“The combination of high winds, frequent fog and tidal surges makes this coast a particularly lethal one. When boats or planes or people go missing here, they are usually gone for good”- John Vaillant from The Golden Spruce
British Columbia. Vast sprawling land. Mountains, islands and seemingly never ending forests. The northern tip of Vancouver island houses the worlds largest number of wolves, cougars and bears. It is still very much an untouched wilderness; it’s a place where you can get lost on purpose. A place where the horizon disappears in the mist and you feel like you’re at the edge of the world.
I love heading into the beauty this province has to offer. I’ve hiked to waterfalls and awoken to the whooshing of ravens wings flying over our tent while camping. Beaches strewn with driftwood. Rivers filled with salmon and trout and walks in foggy rainforests that envelop you like a snuggly wet blanket
These are some of the places I have yet to visit. This is my British Columbia bucket list.
(Photo from Global News)
Telegraph Cove is a small village, formally a fishing/cannery on Northern Vancouver Island. With only 20 residents some might call it remote. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve googled “most remote towns in BC” and proceeded looking at real estate. While most people might buy an expensive car or a mansion should they win the lottery, I think I’d buy myself a quiet place in the forest where I could live out my days beach combing and gardening. When I go to Telegraph Cove I plan to rent kayaks, hike and visit the U’mista Cultural Society in nearby Alert Bay where you can experience a Potlach ceremony.
Nuk Tessli Wilderness Resort
(Photo from http://www.nuktessli.com)
I read Diary of A Wilderness Dweller many years ago and keep it in my PNW book collection. In the 80’s Chris Czajkowski parked her truck at the end of a logging road and proceeded to hike for 2 days into the wilderness of the Coast Range Mountains. Once arrived at her plot of crown land (given to her by the BC Government) she started working and single handedly built 2 log cabins on the edge of an unnamed lake. This site would later become a eco-tourism lodge where Chris hosted small parties of visitors who would arrive by float plane (the only way into the lodge) and stay for a week of hiking, photographing the large array of flowers and birds in the area and enjoying a warm slice of bread, freshly baked in a stone oven built by Chris herself. Today it is the Nuk Tessli Wilderness Resort.
(photo by by Tad McIlwraith)
There is a ferry from Port Hardy to Bella Bella I’ve always wanted to take. A 15 hour journey through fjords and awe inspiring views of our remote coastline. From there you can take another ferry over to Haida Gwaii and visit the Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve. The park is a Marine conservation area as well as a Haida Heritage Site. Reservations are required and a fee must be paid in order to visit. The Totems are hauntingly beautiful, left by the Haida people who have a history that can be traced back 7,000 years.
Cape Scott Provincial Park
(Photos by Carrie Cole)
Cape Scott is a the most northern tip of Vancouver Island and is truly the wild stormy coast one envisions. Most of the Capes beaches can only be accessed by water (by sea kayaking or by boat) but there is hiking in the southern end of the park to San Josef bay where the sea stack jut out of the ocean and at low tide you can walk amongst them. It is why the word remote exists. There is nothing but crashing waves, old growth Sitka Spruce and Western Cedar trees and wild life. Wolves are very common in this area. I hope to camp there some day.
(Photo by Tourism Tofino)
I’ll be in Tofino for my birthday in July. I’ve only ever gone to Tofino during Winter months (November – March) so I’m excited to experience it when the storms aren’t relentlessly pounding this coastal town. Across the bay from town, a 10 minute water taxi takes you to Mears Island. I’ve only looked at Mears from my seat at dinner and have always wanted to go. The hanging garden of mosses and trees that date over 1,000 years call me. I’m hoping the trails will be open by July. I’d like to scatter a bit of my fathers ashes amongst those old trees if I could.
Princess Louisa Inlet
(Photo by WCWL – http://www.wcwl.com)
After watching a sailing show about 15 years ago, I’ve been obsessed with visiting Chatterbox Falls. Deep in the Jervis Inlet is Princess Louisa Inlet, accessed only by boat. You can set anchor, swim and even camp next to the falls. Imagine the rush of all that water lulling you to sleep. I guess if I won the lottery I’d need a boat anyway to get to my remote cabin on the coast so I’d buy myself a Monk McQueen and make sure to go to Chatterbox in the spring when the runoff brings roaring waters. I can almost feel the mist on my face already.
Winter Harbour BC
(photo by The Outpost At Winter Harbour)
Winter Harbour is a place where you can disappear forever in. With exactly 5 residents it’s probably one of the smallest communities on the coast. In one of my favourite movies (Far From Home) the characters head up to Winter Harbour on their boat to deliver supplies from Ucluelet. I watched this movie for the first time while I was living in South America and remember then saying “I will be there some day”. And I’ve never forgotten. Tucked in a quiet harbour on the north western side of Vancouver Island there isn’t much to do aside from take in the singing of eagles, watch for whales from the beach and relaxing. Are you still wondering why I want to go there?
West Coast Trail
(Photo by Somehow Lost Blog)
I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to physically do this hike but the West Coast Trail is THE one to do if you love nature. Stretching 75 kms from Port Renfrew and ending in Bamfield this hike is not for everyone. There are stairs, mud up to your knees in some areas and wading across rivers. The website warns of the ever changing weather on the coast; a sunny morning can quickly turn into a powerful rainfall so proper clothing, shelter and food for 7 days is required and remember, you will be carrying this on your back. I’ve watched a few videos of people doing the trail, it looks like a life changing experience. I’m going to have to get my legs in better shape before even considering this one. But never say never!
(Photo by Sue Thomas)
I’m a Cancerian sun sign represented by the Crab. If you think of crabs they’re usually hiding in their shells in a dark damp cave or are in the water. This makes a lot of sense. Some of my favourite places are dreary foggy beaches and when the rain season comes I’m a little bit too happy to the dismay many Vancouverites who can’t wait for the sun to shine at least once around March so they can go lay out on the beach in shorts and a tee (it doesn’t matter that it’s still freezing. the sun’s out dammit!). My element is water and I love being near water and in it. I take a warm bath every single night or I can’t sleep so what better than soaking in a giant pool of warm water surrounded by the trees I love so much! Liard Hotsprings is a stop along the Alaska Highway. Open year round I will most definitely have to make a trip up there. I think I can convince my husband with the prospect of the abundance of rivers to fish in and a relaxing soak at the end of a day of hiking.
(Photo by Gunter Marx for Corbis)
If there is anywhere you’ve been in BC that you think I should not miss, drop me a line!