Vancouver is an incredibly active city. With such gorgeous natural surroundings I can't blame its residents for choosing a bike instead of a car or spending an hour and half conquering a mountain before heading to work. The air is fresh and crisp and the sun lit up the mountains late into the evening making every day feel like a never-ending adventure. We needed the light, though, with all of the activities we ambitiously put on our schedule. That's what happens when you put a kick-ass group of highly competitive women together and let us run loose in a new place with so many sport options. The sport FOMO runs high because how could I possibly leave a city I may never return to without doing EVERYTHING. Type A for athletes. Of course, the main reason that led us here with adidas in the first place was the Women's World Cup, so the sport vibe was already buzzing about in this city. In the midst of all of this sport energy I reclaimed my inner athlete and conquered Vancouver in the best way possible. Here's what you can't miss if you go, or if you're looking to whip your butt into shape quickly: Do ALL of this in 72 hours.
Kayak Indian Arm with Starfish
We took tandem kayaks out on Indian Arm, which is actually a glacial body of salt water created during the last ice age. It's absolutely incredible that this type of raw nature exists so close to a major city. The unexpected treat during our paddle was the vast amount of starfish hanging out in the shallow parts of the water. We paddled an hour to get to Twin island where we hung out on the side of the cliff eating wild salmon cooked by our guides. Teeny tiny crabs scurry through the heavily shelled beach that connects the two islands. The land here is respected and everything is left in its natural state. Kayaking is an awesome arm workout and mine are still sore as I type this.
Conquer Fear at Grouse Grind & Capilano Bridge
Want to know how good of shape you're in? Climb the Grouse Grind and I promise you that you will learn very quickly. I actually feel partly responsible for everyone's pain that morning because it wasn't on the original schedule and I rallied the team to get up at 5 am to fit it in. The Grouse Grind is a 1.5 hour hike straight uphill and will now be considered the most challenging hike I've ever personally done. Highly consider your hiking abilities before trying this one out. It's very steep with a mix of rock piles and built in wood stairs and it's a continuous uphill climb. They call it nature's stair master for a reason. The coolest part of the climb, next to the incredible view at the top, was the way everyone in our group came together as a unit so no one was left behind. It's a travel moment I'll never forget. A five minute drive from Grouse Grind is the Capilano suspension bridge. It looked cooler online than in person. I'm glad I crossed it but you have to fight crowds and the bridge wobbles with tons of people on it. Regardless, the fact that the city built a playground of suspension bridges in the trees is pretty cool.
Cycle to Know It
I always say that to bike a new city is to know a city. This was our first activity and it was a great way to see Vancouver quickly to get a lay of the land. My favorite part was riding along the seawall with a view of the mountains but it was also cool to see the Olympic village, the Gaslight district and some gorgeous residential areas. It's a very bike friendly city and has very large designated bike lanes. You can cruise through the streets comfortably without the stress of fighting with cars. I recommend Cycle Vancouver for tours. They use a Vancouver based bike company called Norco that have a pretty cool retro flair.
Get Upside-Down at Stanley Park
After cycling we cruised over to the gorgeous Stanley Park for a yoga class in the grass. Is this not the most picturesque spot to do yoga? It's very peaceful here and again, very clean. I needed the stretching from the 6 hour plane ride and cycling. I always try to find the best places for yoga in each city I visit and it's even better when it's not a studio. All of these things are within 20 minutes of the city!
It's been an incredible month of travel and it's a reminder to always set a travel intention just like on a yoga mat. What does this place offer that can force me to abandon my normal habits and try something new? How can I be present in a place and capture each and every moment? I'm on a mission to find this in every place I travel. Thanks for coming along on the journey.