It’s hard to visit Vancouver and not notice the natural beauty surrounding it. When I moved here in 2021, I remember going to Kits Beach and marvelling at the snow-dusted mountains framed by the sky and sea. I remember my aunt driving me to UBC for the first time and talking about how beautiful the cliffside forests are.
Inevitably, the summer days before term ended and the concrete walls of Buchanan and windowless study rooms replaced my views of the ocean and forest. While I've never been the outdoorsy, backpacking type, studying on my laptop for hours a day was starting to take its toll on me. So on one over-caffeinated day, I left my assignments and wandered into the local woods for the first time.
Heading into Pacific Spirit Park, I was immediately excited. The trees were so tall, the ferns so lush and the paths twisted and turned in a way that gave me the feeling of a little kid on an adventure. I even saw a few dogs.
I was truly struck once I travelled down a trail parallel to the northern edge of Point Grey. The Admiralty Trail runs along the cliff edge with access to Acadia Beach and Spanish Banks Dog Beach. It is mostly flat with gentle curves, offering a leisurely stroll with views of Burrard Inlet and the North Shore’s mountains on one side and the forest of ferns and various trees on the other.
Describing the view as anything less than incredible would be a disgrace. It’s not merely the kind of view that makes you smile and move on; you have to stop for a moment and take it all in. It’s the kind of view that tells me, “this is a reason for being alive.” I have an image burned into my mind as a reminder of why I love this city.
As with any niche thing I’ve come to love, the Admiralty Trail has become a topic I rave about to friends and anyone who will listen. They’ve asked why I’m so excited about a short, flat trail that some wouldn’t call “actual hiking.” Sure, this little walk does not represent the pinnacle of athletic achievement, but I think that makes it no less valuable.
I’m not an athlete who needs to break records on the Grouse Grind, but I am a human who needs breaks and some movement. I need some fresh air and a beautiful view to add new meaning to this weird life. That’s what the Admiralty Trail provides for me, the human connection to nature in an accessible place. It’s that connection that makes me want to return whenever I can, either with friends for camaraderie or alone for reflection.