Updated: Jul 21, 2020
Two days after my children dumped several paint jugs on the dining table and coated most of the living room, kitchen and bathroom in blue, I got the hint. It was time for arts and crafts.
I needed a place with rocks to paint, stumps to act as tables, and someplace beautiful enough to inspire budding artists. North Vancouver was the number one destination.
We headed to Lynn Valley and discovered the road to one of our favorite trails ( you can read about it here: Lynn Headwaters) was closed. Damn Covid-19! We could have tried to walk in but little legs would expire long before we got to our secret spot. We would have to save that for another day. I pulled up the GPS and looked for the closest green patch I could find and Doran Park appeared.
It was instantly a family favorite. It is such an secret neighbourhood gem that I couldn't even find a write up on it after googling it! Stroller accessible trails, a stream that meanders through it and is low enough for kids to roam through without a strong current. The trees, like all north Vancouver trails, tower overhead leaving just enough space for patches of sun to shine through.
We have enjoyed every single visit to that park since that day. Nothing beats strolling through the wide cedar trees, that are spaced out perfectly for stringing a double sized hammock across. I'm a bit of a hammock hoarder I must confess. Almost a decade ago I had even commissioned a fair trade hammock to be made for me by Yellow Leaf hammocks in the colours of orange and yellow to bring the biggest smile to my face. I love that hammock and take it everywhere with me.
Jazlyn and G always head to the water, playing kitchen and washing rocks they found along the way. One of my favorite things about the park is the surprises we find when we go off the main path. Everyone still talks about the "fairy homes" they could walk right into.
The park was blissful. Cyclists made their way past and we found ourselves looking for quiet refuge in the woods. We've discovered we can do just about anything in this forest including a game of soccer since the tree stumps add an extra surprise with ball direction.
When we walk along the paths, we always discover painted rocks, shiny and hidden. One day we even had the pleasure of watching a salmon release by a school teacher.
Whenever we go to this park, we have packed our insulated wet suits. My children have had one since they were infants and they have given us many minutes in cold pools. Even now, although the weather is warm, their rubber texture serves as the most amazing protection from scuffs and cold while we explore forest springs.
Balance is perfected as they cross the stream back and forth.
The park has allowed us to let our imaginations run wild with play. Sometimes we bring our own toys. We've even enjoyed rubber duck and plastic ball races down this slow paced stream.
We have a special love for this park and how healing it is for our relationships with each other and I suppose, our relationship with ourselves.
Doran park is certainly on my top list of places that bring me peace. Whether we go with nothing, or with some toys, there is always a smile to be found, new life to be discovered, and nature to be appreciated.
Today the price of peace was $0.
Paints and brushes were gifted to us by Grandma and a stranger off Craigslist.