Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument, New Mexico…it Rocks!

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Canyon Trail at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument—C.Helbig

If you find yourself between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, I highly recommend turning off I-25 for a little hike at Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. With its brilliant white cliffs and unique cone-shaped tent formations we felt like we were walking into a fairytale. The name Kasha-Katuwe means “white cliffs” in the traditional language of the Pueblo de Conchiti. We’ve been lucky to visit many of the geological wonders of the US Southwest, but this small, little-known place holds its own among the big names. Tent Rock’s two short hiking trails are loaded with amazing rock formations, mesa-top views, and a beautiful slot canyon. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, Hiking, Places, United States | Tags: , , , | 23 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving from Mount Seymour, North Vancouver

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A perfect fall hike on Mt. Seymour—C.Helbig

My very first blog post was about being thankful for a great local hike called Mt. Seymour in North Vancouver. I’ve hiked this trail many times since I wrote that post, most recently a couple of days ago with my sister. I never get tired of hiking Mt. Seymour trail with its phenomenal views. On this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend I am again thankful for Mt. Seymour and all the other amazing hikes and parks on Vancouver’s North Shore. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking, Places, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 18 Comments

Ten Great Things to See and Do Around Santa Fe, New Mexico

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Adobe buildings and chile decor in Santa Fe—C.Helbig

Our plan had been to go to Glacier National Park, Montana, but that was kiboshed by the wildfires. A quickly hatched Plan B took us somewhere completely different—Santa Fe, New Mexico where hiking was replaced by burrito eating and gallery visiting. Santa Fe has long been on my list and it didn’t disappoint.  We were so impressed with its beautiful architecture, rich history, colourful local residents, and interesting places to visit around the area.We even managed to fit in a couple of hikes. Here’s some of the things we enjoyed most during our jam-packed week in Santa Fe. Continue reading

Categories: Places, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Cheakamus – Garibaldi LakeTraverse: On and Off the Beaten Hiking Path

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View from Panorama Ridge, Garibaldi Provincial Park—C.Helbig

Less than two hours from downtown Vancouver, Garibaldi Provincial Park epitomizes the Super, Natural British Columbia tourism tagline. Its extraordinary alpine scenery and iconic hikes to Garibaldi Lake and Black Tusk make it extremely popular with day hikers and backpackers. Despite the knowledge that we would not be alone, a couple of my hiking pals and I were lured by the beauty and proximity of this park. Our three days of backpacking took us on and off the beaten hiking path—from busy but stunning Panorama Ridge, to the overlooked gems of Mount Price and Clinker Peak.

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Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking, Places | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 27 Comments

Paddling the Broken Group Islands in Comfort at the Sechart Lodge

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Relaxing in Sechart’s hot tub after a day of paddling—C.Helbig

“We’re the closest hot tub to the Broken Islands,” says Nancy, one of the managers at the Sechart Lodge on Vancouver Island’s Barkley Sound. That’s music to the ear for anyone who has kayaked through the frigid waters and often fog-laden air of this magnificent archipelago. Until recently, I had no idea that you could kayak the Broken Group Islands, part of Pacific Rim National Park, in warm, dry comfort. Last weekend, we had the pleasure of staying at Sechart Lodge. It’s the only viable non-camping option for kayaking the Broken Islands, and a haven for nature lovers and relaxation seekers. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Kayaking, Places | Tags: , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Vancouver Island’s West Coast Trail: Logistics and Itinerary

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Nicole and I reading up for our next day on the West Coast Trail

Planning a backpacking trip on Vancouver Island’s famous West Coast Trail (WCT) can be daunting. Should you hike south to north, or north to south? How many days of hiking should you plan for the 75 km route? At which of the campsites should you stay? While there are many opinions on these questions, I can tell you that we were pleased with our 7-day/6-night, south to north trip. What follows is a Q & A on logistics and itinerary based on my WCT experience. For those with no intentions of doing the trail, I hope you enjoy the photos. Also, check out my previous post, which has lots more photos and provides a broad overview of what it’s like to hike the WCT. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking, Places | Tags: , , , , | 28 Comments

20 Takeaways from Hiking Vancouver Island’s West Coast Trail

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Cribbs Creek campsite on West Coast Trail—C.Helbig

The West Coast Trail, a rugged 75 km (46.6 mile) backpacking route on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island, has been on my bucket list for years. In early June, I finally did the iconic trek. It was a great, brutal, muddy affair—an experience I will never forget. This post is a lighthearted account of what I learned about the trail on a 7-day trip with my three hiking companions. In future posts, I’ll provide more of the informational “stuff” like logistics, itinerary and packing lists. So, in no particular order, here are my takeaways from our West Coast Trail (WCT) journey from Port Renfrew to Bamfield: Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking, Places | Tags: , , , | 38 Comments

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