Revisiting Gwaii Haanas, a hallowed and reborn place

Forty years ago, it was a deserted ground, tinged in sadness. Today, the region is enriched with spirit and purpose

Revisiting Gwaii Haanas, a hallowed and reborn placeForty years ago, in 1978, my wife and I agreed to cap our first year of marriage with an adventure. We decided to follow in the paddle-strokes of good friends who had just kayaked to what was then called the South Moresby archipelago of the Queen Charlotte Islands. We chose the first two weeks of…

Lake O’Hara Lodge: a timeless Rocky Mountain beauty

At every turn, a mind-blowing vista opened before us. But always – far below – lay Lake O’Hara, an artist’s palette in aquamarine

Lake O’Hara Lodge: a timeless Rocky Mountain beautyA Red Deer friend described Lake O’Hara Lodge in Yoho National Park, B.C., as the most beautiful place she’d ever been. My wife and I have done our share of travel to exotic and wonderful places so my expectations for our three-day visit to O’Hara were tempered with a grain of salt. The lodge, accessible…

Rent an RV, the high seas in style and airborne at cut rates

Travel Insider: RV rental operation gaining traction; eco-tourism adventures on Canada’s West Coast

Rent an RV, the high seas in style and airborne at cut ratesHit the road this summer with an RV from wheelestate.caHundreds of RV trailers sit idle in fields for a large part of summer. Cherie and Chad Ball noticed them and got the idea to start a company called wheelestate.ca. The Okotoks, Alta., couple thought that when the owners aren’t using their recreational trailers, they could…

Spring surprises at Skelhp: red tide and Cuddles

Fir pollen on the water (perhaps), black bears on the prowl. All part of a spring visit to Skelhp

Spring surprises at Skelhp: red tide and CuddlesI recently made the trip up the Sunshine Coast from Vancouver to Skelhp under sunny skies with spring projects in mind. It’s still a month before the vegetable garden needs to be seeded, but it’s time to rake in some fireplace ash and turn the soil in the rows. The raspberry canes need pruning, and…

Spring arrives at Skelhp and the wildlife parade follows

Orcas, otters, a majestic eagle, a marauding racoon and a diminishing deer family all herald the changing of seasons on the coast

Spring arrives at Skelhp and the wildlife parade followsIt was a long February. As my neighbour, a veteran of several more Skelhp winters than I, likes to say: “Cold, dark and wet.” Exactly. And then a day like March 3 happens. It dawned lighter. That’s normal up here this time of year. More light starts creeping in around 7 a.m. each morning. It’s…

Pleasure and pain: tree skiing at Whistler

The 2010 Olympics ended nearly eight years ago but the party carries on. The hills and streets echo with languages and accents from around the globe

Pleasure and pain: tree skiing at WhistlerI was navigating a black-diamond run at the end of our last day in Whistler. The path dropped through a steep mogul field, then narrowed to a single track in thick forest. I veered hard right through a tiny opening between two Douglas fir trees. I emerged blindly from the dark boughs. Terra firma vanished.…

At Boulder Hut, every ski turn comes after a lot of (uphill) effort

Boulder Hut in the Purcell Range of southeastern British Columbia offers a rustic – and fabulous – backcountry skiing experience

At Boulder Hut, every ski turn comes after a lot of (uphill) effortThere are no baths or showers at Boulder Hut. Cleanup after a day of strenuous backcountry skiing involves soaping up in a wood-fired sauna, then dumping a bucket of water over your head. To my surprise, a fellow guest – fit, naked and female – offered to do the pouring. I reluctantly acquiesced. Thereafter, the absence…

Moving on: nature migrates as winter closes in

On the Pacific coast, the fascinating fall movements of whales, salmon and sea ducks have begun

Moving on: nature migrates as winter closes inOne evening recently at about 6 p.m., I heard a familiar sound from the sheltered bay just in front of our house at Skelhp. If you’ve never heard it, it can be bewildering, even frightening. It’s very loud blasts of air – sometimes two or three in succession, sometimes with about a minute’s silence before…

5 fun things to do in British Columbia

Whatever you enjoy doing in your free time, you can probably find it in British Columbia

5 fun things to do in British ColumbiaBritish Columbia is a beautiful province situated on the westernmost side of Canada. While the capital of B.C. is Victoria, Vancouver is actually the highlight of the province. Vancouver has over four million residents, but there’s still plenty of nature to be enjoyed there. In fact, whatever you enjoy doing in your free time, you…

Exploring the islands of B.C.’s Nuchatlitz lagoon

From sublime beauty to mysteries of an unknown world tucked away at the edge of the Pacific ocean

Exploring the islands of B.C.’s Nuchatlitz lagoonNuchatlitz lagoon, framed by a formidable offshore wall of reefs and rocks, is sprinkled with small islands. Consulting the Canadian Hydrographic Service chart entitled Esperanza Inlet, one is quickly puzzled by their odd place names. While Nuchatlitz Provincial Park and four IRs (Indian reserves) are prominently badged, the entire flotilla of Nuchatlitz islands (I counted…