When I made my to-do list for the summer, going swimming at Lynn Canyon was at the top of my list. So when I recently had two friends visit from out of town, I took the opportunity to cross it off my list. For those who have never been, Lynn Canyon is a park in North Vancouver with a suspension bridge and hiking trails. The appeal for me has always been the thirty foot swimming pool a short walk after the bridge, where crystal clear waters create the perfect place to swim on a hot summer’s day.
The day we drove up to Lynn Canyon was warm but overcast – not the ideal temperature for taking a dip in glacier waters. The three of us set off over the suspension bridge, swaying fifty feet over the mountain canyon. Luckily, none of us were afraid of heights! We walked on to the swimming hole. When we arrived, there were a fair number of people on shore but no one in the water – it wasn’t close to being warm enough for that! But we were determined to have a swim, no matter how crazy it would make us appear.
Feeling self-conscious of all the people, my friends decided to wade across the river to the other side, which was empty. They chose a path across and I reluctantly followed. When I’m swimming in cold water, I prefer to just dive in to get the worse part over with, rather than torturing my poor lower half. I followed my friends into the water, but my feet went almost immediately numb. It was just too cold. I couldn’t do it.
The two of them, however, successfully made it to the other side. Deciding at this point it was far too cold for a swim, I stayed safely on my side of the river with all the other sane people. As my friends pulled out towels and began to undress, a man next to me said in disbelief, “I think they’re going to swim!”
The two of them ran into the water, screamed, and ran out while I killed myself laughing on the other side. But they did it again and again, even cliff-jumping at one point. Afterwards, they admitted to me they had never intended on jumping and had just climbed up the cliff to look at the view. Once at the top, they had felt they couldn’t back out since everyone was watching them. One of my friends had almost killed himself cliff jumping in Mauritius a few years back, but still felt he had to jump because everyone was staring!
I eventually made it into the water too, but only after the sun came out. Once the sun came out, other people also arrived with the intention of swimming and we turned out to not be so crazy after all. The water was still freezing, but I didn’t feel so numb after diving in. We spent a good few hours just hanging out and swimming, cliff jumping, and making a picnic of our lunch.
At the end of their visit to Vancouver, my friends said Lynn Canyon was their favourite thing they’d done on the whole trip, mostly because it was so “Canadian”. I suppose hiking up into the mountains and swimming in glacier waters is the sort of thing us crazy Canucks would do, and I was thrilled they enjoyed it so much.
So the moral of the story: Visit Lynn Canyon. It’s beautiful and you’ll have a blast. But do so on a very, very hot summer’s day, so you’re not the crazy people who chose to go for a polar swim in glacier waters. And don’t climb up a cliff with people around unless you intend to jump.