Hiking

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: , , , , | 26 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: , , , | 33 Comments

Northern Laos Part II: Hike to Phadeng Peak Viewpoint, Nong Khiaw

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At the Nong Khiaw viewpoint—C.Helbig

If you only do one activity while visiting Nong Khiaw (other than lying in a hammock admiring the view) it should be hiking to Phadeng Peak viewpoint. I heard lots of excuses for not doing it: it’s too hot, cold, difficult, steep, early, late…Mike used a combination of these to talk himself out of the hike. I remember the regretful look on his face when he scrolled through my photos. He hadn’t expected the views to be that stunning (nor had I). Don’t miss out on this activity when you’re in Nong Khiaw. It’s well worth the roughly one hour uphill grunt, and the effort needed is not nearly as bad as many reviewers make it out to be. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, Hiking, Laos, Places | Tags: , , , | 37 Comments

Yant Flat, Dixie National Forest, Utah: Sandstone Drama

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“Quilted” Navajo sandsone at Yant Flat—C.Helbig

It was a fitting end to our last day in southern Utah: a little adventure, some drama, and a whole lot of natural beauty at Yant Flat, in Dixie National Forest near the town of Leeds. During our trip, I had become obsessed with the Dr.Zeuss-like playgrounds of swirling, colourful Navajo sandstone found in these parts. Meghan from Another Walk in the Park recommended Yant Flat (she has three great posts about the place). Yant Flat may not have quite the grandeur of South Coyote Buttes or White Pocket, but it does not require a permit, it’s easier to access, and is totally awesome. Continue reading

Categories: Hiking, Places, United States | Tags: , , | 29 Comments

Kolob Terrace Road, Zion National Park: Guns, Scenic Drive, and Mini Hikes

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Scenic Kolob Terrace Road—C.Helbig

We’re just back from Cambodia and Laos but my photos (and I) are still an unorganized mess, so I’m going to do a couple of posts to finish off my southern Utah series. I’m usually not a fan of car sightseeing, preferring to walk/ride, but Kolob Terrace Road, in Zion National Park, is a real gem. It starts in the town of Virgin, not far from Zion’s main visitor center, and is only 21 miles to Lava Point, one of the highest spots in the park. Kolob Terrace Road makes a great half-day excursion with plenty of short scenic hikes and viewpoints to give your legs a stretch.The majority of Zion visitors overlook this section of the park, so it’s gloriously peaceful. Continue reading

Categories: Hiking, Places, United States | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Sinking Ships and Tower Bridges on Fairyland Loop Trail, Bryce Canyon

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The Chinese Wall on Fairyland Loop, Bryce Canyon—C.Helbig

When hiking in Vancouver’s North Shore mountains, I’m used to starting on steep uphills and being surrounded by thick forest. I’m not complaining, but once in awhile it’s nice to do a hike that is completely different from what’s in my backyard—I found it on the Fairyland Loop in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah. This 8 mile ( 12.9 km) trail starts at the canyon rim and descends into a wondrous, wide-open landscape of hoodoos, sinking ships, tower bridges, and Chinese walls. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, Hiking, Places, United States | Tags: , , , , | 17 Comments

Sci-Fi and Yoga at White Pocket, Arizona

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White Pocket, Vermilion Cliffs Nat’l Monument in Arizona—C.Helbig

Part 2 of our extraordinary day at Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in northern Arizona continues at White Pocket. If you missed Part 1, check out my post on South Coyote Buttes. I doubted that anything could match up to the geological wonders we saw at South Coyote Buttes. But then… there was White Pocket, another beautiful freak of nature. I’m really happy we saw both places on our combo excursion with Kanab-based Dreamland Safari Tours. I still can’t decide which one I liked better. Take a look… Continue reading

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

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