Damn. Just like that the kid’s out of school and holiday season is upon us! Brian and I have been making our plans over the last few weeks and thus far we have a cabin booked on Hornby Island, a hot springs overnight, a week long trip to Wells Gray park, a family visit to Victoria, and a campsite reserved at Porteau Cove in early fall. I’m hoping to also jam in another weekend trip or two – depending on how much time I can effectively wriggle away from work.
I’m not much of an international traveller – partly for environmental and economic reasons – but also because I am so comfortable on the backroads of my home province and I haven’t seen all there is to see in BC (it’s big). As it is, you will notice that my top eleven are very “southern” which is only a tiny fraction of BC travelling.
I have spent a great deal of time zipping around and checking things out close to home – and (I think) I’ve got some good spots to offer in terms of vacation possibilities for those of you who haven’t yet planned your holidays. Because this post started to get quite long, I’ve split it into two parts – the second of which will air tomorrow. And in the comments, would you mind telling me – where are your favourite BC Destinations? I need to add more possibilities to my list!
Where to go? Destinations 1-5
Flores Island: Just a 45-minute water taxi from Tofino (west coast of Vancouver Island), you will find the island that time forgot. 16,000 hectares of old-growth forest, white sand beaches, and often (during the week especially no one else in sight once you leave the village of Ahousat. This rates as the best camping trip I have ever done, and while we hiked the wild side trail, you can also kayak into Cow Bay or charter a boat directly into prime camping spots that straddle the forest and the beach. In five days (Mon-Friday) Brian and I saw a total of three people up close. It’s also where we decided to get married. Check out my travelogue here, and my flickr set here. More info on the Wild Side Trail here.
Tags: hiking, camping, backpacking, wildlife viewing, kayaking
Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park: We liked this trip so much we did it two years in a row, though after last year’s early July experience I would definitely recommend going later in the season rather than earlier. Cathedral Lakes PP Core Area is reached either by hiking in on 16 km of trail and logging road, or you can catch a ride with the Cathedral Lakes Lodge Unimog three times a day (round trip costs $100 per adult and must be pre-booked). The hiking up there is unparallelled and if you have two days of hiking I would recommend the Rim trail as well as the Goat Lake trail (this one is really overlooked, but takes you into a spectacular lake basin). There are three walk-in campgrounds on lakes quite close to the lodge drop-off point and several back-country camping areas in the park. But if you don’t want to camp? I notice that the Lodge has a great deal on their new kitchenette cabins if you book before July 1st. Stay in a cabin, and experience some of the best hiking in the world? Sounds pretty good to me! (Note, the wildflower season in August is so beautiful it will make you weep for the joy of it all). Interested in more? Please see my travelogue here. And my flickr sets from year one and year two here.
Tags: hiking, camping, backpacking, wildlife viewing, fishing
Carmanah Valley/Walbran: Better known than the above two places because of epic logging fights in the eighties, I can honestly say that the Carmanah Valley changed my life at the age of sixteen. This place was my introduction to both the horror of industrial forestry, as well as the deep magic of BC’s old growth. As a result of that battle for some of the last of the island’s old growth, a provincial park was established in the heart of the valley a number of years ago. While I can not speak to the park facilities (I have never camped in any of the walk in areas), I do know that this is place most people fall deeply in love with as the primeval forest is still alive and well here (despite the massive cutting that has taken place around it). Hiking trails are rough, and you can hike from the valley out to the west coast of the island and hook up with the West Coast Trail.
Tags: hiking, camping, backpacking, wildlife viewing
Hurley River FSR: I have to admit that I have only driven the Hurley River Forest Service Road in its entirety one time – but the trip was so strange and magnificent that I have long wanted to do it again. Hurley Creek FSR connects Pemberton and Lillooet on one side as Duffy Lake Road does on the other (See a loop tour suggestion that takes you over both roads here). Though one of the road’s highlights – Meager Creek hotsprings – was shut by a mudslide a couple of years ago, there are still other hotsprings to be discovered, plus the mining towns of Bralorne and Gold Bridge, and the new South Chilcotin Provincial Park (established in 2010) along the way. Mining resumed in Bralorne last year, so I expect it is less ghosty than it was a decade ago when I was last through. This is definitely an area worth taking some time in – for camping, hunting, fishing, ghost towns, and hiking opportunities abound (plus a bunch of really weird history). It’s really worth checking out this strange meander into the backwoods of BC’s history, and those roads are damned fun to drive!
Tags: Road trip, historic sites, wildlife, hunting, fishing, camping
Keremeos (and Hedley): Probably not on my top eleven as stand-alone places to visit but we drive to or through here every summer just the same. Why is that? Cheap fruit! Keremeos is probably the cheapest place to buy in-season produce for canning that I know of, and at only five hours from Vancouver this is feasibly a day trip – though we frequently just tack it on to another holiday (as we will this year on our way back from Wells Gray). While Keremeos has fruit going for it, the ex-mining town of Hedley is just all kinds of weird. Despite being a bit of a ramshackle town, it’s got a great restaurant – The Hitching Post which is where we usually eat. It’s also got this slightly odd (but kinda cool) black light museum which someone has posted a video of on YouTube here:[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kfdo5SP91Y%5D
Having been to the blacklight museum a couple of years ago, I will tell you that this video is very representative of the experience. And also, there is no sign for the museum, you just have to track Rod down.
Tags: Road trip, historic sites, wildlife, camping, bed and breakfasting, food touring
Stay-tuned tomorrow for destinations 6-11 to wet your travelling whistle!