As two mildly adventurous city dwellers who happen to be married, the two of us tend to spend as much free time as we can escaping the city. Rainy Vancouver is one of our favourite places in the world; we love the food, the vibrant culture, the undeniably beautiful landscape. But mostly, we love how easy it is to get from city life to complete immersion in nature. Less than an hour in any direction, and you’re in the mountains.
When Toyota Canada approached us to collaborate on their Towards Tomorrow campaign, we jumped at the opportunity. Any chance to promote one of our favourite drives - one we make at least once a month - is okay by us! We stopped by the Towards Tomorrow by Toyota brand gallery at Tsawwassen Mills to experience the activations there. It was refreshing to visit a modern solution for the traditional dealership, allowing us to experience the various vehicles in an unique way. The brand gallery, which features a range of vehicles in Toyota’s 2017 line-up, incorporates technology and fun as a new way to interact with people like us. We appreciated the fact that we felt no pressure in regards to making a purchase and were shown the benefits of each vehicle in a way that was relatable to us. We had a lot of fun with the virtual reality, (well, Reuben had a little too much fun), where got a chance to play games and step outside our own world. We were so lucky to get matched up with Toyota’s latest adventure-mobile (okay, so officially “adventure-mobile” isn’t in the car’s title, but we think it should be), the Corolla iM. This sporty and zippy hatchback was the perfect choice for us to make our quick escape.
Do you ever get that urge where you just want to hit the road? Find some space, long stretches of pavement where you can take in your surroundings, and just drive? Well we do, and whenever we get that itch, we immediately think of driving to Golden Ears Provincial Park. So last Monday, when the clouds parted and gave us a break from the rain, we picked up our electric blue Corolla adventure-mobile, and that’s exactly where we went.
Golden Ears borders on the edge of Maple Ridge, so the journey there takes about an hour from the city. The second you drive into the park, everything changes. Things get quiet. The houses and farms are replaced with trees, then more trees, then nothing but trees. Entering the park is exactly what we’d imagine entering Wonderland might feel like. Literally the lushest, most vivid, moss covered evergreens extend deep into the wilderness, and emerald ferns cover the forest floor like carpet. And the smell, that amazing smell of moist earth - do we sound crazy yet? Maybe, but pull over along any stretch of Golden Ears parkway, especially on a rainy day, and see for yourself.
This time of year, the clouds hang low over the mountains and enshroud the road in fog, and that’s when the magic really happens. Beyond every twist and turn of the parkway the trees seem to get more dense, and you just might see deer grazing at the forest’s edge. After driving for about fifteen minutes along this perfect BC rainforest, we turned onto a gravel path, and parked at the trailhead for Lower Falls. We pulled our backpacks and our camera gear from the trunk and headed straight for the trees.
Lower Falls trail is an easy, 5km hike along the beautiful Gold Creek, which during the winter, is wild and raging with all that extra rainwater. It’s the perfect place to go when you quite literally want a quiet walk in the woods. Dwarfed by giant Douglas Firs and Western Hemlocks, we wandered along the trail, accompanied by the constant rush of water from the river. There are several spots where you can stand by the creekside and skip rocks while the snowcapped Golden Ears, Edge and Blanchard Peaks loom above, and fog rises above the fir trees. At the end of the trail, Lower Falls was literally overflowing; turbulent and relentless, churning endless water into the river. As we approached, the air was thick with mist and we were immediately soaked from head to toe - but this didn’t stop us from getting as close as we possibly could!
As winter is approaching and the days are getting shorter, magic hour hit as we began our walk back to the car. Golden light broke through the clouds, and mist rose up over the creek. It was almost dark when started driving out of the park, and SURPRISE, our bright headlights turned on by themselves as we turned a dark corner. (Did you know that was a thing?! Cause we didn’t.) On went the tunes, (a soundtrack is part of what makes a perfect day trip), off came our soaked raincoats, (thanks waterfall!) and on went our seat warmers. Someone please tell us why we opted not to get seat warmers in our last car? They’re a life saver. There’s something about a walk in the woods that makes us really, really hungry, so there was only one place to stop on the way home….Sal Y Limon for some tasty Mexican food. (Tacos for Brie, burrito for Reuben). YESSSSSS. Perfect end to the day.
Thank you to Toyota Canada for helping us adventure safely, we were so happy to be able to experience the new safety features for ourselves. From warning us if we ever strayed from our lane, to letting us know of vehicles in our blind spot, the new technology that helps keep us safe is phenomenal, and comes standard with most 2017 vehicles. Head over to the Toyota Brand Gallery at Tsawwassen Mills until January 31, 2017 to see for yourself and take a spin in one of Toyota’s newest vehicles.
THIS POST IS IN PARTNERSHIP WITH TOYOTA CANADA. ALL PHOTOS IN THIS BLOG POST WERE TAKEN AND EDITED BY BRIE & REUBEN OF VANCITYWILD.
ALL OPINIONS ARE OUR OWN.