My Favorite Spot

Two years ago, I went on a family trip to Squamish. The plan was to spend a couple of nights and explore all the main attractions. One of the plans was to see Shannon Falls. On a very sunny afternoon, we headed there and got to see the third tallest waterfall in BC. For a waterfall lover, all falls are beautiful. This one is quite majestic. You get to see the water fall off the rocks and bounce off others as it makes its way down and form a stream. The walk to the lookout is quite short and accessible which makes it easy for all ages and physical abilities to reach without difficulty. As I approached the waterfall lookout, I felt like it was calling me, but at the same time, I felt like it was so cold, so distant, so standoffish. I felt like it was telling us: ha, you can’t touch me, you can’t reach me, you can only stare at me from a distance. I didn’t like it. I thought to myself, what is so special about this waterfall? It looks ridiculously small in person and even smaller in photos, and looks dull when a cloud is passing by. When my family was done taking photos, they walked back down and found a lovely seat where they can watch the waterfalls. The perfect spot they called it. I sat for like 2 minutes and was like enough looking, let’s get moving. The only nearby hike is a good 16 km or more so there was no way I was gonna do that hike within an hour or two as my family enjoyed their perfect spot.

Up close and personal with Shannon Falls

I wanted to find a spot where I can sit comfortably and dip my feet in the water. I looked at the stream and started scrambling up towards the falls in search of my perfect spot. I didn’t realize how far I went until I turned back to see where everyone else is. The only other adventurous person in my family, my niece, joined me in my search for a wonderful spot. We scrambled as far up as we can. That was my first scrambling experience in BC. As I went up, I got a point where the falls looked quite flat and no more scrambling could be done for a beginner like me. I looked around and found a slab of rock with a dry spot in the middle. The falls for some reason split and created my perfect spot. Streams of water were pouring down around that spot. I made my way there, sat down and enjoyed the moment. That moment will live with me forever. I sat in the middle of a waterfall.

My favorite spot

I was able to touch the water, hear the burble, feel the sun, embrace the breeze. The waterfall was coming down from behind me and making its way past me to the bottom. In hindsight, the waterfall was speaking to me, but I was not able to hear the message. It wasn’t telling me you can’t reach me anymore. It was telling me: You made it. You found it. It sure took you a while. Eventually you got there. It is a journey. Immerse yourself. Keep going. Don’t let appearances stop you. Don’t let perceptions get to you. Be who you are. Let that love show. Let that care shine. Spread that halo. Spread that light. It will nourish you. It will rejuvenate you. It will satisfy your urges, desires and dreams. Do what love and love what you do. There is nothing like it. Climb that waterfall. Go up that mountain. Hike that trail. The mountain, the waterfall, the trail are all waiting for you. They are not just there. They are there to heal, feel the peace, rejuvenate you. Keep healing. Keep hoping. Keep dreaming. Keep going.

Two years later, I come again to the same falls. They look as majestic as ever. This time, I did not go on a mission to search of my perfect spot. Instead, I wanted to chill with the falls and enjoy the process. I stopped at many points and enjoyed the moment. I found a few new spots to chill. These spots became special moments. Not for their locations but for who they were spent with.

Recommendations: Have a picnic in the park. If you are a beginner hiker and want to attempt the Sea to Sky hike, do your research and come prepared. I have a friend who is not active at all who attempted it. Her muscles cramped and the experience was horrible for her. Not recommended for someone starting out with intermediate hikes.

The Stawamus Chief Hike

Two years ago, I visited the Sea to Sky Gondola, rode the gondola comfortably, saw the breathtaking views from the top and enjoyed the ride down as I saw many hikers making their way down the mountain. I thought to myself: when will this be me?

Today, I went to the Sea to Sky gondola location. Not to take the gondola up, but rather to walk to the Chief trailhead which is about 10 minutes. I met some other hikers and off we went up the trail.

The beginning was a short flat hike where you get to gather your strength. LOL. Last chance to back out. I kept going. Then the endless stairs started. Natural, wooden, all sorts. My quads were killing me. What really eased the beginning was actually a beautiful waterfall that ran along side that first stretch of the hike. It was a pleasant surprise to see that waterfall. The sound of the water, the gorgeous view took my mind off the grind and I was pleasantly engaged. As I walked up more and more stairs, I reached the junction that separates the first peak from the second. I thought I has enough energy to keep going.

I took what kind of looked like switchbacks up to the second peak. There was also a good chunk of scrambling to be done. It was all great until I reached the chains and I’m like: well, here we go. The first set of chains is easy to do. As advised by another hiker, I used the chain for a bit of leverage but did not really need it. I hugged many trees to get to the top there. Then came a narrow ridge. I walked along the narrow ridge for a short bit and then came another set of chains. That looked much more sketchy. I started going up again, got a helping hand from another hiker then reached a big rock. I discovered I am two inches too short to make it up that rock. I have always known myself to be short, but I didn’t think it would be hinder me here. I also have a problematic shoulder so I decided not to risk using my upper body strength to pull myself up that rock. I don’t think I was ready for that yet. I gave it a couple of tries then gave up. I was cheered on by many of the hikers behind me for getting this far. I was about 55 meters from the top. Everyone was super supportive and encouraging. As I head back down, I realize: How did I even get here? It is rocky and steep and high. I am proud of myself I made this far. I slowed down and took my time with the way back down. I reach the junction to peak one. Some new adventures are about to begin.

I don’t think I have gone up a ladder in 10 years. Believe it or not, it was daunting. Did I mention I am afraid of heights too? I went up both ladders then I came to more chains. This time, I thought to myself grinning: this looks easy. Then I reach the end of the chains and I’m like: aren’t there more? Unfortunately, about 50 meters from the top, the chains end. All you get is a big piece of slab. Long trains of hikers head up in front of me. I turn around and see the most beautiful view. It reminded me of that same view I got to see two years prior, from the gondola and the mountain top. The only difference is that, this time, I made it there via hiking. I felt emotional. So much has happened in two years. Getting to this point was not easy. I am grateful I am though. I did not think I would be one of those who got to the top hiking. I stopped there and enjoyed that same breathtaking view. I was happy with my progress. I was okay with stopping 50 meters from the top of peak 1. After the ice break, it was time to do everything again, but in reverse. Sigh!!!

This hike reminds me of the Grouse Grind with all its stairs. It was a similar grind in that matter. There are many differences though. The chains, ladders, ring ladders, scrambling and big slabs of rock that require crawling, walking, whatever it takes. I have seen people jog on rock, crawl on all 4, hug trees, whatever worked for them. Is this difficult? It all depends on how comfortable you are with rocks and new elements. For me, I felt my balance and not so great upper body strength stopped me from getting to the top. I do not recommend this hike to a beginner in hiking or someone who is not used to intermediate hikes in general.

Here is what I see resting from the hike. Can you guess what’s next? 😏


Go on a dry day to minimize slipping risk. Go on a sunny day to get the best view. Use gloves as you will be scrambling on all 4 in some parts. Wear hiking boots with a good grip. If you are a new to hiking or fitness allocate at least 4 hours. Use knee support for the way down. Remember that the hike starts at an elevation, so nausea may happen to some.

Fooll A Mediterranean bean salad

Fooll|A Mediterranean Bean Salad Recipe

Fooll Mudamas is a Syrian weekly meal for Friday or Sunday mornings. It’s the equivalent of our Western style Sunday brunches or Sunday roast. It’s the meal that gets the whole family together. It’s something friends enjoy when they go our to have breakfast together. It’s not a meal people have everyday. It is reserved for the weekly Friday or Sunday breakfast or brunch. This meal is well know in the entire area. I will be sharing how we prepare it at home.

Many people in Aleppo used to go to Jdaydeh area in the old city where Abu Abdo Alfawal made the best fooll there is. I have some of the best memories with friends on a Saturday morning walking through the old city of Aleppo, walking around Aleppo Citadel (a historical site that dates back thousands of years) then stopping at Abu Abdo AlFawal for a yummy bean salad brunch. Everyone in Aleppo knows Abu Abdo AlFawal. And I mean everyone. Read More »

green olive and thyme salad

Green Olive Salad Recipe

I still remember when I first had this dish. My friends and I were invited over to one of our closest friends’ house. She lived on a ground floor apartment that had a small garden attached to it. There was enough space for us to have brunch and that’s where I tasted “salata za’tar” (Thyme salad) for the first time.  It was soooo good I could still taste it and smell it, more than 10 years later. Syrian thyme looks similar to rosemary since its leaves are think and long , but tastes and smells like thyme. She sprinkled it with tons of thyme and sumac powder that made me crave for more. Think white onions slices decorated the salad and crumbled feta cheese made the finish. I wish I had a photo of it. What I have now if my version of the same salad with an extra ingredient, green olives from Nablus, Palestine.

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