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.Continue reading
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
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
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
On our first morning in El Chaltén, Argentina we woke up to a fiery red Mount Fitz Roy. I was beyond excited. Clear days are few and far between in southern Patagonia. Our guesthouse host recommended we do the Laguna de los Tres hike (also called Cerro Fitz Roy) for the best close-up views of the crown jewel of Patagonia. This hike, located in Los Glaciares National Park, has it all—granite spires, giant glaciers, turquoise lakes and pretty forests that pop with unbelievable colours if you’re lucky enough to be there in fall. Laguna de Los Tres is surprisingly accessible and relatively easy if you’re reasonably fit. From start to finish, this hike is as stunning as they come. Continue reading
No camping! That had been the key request. Mike wanted a comfy bed and hot shower at the end of a long day of hiking in Patagonia. I had always associated Torres del Paine in Chile with epic Patagonian hikes. Much to my dismay, I read that the best way to see those iconic rock spires was on multi-day treks. Then, with a little research, I leaned about El Chaltén, Argentina. This tiny town sits underneath the mother of Patagonia’s granite towers, Mount Fitz Roy. It’s a charmingly quirky place with an end-of-the-earth feel and plenty of accommodations to suit hikers of all budgets. Trailheads to the most amazing day hikes in Patagonia start right in town. Let me introduce you to a few of them.
I have raved about this hike in summer and now I’m going to sing its praises in winter. The snowy mountain scenery along the Elfin Lakes trail in Garibaldi Provincial Park, near Squamish, British Columbia, is stunning. Hiking it on a windstill day, under a cerulean sky is pure happiness for me. It’s still early in 2018, but our hike to Elfin Lakes and overnight at its backcountry shelter may well turn out to be the highlight of my year. Continue reading