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Thetis Island Aug 11-14

Saturday, September 06, 2014

A biking and sea kayaking summer highlight.

One of my hiker friends has a place on Thetis Island and generously invited us hikers to visit. I missed the first get-together, which was kind of cool because they sailed up from Vancouver to Thetis Island, about a 6 hour sail on the inside passage between the mainland and Vancouver Island. The second invitation, one other friend and I decided to bike there, that is, we took the commuter train to Vancouver and the Seabus to North Vancouver, then biked 28 km to the ferry terminal, took the ferry (one hour 40 minutes) to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, biked 32 km to Chemainus, then took a small ferry (30 minutes) to Thetis Island and biked 2 km to our friend's house. That was a fun day, but it took all day, as we had to wait for the ferry scheduled departures. We left at 7:30 in the morning and arrived at 6 pm. It was a warm sunny day and there was a wind off the water, it was a great ride. We were dusty and sweaty, we went for a dip in the ocean that evening, so refreshing. I don't have any photos of our bike ride. Or any photos after the kayak, as my camera battery ran out.

The second day, we went sea kayaking, my first time ever. I wanna do everything, now I want to kayak too. Too many fun outdoor cardio choices.

Arriving at Thetis Island on the small ferry

Sea kayaking day, getting to and in the water

One launched, two to go

We went along one side of the island, stopped at the tip for lunch, then came back up the other side of the island. Some amazing shoreline and cliffs along the way

Lunch spot and views from there

Leaving the lunch spot, heading back up the other side of the island

Heading through the channel towards home

The next day was rainy in the morning so we read books. In the afternoon we visited a winery, hiked, went to the pub and played darts, went to the dock where our friend showed us her sail boat. The island is mostly forest with a rocky shoreline, but at one end by the ferry terminal there is a small farm and some pasture and also there is the winery on a hillside close to a small fresh-water lake. The cars lined up along the road to wait for the ferry. We went back home on our bikes the same way we came, it was a fun small holiday of cycling, kayaking, reading, hiking, visiting, swimming, ah summer life on the island...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OPHELIE 10/13/2014 6:53AM

    Love your pics! To answer your question, we always celebrated Thanksgiving when we lived in the US, but now that we are in Germany, we have celebrated a few times, but we don't every year. School is in session, and a big dinner just for us would be too much. However, I am planning on trying to host a Thanksgiving meal this year, on the week end :)

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NATPLUMMER 9/6/2014 6:52PM


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LINDAKAY228 9/6/2014 5:23PM

    It all sounds so wonderful! Thanks for sharing the thoughts and pics with us!

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DEBBYFROMMT 9/6/2014 4:32PM

    What an experience! Absolutely beautiful pics!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 9/6/2014 12:58PM

    Sounds like you have had a really great summer!

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CODEMAULER 9/6/2014 12:51PM

    What an amazing trip and SO many activities!! I love the photos and your stories about your activities and sites. How lovely to be so close the Nature's Playground!


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Hudson Bay Company Trail Aug 8-10

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Another summer highlight

This trail had interesting history and impressed me with the youngness of the province I live in, British Columbia. There were no roads for wheeled vehicles on mainland British Columbia before 1858. The settlements were mainly forts engaged in the fur trade, and furs moved by canoe or through mountain trails by horse brigades east to the fur headquarters in York Factory on Hudson Bay because of its convenient access to the vast interior waterway systems of the Saskatchewan and Red rivers. Called "factories" (because the "factor," i.e., a person acting as a mercantile agent did business from there), these posts operated in the manner of the Dutch fur trading operations in New Netherlands.

In 1858, gold was discovered in the Fraser Canyon and the influx of people and money resulted in wagon roads being built and the horse packing trails were abandoned. These trails are now being restored for recreational hikers and backpackers, the trail I went on goes from Hope to Kamloops, which was between the canoe fur-trading routes of the Fraser and Thompson rivers. In the very early days, the canoers portaged along the trail, later they left canoes at both ends.
Really, no roads in BC until 1858, that's amazing.

Hope Mountain Centre organized this back pack


We camped at one of the midpoints of the trail, then day-hiked east one day and west the next, to the next camp along the trail. The horse brigade had established camps along the trails.

I love hike starts. Look at those big packs. The first day we started at the Jacobson Lake parking lot, and hiked to a camp on the trail, Conglomerate Flats.
There were 13 of us, 5 leaders including 2 historians (one a retired high school history teacher), two trail-restorers and one guide-organizer, and 8 signed up to hike and learn the history.

Kelley Cook, one of the trail restorers. She did a lot of research and a lot of physical work with a crew to find and restore the trail

The beginning of the trail was in the forest. The tree in the first photo, I don't know if the photo resolution will show you the detail, but it has a vertical slash in the bark, which Kelley says was a trail mark made by the horse fur brigade guides.

Coming up through the tree line to the first camp. This was the biffy, the first time I have seen one like this, but from what I heard, they are the latest style of campground toilets.

Our camp

Food stored high so bears can't get it in kevlar bags so birds can't get it either. We stored our food like this overnight and when we were away from camp on day hikes.

We gathered and ate together, we were not allowed to have a fire as it was dry and forest fire season, but we gathered around the remnants of an earlier season camp fire

Pharrel, Kelley's Karelian Bear Dog. This dog was so cool, he had a mellow and dignified temperment. If I get another dog, I want one of these. He is bred to be alert and to stand off bears. Luckily we didn't encounter any bears. He had is own back pack for food, and he had a collar in Hudson's Bay blanket colours.

Some day hike scenic photos

Hellebore, a very toxic plant, I learned on this hike. It is everywhere.
There were a lot of alpine flowers too, we were challenged by the leader to learn 5 of them. Another challenge from the leader, you have $12, how could you use this to change the world. There were some interesting answers, from buying seeds and donating the produce to the food bank, to donate our $12, and as a group it would be $156 to a worthy cause, Kelley suggested to the trail restoration, to host a power net-working seminar, to consider donating time to a worthy cause, which doesn't cost anything (the realization that $12 can not do much, but donating time can)

more scenic shots - Palmer's Pond

We visited Campment Du Chevreuil. The HBC managers were usually English or Scottish and the workers-packers- canoers were usually French-Canadian and native. Some of the camps had French names.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEPA 9/5/2014 1:08AM

    The camp toilet was in a clump of trees and a crooked trail led to it from behind. When I had to use it, I would stop at the last bend before the toilet and call out, "Occupied?" and if I heard "Yes" I would wait until the person came back down the trail, and then would take my turn.

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 9/4/2014 5:50PM

    Very interesting and lovely as usual. Hope that camp toilet acquired a screen.

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LINDAKAY228 9/4/2014 3:40PM

    Those are such beautiful pics and you describe it so well! I love the places you got to see. So glad you got to go on this hike!

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DEBBYFROMMT 9/4/2014 1:46PM

    Wow, how interesting! I don't know any history of Canada, will have to look more up! We have that Hellebore all over, I didn't know what it was! Thanks for the info. As far as bears, I carry bear spray. (which I will need Sunday for our 17 mile hike - but not an overnighter)

Summer is almost over, starting to feel like fall here, leaves are just starting to turn. Great blog! Thanks!

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NATPLUMMER 9/4/2014 12:56PM


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DAIZYSTARLITE 9/4/2014 12:55PM


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Back Pack Equipment

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Comments welcome on what kind of tents, stoves, water purifiers, sleeping bags, backpacks etc you use.

My pack pack is a Gregory Contour 70 and I love it. I have had it for about a year. I chose it because it fit me the best, it feels light even when it is heavy, lifting it from the ground takes an effort, once it is settled and cinched, it is awesome. The outdoor store, Mountain Equipment Coop, let me try out lots of back packs with weight in the and I am happy I found a good fit. It has a lot of pockets and pouches, I prefer a pack with a streamlined exterior with zippers for access top to bottom, but I went for the fit. I am learning where to pack the stuff I bring and need. Tent, sleeping bag and pad, extra clothes, food, stove, first aid and tools etc.


Now I know how much I don't know. I don't know the names or the specific terms. The stove closest has the biggest capacity, you can cook a regular dinner on this stove for half a dozen campers. It has a metal guard to keep the heat in. This kind of stove is also the heaviest, so it is great to bring when you have a group that is sharing weight and meals.
The stove behind it is a burner with a pot or pan, you can use this stove to make all kinds of smaller meals, soups, rice, pasta, dehydrated foods. It is a lighter stove.
The stove to the right, the Jetboil, only heats water but comes with a bowl. You can use this stove to boil water and add to small meals in a bowl, soups, tea, instant potatoes, dehydrated foods, instant milk powder, instant oatmeal etc. The Jetboil is the stove I bought, I think I can make quite a variety of foods and not have to scrub the pot and it is the lightest stove of all and the unit that boils the water is insulated, so it is very fuel efficient.

Water Purifiers

Chemical -- tablets or drops. The drops are 2 small bottles, the drops are mixed to activate, the water is ready to drink after 30 minutes. I chose the tablets for now. One small tablet per litre of water and it is ready to drink after 10 minutes.

UV purifier

This zaps the bugs, it takes a few minutes. This was a small unit, but with time and patience, can serve a group. With the chemical and UV purifier, the now inert debris stays in the water.

Water micro filter

You can get these in small or big units. Our leader brought a big one, she could quickly provide gallons of drinking water for a big group. The bugs and other stuff are filtered out of the water.

In terms of bulk, tablets are easiest to pack, followed by the drops in two small containers, then the UV purifier, then the water micro filter.


I like these two tents the best, the one on the left is a BIg Agnes, one door, 2 person tent. The orange one is a Big Agnes, 2 door, 3 person tent. They are both super light, and more expensive than the average tent, which I think is worth the extra expense if they are quality and last a long time, and they have that reputation

More views of the two Big Agnes tents

Some more tent styles.

A slightly heavier, much cheaper 2-door, 2-man tent.
I favour the 2-man Big Agnes green tent because I don't like the side doors. I have a bit of lower back stiffness and find them harder to get in than sliding backwards through a front door.

A light, big and roomy tent held up by hiking poles. This was one of the leaders' tent. It takes some skill to get right, but it is light and roomy and medium expensive.

Some like a simple cover and ground sheet, it is cheap and medium light, gives lots of room, but is dependent on trees and rocks for the roof ties, although one could use hiking poles as well.
It takes skill to put up as well.

I am also looking at some MEC and MSR newer-model, medium-price and under 4 pounds (not as light as Big Agnes, but only about 4 ounces heavier) 2-man, front-entry, mesh under the fly tents. The Big Agnes I like has a mesh for the main tent roof, and we left the fly off on a glorious summer night. I couldn't take a night photo, but imagine looking up at the star-filled sky with the trees framing your view.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JUNEPA 9/9/2014 12:29AM

    For my information

Debby's pack, looks great, is no longer made

Another similar pack Arc'teryx Altra 65 Backpack - Men's - 3965-4148cu in

Arc'teryx Nozone 75 Backpack - 4210-4577cu in

Black Diamond Mission 75 Backpack - 4455-4699cu in

Osprey Packs Volt 75 Backpack - 4,577cu in

Black Diamond Element 60 Backpack - 3661-3783cu in

Comment edited on: 9/9/2014 12:54:16 AM

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DEBBYFROMMT 9/2/2014 10:15AM

    Wow, very good! I have and Ana Dablam (pink) backpack. I have a katydid filter - a little bulky but worth the reassurance the water is safe. I love the pics, looks like a really fun time!

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NATPLUMMER 8/31/2014 5:57PM


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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 8/31/2014 4:15PM


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Ladies Back Pack - Manning Park - July 25 - 27

Sunday, August 31, 2014

This summer's highlights were the Ladies Back Pack July 25-27, the Hudson Bay Company Trail Back Pack Aug 8-10 and the Thetis Island Cycle and Sea Kayak Aug 11-14.

The Ladies Back Pack was to give us over-night back packer wannabes some skills and equipment information. At the end, and before the HBC Trail back pack, I bought a stove and water purifier. I don't have a tent yet, but I know which one I want to get. Last year when I did the West Coast Trail, it was with mostly borrowed equipment.

We had a great group and great weather. It was an all-around awesome experience.

The start

We walked along a ridge with a bit of a climb to our campsite, in a flowering alpine meadow among trees

After dropping off our big packs and having lunch, we went for a hike further up the trail

Stopping to check the map at a trail junction

The scenery was splendid, we got at and above the tree line, and saw some patches of snow

At the end, getting ready to go home - and a whiskey jack bird in the tree close by, ready to clean up the crumbs.

Everyone was so positive, we did a game of roses and thorns, everyone was to make a comment on what was good and what was bad about the back pack. Everyone declined to offer thorns and there were plenty of roses. We tried to find a uniting thing for all of us, interests, books read, origins, etc. There was not one thing that all of us said yes until we finally found it, every single one of us were tom boys and kids.

Next blog will be only about equipment

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DEBBYFROMMT 8/31/2014 2:23PM

    Oh how fun! I LOVE spending time camping and hiking with just women. No competition, just cooperation. Can't wait for your next blog!

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 8/31/2014 12:36PM


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Galiano Mountain hike

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This hike was fun, it was a hot dry day, but the walk through the forest to get to the lookout bluff was cool and magical. I love forests.
Galiano is a gulf island between Vancouver and Vancouver Island, we took a ferry to get there and back. That makes this hike an all-day event even though the hike itself is about 4:30 hours.
It was sunny and pleasant and the other hikers are all wonderful and interesting people.
Wednesday hikes rock

The ferry to get there from Vancouver

Through the forest to the high and dry bluff

Flora along the way, indian pipe and rose campion

A hippy bus at the back of a property along the trail

Lunch at the top -- me at the right on the first photo below

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDAKAY228 7/16/2014 6:12PM

    What a beautiful place! Glad you got to go and enjoy the wonder of nature up there!

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MELTEAGUE 7/16/2014 12:18PM

    great pics June! Love the hippy bus too :-)

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NATPLUMMER 7/16/2014 10:55AM

    So pretty.

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DEBBYFROMMT 7/16/2014 8:58AM

    How beautiful! Wish I were with you!

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JACKIEWALKS4FUN 7/15/2014 10:23PM

    Beautiful thank you for sharing the great pictures emoticon

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LIVE2RUN4LIFE 7/15/2014 9:10PM

    Truly lovely. I've so envious.

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CODEMAULER 7/15/2014 9:08PM

    Your hikes are the best! Such beautiful scenery, and I'll bet that you have a great time with your gang.


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KAYLEESMEME 7/15/2014 8:38PM

    Wow, really beautiful sites! I am glad you were able to do this, and thank you for sharing your photos! Makes me want to continue to try new things!!

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