A dangerously beautiful hike in British Columbia

Our guest author, Dana Sibilsky takes a hike in the beautiful woods of British Columbia that proves more dangerous than she anticipated when she finds signs of bear activity along the trail.

In 2013, my husband and I made the mutual decision to spice up our lives together and really venture out to see what the world has to offer. With this decision, we agreed to travel at least twice a year; one place within the first half of the year (January-June) and another place within the second half of the year (June-December).

In our journey to explore the world together, we have visited nearly all of the United States and only half of Canada. The world is big and we aren’t even halfway through yet! If you were to ask what is the most beautiful place we’ve been to, it would without a doubt be British Columbia, Canada. If you have ever seen pictures, no photo nor video does this incredible place justice because you simply must be there to FEEL the atmosphere.

Beautiful British Columbia

The air seems cleaner, fresher and easier to breathe with a certain natural “crispness” to it that my husband and I have not found anywhere else in our travels. The water seems to be more pure, more fresh with the same crispness that makes you say to yourself, “This is the way it’s meant to be. What have we done to our world in other places?”

Sunset over British Columbia mountains Photo: danasibilsky.com

Sunset over British Columbia mountains

Through our travel in British Columbia, we hiked until we came to our destination at the well-known and popular Three Valley Gap Hotel. Oh my, if you could just see the scenery of nature that surrounds this place. There’s a saying that we kept hearing while visiting that went something like, “Out here, you are normally no further than 20 feet from a bear at all times.” I’m not sure how true it is or if they were just trying to scare us knowing we weren’t locals from around the area.

The wildlife is just as spectacular as the surrounding scenery. My husband and I (but honestly mostly my husband) wanted a closer look at the the wildlife. “What is the point of coming 2000 miles out here if we are just going to sit in a hotel?” he questioned. “Let’s venture out to see what we can never see at home.” With that said, we got a nature tour guide and began to explore the surrounding wooded area at least 3 miles away from the comfort of our hotel. At first, walking through the thickness of the brush and woods was intimidating. What if we saw a bear? What if we ran into a pack of wolves or coyotes? I remembered hearing stories from our friends in Toronto and Mississauga about coyotes running freely through the city in 2010. The more we tracked through the woods, the more comfortable I became until the tour guide stopped us in our tracks.

The look on our guide’s face was the look of fear and nervousness he was trying his best to hide for our sake. “Is everything ok?” I asked him, touching his arm gently in concern. “You look like there is a problem.” With a shaky hand he was trying to control, he pointed to the tree in front of us roughly 10 feet away and said, “Bear.”

Bear sighting

My eyes widened as my head quickly snapped to the general direction he was pointing. The tree had claw and teeth marks on it and was missing chunks of bark. Bears do this to mark territory and possession of their favorite trees. These marks usually are present on other trees given by the same bear in a trail. This helps the bear find its way back to wherever it came from.

Signs of bear activity Photo: danasibilsky.com

Signs of bear activity

I was stone cold in fear and to tell you anything different would be a complete lie! I couldn’t move. The thought that I could possibly be standing in or near a bear’s nest shut down all of my motor mechanics such as my ability to walk and open my fear-clenched fists into open palms.

In the distance, I could hear my husband calling me. “Dana!” I heard him say. I wanted to look at him, but the fear was overpowering me. I heard him shout in a louder, projecting voice. This time, my head jerked toward him as the guide and I let out a harsh “SHHHH!” toward him simultaneously. “Are you out of your mind?!” said the guide, “We are in the danger zone of a bear’s or group of bears’ territory! Keep quiet!” he instructed my husband. “We need to go. Now!” the guide said. We didn’t hesitate! The tour guide, my husband and myself double-timed it to the hotel as quickly, quietly and safely as we could.

Make lasting memories

Fast forward 2 years later. Isn’t it interesting that the worst moments in our lives at that particular time turn out to be the most memorable? The moments we believe are the downfall of our day, the ones we say we could do without at the moment they are happening are the very same moments that become the memories we wouldn’t change for anything. The moments we look back on months or years later and can’t help but to laugh and smile to ourselves. Being in a dangerous position having trespassed through bear territory was one of those moments.

Lasting memories in British Columbia Photo: danasibilsky.com

Lasting memories in British Columbia

If you haven’t visited the British Columbia side of Canada, what are you waiting for? It is, without a shadow of a doubt the most beautiful, refreshing and enlightening adventure you could ever take no matter if you’re alone or with those you love. Just a word of advice: Don’t go exploring without an experienced nature tour guide!

Author bio: Many thanks for this article to Dana Sibilsky, a stay-at-home mother of three prides and joys. When she isn’t giving her family their needed attention, she enjoys traveling and blogging her art on her sites.

Visit the #explorecanada official Canada Tourism Website for more information on things to do in British Columbia and Vancouver Island as well as their social media channels on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Pin it

Bristish Columbia Pinterest

For more Canadian adventures:

Where to Watch Wildlife in British Columbia, Canada
Vancouver Island – A Nature Lover’s Paradise
How to Enjoy a Great Day in Victoria, BC

Photo credit: Dana Sibilsky

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

Click to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, news and reader offers

HOHT newsletter

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Where to Watch Wildlife in British Columbia, Canada

In this article our guest author, A J Walton shares his love of British Columbia in Canada and the best places to watch wildlife such as seals, whales, eagles and grizzly bears.

British Columbia has some of the most exciting and diverse wildlife habitats in all of North America. As a child of the Canadian prairies, I fondly remember yearly summer trips to BC, where hiking & camping became familiar friends. Nothing has changed as an adult adventure seeker. In fact, I still consider British Columbia my top outdoor travel destination in the world.

In BC, with its sprawling forests, expansive coastline and mountainous peaks, you can expect to see all kinds of animals even just driving along in your car. For adventurous travelers who are ready to get a bit more up close and personal, these 7 wildlife watch tours will open your eyes to a world of natural beauty and the wonders of the animal kingdom.

Whale watching from Stevenson

This unique whale watching tour gives you a stunning view of the BC coastline. It’s the perfect way to watch the world’s largest creatures at home in their natural habitat. The tour meets in the historic fishing town of Stevenson, just South of Vancouver. From there, expert guides take you on a day trip in their 40-foot cruising vessel through the Gulf Islands in search of orca whales, sea lions, aquatic birds and much, much more. Tours from Stevenson Seabreeze Adventures are available from April 1st through October 31st.

A chance to view Sea Lions off the coast of BC, Canada Photo: Richard Gould on Flickr

A chance to view Sea Lions off the coast of BC, Canada

Nature Discovery Tours from Whistler

Offering a range of private and semi-private land rover excursions, Whistler Discovery Tours lets you experience the beauty of the Coastal Mountain Range like never before. With so many natural wonders to choose from, it’ll be difficult to pick just one. They offer morning and evening bear watch tours that let you get up close and personal to these gentle creatures. You can also take a ride through a 450-acre ancient rainforest, where you’ll see massive century-old trees and a host of indigenous wildlife. Any tour you choose, you’re bound to see stunning wildlife and rarely seen views in some of the most remote places on Earth. Tours from Whistler Discovery Tours start on May 1st and run until November 15th.

Rainbow Lake Trail near Whistler Photo: Iwona_Kellie on Flickr

Rainbow Lake Trail near Whistler

Wildlife spotting along the Fraser River

Perfect for a summertime adventure, Fraser River Safari is the ultimate tour of wildlife on the river. Starting in the town of Mission and ending in Harrison Mills, they take you on a wild ride up the Fraser River to see diverse animal life, scenic riverbeds and breathtaking views. You’ll board a cozy “Safari Craft” that’s perfect for those shallow waters, delicate natural habitats and close range glimpses at bears, bald eagles, seals, and the great white sturgeon. It’s ideal for couples, a small group of friends or adventurous families. You’re free to book a personal tour with Fraser River Safari any time during the year, but the busy season starts in July and runs until November.

Fraser River in BC, Canada Photo: John Bromley on Flickr

Fraser River in BC, Canada

See bears in their natural habitat

Based in Fraser Valley, you’re free to rent ATVs or hop on a guided tour as you explore the vast Coastal Mountain Range of BC. With its remote location and rugged terrain, Bear Country Tours gives you unprecedented access to the deep reaches of this wildlife reserve. You can take a two-hour tour or gear up for a multi-day excursion. They specialize in tracking down black bears, grizzlies, and bear cubs in their natural habitat. Don’t worry; these guides are safety experts. Plus, every tour comes with their famous BBQ lunch. Bear Country Tours are available year round. This is an experience that lasts a lifetime.

Bear watching in BC, Canada Photo: Stephen Mattucci on Flickr

Bear watching in BC, Canada

Explore the sea life around Nanaimo

If you love to scuba dive, then you’re in for a real treat. Sea Dragon Charters lets you explore the magnificent sea life in either Howe Sound or Nanaimo, just outside of Vancouver. You can kayak with the seals, go snorkeling with the fish, or sightsee from the boat. Experts take guests to stunning views of the coastline where you’re bound to see octopus, king crabs, wolf eels, and dozens of species of fish. If you choose to go kayaking, the seals love to introduce themselves by playing with the guests. Get off the boat and discover a world of wildlife up close and personal.

Whale Watching from Victoria

Departing from Victoria or Vancouver, this whale watching tour puts an educational twist on your big sea adventure. Guests get to board a mighty passenger vessel as it sets sail through the Gulf Islands, usually pointing out numerous orcas, humpbacks, and sea lions along the way. They refer to their cruises as floating classrooms with some of the finest wildlife tour guides on board. Every trip with Prince of Whales Whale Watching comes with valuable information that will only enhance your experience and knowledge of these spectacular creatures.

Whale watching in BC Canada Photo: Natalie Tsang on Flickr

Whale watching in BC Canada

See Grizzly Bears in Knight Inlet

Cruising through the Knight Inlet in Northern BC, Tide Rip Grizzly Tours gives you an intimate look at the local wildlife throughout the many uninhabited islands, inlets, reefs, and rocky shorelines. You’ll see plenty of grizzly bears as they feast on salmon jumping upstream, plus dolphins, seals, and bald eagles. As one of the few sightseeing tours in the region, this is a rare experience that’s not to be missed. The action heats up in June, but Tide Rip Grizzly Tours are available from April to October.

Bear watching in BC, Canada Photo: Stephen Mattucci on Flickr

Bear watching in BC, Canada

Visit the #explorecanada official Canada Tourism Website for more information on things to do in British Columbia and Vancouver Island as well as their social media channels on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

AJ WaltonAuthor Bio: Thanks for this article to AJ Walton – a world traveller focused on traveling, learning languages and entrepreneurship.

More Canadian adventures:

Vancouver Island – Nature Lover’s Paradise
How to Enjoy a Great Day in Victoria, BC
5 Reasons to Put Canada on Your Bucket List

Pin It

Where to see wildlife in BC Canada

Photo Credits: Sea Lions by Richard Gould , Rainbow Lake Hiking Trail by Iwona_Kellie , Fraser River by John Bromley , Grizzly bears by Stephen Mattucci, Whale Watching by Natalie Tsang , Grizzly bear and cubs by Stephen Mattucci

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

Click to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, news and reader offers

HOHT newsletter

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Vancouver Island – A Nature Lover’s Paradise

Our guest author, Leigh McAdam shares her love of Vancouver island, British Columbia, where you can explore the temperate rainforests, go kayaking along the rugged coastline and hope to see bears, orca whales and bald eagles.

Vancouver Island dependably ranks as one of my favourite places to visit. I love it for its wild spaces and easy access to nature. Many visitors don’t make it past Victoria, and though it’s a delightful city, it’s the places where Mother Nature reigns that strike a chord with me. Vancouver Island is home to one of the world’s temperate rainforests; it also boasts over 3,400 kilometres of coastline, a coastal mountain range often shrouded in fog and countless islands. For a memorable trip to Vancouver Island include as many of these experiences as possible.

Beaches along the West Coast trail on Vancouver Island Photo: Hikebiketravel.com

Beaches along the West Coast trail on Vancouver Island

Coastal flora & fauna

Visit wild west coast beaches especially the ones along the Juan de Fuca Trail, northwest of Victoria as well as those in the Tofino area. Botanical Beach, near Port Renfrew is a standout and easily visited as a day trip from Victoria. (Or stay in Point No Point Lodge and head north from there.) Although it’s on the Juan de Fuca Trail, it’s accessible to day trippers. Check out the tide charts before you go so your visit coincides with a falling tide. Bring your rain gear and a pair of shoes with some traction. Then plan on a few hours peering into nature’s potholes – filled with all manner of animal life – sea urchins, starfish, mussels, sea cucumbers, shore crabs and hermit crabs, octopus, chitons, limpets, sculpins, barnacles, periwinkles and sea anemones. When the tide starts to rise, pull out a picnic lunch and relax on a nearby sandy beach.

Botanical beach and Point No Point Photo: Hikebiketravel.com

Botanical beach and Point No Point on Vancouver Island

And on the way to Port Renfrew – or anywhere else on Vancouver Island for that matter, keep your eyes peeled for black bears at the side of the road. But use common sense and take your photographs from the safety of your car.

Spotting black bears on Vancouver Island Photo: Hikebiketravel.com

Spotting black bears on Vancouver Island

Hike & kayak to spectacular views

For one of Canada’s best day hikes, head to East Sooke Regional Park and plan to hike the Coastal Trail. You get the full west coast experience, yet it’s only 45 minutes from downtown Victoria. Like many trails along the coast, its 10 km length belies its difficulty. Expect to be challenged by non-stop ups and downs but there is a reward – spectacular, rugged coastline broken by a cedar and fir filled rainforest, with swaths of wildflowers in season. From your resting spot, be it a bench or a beach, enjoy the views of the Olympic Mountains over in Washington State.

East Sooke on Vancouver Island Photo: Hikebiketravel.com

East Sooke on Vancouver Island

Clayoquot Sound accessible from Tofino deserves a visit. It’s popular as a kayaking destination – for one day to multi-day trips. If you only have a day, you can join a guided tour and head for Meares Island where you’ll see some of the oldest and biggest trees in British Columbia. The most famous tree – the Hanging Garden Tree – is a western red cedar with a massive 18.3 metre circumference. Otherwise join a tour and head out for one of the islands, some of which boast beautiful, white sand beaches. Expect to see seals, whales, otters and lots of sea birds.

If you’ve dreamed of seeing Orcas (killer whales), head for Telegraph Cove at the northeastern end of Vancouver Island. Not only is it one of the best places in the world to see these whales, you’re also likely to see bears and bald eagles. Adventurous travelers should consider joining a multi-day kayak tour in the area but note that the waters can be challenging because of the currents.

Gulf Islands kayaking Photo: Hikebiketravel.com

Gulf Islands kayaking on Vancouver island

Adventure for everyone

If you’re already in Telegraph Cove, then try to include a boat ride to Knight Inlet to see the grizzly bears. June is the best month to visit but in the fall you’re treated to the sight of the bears catching and eating salmon. For the truly adventurous there are several excellent backpacking trips including the famous West Coast Trail that takes most people four to seven days to hike its 75 km length. Although tough, it rewards with incredible beach camping every night. Other choices include the Nootka Island Trail and the North Coast Trail.

There are loads of other kayaking options. Near to Victoria you can kayak in the waters around the southern Gulf Islands. The Discovery Islands near Campbell River are beautiful, but challenging with currents and the lack of campsites. The Broken Group of Islands in Pacific Rim National Park near Tofino offers amazing kayaking – and it’s perfect for novices.

No matter what adventure you choose, Vancouver Island will charm you. And despite its reputation as a rainy place, it can be sunny and dry for weeks on end come summer.

Visit the #explorecanada official Canada Tourism Website for more information on things to do in British Columbia and Vancouver Island as well as their social media channels on Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Leigh McAdam bio
DiscoverCanadaBook by Leigh McAdamAuthor Bio: Many thanks for this article to Leigh McAdam, a Calgary based blogger writing about outdoor and adventure travel at HikeBikeTravel.com. Recently she completed 100 adventures across Canada and wrote the ebook – Discover Canada: 100 Inspiring Outdoor Adventures.

 

Pin It

Read about Vancouver Island, a nature lover's paradise

For more Canadian experiences:

How to enjoy a great day in Victoria, BC
5 Reasons to Put Canada on Your Bucket List
Adventurous Canada With a Twist

This article by Leigh McAdam is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read the original article here

Click to subscribe to our monthly newsletter, news and reader offers

HOHT newsletter

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Next Page »