Wednesday, July 25, 2012

With a worldwide reputation for a thrill a minute, a walk on the wild side across Capilano Suspension Bridge's narrow 137 metre wobbling length, suspended 70 metres above the Capilano river, is one of those 'must do' experiences for all visitors to Vancouver. 
On a recent trip and a crossing of the canyon I ventured an occasional fleeting look into a dense fir-filled abyss. With a long standing fear of heights and a determination to further torture myself with an upcoming 'Treetops Adventure Walk' deeper in the forest, I scrambled, with a gasp of relief, onto the receiving platform at the bridge's furtherest point.  

During the crossing, the fact that 26 tons of concrete (the combined weight of 4 elephants at start and finish) anchoring the reinforced steel bridge, proved to be of little comfort to my fragile sense of security.
The bridge, when erected in 1899 by George Mackay, a Scottish engineer, was a favorite venue for city dwellers. Each weekend on the densely treed hillside leading up to Grouse Mountain, families, courting couples, the aged and children enjoyed nature at its most beautiful.

Lively entertainment by local musicians must have filled the surrounding valleys with music and laughter. Over a century later, a rollicking rendition of vintage melodies by the 'Pioneer Players' was a re-enactment of that time.

As the years passed life evolved on the flanks of Grouse Mountain to include aboriginal people. In the 1930s they were encouraged to display their story poles in this dramatic setting. More than 70 years later those same poles are still on view. Each exquisitely carved treasure tells a tale of the past, a subtle combination of myth and reality. In Kia'palano, the First Nations Cultural center, native wood carvers labour steadily restoring old poles and carving new.

In a setting surrounded by colourful totem poles the Strong Wind Dancers provide a further view into native American culture as they weave a mysterious magic with tales of spirit legends and a wild dance to the haunting throb of drums.

Photos copyright Anne Gordon 

Posted by Anne Gordon on Wednesday, 25th July, 2012.


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