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The mountains can bring out the child in me

October 27, 2015
north-from-oak-at-12th

The view of Grouse Mountain, looking north down Oak Street at 12th Avenue.

The sight of Grouse Mountain on Monday afternoon, majestically wreathed in shreds and wisps of cloud and looking so close that I could make out individual trees high up on the slopes brought back memories of childhood trips to Canada’s Jasper and Banff National Parks.

Especially to Banff, that first time. The summer when every radio in the park (and I mean every single radio) was playing the song “Spinning Wheel” by the Can-Am band Blood, Sweat & Tears. The first time that I ever saw mountains.

That would’ve been July of 1969. I would’ve been nearly 7-years-old. It was only days after I had been placed with my first and best foster family; after my first glimpse of colour television and of a man walking on the Moon. My first trip out of Saskatchewan — whether I knew it or not.

Some 46 years later I can say that my sight of the Rocky Mountains made a much stronger first impression on me than the “one giant leap for mankind”.

To think that I can see mountains any time I want (barring days when they’re cancelled due to rain or fog) has been an ever-present wonder to me for 35 years.

The mountains that I’m seeing are, of course, not the Rocky Mountains (though I thought they were when I first moved to Vancouver); they’re the North Shore Mountains which are among the Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains.

The North Shore Mountains are only about 18 kilometres northwest of Vancouver while the Rocky Mountains are over 600 kilometres away to the east, on the border between British Columbia and Alberta. Click the image to enlarge it.

4 Comments
  1. Sand lindberg permalink

    Thanks for always giving us food for thought.

  2. Hi. I somehow missed this post. Some of your oldies are real goodies. I hope you’ve found vancouver mostly welcoming over the last 46 years. This is a pretty nice corner too, in my experience. Doesn’t show any of the madness associated with the spot on Oak and West Broadway where you take your life in your hands crossing the street.
    That old vancouverite trick of figuring our which direction is north..well, we say it to the tourists…just look towards the mountains…………do they have a different trick in Banff?
    Cheers!

    • I was 17 when I moved to Vancouver. I’ve spent the majority of my life here — almost my entire working life. I truly love this city and the people I’ve grown up with, even though the city does attract some of the shallowest, most self-centred life forms in the universe (must be part of the charm).

      Fairview reminds me of 1980s Vancouver — some of which I quite miss. As for which way is north…I could get lost on stage with the band One Direction.

      A friend one started extolling my chances of surviving the Great Quake because, he said, I could just get on my bike and head for the mountains. Then his voice sort of trailed off when he considered that there might not be anyone around to tell me which mountains and which direction they were in. Pretty much, he decided, I’d need someone to drive me.

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