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
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.
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.
Who can forget the first time they walk onto the endless sands of Long Beach? In 1970 hordes of hardy hippies, draft dodgers, and surfers would make the drive over a long dirt road to a glorious tent city on the west coast of Vancouver Island. We were there in our paisley shirts, with two naked toddlers in tow. Beach camping in driftwood shelters, drag races on the hard-packed sand, huge bonfires – forbidden now by Parks Canada regulations, and firewood costs seven dollars for a little bundle. Can two old hippies go with the flow?
One hundred little islands and rocks scattered like pieces of a broken jigsaw puzzle in the centre of Barkley Sound. Open-ocean waves, swaying kelp forests, and a maze of quiet lagoons. Curious seals and shy minks. The piercing shrill of the bald eagle and the haunting call of the loon. Ancient trees, archeological sites, and colourful tidepools to explore. “Totally” is our guide’s favourite word, and we totally agree: the Broken Group Islands four-day kayak tour is a totally awesome, completely classic west coast experience.
Two adventures this month: one at a High-elevation mountainous park, the other a Mighty-pretty-but-Mighty-hard wilderness canoe trip. (map) A rugged, nearly-off-road ride brings us up almost 7,000 feet to Canada’s highest full-service hiking lodge, Cathedral Lakes. This quirky hodgepodge of buildings is our base camp for five days of alpine hiking, fine dining, and hobnobbing with celebrities and adventurers from around the world. Next is the Bowron Lake Canoe Circuit, a world-class test with eight portages totalling eleven kilometres. We dub it Bowron: The Farewell Tour, because we may not tackle this circuit again. Those portages are a lot tougher than they were twenty years ago!