It had been four years (too long) since we had camped at Green point. We really wanted Brinkley to experience camping when she was young, Sadie loved camping at Long beach, and we wanted to Brinks to have the same experience.
|Three Falls Trail||Easy||9km||Manning Park|
|Mount Crickmer||Hard||18km||Chilliwack BC|
|Hoover Lake||Mission BC|
|Alder Flats (Golden Ears)||Mission BC|
|Davis Lake||Mission BC|
|Abbotsford to Langley|
|100km BC Randonneuring Event|
|147km BC Randonneuring Event|
|200km BC Randonneuring Event|
|Kettle Valley Rail Trail|
|Icefields Parkway (Banff/Jasper)|
|7 summits hike from Nancy Green Summit|
|Revelstoke: Frisbee Ridge / Keystone|
|Nanika-Kidprice||Moderate (2 portages)||30km (5-6 days)||Houston||BC|
|Main Lakes Canoe Chain||Quadra Island|
|Pacific Rim National Park||6x|
|Yoho National Park|
|Peter Lougheed Provincial Park|
|Mount Robson Provincial Park|
|Cathedral Provincial Park|
|Jasper National Park|
|Killarney Provincial Park|
|Fundy National Park|
|Gros Morne National Park|
|Queen Elizabeth Territorial Park|
Manning Park – Three Falls Trail
Elevation Gain: easy
Time: day trip
Distance: 18km return (15km of which is logging road)
Elevation Gain: 4000ft
Time: 1-3 days (Camping allowed)
Take Dewdney Trunk Rd. from Maple Ridge east to the Stave Dam. Before you go over the dam take your last left (north). This is Burma Road or Florence Lake Forestry Road and is gravel all the way. Go 6.9KM up this road and turn left at the gate to the Kearsley Creek Forestry Road. Follow this as it switch backs up the road, use a map or you can get lost as it there are a few off shoots. Once you get to the yellow circle signs with the black arrows follow those signs. The trail is marked with orange and pink tags.
Notes: Bring the MTB and use for the logging roads, and lock to a tree and climb the rest?
Distance: 29km return
Elevation Gain: 4000ft
Time: 1-3 days (Camping allowed)
Alder Flats – Golden Ears
Distance: 29km return
Elevation Gain: 4000ft
Time: 1-3 days (Camping allowed)
Abbotsford to Fort Langley
Map & Directions
BC Randonneuring Event!
Kettle Valley Rail Trail
Elevation Gain: 4000ft
Time: 5-6 days (camping or hotels)
The Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) is an abandoned railroad track that winds across the Okanagan and Similkameen region in southern BC. It offers over 800 km (497 mi) of mountain biking trails (as opposed to road biking). While the 80 km section from Myra Canyon near Kelowna through to Penticton is one of the most popular, there are loads of sections that can be strung together to form an amazing multi-day trip.
Icefields Parkway (Banff/Jasper)
Elevation Gain: n/A
Time: 2-3 days (camping or hotels)
7 summits hike from Nancy Green Summit
Elevation Gain: 4000ft
Time: day trip
Seven Summits starts from the Nancy Greene parking area and heads south along a very buff and flowy singletrack trail located right behind the trailhead kiosk. After a short 600 m cruise along this trail, just enough time to warm up your legs, the climbing will begin. The climb is gradual, getting steeper and a little more technical as you near the first summit 3/4 of the way up. This is the longest climb of the day, just over 620 m in vertical gain, and it will start to wear you down as you near the top. Once you reach the first summit the trail will descend from there; rolling along the side of the mountain and across a well-defined ridge over to a short technical climb. The quick up is followed by an exhilarating and awe dropping descent, about 4 km in length. Enjoy this long section of down and make sure to stop and take a break before continuing on up the next climb; a technical climb which will take around 25 min to complete. A few more ups and downs will follow, until you reach the 20.5 km mark on the trail. From this point forward the trail is virtually all downhill, with the exception of a few extremely short ups that can be cleared when maintaining your speed. At the 30 km mark you will spit out onto a fire road (Rossland Cascade Rd.). Continue on across Cascade Rd. to the well-marked trailhead for Dewdney to complete your descent down the remaining 5.4 km of flowy singletrack. When including the Dewdney trail, the descent is almost 14 km in length. The actual Seven Summit trail ends at the Rossland Cascade Road; however, most riders will take the Dewdney trail the remainder of the way down for a much more enjoyable finish.
For most riders the Seven Summits trail will take the better part of the day to complete and one should plan on 4 – 7 hours for this epic ride. After all, for most this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience an IMBA Epic and Bike Magazine’s 2007 ‘Trail of the Year’ and therefore rushing it is not recommended. Take your time, take in the views and enjoy your surroundings. We’ve been told that the fastest riders will take under 3.5 hours to complete this point-to-point, but for many just completing the full length of the ride is a formidable accomplishment.
Revelstoke: Frisbee Ridge / Keystone Standard Basin Trails
Elevation Gain: ?
Time: day trip
This is two rides, actually. Keystone Ridge, which is one of Revelstoke, BC’s finest high alpine XC rides is a long and beautiful trail through some of the most gorgeous terrain in the area. Couple that with the Frisbee Ridge ride and you’ve got a trip all on its own. Frisbee Ridge was built by bikers for bikers and is a newer, epic XC trail that starts in old growth forest and makes its way onto a high alpine ridge. Beautiful views, killer terrain and a long ride make these two trails definitely worth a visit.
Nanika-Kidprice Canoe (Houston)
Distance: 30km return
Portages: 2 (longest 2km)
Time: 3 days (5-6 preferred)
Just over an hour’s drive from the town of Houston (which is located on Highway #16) you can enjoy the start of a wilderness canoe/camping trip in the Nanika-Kidprice Lakes Basin. This basin lies on the eastern slope of the Coastal Mountain Range and forms the upper watershed of the Morice-Bulkley Rivers. The basin area is 920 meters above sea level and is surrounded by glaciated and snow-capped peaks that rise as high as 2400 meters.
Canoe camping trip.
Main Lakes Canoe Chain (Quadra Island)
Distance: 22km return
Time: 3 days
In Main Lakes Provincial Park there is an alternative to saltwater paddling around Quadra Island. It is a small chain of 6 freshwater lakes (Village Bay Lk, Mine Lk, Main Lk, Little Main Lk, Clear Lk, & Stramberg Lk) in the interior of the island that is perfectly suited to canoeing. It is about 11 kms one way but to explore this chain allow at least 3 days.
Bowron Lakes (Quesnel)
Distance: 22km return
Time: 5 days
Another way to describe it as the scenery you get driving from Banff to Jasper, except you’re in a canoe, everything is pristine, from crystal clear waters to majestic mountain slopes all in their original state. You can stop off at waterfalls, mini-hikes, visit old trapper’s cabins, and witness nature as it has been for millenia. You’ll find a bit of other canoe traffic on the circuit (which can be a good thing), but since this park is managed by B.C. Parks, you’ll find that you only encounter congestion at pinch points, of which there are few. Instead you will mostly find beautiful pre-set up campsots (with bear caches), sandy beaches, rocky beaches, and lots of water-front camping and spectacular views.
Mackenzie River (Yukon)
Time: 21 days
Peter Lougheed Provincial Park
It’s no wonder this gem of a camping area in Alberta’s Kananaskis Country is popular with the locals. It has all the peak attributes you get in nearby Banff, but without the crowds. Nestled on a promontory, it sits on the west shore of Upper Kananaskis Lake, and delivers a 360-degree view. The bad news for most people is that you can only reach it by hiking (or paddling) about three kilometres. Which is good news for the rest of us.
Mount Robson Provincial Park
When you first see 3,954-metre Mount Robson from the highway about 25 kilometres away, it’s obvious that the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies is also one of the most spectacular, with its immense bulk rising nearly 3,000 metres above you. And there’s no better place to admire its grandeur than at the Berg Lake Campground, which sits at the northern base of the peak, about a day’s hike from the highway. As its name suggests, the campground is located beside a small lake that actually contains mini icebergs that have broken off from a glacier on the mountain above.
Cathedral Provincial Park
It takes a day of hiking to get to this campground at the centre of Cathedral Provincial Park, in the Cascade Mountains west of B.C.’s Okanagan, but the park’s interior is worth it: a subalpine plateau of fish-filled lakes, unique geology, alpine meadows and, most importantly, plenty of hikeable summits and ridges. Day hikes project like spokes on a wheel from the campground, which sits on a turquoise lake across from impressive granite walls.
Jasper National Park
Sitting just off the Icefields Parkway at an elevation of more than 2,000 metres, this tent-only spot is among the highest places in Canada to go car camping. But the real reason to come here is that it sits across the road from one of the country’s most famous scenes: the fractured tongue of the Athabasca Glacier rolling down from the Columbia Icefield, surrounded by snowy 11,000-foot summits. The campground also provides easy access to world-class hikes and the glacier itself.
Desiree and Kim coordinated a quick weekend camping trip this year instead of our traditional 5-6 day trip, we chose Birkenhead as it had an offleash dog area at the beach for Sadie to swim.
We ended up buying a new car a couple weeks before the trip, which came handy as it was AWD, and we had 17km of gravel road to get there. We took roughly 4.5 hr to get there through Whistler, and Pemberton, on the way up we realized the day we return a triathlon would close down the highway between Whistler and Pemberton, which meant a 5.5 return trip the opposite way through Lilloette.
It was a beautiful campground in the middle of no where, in which we couldn’t see most of our neighbouring campsites just the way we like it. Probably #2 next to Greenpoint on my list of favourite places to camp. Next time I’m going to bring a canoe and bicycle to hit the lake and trails.
The 2nd day there, we hit the trail which goes along the north side of the lake and returns down an old logging road, it extends further several km, which is probably best to be taken via bike. But the main trail would also make for a great all-mountain/xc trail. It was a quiet / peaceful couple a days, and a beautiful drive home.
We had planned this trip since our Arcade Fire weekend in Seattle in ’14. We had threatened to do a Blue Jays series in Seattle with my Dad and Carla for awhile since my Dad is a huge Jays fan, but the days just never worked out. This time we started planning early, so the condo/Jays tix/reservations have been booked since January. We wanted to balance downtime, with getting to see more of Seattle. The rundown of our trip is below, I feel like we balanced it out fairly well. Luckily we live close by so we can always check out what we missed next time.
We left at 9am, and got to the border by 920, luckily we got a crossed the border within 20 mins, and into Bellingham by 1030 so Desiree could have her traditional Clover @ the Guide Meridian Starbucks.
We hit the road, and arrived in Seattle by 1230 for our tour of the Starbucks Roastery, and lunch at our favourite (thus far) Seattle Restaurant “Serious Pie”. Desiree had been at the Roastery once before, but the rest of us had never been. It was interesting to see the process of how the coffee is made from start to finish even if I’ll never be a coffee drinker. The last time we were in Seattle for the Arcade Fire concert we hit the Serious Pie on Virginia after seeing it on one of Anthony Bourdain’s shows. So we vowed to make another trip this round, luckily one of the three Serious Pie’s in Seattle is inside the Roastery. While we were there Tommy Douglas was at the table next to us doing some schmoozing, and signing books.
When we finished we had nearly two hours to kill before our 4pm check-in, so we drove down to Pike Place to kill time. I have gotten better with crowds, I no longer feel anxious being sardined in with hundred’s of people in confined areas, and Pike Place definitely proved my new found skill 🙂 As always I lost Des half way through Pike Place, but we met up near the end, I don’t know how we survived without cell phones. We went to Pike Place last year, its much like Granville Island, mainly over priced junk, you just go for the experience and say you’ve been there.
We arrived at the Condo at exactly 4pm, Des went in to grab the garage key, and found a room there wasn’t clearly not only cleaned, but the previous tenant’s obviously didn’t bother to do any straightening on their own. We never leave a condo/hotel etc dirty when we leave it, I would just feel guilty otherwise. We stayed in a two bedroom ondo at the Modo Apartments on 3rd Ave, last year we stayed at a once bedroom suite on 2nd ave. It wasn’t a bad experience, just an unfortunate start to the trip. The room was directly above the bus stop which was great for convenience, but it meant couldn’t leave the window/door open.
We reserved a parking spot at CenturyLink Field acrossed the street of Safeco, while it ended up being convenient and a short walk. The nightmare getting in/out made me regret the choice. We thought we were giving ourselves ample time to get there, so we could spend over an hour checking out the Stadium, but the traffic down wasn’t pretty. We arrived at lovely Safeco Field at 630, we quickly found our seats, then went to find an ATM. We browsed around for food, Desiree and Mallory had crab fries, and garlic fries, and I had a BBQ poboy and yam fries. Unfortunately we missed the first inning, and the food was sub par, I should have stuck with the traditional ball park smokie.
The seats were great, the game started off well for us, and quickly soured by mid game. It felt like 50% of the fans there were blue jays fans, they were everywhere and very vocal. I felt bad for the Mariners fans having to put up with us obnoxious Canadians. The environment helped ease the pain of the loss, Safeco is a beautiful stadium.
We realized near the end of the game it was fireworks night, so we stuck around until 1030. Deep down, I thought it was going to be kinda lame, but I was pleasantly surprised, and it turned out to be really quite fantastic. The fireworks were synced with music, along with the lights in the stadium to be quite a little surprise after the game.
We mixed it up for day 2, and parked the car for the day, and walked to WestLake Station to catch the light rail to Pioneer Station. Unfortunatley, I’m starting to associate Seattle with pee, I feel like Vancouver has a bigger homeless problem, but I almost never smell pee in downtown Vancouver, but you can’t walk down a block of Seattle without getting a potent whiff of pee, and its normally always around parking garages, bus shelters or pubs. I had a bit of anxiety about missing our train, but it all worked out and we arrived at Pioneer Station with ample time for our Underground Tour at 11am.
We had a reservation for the Seattle Underground Tour for 11am. The true ground level of downtown Seattle is about 15 feet lower then you see today. Over several decades in the late 1800’s they built up the city to prevent flooding. It was fascinating to learn about the history/development of Seattle, and how sewage, flooding, fires, and prostitution helped develop the Seattle we see today.
Our tour ended at about 1230, and we made our way back to Pioneer and caught the light rail to Stadium Station, and walked to the Stadium. We arrived with 20 mins to spare, and this time we grabbed some tried & true stadium food, and got some Nachos and a Smokies and made our way to our seats.
Desiree did a fantastic job picking our seats this year, yet another great view of the field, directly behind the Blue Jays bench. It felt like a bigger congregation of Blue Jays fans, and there was one really annoying drunk guy behind us constantly taunting the Mariners fans. I was secretly hoping someone would thump him. The Jays came out strong in the 2nd for three runs but the Mariners always had an answer and chipped away with runs in the first four innings. Before we knew it we were down 5-3, and Jays weren’t playing well. That all changed in the 8th inning when Carrera came up and tied the game with a swing of the bat to make it 6-6. Des was thrilled to see Sanchez in his first game back from injury start the 8th, and still throwing consistent 99mph pitches. The Mariners brought in Rodney who traditionally tanks, and he loaded the bases with none out, Colabello singled bringing in two runs, and the Jays went on to win 8-6.
After making our way through the maze of people, and losing Des/Mallory for 10 minutes, we made our way to the Stadium station, and took the sardine fest back to Westlake Station. We hung out at the condo for a few hours, and went out to catch our 710 bus to our Dinner reservation at Toulette’s Petit. Unfortunately we didn’t know it was the night of the Torchlight parade which created a log jam on our street, resulting in 30 min delay of our bus. Luckily the restaurant held our reservation, we arrived at 8 for our 730 reso. Toulette’s is a Creole restaurant, primarily specializing in Southern French cuisine. The meal was great, I’d probably give it an 8 out of 10, I’m spoiled with the lovely food Desiree always cooks so it felt like a home cooked meal, but I didn’t order anything out of the ordinary like Des/Mallory.
We wrapped up our trip by doing the one and only thing Mallory wanted to do on the trip, hitting a stored called Kinokuniya. They specialize in selling Manga/Anime, and various other things. Mallory was in Manga/Anime heaven and we spent over an hr in the store, and $140 US later, we left for Bellingham.
We made a few stops in Bellingham to grab some booze, grub (five guys) and random supplies, and made our much anticipated final stretch home only to find out there was a 2 hr wait at the border as everyone and their dog was apparently coming home from the Jays series at the same time. I thought it was odd that Trader Joes was so busy with Canadians since our dollar is so lousy, but now it made sense.
The weekend was deemed a success, and I think everyone except for Mallory is looking forward to the next Blue Jays weekend.
When we booked our trip, we had three things we wanted to do while there apart from visiting family, #1 eat at the Combine in Simcoe, and #2 attend a Blue jays game, and #3 goto the McMichael Art Gallery, it was a jam packed 10 days, but we accomplished everything and more that we set out to do.
We spent the 10 days living at my mothers, and the first day we had an early bday party for Mallory and invited my grandmother and Roy over for cake and Desiree made Beef Wellington for dinner.
We love food, and so we made sure to do our research on picked some restaurants we knew we’d love while we were in Toronto for the Jays game. The Combine had opened the year prior in Simcoe, and I had watched its progress via Twitter. They serve local/seasonal menus.
We set a side a chunk of change knowing full well we’d end up spending a bit eating out a few times while we were there. Some photos of the food we got while there.
We spent Saturday at my Uncle Len and Chris’ house for a family reunion. The entire clan showed up for the event, it was a typical Offless get together, lots of laughter, and antics.
Grand kids, and great grand kids
Grand kids and great grand kids with Grandma Offless
Mallory and her first cousin Nyla
Near the end of our trip we drove up to Toronto for a couple days of checking out the local sights, and attending a jays game. We booked a room at the hotel in the SkyDome, and drove up to near Barrie to check out the McMichael Art Gallery which is where the group of seven art is housed. We had to get to Toronto at a specific time to pick up some donuts we ordered, they were medicore, a slight disappoint considering how expensive they were. Our experience at the hotel was fantastic, I loved being able to walk back from the game to our hotel in a matter of minutes. Some photos from our TO trip are shown below.
We’ve made it a tradition to do a family camping trip to Pacific Rim since Mallory was 10 months old. We try to go back at least every other year. Pacific Rim is one of the most fantastic camp grounds in Canada, albeit a little chilly. Even in mid July/Aug, you should bring some warm clothing for in the evenings, or in the shade. It’s not unusual to be in the low 20’s / high teens.
This year we brought one of Mallory’s friends to keep her company. We always camp for five days / four nights, any longer and it gets tiresome, and with the lack of showers, its definitely pushing our limits in terms of cleanliness.
One of the aspects of camping we look forward to the most is the meals, specifically on the campfire, we plan our meals weeks in advance, and try to exclusively use the camp fire for all dinners, and camp stove for break/lunch. As a child my grandfather always has these durable pie irons, and for years we struggled to find something of equal strength until we stumbled upon the Rome series of irons. They’re cast iron, with durable wood handles, so far with three years of usage we have yet not to notice any wear or warping.
We drove up with a couple of Des' friends for a so called 'posse camping weekend'. We hadn't been to Sasquatch before, but it was a pleasant surprise. The camp sites were fairly secluded, although not as much as Green Point (Pacific Rim). We prefer to camp in seclusion :-) Below are a few photos from the trip, although most are the dogs swimming.
We had planned a trip to Hawaii with Desiree’s sister Kim. A few months into the planning, we thought it would be a good idea to get married while we’re there, it would make for a memorable wedding, and it beats the hell out of getting married by Elvis. Once we had our sights set on getting married in Hawaii, we started looking at our options. We knew we didn’t want something traditional as neither of us are religious, this was when I discovered a Captain Howie, he was this quirky Marriage Officiant, and he seemed perfect. Now that we knew we were getting married on Waimanelo Beach, we started looking for a cottage in the area. The one we choose was not more then a block from the beach, it was a 800 sqft cottage sitting behind Jay & Barbara’s house. I highly recommend booking with Jay & Barbara, the cottage, scenery, and beaches were absolutely perfect. We’re not a big fan of staying in Hotels, and prefer quiet condo/cabins instead, we’ve stayed in plenty of 4/5 star hotels, and I would take a cottage any day of the week. We booked the cottage for 7 days for around $1300, which was a steal considering how much you would have to pay to stay in a hotel, and they didn’t have the lovely Waimanalo beach, which was virtually empty every time we went there.
My Dad and Carla were planning to go to Hawaii later in the year, so they decided to move it to May so they could see us get married, and my grand parents were planning to drive out to visit in late April, so they decided instead to fly out and join us in Hawaii as well. We all treated it like a vacation, for the most part we all did our own thing, but linked up a couple days during the week to do group day trips.
Day 1 – May 11th, 2012
We drove down with Desiree, Mallory, Dad, Carla, Grand parents, and my cousin Parker to Bellingham to fly out on a direct flight to Hawaii. Not only are the flights a fraction of the price then we pay around here, but it was the only flight that was direct to Hawaii. My father surprised us, and had everyone upgraded to First Class, you can’t beat the comfy ass seats, and three course meal!
We arrived very late, and grabbed a cab to a local hotel for the night as we were picking up our rental car the morning of the 12th, and arriving at our cottage for check-in at 11. The hotel was lack luster, definitely forgettable, but we only intended on being there for a few hours. We split off from the rest of the family, as they were all staying in hotels in Waikiki, and a cottage in Kailua.
Day 2 – May 12th, 2012
We were anxious to get to the cottage, and didn’t sleep well. It didn’t help that the hotel was uncomfortable, and near a highway. As soon as we woke up, we got ready, picked up our car, and made our trek to the Cottage. The photos below were a view from the beach trail, up the road to our cottage (a few houses down). This was the beach we hung out at for a week, and was representative of just how dead it really was every day.
The first full day in Hawaii, we ate at a Italian restaurant, that I wouldn’t recommend called Assaggio. The food, and service was mediocre at best.
I’ve always made it a habit of going for early morning walks on every vacation we go on, whether its camping or not. I woke up every day at 5am, and walked down to the beach to watch the sun rise as I walked down the beach. There was usually more people on the beach at this time, then there was during the day, likely because this is when the people who lived in the community came down before work.
We tried to spend a bit of every day at the beach just relaxing, reading or swimming.
Originally when we planned the trip, we intended to eat in a lot more to save some money, but once we were there we ended up wanting to try out all these restaurants and probably ate out more then not.
We drove into Honolulu to get our marriage license, and meet up with the family to check out the city. Our first stop was the Aquarium, after visiting Vancouver’s, it wasn’t up to snuff, but it was a good time waster, and we were able to spend some quality time with family which is what its really all about.
We then made our way over to the zoo, and walked down the boardwalk to check out the shops. My dad and Carla had a wedding candle built to commenorate our wedding and we received it at the end of our day trip.
The day of our wedding, Desiree had to get up early as she had to meet at the house to get her hair and makeup done. I went over a few hours later with Mallory and Kim, and the rest of the family showed up a short time later. We arrived at the beach an hr or so before the ceremony to get the wedding photos done prior to the actual ceremony, so any photos with the Officiant, were fake as he wasn’t pretending to do the ceremony 😛
Kim took some random shots of everyone there while Desiree and I had wedding photos done.
We all went back to our hotels/cottages to veg until the evening when we met at a restaurant called the Original Roy’s for a lovely, albiet expensive dinner.
Wednesday was our first full day spent as a group exploring the entire island, we started out meeting at a Buddhist temple that was a replica of a 950 year old temple in Japan. This was the part of the day I was looking forward to most, I’ve always been fascinated with Buddhist culture, and the temples are works of art.
Desiree has been looking forward to exploring the Pineapple plantation at Dole’s for years, we made this our second stop of the trip as we made our way to the top of the island.
The surprise of our day was the snorkeling, I wasn’t really looking forward to it, as I’m self concience and hate being around tons of people. The inlet was jam packed full of people, but once you had your face in the water and saw all the colour fish swimming around you, you just forget there’s 50 other people doing the same thing around you. I only wish I had a gopro to record it all.
We were originally going to hit the Polynesian center on the way home, but it was pretty late already, and it seemed packed.
We spent much of Day 7 vegging, and we ventured over to Kailua to visit Kim & Jon, on our drive there we ended up getting a flat. Ironically it was the first time either of us have ever had a flat tire, so I had the joy of learning how to change a tire for the first time, luckily it ended up being quite easy 🙂
We stopped in at the farmer’s market, and picked up some local goodies.