North Vancouver & Squamish, British Columbia, Canada - Destination Photographer - Adventure Photography - Wanderlust

A Tribute To My Dad – Destination: North Vancouver & Squamish, British Columbia, Canada – My 40th Birthday Adventure

This blog post is dedicated to the memory of my Dad, James Wirtanen, who passed away eleven years ago today. He fueled my wanderlust soul, always did, and always will. He had a desire and passion to see the world, and he wanted the same for his daughter. I miss him every day: my sunshine, my mountain man, my daddy.

June 16, 2001
June 16, 2001

About a year ago, my best friend Marc started planning a trip to Canada. He reached out and asked me if I wanted to go on another adventure with him, as our last one was four years prior to Seattle & Mount Rainer, Washington. Of course I said yes! I reminded him that September was not only my birthday month, but my 40th birthday, so he planned this adventure around my birthday. And it was the best birthday ever!!

I flew out from Cleveland, Ohio to Vancouver on September 5th, and Marc flew out from Norfolk, Virginia. We met at the baggage claim, grabbed the rental car, and off we went. After checking in to the Holiday Inn and Suites North Vancouver, which I highly recommend, we hopped back in the rental and found the nearest park to explore. Sadly, I don’t even think I go the name of that place, but it was a beautiful spot for birding in North Vancouver, with paths through the woods surrounded by a gorgeous lake.

Thursday was set to be the best day ever, as it was my 40th birthday! What better way to ring in 40 than zip lining at the top of the mountains?! We started by taking in some views at Cleveland Park (ironic since Cleveland is where I am from). We then headed up the gondola to the top of Grouse Mountain, where we zip lined for two hours. Talk about a view!! The last two zip lines were absolutely breathtaking, with views of snow capped mountains and downtown Vancouver!! Did I mention this adventure included a round trip ride on the ski lift, where we made a new friend from Australia? Happy 40th to me!!! #thisis40

Grouse Mountain Zip Line Crew #thisis40
Grouse Mountain Zip Line Crew #thisis40

Talk about an amazing Friday.  We grabbed some Tim Hortons, which we did every day while in Canada, because Timmy’s is AMAZING. We headed to Capilano for our next adventure, Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. This place was worth every penny of the entrance fee!!! As most thing I experienced in Canada, the photos do not do it justice. It wasn’t just the suspension bridge, but also the cliff walk, and walking in the tree tops on the mini bridges. My best friend may have had a little too much fun trying to bounce the bridge around the other tourist, but all in good fun.

We ventured up to Cypress Provincial Park, for some more amazing views, some birding, and a cool view of one of the sites from the 2010 Winter Olympics. I found so much peace on this day, after a couple of days of thrilling activity. It is busy season right now for a Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer, so it was so nice to just breath in all of the beauty and take photographs just for myself. Taking nature photos is where it all started for me, so it was nice to get back to where it all began. Another favorite stop this day was to Horseshoe Bay, home to British Columbia’s ferry boats. I had some poutine (look it up, it’s amazing), some delicious fish-n-chips, all while watching the clouds roll in and out of the bay over the mountains.

We tried so hard to get up to Whistler, a small mountain town and home to the 2010 Winter Olympics, but a huge bicycle race got in our way. It all worked out though, we found an amazing waterfall along our detour, and accidentally snuck in to the actual mountain site of the Olympics. It was like the apocalypse up there! You could not hear a sound. Broken down parking lots, crumbled cement walls,  and nothing but breathtaking views. So peaceful. I wish I could remember the name of the town we had lunch in on the way back, it had the best lunch view I have ever had overlooking the mountains in Squamish.

Our last full day in Canada was pretty epic. Rain tried to ruin our plans, but by winging it, we found the most fun. We visited the gorgeous Shannon Falls, and while winging it again with a hike through the woods, we ended up in the parking lot of the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish. We thought, why not? It had been raining off and on, which for us was perfect, it meant less tourist. We took a ride up the mountain, with views of glacier lakes and mountain tops, all the way in to the clouds above. And I am being serious, we were in the clouds! When we got off the gondola ride, we really had no idea of the beauty around us, as the clouds had rolled in so thick, and then we saw the suspension bridge. Talk about something so amazing!! After crossing our second suspension bridge of our trip, we walked around a corner and the clouds opened up to views of snow capped mountains in front of us. I swear, we found heaven at the top of that mountain, or as close as we could get to it.

Adventure is out there. Life is short. Take the trips. See the world. Plan a destination wedding or elopement, and take me with you!! I am proud to say that I am an adventurous photographer, and I find peace in the mountains, and I will zip line with you and walk over crazy high bridges in the clouds! My soul needed this trip. I only get to see my best friend a few times a year, but we always make an adventure out of it. And this one was epic!! Time to plan the next one!!

North Vancouver & Squamish, British Columbia, Canada - Destination Photographer - Adventure Photography - Wanderlust
North Vancouver & Squamish, British Columbia, Canada – Destination Photographer – Adventure Photography – Wanderlust

Vancouver 2018 -One

Vancouver 2018 -One

Vancouver 2018 -One

Vancouver 2018 -One

Vancouver 2018 -Two

Lindsay Dawn Photography: Destination & Elopement Photographer, Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer, NE Ohio Portrait Photography, Traveling Photographer, Wanderlust Soul

Stacy & David - Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer -Elopement

Stacy & David’s Intimate Sunset Wedding – Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer

I first met Stacy & David in Fairport Harbor, Ohio, for the engagement session they had won. I had a contest on my Facebook business page, asking couples to tell me their proposal stories, and this lucky couple won! I knew from the moment that I met them, I would love them! They are so sweet, hilarious, and just generally fun to be around. It also helped that we share a love for tattoos. During their session, they told me about the backyard/elopement style wedding they had planned on a Tuesday in August. I loved hearing how they planned the timing of the ceremony. They sat on their porch one day, and waited for the most perfect sunset light, and that is when they knew the exact time they wanted to be married! Not long after putting up sneak peeks of their engagement session, Stacy reached out about how they had to have as their wedding photographer, and I am so glad they did!!

When I drove the hour south to get to their families property in West Farmington, it was storming bad. I was so worried! But, as I got closer, the skies opened up and even a rainbow appeared as I was pulling down the driveway! Did I mention I got to ride on the back of a 4-wheeler at this wedding? YES!! I had to check out the beautiful ceremony site before the wedding, and that was the quickest way there! The ceremony was set along side a beautiful pond, and just under a gorgeous willow tree. Now, remember how I told you about those earlier storms? They gave us the most amazing sunset skies!!

Just before the ceremony, Stacy’s mom talked about how different life was just a year prior. You see, a little over a year ago, they all lost just about everything in a house fire. Lighting struck their porch, and burned the house almost completely down. So, to see this amazing couple and family rise from the ashes and build a new life together, and plan the most beautiful wedding, well it is inspiring. Good hearted, down to earth, amazing people.

Now it was time for the wedding! Stacy’s dad drove her over in style, in his restored old Jeep(it is so cool!!). A friend sang and played the guitar. The weather was perfect, and even gave us enough time before dark to get some amazing images of the couple. An amazing elopement feel from this wedding evening. After the ceremony, everyone gathered back at the house(rebuilt since the fire), for some hors d’oeuvres, drinks, and cake. I wish I could say that I photographed their reception as well, but they had that about a month later and I was already booked with another wedding. SO grateful to have met this amazing couple, and capture their beautiful wedding day for them!!

Stacy & David - Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer -Elopement
Stacy & David – Northeast Ohio Wedding Photographer -Elopement

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Lindsay Dawn Photography

Florist: A.H. Christiansons Floral Design Studio