Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Vancouver Day 2 - Canopy Walkway

By Chuck

We read an article about the canopy walkways in Vancouver. We thought the Capilano Bridge was pricey ($30 each); the Lynn Canyon bridge is free, but it is not as local, and doesn't have a botanical garden. We decided on the University of British Columbia's Botanical Garden and Greenheart Canopy Walkway. It was fantastic.

Our fabulous tour guide, Matt, has an M.A. degree from UBC and knows virtually everything about the bridge structure and the trees. Since we were the only two on this particular tour and we had lots of questions, the 45 minute tour was extended to 90 minutes. We loved every minute.

Part of the 1000 foot aerial trail system

The mechanical "tree hugger" that makes it possible for the platforms and bridges to be supported without damaging the trees. Greenheart has similar installations in Africa, Central and South America and the U.S.

Looking down from a platform. This system's components are designed to be carried up trees in backpacks, so no large, destructive installation equipment is required. Construction is as non-invasive as possible using the patent pending ‘tree hugger’ suspension system. The tree hugger uses no nails or bolts or intrusive fasteners of any kind, using instead, a variable tension system to provide the least amount of infringement or impact on the trees or on the ground.

Structural detail of the stairway to the 65 foot tower

Lower walkway, seen from above

Looking across

We continue to walk among the trees

Foresters have found that dead trees can be topped and left standing and still provide nursing services to the environment. For example, woodpeckers may come and drill holes, seeds may take root, and new growth begin.

Here is an example of a tree growing out of an upright nurse log

This is a more traditional fallen nurse log

New growth standing in front of older growth, back on the ground

The entrance to the North Garden of the UBC Botanical Gardens

Trellis in the UBC North Garden

There were many beautiful plants and flowers throughout the BG

Claire at the entrance to the Physic Garden where medieval and First Nation medicinal plants are cultivated. It turns out that many of these plants were poisonous, rather than beneficial.

We moved on to famous Stanley Park and I loved the colorful plants and the giant leaves that we found

These leaves are both huge and colorful

Not our cup of tea, but it looked like they were enjoying themselves. Because we came so late in the year, the shuttle buses were not running.

When certain kinds of trees run into growth problems, they may decide to restructure themselves and create a new growth plan. Note the branch growing off the main trunk at a 90 degree angle and starting anew.

Lovely artificial waterfall in Stanley Park

View across the water of one of many Vancouver bridges and the development of suburban Vancouver

Claire walking one of the trails in Stanley Park

Stopping for tea, we enjoyed the view from The Tea House in Stanley Park, looking across the strait to suburban Vancouver

Lovely beach near The Tea House

The Tea House