunbathing in unfortunate locations and the like. Visit on a quiet day and you will be transported back to a time when the temperate west coast rain forest covered this entire region.

See more photos here. More information available here.

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