more Wilderness Travel Stories

Garry Oak Meadows

Story & photos Vijayakumar Somalinga

Last summer I was having a conversation with my friend about native flora of British Columbia. I was quite disappointed that summer since most of the flower pictures I took turned out to be invasive and non-native species. For the first time during that conversation I heard the term "Garry oak meadows". A little research about the Garry oak meadows had me itching to go see this unique ecosystem. Story



Into The Valley of Trees

Story and photos © Elise Mallory
My trip to the Carmanah Valley began as a weekend adventure to view some of the tallest Stika Spruce trees in the world but ended up being a journey into some of the thickest, richest rainforest that I have ever had the chance to explore. Though the desire to view the massive trees of the valley is what originally draws people...Story



BC's Wild West Coast

Story & photos © Editor

The West Coast of Vancouver Island has its own unique ecosystem. The trees are shorter and sturdier than their interior cousins because the wind is harsher, and the rain and storms more violent during winter months. It is a rugged albeit beautiful part of British Columbia and the seas are extremely hazardous. Story



The Alberni Valley

Salmon capital...

Port Alberni is one of the most over-looked places on Vancouver Island as a base location to do wilderness adventures. Yet it's in the centre of Vancouver Island, joined to the Pacific coastline via a long 48 kilometre inlet, has great fishing and access to good hiking, canoeing and kayaking.... Story




The Incan Empire in South America

Part One of a series by Raghbir Jin
When people hear about the Incan empire, usually the first thing that comes to mind is the stone city of Machu Picchu nestled high in the Perú's Andean mountain range. Sadly, this is often the only thing that comes to mind. The sanctuary of the city, built around 1400 A.D., exemplifies the extraordinary craftsmanship and architecture of the time and remains one of the leading tourist destinations on the continent at 858,000 visitors per year. Story


The Incan Capital of Cusco

By Raghbir "Raggy" Jin Part two: The Incan Empire

Stepping into the historic downtown district of Cusco feels like stepping out of a time machine. Dogs pass as I walk through a car-less neighbourhood, stretching my arm out every now and again to brush the large stone walls left over from Incan times. Ladies in traditional Quechua clothing walk llamas over cobblestone sidewalks, past open-air markets that give a powerful feeling of nostalgia...Story


Touring Lake Titicaca
By Raghbir 'Raggy' Jin. Part three: The Incan Empire.

A man clad in decorative clothing paddles a small boat constructed of reeds across the water's pristine, blue surface as our own vessel rumbles noisily past. Passengers scramble to the deck to take photos of the man, pulling their scarves tighter to fend off the morning chill and speaking amongst one another in an assortment of languages as colourful as the ancient culture of Lake Titicaca...Story



Trujillo and La Libertdad, Peru

Story & photos © Raghbir Jin

Part four: The Incan Empire

Moving onward from the megalithic stone structures and Andean mountain backdrop at the centre of the old Incan empire to the adobe-built marvels of Trujillo and Huanchaco on Perú's northern desert coast is like shifting to a different world entirely...Story



quitoQuito: Gate way to Galapagos

Story & photos © Raghbir Jin Part 5: The Incan Empire
Quito is a city of many titles. The Ecuadorian metropolis is the highest legal capital in the world at 2,800 metres above sea level. Its historic centre is the largest in Latin America and holds the titles of best-preserved and least-altered. It was the first city to be included in the UNESCO world heritage list. But Quito's record of importance started long before these modern times... Story



The Incan Empire

Story & photos © Raghbir Jin

Part 6: Summary

The Incan empire was more a quilt than a blanket; a mass of regional cultures and backgrounds bound together with the stitches of the Quechua language. The result is a collective web of territories on the western edge of South America where each area has grown and developed with its own style and story, influenced by its own pre-Incan history before being united by the Incas... Story


Beyond The Surf

Story & photos © Elise Mallory
Tofino feels like it is on the edge of the world. Like if you drive through the quaint, enclosed town and just keep going you will eventually tip off the end of the map into oblivion. Once you drive through the pass just beyond Port Alberni and begin snaking along the coastline, going through what we call the ‘angry 30s’ feeling like you cannot possibly get further along the rugged west coast by car, you come to Tofino... Full Story


Memories of the Mountains

Story & photos Beth Bower

When I was a little kid the build up of excitement before a big camping trip was almost as good as Christmas Eve. There was the tent to pack, sleeping bags to stuff, and fleece pants to dig out of the very back of the closet. There were rogue pairs of Wigwam socks to track down... Full Story


Hiking Juan De Fuca Trail

Story & photos by Alistair Cochrane
The morning air was cold and my breath hung in the air. I shivered as I stuffed my rain jacket into my backpack, but starting out cold and warming up is better than sweating for the rest of the day. My packing method for this trip can only be described as “disaster light.” If something went wrong, all I had was my rain jacket, a fleece hoodie, 3 liters of water, some energy bars, and a bagelwich to survive on. Full Story...

India's WildLife Sanctuaries: Tiger

Story By Jim Christy, Photos by Virginia Dixon

From Jaipur, the 140 kilometre drive across the state of Rajasthan to Ranthambore took six and a half hours through dry, desert-like land reminiscent of the southern Okanagan in British Columbia. We stopped at a temple high in the hills where monkeys roamed free and women with snakes in baskets begged for money to appease the snake gods. One man played his flute and his cobra swayed, hypnotized by the music, or so he told people. But cobras have no sense of hearing; the beast was just following the course of the flute; wishing it still had its poison and its fangs. It’s a strange feeling to have a cobra poke at your fingers with its head... Full Story

Looking through the Alpine Hourglass

Story & photos by Ben Ferrel

As you climb from Kicking Horse Pass, up through the lower reaches of Cataract Brook, you occasionally catch a glimpse through the canopy of Engleman spruce, subalpine fir, and the occasional pine tree. The sight of the north summit of Mount Victoria causes your heart to flutter, the dramatic glaciers on its north face look like they could come crashing down at any instant. Full story...



Wildlife Photography & the Environment

Photos by Rick O'Neill

One of the most interesting wildlife photographers I've met over the years is Rick O'Neill, an environmentally concerned resident of the Sunshine Coast located on BC's Strait of Georgia. O'Neill lives on forested acreage he bought back in the 1970s and he treats his own property in line with his philosophy of protecting environmental habitat for wildlife, that is, he mostly lets it alone. Unless he is creating habitat for amphibians, which he has undertaken in the last few years on his property. Full Story...


The Sunshine Coast Part One

Story & photos by editor

The Sunshine Coast lies on the mainland of BC, much of it on a peninsular that stretches from Sechelt to Pender Harbour and beyond. It is accessible only by boat or air, although it is a scenic 40 minute ferry ride from Horseshoe Bay, northwest of Vancouver. The area is particularly recommended for boating, kayaking, scuba diving, and is becoming one of the prime mountain bike destinations in BC. Full Story...


The Sunshine Coast Part Two

Story & photos by editor

This is part of a series looking at areas in British Columbia where you can find a variety of wilderness adventures. We're also highlighting small towns which you might want to use as a base camp for wilderness activities. This particular area is excellent for scuba diving, kayaking, canoeing, day hiking, and wildlife watching. The upper Sunshine Coast, on that long peninsular from Sechelt to Egmont, is less populated and perhaps more rugged than the other half, and the backbone of that peninsular is the Caren Mountain Range. Full Story...


Big Friday

Story & photos by James Murray

I had just acquired my new form of housing, a 1974 Vanguard motor home. My friend Sarah had decided to loan my friend Ian and I her old home from last year, for the winter. Our plan was to live in as close proximity of the beach as we could, and surf as much as possible for the next few months. Full Story...


Costalegre Adventures

Story & photos © Al Maclachlan
There's a small tour operation called Ray y Eva Tours that I walked by one day while walking the beach in Melaque. They were doing a trip to Tenacatita the next day and I decided to join them. The Costalegre is rugged country, much like coastal British Columbia, with winding roads up and over jungle covered mountains and hills.



The Lagoons of Bahia de Navidad

Story & photos ©Al Maclachlan

On one fine January day I took the local bus to Villa Obregon, got off at Calle Esmeralda, and explored the lagoon that lies between there and Barra de Navivad. It is a very large area full of wildlife, including white herons, iguanas, and crocodiles. It is legally only accessible on the perimeter which means walking along Calle Primavera, and/or Vicente Guerrero on the far south side of town, and then along the beach. Or, you can access it from the main roads outside of the villages. Story...


El Costalegre de Mexico

Story & photos Al Maclachlan

Come wilderness travelling, swim in warm emerald sea water, and soak up much needed sun rays on the Pacific coast of Mexico, where Mariarchies play while you dine on exotic seafood, watching the sun go down surrounded by happy people, in the wonderful state of Jalisco... Full story...


BC's Wilderness Hotsprings

Story & photos by Amber Lidstone

BC has a variety of amazing hot springs. Ones like Harrison or Nakusp Hot Springs are developed, but many others lie in our wilderness, accessible only by boat or driving dusty and often muddy logging roads and hiking in. These primitive hot spring pools have had some rudimentary building done to them over the centuries, but mainly they are much the same as when they were formed by primordial thermal underground activity. Full Story...


The Wonders of Whale-watching

Story & photos by Editor

I've seen Orca whales in the Strait of Georgia not far from Vancouver, but that's rare. One of the best places to see whales is the west coast of Vancouver Island, usually from Bamfield, Ucluelet, Tofino or further north. To see Orcas I suggest going north of Campbell River to Johnstone Strait on the east side of the Island...Full Story



The One that Didn't Get Away

Photos by Dave & Rick Andrews

Twenty or more years ago the coastal waters of BC were teeming with salmon. It was difficult to go out fishing and not come back with a good sized Coho, or Sockeye, or a large Chinook (Spring). Salmon are presently a diminishing resource - and there are many reasons for that, almost all man-made, including the fish farms which produce lice which attach themselves to wild salmon - but they're still out there if you know where to look, and you have to go further afield. Full Story...


Rowed Trip

Photos by Julie & Colin Angus

So what do National Geographic's Adventurers of the Year (2007) do for their honeymoon? Sunbathe in Rivazzurra? Sip sangrias in Puerto Vallarta? Of course not. They row (and bicycle) from the tip of Scotland, through Europe and down to Syria. The human power duo's latest expedition is related in their new book and documentary, Rowed Trip, both of which were released recently for their promotional tour of much of Canada.

Full Story


Waterfalls of British Columbia

Book Review. Photos by Tony Greenfield

"If the great outdoors is the cathedral in which we worship, then the waterfall is the altar we bow down before," writes Tony Greenfield in his new guide book, Waterfalls of British Columbia; surprisingly the first book in Canada to focus on the natural wonders that our province has hundreds of. Greenfield writes with passion and eloquence about one hundred of the falls he has hiked or bushwhacked to in his wilderness travels around BC. Full story


The Awesome and Wild West Coast

Story & photos by Kris Rogerson

Port Renfrew is the northern most point accessible by car via Highway 14 on southern Vancouver Island, where the rainforest meets the sea. The village is tiny, and there's not much more than a general store, a hotel and a few restaurants.But the coast's rugged beauty surpasses the need for anything more than a pack full of snacks, a heavy sweater and a camera... Full Story


Baby Goes Backpacking

Story & photos by April Link

At thirteen months old, she was due for her first backpacking trip. With plenty of hiking, camping and canoeing experience plus a Calgary winter under her belt, we know she was up for it. After the wicked winter weather, returning to Vancouver Island with its mild climate, even in February, would be a blessing. Although we originally planned on doing the Juan de Fuca Trail, rain on the south of the island and sunshine up north quickly re-routed our plans to Cape Scott Provincial Park...Full Story


You Surf Where?

Story & Photos by James Murray

Surfing, while still considered a relatively new sport to Vancouver Island, has been steadily growing in popularity over recent years. With hundreds of kilometers of undiscovered breaks, Vancouver Island is a resource rich playground for those seeking that rare unnamed spot. When the swell, current, and wind direction are all working harmoniously, the conditions have been known to reach world-class status. Full Story...



Canada's Highest Waterfall

By Al MacLachlan - Photos courtesy BC Parks

It's strange how Canadians still talk about white Europeans 'discovering' physical places such as mountains and rivers a mere hundred years ago, ignoring the fact that First Nations discovered them somewhere between five and fifteen thousand years earlier. Still, according to Canadian statistics Della Falls was discovered by Joe Drinkwater in 1899, so let's just say Joe renamed them after his wife, Della. Full Story


The Road to Bella Coola

By Erica Blair

When I awoke the sun was below the mountains, and clouds filled the sub-alpine bowl with a tumultuous mist. I could hear the crashing of the falls miles away, and I took some photos of the scene while the sun slowly rose and chased away the clouds, or morning mist. Except for the birds and the falls all was quiet. The nearest human being besides my sleeping camping companion was at least 30 km away. Full Story...



Slumach’s Gold

By Jim Christy
The lure of buried treasure has attracted many an adventurer to more tropical climes. I have to laugh. Why bother to hack your way through dangerous jungle when there are plenty of “lost treasures” right here in our own backyard, so to speak, among the mountains and rivers of British Columbia? Full story....



Paradise at Princess Louisa Inlet

By Stu Young

After the long chug up breezy Jervis Inlet, it was the silence that surprised me most when we burst through Malibu Rapids and slipped into the still waters of Princess Louisa Inlet. 160 kilometers NNW of Vancouver, at the tip of one of the long saltwater fingers that reach far up into the Coast Mountains, Princess Louisa has the serenity of a mountain lake. Full story

Grizzly Bear Trophy Hunts Continue in B.C.

Humans myths are filled with stories of big bears. Early religions were bear cults, our ancestors probably dressed in the skins and heads of bears dancing around fires. We can only guess, but ritualized graves of bears have been found around the world, where bears existed. This grizzly bear (photographed by Rick O'Neill) is a similar size to the Cave Bear, which roamed Europe as far east as Russia during the last ice age... Full story


Beautiful Bute Inlet

In 1864 Victoria businessman Alfred Waddington set out to build a road, and hopefully his fortune, from Bute Inlet into the interior Cariboo gold fields, through what was Chilcotin First Nations territory. Someone neglected to pay the Native Indians they'd hired as guides. Insults were probably traded, tempers exploded, precipitating BC's only real war, known as The Chilcotin War. Full Story

Essay: Man-made Extinctions

When the first Europeans arrived in North America there were some 60 million bison (commonly called buffalo) roaming the grasslands and plains. There were herds from Great Slave Lake to Mexico and from the Rockies to the Atlantic. Yet even by the time the pioneers in Canada and the US started crossing the plains, in wagons pulled by oxen, that number had dwindled to about 20 million, the result of not only white hunters, but the adaptation of the horse by Plains Indians - as they called them at the time. Full Story


The Northern Lights

By Alan Sirulnikoff

Atlin, BC - It was at moments like these - fishtailing on the ice and snow of the Alaska Highway - that I wondered what the hell I was doing here, and if this was the price of impatience. Despite the previous night's snowfall that continued into the morning, I quickly gathered my things, left the warmth of the motel room, and headed out into the crisp -15 degree C air of Watson Lake....Full Story



Whitewater kayaking in ocean rapids?
That's what these dare-devils come up to Egmont at the top of the Sunshine Coast to discover. The Skookumchuck Narrows is located in the provincial park of the same name a few kilometres north of Pender Harbour. The narrow channel separates Sechelt Inlet from Jervis Inlet at the mouth of the Strait of Georgia...Full story


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