Tag Archives: explore BC

End of the road… trip

There’s always a sense of letdown coming home from a great holiday. Your excitement to sleep in a comfortable bed is tempered by your disappointment over trading scenic hikes and hot beach days for a predictable routine. So it was for us as we pointed the car east (no one ever says, “Go east,” do they?) from Vernon toward Calgary.

The climb up and the descent down Roger's Pass was the highlight of the final leg of our B.C. road trip, from Vernon to Calgary.

The climb up and the descent down Roger’s Pass was the highlight of the final leg of our B.C. road trip.

With six road hours (and eight tunnels) ahead, we had time to talk about our favourite parts of the B.C. road trip.

Avery most enjoyed the cabin up Indian Arm off North Vancouver. A budding naturalist, she’s in her element turning over rocks to find eels and crabs.

Avery catches one of many crabs up Indian Arm.

Avery catches one of many crabs up Indian Arm.

Bennett has graduated from water baby and is a bonafide splash kid. When he wasn’t paddling around a lake (or the Pacific) in his life jacket, he was imitating Piper’s doggy paddle in shallow water. Perhaps he’ll soon be swimming under his own power?

Bennett swims to his honorary auntie while cousin Jack enjoys the water too.

Bennett swims with his honorary auntie Simone and cousin Jack in the frigid Pacific up Indian Arm fjord.

Blake loved escaping the big city to be active outdoors as a family while hiking, swimming, kayaking and mountain biking in beautiful B.C. Oh, and stuffing his face with peaches, cherries and samosas (and wine!) in between activities.

Hiking as a family to BX Falls near Vernon.

Hiking as a family to BX Falls near Vernon.

I (Lisa) loved the heat. And being outside so much. And the way time seemed to slow down for two weeks. Though the places we visited were quite different from one another — small town Fernie; rustic, rainforest-tinged Indian Arm; smoking hot, lake-blessed Vernon — our theme of being active outside persisted throughout the trip. More than once I was amazed by our kids and their willingness to try new things (crab meat! paddle boarding!), hike several kilometres under the baking sun, or sit for hours in a car without complaint. They are turning into real little travellers and I couldn’t be happier about that. But if I had to pick one moment…

Sweet sibs share a moment at one of the most beautiful alpine lakes near Fernie.

Sweet sibs contemplate a beautiful alpine lake. They’ll always have each other, and share childhood memories of this family vacation.

Pet Beach

Kalamalka Lake near Vernon in the Okanagan Valley has been rated as one of the world’s top 10 most beautiful lakes┬áby National Geographic. It is stunning — its clear blue waters that range in hue from aqua to indigo are framed in by ponderosa pine-forested hills to the east and scrubby, rocky promontories to the west. In the middle of this natural splendour sits Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park, a hiker’s and swimmer’s haven with marked trails that lead to secluded bays perfect for a dip on a hot day.

Kids and pup enjoy the clear blue water of Kalamalka Lake.

Kids and pup enjoy Kalamalka Lake at Pet Beach.

We hiked from the main parking lot down to a quiet bay and then up to a rocky lookout that afforded views down the lake and back toward Coldstream, near Vernon. From there it was an easy descent to Pet Beach, a dedicated area where you can let your dog swim. And doggy paddle Piper did. We took her out in the water a few times and let her swim back to shore, where she was rewarded with a treat. Before long she plunged in on her own and swam a lap around Blake. Then Avery threw a stick out for her, which she retrieved, over and over and over again till she was pooped.

High: Piper is officially a water dog! And we had the beach to ourselves, a drastic departure from nearby Kal Beach, the local Coldstream summer hangout that teems with people every day all summer.

Low: For some reason we didn’t bring swimming suits and Bennett tried imitating Piper’s puppy strokes… with all his clothes on.

Outcome: This park is an Okanagan Valley gem. Plan to spend a half day exploring it. Come prepared with water, snacks, swimming suits and a towel or two.

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.