Maplewood Flats is a real gem, and a great quick get-away from the city with your little hikers, or a fantastic place for a first time little-hiker. It is a quick drive off the Dollarton Highway, take a right off the second narrows bridge heading towards deep cove, and in about 1.5km you will see a sign on the right hand side of the road for Maplewood Conservation Area (there is also a pair of binoculars on the sign). There is a large parking to your immediate left, and a handful of spots on the road. Start walking towards the Wild Bird Trust of BC building (which is usually open Tue and Thur, with some fantastic volunteers who almost always give us cookies)! There is also a bathroom inside the bird trust building which we have always been allowed to use! The beginning of the trail is immediately past the Bird Trust building.
Rocky beach at Maplewood Flats
Maplewood flats is an excellent place to take your beginner hikers, it is stroller friendly (not paved, but well-packed gravel), and it is almost completely flat. After walking about 200 meters you will come to a rocky beach perfect for little hands to throw big rocks into the ocean. There have been many times that we haven’t actually left the beach – especially when deer and heron and other animals are constantly nearby.
Walking the trails at Maplewood Flats
After the small beach you can cross a bridge into the bird sanctuary, there are two different loops that you can walk, and maps are provided by the Bird Trust. Both trails snake in and out of lovely wooded area and more open tall-grass. The whole park is full of bird houses and many local bird-watchers. If you are lucky (being quiet and still also helps) you may see some pacific tree frogs hanging out on the broad leaves along the path.
Horse Tail Grass at Maplewood Flats
In the fall there are blackberry brambles throughout the park, and so many mushrooms, wildflowers and other forest finds that will keep your kids totally excited about the next treasure around the bend!
Forest finds at Maplewood Flats
To learn more about Maple Wood Flats check it out here.
Shoreline Trail – Port Moody
It has been a while since I’ve blogged – it was a hectic December, thankfully I was super busy with lots of Nature Tracker Bag orders, and to be honest, we didn’t do much exploring until we left for Winnipeg on December 25th. But now we are back in Vancouver, and things are mostly back to normal, so I’m trying to catch up on all the things that I have abandoned in the last month.
Shoreline Trail – Port Moody
This is a throwback to early November, a fantastic hike/walk that we did with our good friends from Tin Can Knits! We headed out to Shoreline Trail in Port Moody.
“The Shoreline Trail is an easy walking route that wraps around the eastern most section of Burrard Inlet, starting from the pier at Rocky Point Park and ending at Old Orchard Park.” (From Vancouver Trails)
Witches Butter Fungi
The entire trail is 6km long, but we only hiked half of that. It was an amazing walk – and totally stroller friendly. The trail is really well maintained and made for easy walking for all the kids (aged 2 – 5). Although we missed it, apparently it is an amazing place to be when the Salmon are spawning, and the small streams are full of salmon.
Shaggy Mane Mushroom
We didn’t see the salmon but we saw some amazing mushrooms – and our first ever Shaggy Mane mushroom sighting in real life (I was the most excited about this).
Shoreline Trail Port Moody
This hike is great for you first-time explorers, as its a really flat, casual walk, and has an amazing playground at the start at Rocky Point Park. It’s a quick drive from Vancouver on the Barnett Highway, and is really lovely during any season!
I think we would spend every single day in North Vancouver if we didn’t have other obligations and life! We love it, and this is the place that we most often visit.
Lynn Canyon Park
Lynn Canyon is amazing and there are endless options for all levels of hikers/walkers. It is 617 Acres of beautiful old growth forest, with great paths for walking, a 50 meter suspension bridge and an amazing ecology centre which caters to kids.
It is not stroller accessible (although other parts of the valley are such as Rice Lake), and it may be challenging for little legs with many roots and stairs, and I highly recommend a carrier (I love my ergo by the way). My 2 and 4 year old love the various hikes that we do and are capable of doing almost all the stairs on their own.
Looking for his mushroom book!
For a shorter hike we will often check out the 30-foot Pool! All year long we love hiking to this beautiful place on the way to the Pipe Bridge. In the summer many people swim at the 30 foot pool, and it’s a great easy hike for the little’s, very little incline, and lot of fun places to explore!
Consulting the book with his best pal Hunter!
We had a lovely day with our best pals, and found the most amazing mushrooms ever! Sulphur tufts, amanita muscaria and we even found some witches butter – score!
Amanita Muscaria mushroom!
We always round out our trip with a stop at the Ecology Centre after we have hiked. It has an amazing selection of animals/reptiles that kids can play with, a puppet theatre, an arts station, and many interactive, educational exhibits.
Barnet Marine Park
Hands down anytime of the year this is one of our favourite places. Barnet Marine Park is a fantastic park in Burnaby for many different types of adventures. The Eastern part of the park has a nice beach, lots of green space (and goose poop – watch your step) and picnic tables! We love the beach in the summertime, and although it does get busy on hot summer days, we are never without a good spot!
Barnet Marine Park
If you head west along the shore, you will come across some fantastic ruins from an old logging mill camp, a perfect place time climbing, hiding and play. To read about the history check out this link.
Looking for crabs
The shoreline near the ruins are a perfect place to look for shoreline crabs – we can spend hours picking up rocks and old bricks and watching the crabs scatter. On the dock there are always a tonne of crabbers – and we’ve been known to catch a few crabs there too (more on that in a different post).
The park is a great place if you are looking for something stroller friendly or easy for small little legs – as it is very flat and the paths are all well maintained. Walking along the shoreline will not disappoint, and it is about 1.3km if you do the entire shoreline.
Jumping off a big cedar trunk
We also love the wooded area’s west of the swimming beach, its a great spot for exploring, hiding and this fall had an amazing selection of mushrooms which we spent hours finding and identifying.
Barnet Marine Park
We try and time our arrival or departure with the trains – so we can watch them pass underfoot from the covered bridge walkway, it is never a disappointment!
Covered walkway from the west parking lot
Had to share the pictures of the most recent Nature Tracker Bag that I just mailed off to a special little in Montreal! I love the playful Astronaut fabric interior.
Nature Tracker Bag – Little Astronaut Explorer
The Nature Tracker Bag is a perfect accessory for your adventures! It gives your kiddo a sense of responsibility and also autonomy as they carry their own binoculars, or water-bottle or forest identification pamphlet. The one pictures here does not come with the Nature Tracker Bag, but you can find it at Mountain Equipment Coop. We have a full set of them for animals, tree’s & plants, mushrooms and marine life of BC!
Little Astronaut Fabric
I am now taking orders for the holiday season of Nature Tracker Bags, and all orders between now and Dec 1st will include a Nature Tracking Magnifying Glass! To order yours check out the shop here.
Sample contents of the Nature Tracker Bag
This guy and this sneaky-ness inspired the forest ninja Adventure Vest
This Adventure Vest might be one of my favourites! The inspiration for the name comes from our buddy Mason! During my sons 4th birthday party Mason spent the entire party darting from tree to tree and declaring loudly (and sneakily) that he was a forest ninja!
He had his Nature Tracker Bag and his binoculars!
We recently went to Rice Lake for his first adventure since receiving his vest! It was a blast, and the vest lived up to its name!
Look at that blue-steel!
If you are interested in ordering your own Adventure Vest for your little forest explorer – check out the shop here! You can choose your own canvas colour, pockets, zipper or snaps, and there is a lot of fantastic fabrics to choose from!
One of my favourites from that day as the fog rolled in!
The inside of the Forest Ninja Adventure Vest!
I don’t know how many of you are into fishing – I can’t honestly say that I’m really ‘into’ fishing, in fact my husband jokes that I’m a total cliche when I come along. I sit on the dock and knit and ask every 5 minutes if they’ve caught anything (I’m not really that bad, but I do sit and knit the entire time).
This is how I fish!
I appreciate fishing more theoretically I suppose – helping my boys experience and understand where our food comes from, the energy, effort and work that goes into what we often take for granted. So we bought a few fishing licenses, and the boys got new fishing rods for Christmas and we were set.
My little angler
Almost every weekend for the past month we find ourselves at Habitat Pond. Many of you East Van folk have probably seen this little lake in the middle of Hastings Park, but perhaps you never realized that you can legally fish for rainbow trout in that pond? Well you can and we have an absolute blast every time we go.
Habitat Pond in the fall
The Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC stocks this pond (and many others in the lower mainland) twice a year, in order to maintain the fish stock and to encourage local fishing. If you are interested in taking your little’s fishing they have a great website and you can learn everything you need to know here.
Go Fish BC will help you get started
My boys have yet to actually catch a fish – but my husband keeps reminding me that is a part of fishing – so I suppose we are ALL learning patience! See ya out there!