Activities

Why did I never turn right? Hiking in Horseshoe Bay, British Columbia

For year now, when I need an easy, no-fuss hike, I just walk out my door to a trailhead about 10-minutes away. The path immediately gets me into the deep forest above Horseshoe Bay. After 500 m of uphill grunting, there’s an intersection. I’ve always turned left. It’s like I’m on autopilot. Left is to Whyte Lake, a pretty, little lake that makes the perfect one hour, door-to-door outing—a reliable and predictable bit of fresh air and exercise. A few months ago, I bucked the routine and turned right.

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Categories: British Columbia, Canada, Hiking | Tags: , , | 30 Comments

Winter hike to Garibaldi Lake, British Columbia

Garibaldi Lake, located in Garibaldi Provincial Park near Whistler, British Columbia, is a popular summertime hiking destination. A few weeks ago, on a crisp sunny day, I finally got to hike there in winter. Verdict: It’s a gorgeous cold weather outing. The blanket of white adds a simplicity to the landscape making it appear even grander than in summer. And, there’s a peacefulness that comes with the largely monochromatic scene. Strangely, I can thank the pandemic for allowing me to hike to Garibaldi Lake this winter.

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Categories: British Columbia, Canada, Hiking | Tags: , , , | 46 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

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: , , , | 55 Comments

Paddling in the time of COVID-19: Discovery Islands, British Columbia

Dinnertime in the Discovery Islands

It’s the end of another glorious day on the water in British Columbia’s Discovery Islands. I’m first in line for dinner. “Did you wash your hands?” There’s a smile in his eyes but his voice is serious. Our mask-covered, rubber-gloved kayaking guide has caught me dirty-handed. I slink back to the wilderness hand-washing station feeling like a naughty kid, but grateful for the precautions. Back in January, my friend Trish and I had booked a summer 2020 kayaking trip with Spirit of the West Adventures, before COVID-19 was on our radar. Miraculously, the trip went ahead, albeit a very different one from what we had signed up for.

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Categories: British Columbia, Canada, Kayaking | Tags: , , , | 38 Comments

Backpacking in South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park, British Columbia

South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park

It was epic! For seven days, our group backpacked through the untrammelled wilderness of British Columbia’s South Chilcotin Mountains Provincial Park. This park has an incredible diversity of landscapes—snowy peaks, glacial lakes and flower-filled meadows all connected by over 200 km of wilderness trails. No need to worry about social distancing. We met only two other hiking groups during our week’s stay. It was rough going at times, but the scenic rewards and sense of accomplishment far outweighed the discomforts.

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Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking | Tags: , , , , | 51 Comments

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