“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
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?
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.
If we are twenty minutes from home and there’s no igloo or snow cave involved, is it still winter camping? Goldstream Provincial Park may lack permanent snow cover or ice, but meteorologically it is winter – and cold enough to test our new four-season tent.