This is winter on Vancouver’s North Shore

There’s an old saying that if you can see the North Shore from Vancouver, it’s about to rain, and if you can’t, it’s raining. Grey skies and incessant precipitation are typical of winter on the North Shore, part of Greater Vancouver separated by the Burrard Inlet. I grumble about the winter weather, but I’ve also learned to embrace it. With its unique geography and micro-climates, Vancouver’s North Shore offers a huge variety of outdoor activities. It’s one of the few places in the world where you can ski, hike, cycle, golf, and play in the ocean in winter—possibly all on the same day. And, when the sun does peek out, it’s glorious!

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Categories: British Columbia, Canada | Tags: , , , , , , | 31 Comments

My German Christmas Tradition

On Christmas Eve morning my sister and I would awaken to find a large bed sheet covering the entrance to our living room. “No peeking” my mother would say. “You want Christkind to come, don’t you?” Not wanting to risk losing out on presents, we’d try and occupy ourselves with play—that was tough to do when we were bursting with excited anticipation. According to my parents, the angels were working their magic in preparation for the arrival of Christkind (Christ Child), the bearer of Christmas presents.

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Categories: Germany | Tags: , , , | 58 Comments

Paris: 7 things that “stuck” after a year

As some of you will recall, Mike and I did a cycling trip in Brittany and Normandy in September 2019. That trip was bookended by several days in Paris. I hadn’t written about the French capital figuring that the blogging universe doesn’t need another “what to do in Paris” post. But I can’t shake Paris from my daydreams. And now, more than a year after our trip, the same images keep surfacing. This gave me an idea for a post. Instead of my usual approach of combing through my travel notes and photos, this post is inspired by my daydreams. It’s a collection of moments, impressions and learnings that have stuck with me from our time in Paris.

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Categories: France | Tags: , , , | 48 Comments

Teaching an old swan new tricks

Welcome to hell ladies,” he says in an Eastern European accent. I grimace as he presses down on my stiff upper back attempting to coax out an extra millimetre of flexibility. I’m finally ticking ballet class off my bucket list, but now I’m wondering what possessed me to do this.

This piece about my foray into adult ballet is a slightly edited version of the one published in the Canadian newspaper The Globe & Mail (Aug.19,2020). It’s a departure from my usual topics in this blog, but what’s usual these days? Hope you enjoy it.

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Categories: Crazy Fun Stuff | Tags: , , | 36 Comments

Deciduous conifers of Frosty Mountain: Manning Park, British Columbia

No, it’s not an oxymoron. While hiking the Frosty Mountain trail in E.C. Manning Provincial Park, I was introduced to the alpine larch, a deciduous conifer that sheds its needles every fall and grows them back in spring. For a few weeks, in late September/early October, the Frosty Mountain larches become a blaze of golden colour. My hiking buddy Eva and I timed our October 2 hike perfectly for this stunning fall display and learned some cool things about British Columbia’s toughest and oldest tree.

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Categories: British Columbia, Hiking | Tags: , , , , | 53 Comments

Wells Gray Park, British Columbia: 40+ waterfalls and more

Wells Gray Provincial Park was another awesome discovery during our 2020 stay-in-British Columbia- summer. The park, located in east-central B.C., is a massive wilderness area with only its southern portion easily accessible to visitors. Known as the waterfall park, it has 40 named falls and many more tucked away in the wilds. It has great hiking and an extensive network of rivers and lakes for rafting, canoeing, kayaking and fishing. We only scratched the surface during our four day visit. Here’s what we fit in.

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Categories: British Columbia | Tags: , , , | 43 Comments

Mama bear and baby bear hike Garibaldi’s Panorama Ridge via Helm Creek

Mama Bear and her Baby Bear on Panorama Ridge

I’ve hiked in British Columbia’s Garibaldi Provincial Park many times, but this trip was extra special: I did it with my son Alex. My body is still recovering from trying to keep up with his blistering 23-year-old pace, but I’m thrilled that we got to share this short backpacking trip. Garibaldi Park, located only a couple of hours north of Vancouver, contains a treasure trove of hiking trails that provide access to high peaks, glaciers, and alpine lakes and meadows. Panorama Ridge has some of the most stunning views I’ve ever seen, and the peaceful route via Helm Creek is my favourite approach.

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Categories: British Columbia, Canada, Hiking | Tags: , , , | 54 Comments

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