“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
Chug, chug, toot, toot, off we go by train to Los Angeles to celebrate some significant birthdays. Doug is 75 this month – three-quarters of a century – and our youngest grandchild moves up to double-digits, age ten. Mansions and slums, chauffeured limousine and not-so-rapid public transit, Fruit Loops and frijoles: what contrasts we experienced along the USA’s Left Coast!
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.
Christmas lights were going up when we arrived at cottage number two in Page’s Resort on Gabriola Island. High tides, arctic air, bufflehead ducks, four o’clock sunsets – signs that winter is well on its way. Our plan: bundle up, mind the tide tables, and enjoy a week’s worth of walks on this close-to-home Gulf Island, just a twenty-minute ferry ride from downtown Nanaimo. With trails along sandy beaches, sandstone shelves, headlands, country roads, and old-growth forest, Gabriola Island is a great choice for walkers and photographers, too.
“Where is your next big trip?” is a frequently-asked question. “We haven’t decided yet” is the honest answer. Meanwhile, there are adventures to be had close to home. Here are three day-expeditions we accomplished this week: a 50-km cycle across historic rail trestles on the Cowichan Valley Trail, a 16-km paddle-portage-pub loop that starts at our doorstep, and a 16-km backwoods hike we call the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. Can you see why our blog is titled BootsBoatsBikes? (BTW, that is not our dog in the photo above—friendly though.)
A remote Pacific island shared with wolves, a forested hillside above a mountain-rimmed lake, a fun-in-the-sun campground with a water slide and mini-golf—three base-glamps from which to explore three very different areas of Vancouver Island. To help keep us young at heart, we were joined on this sixteen-day glamping adventure by our youngest granddaughters Robin and Scarlett, ages nine and ten. Glamping? That’s shorthand for glamorous camping, the fancy form of roughing it.
Buenos dias, y’all. Spanish spoken, but US dollars welcome, in our five ports-of-call in Mexico and Central America. Doug was five years younger in frantic Cabo San Lucas, and we saw our first hammerhead shark. In Huatulco, a calmer place, we enjoyed guacamole on the beach after a mountain bike ride. We learned about coffee cultivation in Guatemala and experienced a “steep moment” as we climbed a wind-swept Nicaraguan volcano. Costa Rica was not quite as colourful as we had expected.