Category: BC

Hiking in the Chilcotin

BC is famous for its hiking, but when people look for hiking trails in BC, they tend to think of the lower mainland, Vancouver Island, or the interior. However, the Chilcotin region of central BC has some amazing hiking as well, as demonstrated by the website of the Chilcotin Mountains Trail System. It looks like a gorgeous area, with endless hiking options.

The Yeti Snowshoe race

What can be more Canadian than people enjoying a leisurly snowshoe stroll on a weekend? Well, try getting in with a group of 100 people eager runners, strapping on special running snowshoes (small and extra light), and running a tough 5-10km trail course through the mountains! That’s what the Yeti snowshoe race series is. Now in its seventh year, it is an ever growing event around Vancouver, attracting over 100 racers for each race. They even run a Yeti Snowshoe acadamy, where people can take snowshoe running clinics each week.

Highly recommended.

Hemlock resort

Vancouver is known for its three ski hills just outside city limits: Cypress, Grouse and Seymour. And of course, there is world-renowned Whistler just two hours away, and Mt. Washington over on Vancouver Island. But there are three other smaller resorts within a three hour drive: Manning (3 hours, near Hope), Hemlock (2 hours, newar Harrison Hotsprings) and Mt. Baker (3 hours, in Washington state).

Hemlock is a great little resort with only three lifts, but lots of terrain, because the hill is in the subalpine, so you cna ski just about anywhere. It’s got 1300 feet of vertical, not bad for a local hill. And the snow is good – lots of it this year. They’ve got some reasonably priced accommodation on the hill. Well worth checking out.

Radio tracking wildlife

The BBC has put together Love Earth, a great website on wildlife. The site includes a section on tracking, in which the tracks of various radiotagged wildlife are recorded. Very cool for kids. If only technology had been this far along when I was tracking willow ptarmigan up at Chilkat Pass in NW BC nearly 20 years ago. Of course, willow ptarmigan aren’t as cool as bears and elephants, but still would have been neat to follow them in Google earth, instead of the DOS-based program I had!

Driving tours in western Canada

GyPSyCanada’s highways are great fun to drive, but you tend to be behind the wheel many hours at the time. You just whizz by towns and sites along the way, often wondering what’s the story behind the sights. No longer – thanks to GyPSy, an innovative GPS-based audio guide. Install the GPS-enabled device in your car, attach it to a small FM receiver, and start driving. Every few minutes, you get a short commentary about some interesting fact or historical figure. And if there is not much to say about the trees along the way, you may get some interesting facts about Canada as a whole. It’s great not only for first-time visitors, but also for locals. Currently they offer commentaries along the main highways of BC and Alberta, as well as city tours of the main cities, in English, French and German. They’re hoping to add additional routes and languages. Great adaptation of GPS technology.

Extreme snowshoeing

Snowshoeing is a blast, and it can get you out into some great mountains around Vancouver. But some guys take the sport to the extreme. Watch the YouTube video.

BC Forest Service information

My friend and fellow explorer Jason found some great links to information on BC Forest service campsites.

Green travel

Today is Blog action day – bloggers are asked to post something about the environment. For tourism in Canada that’s not too hard. I just had to put together a media itinerary around eco lodges in Canada, and found some great environmentally friendly lodges in Alberta/BC. ONe of my favourites is Purcell Mountain Lodge. It is true that one has to fly in by chopper, but once there, there are endless alpine meadows to hike in.

Shadow Lake lodge in Banff NP is even better, you hike or snowshoe in, and stay in simple, historic cabins.  Lake O’Hara lodge ain’t bad either.

Of course, if you really want to rough it eco-style,  then glamping in Clayquot Resort is the ticket.

Sometimes getting there is half the fun

Cheamakus Canyon from The Whistler Mountaineer’s observation car.On my way back from Whistler this weekend, I decided to take the train. It’s a bit more expensive than the bus, and a bit slower, but it provides a totally different perspective from the road. The train first travels through the spectacular Cheamakus canyon, before passing by the Brackendale eagle reserve en route to the shores of Howe Sound. The journey ends in North Vancouver. All along the way, the views are much better than from the road.

If you want to sit all the way, then the Glacier dome car with worth the extra money, since it has gorgeous large windows. But for a real experience, get the cheaper seat, dress warmly, and spend all your time in the open-sided heritage car. Lean out the side, walk from one side to the other, and touch the trees as you roll by.

The train slows to a crawl at several places along the way, which makes for great photos.

Highly recommended.

German article on the West Coast Trail

The German Globetrotter magazine just published a full-colour article on the West Coast Trail in their Fall 2007 issue, entitled “Gaiters Please!” They used four of my photos for the article. I didn’t have any mud-photos, so they had to find someone who actually encountered the trail’s famous mud.