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I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am completely reckless and irresponsible when it comes to compiling travel pieces… (remember that time I went to Japan and have yet to post ANYTHING about it? It’s coming… I swear.) In my mind, it always seems daunting sifting through the plethora of shots to use for a travel diary. I am one snap happy traveler and editing that down can be pain.

With that said, back in October I flew to Vancouver to meet up with my best friend Cecily for her birthday and finally meet her glamorous and lovely grandma. The goal of the trip was to hike, relax, and consume an excessive amount of sushi and lattes as possible. In my opinion, we succeeded in all facets, especially in the hike department. I was barely able to walk once Cecily was done with me.

Read on for a few places we couldn’t get enough of.

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THE CHIEF

This was the first serious hike I’ve ever gone on. Any other “hike” I’ve been on was a glorified walk compared to The Chief. As I panted trying to carry my body up the severe incline, dreadlocked men ran past us in converse and shorts, skipping steps, no jackets, no water bottles. This certainly wasn’t their first rodeo, but it sure was mine.

It’s graded as an “intermediate hike” but once you get to the peaks, there are CHAINS to help you climb the rest of the way. Since we went in October, which is considered off-season in Squamish, it was extremely slippery. Plus I was convinced every one on the trail was there to murder us courtesy of the tails I’ve listened to on the My Favorite Murder podcast.

According to my iPhone health tracker, we walked 14,211 steps, 9.03 km, and climbed 145 floors on that hike.

I can vouch that this is not a trail for a beginner unless you’re overzealous but make sure to stretch A LOT afterwards which I did not do. If this isn’t your bag, you can still experience the area in a much less strenuous way on the Sea to Sky Gondola.

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SUSHI MAIN

We ate here more than once. It was conveniently located up the block from 49th Parallel, the sashimi was incredible, and there was this cute teal car parked around the corner that I fell in love with. I think I’ve made a great case for it.

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QUEEN ELIZABETH PARK

There’s a mountain view, there’s a biodome, there’s luscious trees everywhere! This park truly has it all as well as Cecily looking gazelle-like in her Bree Layne choker. If you want more of a taste of the park here’s another post.

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SHOPPING

Cecily and I stumbled into a minimalist’s dream while walking down Main St; the shop was called Umeboshi. I’m a slave to Japan so we made the trek out to Richmond to visit my favourite Japanese dollar store: Daiso. Are you looking for cute stationery or perhaps some Japanese confections? This is the store for you.

We also checked out the Broom Company on Granville Island which was spectacular. Do you want to see someone construct an old timey broom right before your eyes? Then hoof it on down to the island.

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On the left we have some hard evidence of my snap happy ways. This video was taken at the beginning of our first hike, when I was still chipper and my legs worked.

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COFFEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

The first cafe we hit up on the trip was right before the treacherous hike we went on. The Greenhorn Cafe, located downtown in a maze of one way streets, was open early for breakfast and lattes which we indulged in both.

49th Parallel & Lucky’s Doughnuts – we were repeat offenders here mostly because of their handmade organic almond milk which is Sandy and Cecily’s version of crack. Their excellent doughnut selection is second to the almond milk but I’m always glad to pair a baked good with a latte. I’m not a monster after all.

Matchstick – if the minimal decor wasn’t enough to draw you in in the first place, the smell of incredible coffee and the taste of their lattes is enough to keep you returning many times as we did; all weekend.

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DAY TRIP

Both Cecily and I had never been to Whistler and we figured this was the perfect opportunity to change this. To be fair, we didn’t see *Whistler* proper because the Scandinave Spa was calling. Hopping from hot sauna’s to polar dip pools nearly killed me. My body wasn’t nearly as mobile as usual since the hike. I also discovered I have a hard time with keeping silent for that long, everyone should try it!

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Mini adventures with Cecily are one of my favourite things to do. It was so fortunate we were even able to make that happen twice last year. Hopefully 2017 will magically throw another opportunity our way.

Photographs – Cecily + Sandy