Activities

Saint-Malo: My most anticipated stop in Brittany

Saint-Malo in Brittany, France

I became obsessed with visiting Saint-Malo, a seaside city in northern France, after reading Anthony Doerr’s novel All the Light We Cannot See. It tells the story of a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in Saint-Malo during WWII. The story is riveting, but it’s the author’s description of the ancient walled city, perched on a rocky promontory overlooking the English Channel (la Manche) that totally captivated me. Saint-Malo was my most anticipated stop on our cycling trip in northern Brittany and it did not disappoint.

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Categories: Biking, France | Tags: , , , | 19 Comments

Cycling in Brittany: The V4 from Morlaix to Mont-Saint-Michel

Cycling Brittany’s north coast

In a recent post, I wrote about the highlights of our 3.5 week independent cycling trip along France’s North Brittany and Normandy coasts. This post features an overview of the Brittany portion of our trip—from Morlaix to Mont-Saint-Michel—focussing on logistics: our route, itinerary, accommodations, and helpful resources. If you’re thinking about an independent cycling trip, hopefully this will give you a few pointers. If not, enjoy the photos. Brittany makes a great travel destination whatever your mode of transportation.

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Categories: Biking, France | Tags: , , , | 23 Comments

A short trip to a different planet: Death Valley National Park

Death Valley Extraterrestrial

Giant craters. Windswept dunes. Warped mountains. Monochrome hills dappled with garish green rock. Death Valley National Park may provide the best otherworldly experience while being firmly planted on Earth—you might even meet an extraterrestrial. Located in Eastern California, near the Nevada border, the park is stark, harsh and magnificent. We left the Vancouver rain behind and spent three mid-January days hiking and camping in warm, dry Death Valley. This post features my favourite photos from an out-of this-world park.

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Categories: Hiking, United States | Tags: , , | 63 Comments

Cycling France’s Brittany and Normandy coasts: Top 10 highlights

Along the V4 cycling route in Brittany, France

Last September, Mike and I cycled in coastal Brittany and Normandy. Our 732 km (455 mile) independent journey took us to charming French towns, pink-granite seascapes, iconic monuments and World War II battlegrounds. We feasted on huîtres (oysters) and moules-frites (mussels and fries) washed down with wine and cider. Except for a few killer hills, and one day of route-finding mayhem, it was a marvellous 3 1/2 weeks of slow travel. In future posts, I’ll provide details on logistics, but for now let me entice you with my top 10 highlights.

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Categories: Biking, France | Tags: , , , , | 35 Comments

Don’t miss The Gargoyles on an Elfin Lakes hike

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The Gargoyles in Garibaldi Provincial Park, British Columbia

I’ve hiked to Elfin Lakes at least half a dozen times, but I’ve only recently done the gem of a little add-on hike to The Gargoyles. Elfin Lakes is a popular hike in Garibaldi Provincial Park, near Squamish, British Columbia. The 22 km (14 mile) return hike is a beauty on its own, but for just an extra 2.5 km (from Elfin Lakes) you get into some incredible glaciovolcanic landscapes. In non-scientific lingo, that means bizarre volcanic rock pillars, stark scree slopes, and turquoise-hued, glacially-carved lakes.  A few weeks ago, my friend Morag and I got to explore this otherworldly place called The Gargoyles. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Hiking | Tags: , , , | 59 Comments

Hiking Brandywine Meadows and Mountain at Whistler’s Callaghan Valley

 

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Brandywine Meadows

I’m on a hiking roll, and just did another beauty—Brandywine Meadows and Mountain, at Whistler’s Callaghan Valley. This hike has an incredibly high reward-to-effort ratio, particularly if you have a sturdy 4-wheel drive vehicle. An easy walk brings you to a beautiful meadow surrounded by snow-dappled peaks. It’s crisscrossed with gurgling creeks and is currently ablaze in wildflowers—you’ll think you’ve landed on set in The Sound of Music. The trail beyond the meadow, to Brandywine Mountain, is more strenuous, but with so many gorgeous views it doesn’t feel onerous. And, if you don’t make it the whole way (we didn’t), it’s still an enormously satisfying hike. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments

Hiking Whistler’s Skywalk North Trail

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Skywalk North: Whistler, British Columbia

I’m so excited about a hike I did earlier this week that I’m taking a short break from my Sri Lanka series to tell you about Whistler’s Skywalk North (better known as one of the trails leading to Iceberg Lake). Despite the clouds and the voracious mosquitoes, Skywalk North was amazing and got me motivated to explore more trails of the Skywalk network. My hiking pals (Morag and Eva) and I love a hike with variety and this one gets top marks: The 23 km lollipop route (a loop with a short repeated section at the start and end) travels through cedar forests, alpine meadows, rocky slopes with dramatic views of the Coast Mountains, and a glacial basin with tumbling waterfalls and the turquoise-hued star attraction— Iceberg Lake. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking, Places | Tags: , , | 70 Comments

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