Category: hiking

Chilcotin alpine experience

Nuk Tessli alpine experience

Nuk Tessli is a fly-in alpine eco-adventure on the edge of Tweedsmuir Provincial park, run by German-born author Chris Czajkowski. She operates rustic cabins on the shore Whitton lake. The alpine hiking possibilities from her base are endless.

Chris has written several books about her experiences. Aside from hiking, she also offers volunteer stays to help her out with heavy work. Sign me up!

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.

Trekking in the Pyrenees

I spent most of the month of September in Europe, hence my lack of postings. Most of the trip was spent with family, but we did sneak in a three-day trek in the French Pyrenees.

Map of trekWe did a typical European mountain trek – walking from hut to hut, along well-marked trails. The huts are not little shacks, but rather well-appointed hostels with most amenitied. The stays at each hut included four-course meals. Slightly different from your average Canadian trip.

Mt. Vignemale - north faceWe hiked a part of the GR10 in the Parc National des Pyrénées – from Pont d’Espagne to Gavarnie. While the park is still quite spectacular, with some amazing moutain walls, it was interesting to observe the differences with our Canadian park system. Most surprisingly, there are no entrance fees. It saves one money of course, but as a result, the average visitor doesn’t even know there is a national park. Apparently, general awareness of the park is very low. Interestingly also was that sheep and cows continued to graze throughout the park, even in the core zones. As a result most grassy slopes looked heavily grazed if not over grazed. Of course, people have been grazing their cattle here for thousands of years, but one’d expect a few core areas to be cattle-free.

Valley west of GavarnieOn the other hand, the hut system worked well. It keeps most people on the main trails, and allows people who don’t want to carry a heavy pack with tent and food to enjoy the back country. But of course they also attract additional hikers, and so put an additional strain in on the environment.

The dearth of huts in the Rockies puts many people off doing treks here, although there now are a few huts (both from the Alpine Club and high-end lodges). A few hut-based treks in Canada could certainly attract additional European visitors. One wouldn’t want to turn all the trails in the Rockies into hut-based treks, though!

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.

West Coast Trail opening delayed

The opening of the West Coast Trail has been delayed by a few weeks, due to ongoing repairs. Parks Canada is advising hikers that the trail won’t be open until around May 15.

West Coast Trail makes the National

The CBC National paid some handsome attention to the West Coast Trail tonight: an half-hour documentary by Mark Kelley in his “7 Days” series. He did the trek last year. The description is wrong – he only walked the trail, and didn’t do any cleaning, but still a fun piece. Monique features prominently. Great publicity!

Video part I | part II.

Trekking in the high arctic

Few people think of trekking in the high arctic, but Black Feather now offers a 60km trek through Katannilik Territorial Park on southern Baffin, not far from Iqaluit. There is a surprising abundance of flora, and also lots of wildlife. As a bonus, the trip ends with a country meal hosted by a local family, addding a cultural touch to the trip.

Hiking the Sunshine Coast

While the West Coast Trail is still THE great trail of the west coast, BC’s sunshine coast now has its own long-distance trail: the Sunshine Coast Trail. The trail stretches 180 km from the Saltery Bay ferry terminal in the south to Sarah Point in Desolation Sound Marine Park in the north. While not as spectacular as the WCT, it does appear to have some great views and pass through some old-growth forest.

Other trails to consider on the west coast:

  • The Nootka Trail, a wilder and more rugged version of the WCT.
  • Coming soon: Vancouver Island’s North Coast Trail. This trail is still being built, but promised to be pretty amazing when completed.

West Coast Trail storm damage

The West Coast Trail suffered significant damage in the recent storms. The damage includes two broken cable cars, and the bridge over Logan Creek has been destroyed. This may delay opening of the trail in May. As this year is the 100th anniversary of the lifesaving trail, it would be a shame if it opened late.

Update Feb. 17: I talked to a warden from Pacific Rim NP today, and she mentioned that work is progressing well. They expect to have the damage cleaned up in time for the May 1 opening. Check their website for updates.

Rick over at besthikes.com recently rated the trail as the top hike in the world. Although I think that treks like the Snowman Trek in Bhutan rate higher on a world scale, it is certainly the top trek in Canada.