On Saturday, Gwen was busy with other things, and it was an unusual occurrence for November: a nice, sunny day! Determined to make the best of it, Aidan and I went on a grand adventure. We went out for a walk and came to a stop by the bus stop on Broadway. When I told the boy that we were getting on a bus he was super excited! So excited that rather than wait for the bus to come to us, he tried to cross six lanes of traffic to get to the bus on the other side of the street. Fortunately I had a hold of his hand. When the bus came, the driver lowered it (we’ve got fancy kneeling busses!) and this dampered the excitement only a little bit. Aidan doesn’t like hissing or compressor noises and when the bus kneels, it makes a noise exactly like that. So, we got on the bus in a flurry of excitement as I tried to negotiate the bus, the toddler, the stroller, and paying the fare. Anytime I’ve been on the bus before with the boy, I’ve been with others so this was a new experience for me. The boy was really good though, and waited patiently for me rather than take off down the bus while my hands were full.
While on the short ride down to Granville street, he was telling anyone who would pay any attention to him that we were on a trolley bus. “On the trolley bus!” “Riding the bus!” “Aidan’s on the bus!”.
A few blocks later (we usually walk those 4 blocks) we got off and took another bus downtown. Side note: one of the great things about living where we do is that we never pay any attention to bus schedules. A bus comes along every 5 minutes or less, so why bother?!? After living in a place where the bus came by once an hour or less, it was a bit of a shock. At any rate, although this bus was packed, we managed to get on it and get settled a little easier. This ride was a bit longer and we got off near the Waterfront Skytrain station, at the old train station downtown. A short walk to the station and he was saying “Going on the Skytrain! Aidan’s going on the Skytrain!” before we even entered the building. I don’t know how he knew that — I don’t think he’d ever been to that Skytrain station before — but I think he recognizes the Skytrain logos. Another side note: his logo or brand recognition is scary. The McDonald’s Golden Arches always gets called “French Fries”. The Dairy Queen logo always gets called “Milkshakes!” Various toys are called “Fisher Price xxxx” if the FP logo is on them.
We got on the Skytrain and travelled on it (packed) all the way to Patterson Station in Burnaby. We were sitting near the rear of the train and we could see the tunnel through the rear window (the “Skytrain” is strangely underground until BC Place). This was pretty exciting too, but after a while he got distracted with entertaining the young Asian couple beside us. He took great enjoyment from telling them that we were on the Skytrain on a bridge, or in a tunnel, and so on. In fact, we got off at Patterson and the young couple got off too, only to discover that they weren’t at the station they intended to debark at and had to get back on the next train along!
Patterson station is the nearest to Central Park in Burnaby. Central Park is an urban rainforest, full of towering Douglas Fir and Western Hemlock, along with some maple and poplar trees in a few copses here and there. There are lots of paved and crushed gravel walking trails throughout. There were also supposed to be three “easy” geocaches within its perimeter! :) We took our time walking through the park, constantly chased and harassed by Black and Grey Squirrels, trying (quite successfully) to fatten up for the weekend. Strollers and toddlers are rightly identified as ready sources of food. They are bold enough to come right up to the stroller and nibble at the fingers. Aidan liked this quite a bit too, and a few squirrels managed to get some alligator crackers from him. He was out of the stroller for quite a bit too, and delighted in chasing the squirrels, running after them with arms wide open imploring them to “Come! Come!”.
Central Park is quite popular with walkers and dog-walkers. One such was a young woman with one of these irritating rat-dog things. As Aidan was following the latest squirrel off into the woods (he doesn’t mind bushwacking in the least) he saw this tiny yapper (whose owner had it off leash and was encouraging it to chase the squirrels — although if one of the squirrels had stopped to fight, it would have been even-odds) he exclaimed in a loud voice “A dog squirrel!”. Perfectly descriptive in my mind.
And so we continued through the park, past the duck ponds and up to an place just off the main trail with a stream and a distinctive cluster of poplar trees. Hidden in this cluster is a box of Tupperware. After signing the log, we traversed the stream again, but this time I thought I’d let Aidan walk across the rock “bridge” on his own. Nothing doing: he decided to ford the stream without using the rocks. Fortunately I pulled him out before he got too wet, but I guess I should have expected that he’d take advantage of the opportunity to splash in the water. The picture above was taken near this cache.
The loop around the park is long … about 5 km, and the boy was starting to tire. Gwen called as we were heading towards another cache, and we arranged to meet at the Safeway near the Broadway Skytrain station. We walked back through the forest, through an area of filtered sunlight and back to the Skytrain again (slightly muted excitement, the Skytrain was even more packed and Aidan wanted to get off by the second stop) then home for a 2 1/2 hour nap!
What a grand adventure.