Walking? Sixty-five feet up in the air?
When we were invited to tour the Greenheart Canopy Walkway at the UBC Botanical Garden, I was a bit nervous. I have a fear of heights, and the thought of being that high up, walking on very bouncy, see-through metal bridges attached to large Douglas Firs didn’t thrill me at first.
But, I am an adventurous mom. With enthusiastic family in tow, we proceeded to introduce ourselves to our guide for the 45 minute, 308-metre Canopy Walkway tour in the UBC’s beautiful Botanical Garden.
Walking in the Trees
The walkway started out fairly low to the ground. The gentle incline slowly brings you above the ferns and small trees. The view of the forest as we walked higher was beautiful and illuminating. Unless you’re a bird or climbing animal, you don’t see this unique tree canopy viewpoint.
Our guide pointed out many special forest features that you don’t notice or see from the ground. These include the special licorice ferns (so-called because they taste like licorice) that only grow midway up mature Fir trees. Or the bright, chartreuse green seed pods of maple trees that can be boiled to make a tea for drinking.
The metal walkway is quite bouncy, and may take some getting used to if you have younger kids. My youngest child could only cross when everyone else had finished to minimize the bounciness, and our guide was kind and encouraging at all times. I’m sure he wasn’t the first to experience such fears.
The highest point of the canopy tour is the 65-foot watchtower. Here you can just peek through the canopy to catch a glimpse of the mouth of the Fraser River and Georgia Straight. On the green forest floor, the fast growing alders jockey for sunlight amongst hundred year-old hemlocks. These remain in the forest, unlogged due to their brittle wood quality. Evidence of bird activity is audible, and signs of woodpeckers can be found at every dead tree trunk.
When to Visit
The UBC Botanical Garden is beautiful at any time of year, but springtime is especially busy for nature. All manner of creatures of interest to children and adults alike are active in the forest. IN particular, you’ll see field mice, many species of birds and insects, and pollinating bees.
The Garden has many pathways that meander through the Asian and Alpine gardens, as well as the second-growth forest, and they are all wheelchair and stroller-friendly.
Note: The Canopy Walkway has a specially-designed, narrow wheelchair for the physically-challenged. This allows individuals to rise above the forest floor and experience the joy and sensation of being in the trees as well. 48 hours advanced notice is required.
Disclosure: The travelling mom thanks the UBC Botanical Garden and the Greenheart Canopy Walkway for their generosity in making our visit possible.
Have you visited the Greeheart Canopy Walkway at UBC Botanical Garden? Share your comment below.