At the moment, we’re in the Alberta parkland spending the Christmas holidays with my parents on their acreage, but I wanted to take a quick moment to share some photos of our trip to Galiano Island a few weeks back. Just like now, we had no schedule guiding us and took things as they came. With no plans, it’s hard to fail.
This past weekend I took the family for a short walk along the Seymour River in North Vancouver. I still find it amazing that a massive, dark forest is basically on our doorstep. Combine that with the mountains, glaciers, rivers and lakes… the minds spins.
This past weekend the kids and I did a bit more exploring, but rather than a simple day trip, we (meaning I) decided to go a littler further and do an overnighter. Fall on the West Coast usually means a ton of rain and this in turn means a potentially soggy tent, particularly when kids are involved. With my wife away on business, I figured the three of could have a nice dry night in the truck.
On Sunday we slowly made our way North through Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton before turning down the In-Shuck-Ch Forest Service Road that winds its way down Lillooet Lake and beyond to Port Douglas near the northern end of Harrison Lake. My wife and I have been down part of this road many years ago, but this time I planned on going a bit further.
The valley that this road goes through is the traditional territory of the First Nations bands that make up the In-Shuck-Ch Nation and there are a few Indian Reserves along the route. The In-Shuck-Ch Nation appears to be working very hard to re-establish themselves permanently in the valley after economic conditions forced most to leave after the 1950s.
We arrived with a bit of light left in the day and decided to look at our camping options before heading back into Pemberton for dinner and hot chocolate. I had a quick look at three different recreation sites and only saw a handful of campers at two of them. In the end, I settled on Lizzie Bay—only 16km down the road and with a nice spot near the edge of the lake. With cooler temperatures, rain wasn’t much of a worry, but we would probably see a bit of snow overnight.
After dinner we made our way back to camp in the dark, converted the truck and watched a movie on the iPad while snuggled under a down duvet. After the movie we moved into our down sleeping bags and quickly fell asleep, nice and warm, at 8:30PM.
In the cool morning, the kids weren’t too excited to leave the truck, so they stayed inside and played while I started a fire and enjoyed the peace and quiet. It was a fantastic morning. Eventually, we packed up and made our way further down the road while snacking on a bit of trail mix. In the back of my mind, I was hoping we would make it to the Tsek Hot Springs, but in reality I didn’t expect the kids to last that long. Sure enough, just past the Baptiste Smith Indian Reserve we turned around and headed back to Pemberton for breakfast.
For the rest of the day, we slowly made our way back to Vancouver. There was no rush and I didn’t want to leave the mountains.
This past weekend, the kids and I headed to Deas Island south of Vancouver for a little exploring. No major plans, just a walk in the park and some playing by the river. It was cool, cloudy and a little breezy, but the rain held off. I love getting the kids out of the city and into the bush, even if it is just a small regional park.
On this trip, my son asked why we always go to the Fraser River. We don’t always go to the river, but I will admit we’ve been there a lot lately. This coming weekend, I think we’ll head North instead.
Today we will be starting an epic drive across British Columbia to the Columbia Valley, headwaters of the mighty Columbia River, and meeting up with my Mother’s side of the family for a mini-Family Reunion. It’s become a biennial tradition and gives us an opportunity to catch up, eat, fish, explore and have the general sort of fun that one does when camping with family.
During our recent two-week vacation in Southern California and Nevada we managed to get out to do a couple of hikes. It was hot and dry, but they were definitely the highlights for me. Probably Jayne too. While in Vegas, we managed to slip out for an exploration in Red Rock Canyon and when we were in LA, a close friend took us for a hike in the Santa Monica Mountains.
The day we hiked the Santa Monica Mountains is one for the record books: a hike, a swim and two brewpubs. Epic!
We’re off to California (and Nevada, to be fair) for a couple of weeks. My wife’s sister, brother-in-law and their two boys are coming over from New Zealand and we’re going to meet up with them in LA to spend some time exploring the area. We’ll be doing a lot of things that wouldn’t necessarily be my top choice (I’m looking at you Las Vegas), but the kids are going to have a riot and it will be great to hang out with family. I also hope to slip away now and again to do my sort of thing (yes you, Red Rocks).
The kids began camping when they were only a few months old and have been countless times since, so it’s in their blood. They’ve both been asking to go lately, but our schedule has been getting in the way, so we’ve set one of our tents up on the patio off of their room. It’s not the same, but they’re loving it.
Every year, friends of ours organize a group trip to Manning Provincial Park, a mountain park of over 70,000 hectares just a few hours east of Vancouver. It’s a winter wonderland with downhill skiing, nordic skiing, snowshoeing, skating, tobogganing… add a cabin, good friends, food, drink and you can start to see why we go every year.
One big advantage of living is Vancouver is the ability to go from house to forest in about 20 minutes. Yesterday we went for a short walk in Lynn Valley, next to the Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve. It was a cool, drizzly, grey day—a picture-perfect example of winter in the Pacific Northwest.