We ride through the wave train at a speed of 25 kilometres per hour and for a split second, we are terrified. But, wait, we are not in our canoe, alone on this remote and sometimes-treacherous glacial river. We are in a stable and forgiving expedition raft, on a 12-day Alsek River journey organized and executed by the experts, Canadian River Expeditions. We can relax, enjoy the ride, and savour the striking scenery. Our 15-year-old grandson Nathan has come with us, adding to the fun, energy, and memory-making of this wilderness experience. Continue reading
Clenched teeth relax into a smile when a sea turtle surfaces alongside our kayak. Five-foot waves looming overhead can intimidate novice kayakers like us, but with help from all members of the ten-day, twenty-person expedition, we make it: 121 kilometres along the roadless Sea of Cortez coastline from Loreto to La Paz, Mexico. (Map) Old missions, a cactus sanctuary, an endearing Malecon, taco stands, and ice cream shops are visited by adding extra days at the beginning and end of the kayak trip.
A Mini Cooper Clubman, Ice Blue with black bonnet stripes: doesn’t this cute little station wagon make you smile? Why would we ever give it up? It is not an easy decision, but going car-free is our resolution for 2018. Continue reading
The leaves are beginning to turn red, the start of the spectacular splash of colour that awaits fall visitors to canoe-crazy Algonquin Provincial Park. We choose the classic, popular Big Trout Loop, a 73-km circuit of sixteen lakes (each with at least one pair of resident loons), marshy waters, narrow creeks, and slow-moving rivers. We give ourselves ten days (this route is usually paddled in four or five days). Still, our physical strength and Doug’s engineering skills are tested by foreign gear and fourteen portages, the longest portage being 2.3 kilometres.
Safe yet playful river rafting, spectacular alpine walking, wildflower meadows and waterfalls, comfortable cabins to stay in, congenial new friends: check! Destinations, dates, and companions are a mystery until the last minute, as tour companies scramble to work around an evacuation alert for Clearwater and a two-week wildfire-related closure of Wells Gray Provincial Park.
Why is there no one here at the far end of Maligne Lake, the most famous body of water in Jasper National Park? Gorgeous glacier views, interesting folded rocks. A trail that’s not-too-hard but not-too-easy, 16 km (return) on an enjoyable grade following a stream up through the forest.
Instead, thousands of visitors board tour boats to cruise mid-lake to Spirit Island, a well-marketed patch of land with about a dozen trees. Have you guessed that we prefer the lower half of Maligne Lake?
The Tourism Whistler web site lists forty-eight summer activities. From the list, our multi-generational group chooses seven sports – a heptathlon. We hike, bike, paddle, swim, climb, slide, and zip. Snow-capped peaks, creeks with views at every bend, wildflowers, wild animals, bucket list-worthy thrills: Whistler, a mountain resort two hours north of Vancouver, is truly a family-friendly, multi-sport mecca.
Joining us on this Whistler-week are our son Alec, his wife Angie, and their three children, Nathan (14), Scarlett (12), and Robin (11). Nick (18), our oldest grandchild, comes, too; the rest of his family are occupied elsewhere with work, summer school, or dragon boating.