In the heart of the world’s largest non-polar icefield

All was ice, white curving fingers spilling from mountain valleys. Dark lines of ground rock defined each icy highway

In the heart of the world’s largest non-polar icefieldKLUANE NATIONAL PARK AND RESERVE, Yukon – I’ve been a geography nut since I was a kid. My noggin is full of useless facts. In pre-metric days, I memorized details of the world’s highest and lowest: Mount Everest, 29,028 feet; Challenger Deep in the Mariana Trench, 35,814 feet. As a proud Canadian, I knew that…

Of sour toes, midnight golf, and birds singing for sex and war

Historic, colourful, quaint and sleep-deprived Dawson City; and up the perilous, muddy Dempster Highway

Of sour toes, midnight golf, and birds singing for sex and warUpon our return from six weeks exploring Canada’s north, friends enquired, “So what was your favourite place?” And each time, gazing distantly while recalling the amazing scenery, people and places we encountered, I answered: “Haven’t a clue.” But Dawson City, Yukon, is a good start. I love Dawson. Unlike cruise-ship destinations on the nearby Alaska…

A whale of a shift in seasons on the West Coast

Blackberries, figs, grey and humpback whales, and spawning salmon all herald the arrival of autumn

A whale of a shift in seasons on the West CoastAs August turns the corner to September, some notable and familiar signs of change occur at Skelhp, which is known as “The place where the ancients dropped down from the heavens and taught us how to make canoe paddles out of yew wood.” The blackberries that have been thriving over the past three weeks start…

A soft egg in the Nahanni National Park Reserve

Discovering Virginia Falls, a remarkable UNESCO World Heritage Site – and learning a little German

A soft egg in the Nahanni National Park ReserveON THE ALASKA HIGHWAY – In German, weichei means soft egg. It defines a person’s character. In Canada, we call them wimps. Charly Kudlacek is from Frankfurt in the German state of Hesse and, as eggs go, is hard-boiled. We met Charly and his wife Marion in a remote campground at Summit Lake on the…

Hut-to-hut hike rewards adventurers with epic views

Comfy beds and incredible food await after a long, fulfilling day

Hut-to-hut hike rewards adventurers with epic viewsAs we gaped in awe at Talc Lake, a deep blue expanse hanging above Egypt Lake in the distance, a passing hiker said to us, “It only gets better.” Better than this? we wondered. How is that possible? In the vista before us, a waterfall ribbon from Talc seemed to put the cherry on top…

Taking the anxiety out of long crossings in a kayak

Go early, be prepared for any eventuality, plan well, concentrate on strong paddle strokes and keep your destination dead off your bow

Taking the anxiety out of long crossings in a kayakIt’s the classic ocean kayaker’s dilemma: should I wait or go now? You’re all loaded up. It’s probably early in the morning and you don’t want to delay others as your trip unfolds before you. Some or all of your trip-mates may have taken kayak water rescue courses and have at least some confidence in…

Geared up for another kayak adventure on the B.C. coast

The equipment has improved and been refined over the years, but the thrill of the backcountry remains the same

Geared up for another kayak adventure on the B.C. coastIt all started in 1978 when we decided to fly to Haida Gwaii and borrow our friends’ kayaks for trip into Gwaii Haanas (then known as the South Moresby wilderness area). We were just married and finishing grad school, with plans to move to Alberta in the fall. Our pals in Queen Charlotte City offered…
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