Tag Archives: BC with kids

Gone fishin’!

The ocean water up Indian Arm north of Vancouver was “boiling” with pink salmon making their way up the fjord to spawn. You could see them jumping from the dock and it looked like easy pickings. We motored up to a spot near where Silver Falls trickles into the ocean and started casting toward shore, counting to 10 while the lure sank toward the bottom.

My first catch? A red jellyfish. My second? A tiny, spiny rock fish. All around me other fisherfolk were netting giant pink salmon so I kept casting until, at last, I hooked one. A five-minute battle ensued where the fish tried his hardest to swim free, while I got the best arm workout of the trip. Avery netted him then back at the dock, I gutted him and bagged him. Guess what’s for dinner?

I caught him and Avery netted him. He's almost as big as she is!

I caught him and Avery netted him. He’s almost as big as she is!

It's actually pretty easy and not yucky at all. Maybe I missed my calling as a surgeon?

Gutting a fish is actually pretty easy and not that yucky. Maybe I missed my calling as a surgeon?

Forget farm-to-fork. I'm all about-sea-to-stomach dining after salmon fishing in B.C.!

Forget farm-to-fork. I’m all about sea-to-stomach dining after salmon fishing in B.C.!

High: The human-vs-nature adrenalin rush of reeling in a (relatively) big fish.

Low: My arm is still sore!

Outcome: Fishing is fun and somewhat meditative. As a bonus, it often puts dinner on the table.

Up Indian Arm

For August long weekend we boarded a boat in the Deep Cove harbour in North Vancouver and motored up Indian Arm fjord to a cabin reachable only by water. It’s not off-the-grid-living, exactly — there’s electricity and running water — but time slows and the kids spend their days catching small eels, turning rocks over to look for crabs and setting out the trap for large Dungeness. If they’re feeling more adventurous they can jump off the dock into the chilly Pacific, kayak, or get pulled behind the boat on a tube. It’s bliss.

Starfish like this one are common in the waters around Vancouver.

Sea stars like this one are common in the waters around Vancouver.

High: Island, err, fjord time. No schedule and no screens. Just sun, water and the call of a bald eagle flying overhead.

Low: A summer cold. This is not the place to get sick!

Just boil for 15 minutes and you've got yourself a delish snack.

Just boil for 15 minutes and you’ve got yourself a delish snack.

Have dog will travel

It’s our first official trip with the dog. Piper, our Brittany spaniel puppy, is now five months old, and though she’s ridden in the car to Fernie once before, this B.C. road trip is our first real holiday as a party of five. As a result, there are learning curves (e.g. forgetting the dog poop bag during the hike on Day 2 of our vacation). What will a dog do on in a car for six hours as we drive from Fernie to Osoyoos, on Day 4? How does it work in a hotel room with a dog? Can you just leave her in the kennel while the cleaning people do their thing?

After driving 545 km in a car with a puppy, an eight-year-old and a five-year-old, I have to say it’s way easier to travel with a dog than with kids.

Blake took this lovely portrait, Travel With Dog, while he was driving down pass No. 4. Nice!

Blake took this lovely portrait, Travel With Dog, while he was driving down pass No. 4. See the scenery whizzing by?

For one thing, she didn’t tell us she was hungry every 10 minutes all day long, nor did she ask us annoying questions like, “How much longer till Osoyoos?” when we were in Castlegar. Instead, she slept between Fernie and Creston, then accompanied me on a walk through the cute downtown when we stopped. We stopped again at Christina Lake for a water wade and ice cream and she enjoyed another nice walk. She was a bit restless on the final leg to Osoyoos, but I’m impressed that, unlike the kids, there was no whining. She either dozed or watched the mountain scenery turn to desert scrub as we descended into the Okanagan Valley and a hot but dry temperature of 33C.

Upon arrival at Spirit Ridge Resort we were impressed to find a doggie treat and watering station by the check-in, as well as poop bags, dog biscuits and a food bowl in our pet-friendly suite. As for how housekeeping mixes with dogs? They don’t. We’ll have to kennel Piper before we put the children in Kidz Kamp and head off wine tasting.

Dogs get their own special check-in at Spirit Ridge, complete with water and treats.

Dogs get their own special check-in at Spirit Ridge, with water and treats.

In their defence I will say that our kids were pretty great during this long day on the road. But in contrast travelling with a dog is easy-peasy.

High: After checking in we headed straight to the pool and water slide. It was a perfect way to relax and get refreshed after all those kilometres. As a bonus, Bennett showed extreme independence, going down the water slide and swimming across the pool by himself while we sat in our lounge chairs. Bliss!

Runner up: The dramatic descent into Osoyoos. Beautiful scenery.

Low: Nothing about the drive was as bad as our evening meal. I like to DQ something different about once a year, but I won’t be recommending this particular franchise to anyone. It wasn’t the food that was lacking, but the service. Memo to the owner behind the counter: you have to be nice to your customers or eventually they will stop coming in — even for Blizzards when it’s 33C.