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Sad News to Share

Dear Blogging Community,

It is with great sadness that we share the tragic loss of the Writes of Passage blogger, Caroline Helbig.  She passed on Sunday, January 2nd, 2022 with her husband Mike Sharp when a tree fell on their home during a windstorm. Caroline had a great love of adventure and wrote celebratory posts describing her journeys through the many landscapes and countries of our world.  Her goal was to inspire others to adventure while giving helpful advice, and she did just that with each informative post followed by her customary thoughtful response to any comment she received.  Caroline was a stunning photographer who captured rare moments of beauty in her travels near and far.Her last days were spent at Whyte Lake, a go-to hike just above her home in West Vancouver, where she gathered community to ice-skate and play hockey on the frozen ice—a rare treat! She will always be remembered as an avid explorer of the untrodden trail.  Her joy, wit and intelligence is found here, and in our hearts, for we are the lucky readers who travelled with her.

Caroline’s family and friends

Categories: Uncategorized | 30 Comments

Sri Lanka’s magnificent cave temples: Dambulla and Mulkirigala

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Reclining Buddha at Mulkirigala Cave Temple

The cavern is enormous. It’s filled with statues of Buddha, kings and deities. The walls and ceilings are covered with murals. Of all the amazing cultural sites in Sri Lanka, my favourites are the cave temples. We visited two: the large, busy Dambulla Cave Temple in the country’s Cultural Triangle and the smaller, lightly-visited Mulkirigala Cave Temple in the south. They’re historically significant for their role as places of Buddhist practice and ritual for over 2000 years, and they remain important holy sites. I’m overwhelmed by the visual feast that’s housed in these natural rock overhangs carved into the cliffs. Continue reading

Categories: Sri Lanka, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 38 Comments

WINE-der WOMAN at the Oliver Osoyoos Half Corked Marathon

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Team Wine-der Woman running through the vineyards—C.Helbig

It’s my favourite weekend of the year! It’s filled with belly laughs, outrageous silliness and much wine consumption with great friends. This is our fourth year participating in the Oliver Osoyoos Half Corked Marathon, an annual event that takes place in the vineyards of British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley. Named the 2017 Canadian Event of the Year at the Canadian Tourism Awards, the “marathon” is an 18 km (11.2 mile) course that winds its way through bucolic countryside with more than a dozen wine tasting and food sampling stops along the way. There are no prizes for speed, only creativity. After being pushed off the podium last year, we were thrilled to reclaim first prize with our WINE-der WOMAN costume. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Crazy Fun Stuff, Places, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 22 Comments

Happy Thanksgiving from Mount Seymour, North Vancouver

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A perfect fall hike on Mt. Seymour—C.Helbig

My very first blog post was about being thankful for a great local hike called Mt. Seymour in North Vancouver. I’ve hiked this trail many times since I wrote that post, most recently a couple of days ago with my sister. I never get tired of hiking Mt. Seymour trail with its phenomenal views. On this Canadian Thanksgiving weekend I am again thankful for Mt. Seymour and all the other amazing hikes and parks on Vancouver’s North Shore. Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Canada, Hiking, Places, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

Happy Holidays and Best in the New Year!

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One of my happy places: Cypress Provincial Park, West Vancouver

To my dear readers: I wish you and your families a happy holiday, and joy and peace in the new year.

Writing this blog gives me a tremendous amount of pleasure. It started out as a simple love of travel and writing. It has morphed into a relationship with an extraordinary group of people. Thank you for reading my rambles. I so appreciate your likes and lovely comments. I’ve enjoyed “getting to know” you. Thanks to fellow travel and hiking bloggers who make my list of places to go/mountains to climb longer and longer. Thanks to a diverse group of bloggers who introduce me to recipes, arts, photography, life’s beauty and challenges…Your words and images inspire me.

I am grateful for a wonderful year of travel and outdoor fun with Mike, Alex, and my awesome friends. I’ve put together a collage of some of my 2016 highlights. I look forward to more travel and adventure in the new year—it’s off to Laos and Cambodia in January.

Cheers to you all—Caroline. Continue reading

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The Many Faces of Sevilla, Spain

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The Alcázar Gardens in Sevilla, Spain—C.Helbig

We’ve had a lot of gloomy weather in beautiful Vancouver and my mind is wandering to sunnier spots. Aaah…Sevilla, Spain, now that makes me feel cheery. Our son Alex spent four months in Sevilla as part of a gap year and we of course took the opportunity to visit him. That was almost a year ago, last November. Sevilla is a stunning city and November in southern Spain is as good as it gets—no crowds and beautiful warm, sunny weather. Mike and I had an awesome time discovering the city and Alex took full advantage of scrumptious tapas meals courtesy of mom and dad. Continue reading

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Kayaking in British Columbia’s Broughton Archipelago: The Sequel

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Paddling in the Broughton Archipelago—C.Helbig

Some of you may remember a post from a year ago where I raved about a guided sea kayaking expedition in the Johnstone Strait/Broughton Archipelago (near the northern tip of Vancouver Island, British Columbia). Mike wasn’t able to come with me because of an injured shoulder. We decided to book the trip again with our friends Trish and Steve. I was a bit apprehensive. Could this trip possibly be as good as my first experience? It was! Six days of spectacular ocean kayaking and wilderness camping, awesome wildlife encounters, a dream group, and extraordinary guiding provided by Spirit of the West Adventures (SOW).

Continue reading

Categories: Activities, British Columbia, Kayaking, Places, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 20 Comments

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