We never imagined we could accomplish a road trip like this: cycle up Vancouver Island to Comox, ferry over to Lund, then cycle down the Sunshine Coast on Highway 101. Confident road-cyclists will fall in love with this classic coastal loop, while those accustomed to Victoria’s gentle rail-trails and protected bike lanes will find some sections frightening. The cars and trucks are in a hurry, but we are not; we cycle 600 km in a leisurely sixteen days, with detours to Savary Island, Texada Island, Princess Louisa Inlet, and the Gibsons shoreline.
“We hear that a lot,” says the Visitor Centre person, when we admit this is our first visit to the north end of Vancouver Island, although we’ve lived on the Island for nearly fifty years. Week one we explore four friendly communities and tackle nine hikes of varying difficulty. A six-day kayak expedition to the Broughton Archipelago comes next, and there we see more wildlife and fewer people than expected. Relaxed eco-adventures, just a day’s travel from our home in Victoria. Continue reading
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
The feral goats have names (Stripe-and-Spot is an example), and they outnumber the resident humans (about 300). Want to test the battery and brakes on your electric-assist bike? The Missing Link, a stretch of road with a sustained grade of up to 20 per cent, will do nicely. And don’t forget to wave; it’s a rule of Island Etiquette on Saturna, the most easterly of British Columbia’s southern Gulf Islands. Continue reading
Winter weather lingers, but we can’t wait. We test our new bikes on a four-day trip to Mayne, the little Gulf Island that lies midway between Victoria and Vancouver. For its small size, Mayne Island has a lot of attractions: panoramic viewpoints, sea lions, a classic lighthouse, an immaculate Japanese garden, a bakery, and lightly-travelled lumpy country roads. It’s a right neighbourly place, too. Continue reading
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.