I was going to continue with my Laos series when I noticed that this is my 100th post. To celebrate, I decided to do a post about places that have stuck in my mind and in my heart. It was a tough exercise limiting this to only ten (there are many runners up). I took a broad approach to the word “place” and the list includes countries, regions, and provinces. A few of the places are from visits that happened long before I’d ever heard the word “blog” or even used a computer, and I’m happy to be sharing these “old” favourites. Thank you for reading, for your likes and comments, and motivating me to keep at it. Continue reading
Capilano River Regional Park in North Vancouver, British Columbia is just a short drive from my house. I go there to run or walk at least once a week. Easily accessible trails weave along the Capilano River and through lush coastal rainforest. Giant red cedar trees and Douglas fir abound. Ferns and fungi thrive. Eagles swoop through the steep-sided canyon and spawning salmon make their incredible journey up the raging river. Incredibly, this park is only 10 km (6 miles) from downtown Vancouver. As Mike and I were in the park, attempting to walk off several rounds of Thanksgiving dinner (Canadian), it occurred to me that I’ve never posted about this beautiful place that I feel very grateful to have in my backyard.
Mike and I recently purchased hybrid bikes. We’ve taken them for spins in the Vancouver area but this was their first test on a multi-day trip. We drove to the Tsawwassen ferry terminal (south of Vancouver), parked our car and boarded the ferry with just our bikes and brand new panniers. It was nice…this unencumbered feeling. An hour and a half later, in Swartz Bay, Vancouver Island, we rode off the ferry and directly onto the Lochside Trail. For four days and 200+ km, we rode the Lochside and Galloping Goose trails, passing along ocean and through forests, farmlands, wetlands, towns, and B.C.’s lovely capital city, Victoria. Continue reading
There’s something about the colours of fall—the warm russets, shimmering golds, and bold scarlets—that make hiking during this season particularly enjoyable and inspire me to get on the trails. Recently, I had a glorious day on Skyline Ridge Trail at the Squamish Sea to Sky Gondola with fellow hiking enthusiasts Nicole and Jane. I’ve posted about this hike before, as part of an amazing, mildly scary loop from Sky Pilot Valley and over Copilot Ridge. This time we did Skyline Ridge as an out and back hike (not at all scary) of 22-24 km (7-8 hours). It’s a stunning hike and the fall colours are icing on the cake.
Some of you may remember a post from a year ago where I raved about a guided sea kayaking expedition in the Johnstone Strait/Broughton Archipelago (near the northern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia). Mike wasn’t able to come with me because of an injured shoulder. We decided to book the trip again with our friends Trish and Steve. I was a bit apprehensive. Could this trip possibly be as good as my first experience? It was! Six days of spectacular ocean kayaking and wilderness camping, awesome wildlife encounters, a dream group, and extraordinary guiding provided by Spirit of the West Adventures (SOW).
My friend Eva (the Swedish mountain goat) pushes me slightly beyond my hiking comfort. That’s a good thing, and inevitably it turns into an epic day. This time she introduced me to the Sky Pilot Valley—Skyline Ridge loop, a backcountry route accessed from the top of the Squamish Sea to Sky Gondola (about an hour from downtown Vancouver). During our roughly 8-hour, 23ish km hike we scrambled up rocky slopes and snow chutes, traversed exposed ridges, and clung to branches as we “tarzaned” our way down precipitous terrain (plus a bit of easy stuff too). It was exciting, challenging, fun, and the scenery was out of this world. Continue reading
Today was a great day and once again made me appreciate the treasures that I have close to home. Mike and I recently traded in our clunky old mountain bikes for a pair of sleek hybrids. We’re on a mission to explore Vancouver area bike trails and we discovered a beauty—the Traboulay PoCo Trail in Port Coquitlam. PoCo, for short, is a bustling community surrounded by busy highways and massive bridges. But, you’d never know it biking the 25+ km PoCo loop trail. The gentle, mostly hardpacked gravel trail passes through peaceful farmland, forests, and wetlands. A large portion travels along dykes with beautiful river and mountain views. And, there’s plenty of opportunity for wildlife viewing… Continue reading