5 Dog-Friendly Incredible Hikes in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor

The season has changed, leaving place to the cool and crisp air of autumn. Summer has been absolutely crazy, in so many good ways, with work, and camping and adventuring every weekend. But I am now looking forward to quiet days at work, cozy wool sweater weather and wrapping my hands around hot teas and good books. But the one thing I really love the most about fall is the cool mornings and glorious sunny afternoons. I am looking forward to get outside and embrace the fresh autumn air with my dogs.

Even if many trails are open year-round, I find that autumn is the best season to hike: no crowds, no bugs, no heat. Plus, it’s the time of the year where nature wears its best colours and its unique fragrance. Here are 5 incredible hikes to do with your furry companions this fall in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor:

Skywalk Trail- NEW!

There is a new trail in town! Built by volunteers from The Alpine Club of Canada, The Skywalk Trail was completed at the end of August 2015 and offers a stunning and scenic hike that starts in Alpine Meadows and leads to the north of Rainbow Mountain. This 14km round-trip trail goes up along 19 mile creek, passing beautiful waterfalls before entering into alpine meadows resting at the foot of an ancient glacier. After scrambling over some rocks, the trail leads up to Iceberg Lake, a beautiful green opaque lake sitting at 1600m, with an ice cave resting on its shore. The trail goes further up to Screaming Cat Lake and loop back to the starting point.

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While the trail is limited to foot traffic only, there haven’t been any restrictions for dogs. Remember to respect others by being a responsible owner and keep your dogs under control. Thank you to the volunteers at Alpine Club for this great job on building by hand this trail and offering us the privilege to explore our backyard in such a way. This is a true Whistler experience!

Stawamus Chief

Located in the town of Squamish, the Stawamus Chief, commonly known by locals as The Chief, offers a steep but short 3-hour round trip hike atop of the 700 massive granite cliffs. There are 3 summits, the highest being at only 1.8km, all offering scenic views of Howe Sound and the town of Squamish. There is a lot of traffic on this trail and sections with steep cliffs, so always keep your pooch close by.

Sea-to-Sky Trail

The Sea-to-Sky Trail runs 180km from the waterfront of Squamish all the way up to D’Arcy. There are many scenic spots to see along this non-motorized trail, from cascading waterfalls, to raging rivers, to suspended bridges, and pristine lake views. Wether you are biking, walking, running or hiking, your four-legged friend will be ecstatic to run beside you.

Joffre Lakes

A very popular and must do hike. Joffe Lakes Provincial Park is situated north of Pemberton, up the Duffey Road. There are 3 lakes, the upper one located at 5 km. The trails are well-maintained and enjoyable to ascend, although the last part between Middle Lake and Upper Lake is a bit more challenging. The reward is worth the sweat: pristine turquoise waters and rugged Coast Mountain scenery. Your pooch will be happy to pose for a photograph with such a background.

Rorh Lake

Nestled near the Marriot Basin on an alpine bench, just a few minutes north of Joffre Lakes Provincial Park, Rohr Lake is a beautiful and uncrowded hike. It is an ideal environment for the dogs, where they can sprint through steep trees and run freely in the alpine meadows. The hike is short (3-4hours one-way) but steep, rough, rocky, muddy and wet. Also, due to the unpopularity of the hike, the trail isn’t well-marked, so read the direction properly before heading up. Rohr Lake is beautiful and clear, and the peacefulness of the place is worth every efforts.

Happy trails!

Hornby Island for a Family Vacation

Raised by a single mother and with an older brother that took on his freedom filled life as soon as I was born, I never really had the chance to understand the term “family vacation”. Of course my mom always made sure we would go on road-trips and explore the beautiful corners and cultural gems of the province of Quebec. It was always a memorable mother-daughter vacation, sometimes tagged with our furry friends.

My brother settled in British Columbia 15 years ago where he met his wife and her family. My first solo flight was when I was 15, to go and visit him on the other side of the country. I got really close to this new circle, a reconstructed family of many siblings. Now that my brother and I both live in the province, he on the island, and I in the mountains, we don’t see each other as often as we wish, but I try to commit to once a year since he now has two beautiful blooming boys. So, when my brother and his wife invited me to their annual family vacation on Hornby Island, there was no way I could miss this special reunion.

We left Whistler on Friday afternoon after work. We boarded the 5:20pm ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay. The 1:40min scenic ride through the Gulf Islands was refreshing and relaxing, soothing a long work week.

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Once in Nanaimo, we drove north on Highway BC-19A. I had booked a campsite at Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park, just to make the trip less cumbersome and more enjoyable. Rathtrevor Park is located along the shoreline, in the city of Parksville. The campground is very clean and the sites are large, well-maintained and just few steps from the beach.

In the morning, Juno and I went for a stroll. We traversed the short path to the beach across an old-growth forest. The low tide left us with many treasures to find on the golden sand. I took deep breathes and soaked in the fresh air.

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After everything was packed up, we head back on the Oceanside Highway and drove north towards Buckley Bay. We hopped on the ferry towards Denman. Then drove accross the island and took another 10min-ferry onto Hornby.

Hornby Island has a small community of less than 1,000 residents, mostly artists, retirees, bohemians, and any lovers of the remote rural island life. We followed the road that hugged the sandstone shorelines, making our way to the northeast of the island. We arrived at Tribune Bay Campground, where we set up camp. The clouds slowly covered the sky, predicting a heavy rain. We set up a large tarp above our site, making our cozy home for the weekend.

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The rain arrived at the same time as my family. We greeted under the protecting trees. We built a shelter from pop-up tents and tarps where we found dry refuge for the afternoon. After dinner we sat around the fire-pit, catching up with the grown-ups while grandma told stories to the kids.

The weather cleared out the next morning and we spent the day at Tribune Bay Beach. The kids played in the waves, leftover from the stormy weather.

In the evening we headed to the Pizza Galore. We sat on blankets on the soft grass in the middle of an orchard. Under an apple tree we opened our bottle of wine and enjoyed delicious homemade pizzas. A live band paired our meals with notes of beautiful music while kids played hide and seek, and others played boardgames under the trees.

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The sunbeams scattered the sky. We spent another night around the fire pit, telling stories and playing games. And when the night reached its deep darkness, we took a stroll on the beach. We watched the constellations grace the night as the shooting stars ignited one by one.

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We woke up to a stunning sky. The rain evaporated from the heating ground. The kids rushed through breakfast, ready to hit the beach. We headed to Helliwell Beach, located on a headland at the southeast of the island. The sand is white, the beach endless, and the water of a crystal clear blue I have never seen in Canada.

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It was a beautiful day skimboarding, kayaking and paddleboarding.

The girls even opened up a sand spa for anyone keen of a natural seaside massage.

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It was time for me to head back. I kissed and hugged deeply everyone goodbye. As we drove away, I waived a last farewell to my brother still standing on the beach watching me depart.

The 3 ferries home gave me the time and the space to imprint all those beautiful memories I had made. I thought about my dear mother, who I wished could’ve made the trip from the East. I am so privileged to have the mother and the brother that I have, along with all my consanguinity family. I am also so grateful to be part of this circle of people that I have met at 15 years old, half way through my current life. I hope to many more family vacations.

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Whether they are your parents, sibblings, family members, affinities, friends, or whoever with there is a sense of belonging, unconditional love, mutual respect and care, acknowledge who those people are and make time for them, as often as you can. Family is not an important thing. It’s everything. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to call my mother.

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The Ocean Is Calling And I Must Go

There is a place on the Pacific Coast of Vancouver Island that was built for dreamers: a place where the salty air is curing, the cold ocean is rejuvenating, and the lush rainforests are reinvigorating. A place where people go to gaze at the ocean in peace, and experience nature at its humblest best.
Tofino is indeed an oasis of nature’s wonders. With its beautiful old-growth coastal forests, abundant wildlife and miles of sandy beaches, this little surfing town attracts many surfers, outdoor adventurers, soul searchers, and nature lovers every year.
There’s been a lot of change recently in my life, and after a long winter spent in the mountains, I felt an overpowering urge to be by the ocean. So when Corianne showed interest for a weekend getaway, there were no doubts we had to make a trip to Tofino. We left Whistler at dusk on Saturday morning and headed South to catch the 8:30am BC Ferry leaving Horseshoe Bay towards Nanaimo. The 2 hour-ride through the Gulf Islands was scenic, as we sat in the rear deck, sheltered from the wind, exposed to the morning sun.
image Once in Nanaimo, we drove north on Highway 19, a car loaded with camping gear and a sun blasting in the sky. We crossed the island on Highway 4 towards Clayoquot Sound, meandering through a coastal forest of old-growth oaks. The beams of the afternoon sun poured through trees and fog. We travelled the road through the rugged coast, ascending and descending, swirling and twisting, until we arrived to the coastal town of Tofino.

We had booked camping on the beach at Bella Pacifica located on Mackenzie Beach. We set up camp and retired on the beach for the evening as the sun was setting. Along with wine, cheeses, and charcuterie, we admired the hues of the sky as the sun retired behind the evening haze.

We woke up early the next morning to another beautiful and sunny day. We brewed fresh coffee and took a stroll on the beach. As we shuffled our bare feet in the sand, we found ourselves spectators of a rare scene: the beach was blanketed by thousands of blue tiny creatures called “sail jellyfish”, scientifically known as Velella velella, that washed ashore during the night. At the rocky shores of the bay, we explored the tidal pools at low tide and spotted many starfishes and sea anemones. Amongst curious children, we were fascinated by the stunning diversity of marine life.

There was a short hike I’ve heard of and really wanted to do. It wasn’t on any map, so after asking a few locals, I had enough clues to hunt for the hidden trail. I couldn’t be more happier when I found the entrance, and I couldn’t be more excited when we reached the top, overlooking the panoramic view of Cox Bay.

After a lunch of fresh tuna tacos at Tacofino, we headed back to Cox Bay with our surfing gear. Time to slip in the wetsuit, put on the booties, strap the leash and head to the water. I am no surfer. But I can play in the waves. And here in Tofino, there is no better place than its beautiful beachbreaks and high waist waves. IMG_9587 I took a moment to embrace my surroundings: The water slipping off my forehead, the air cleansing my lungs, the setting sun warming up my skin, and a setting to dream for. I glanced at my friends, who glanced back, nodding for this inspiring moment we shared. We spent the night by the campfire on the beach, along with friends we met. The moon rose and settled in the sky, full and ripe, stretching its light far in the distance. We watched fireworks exploding in the clear sky while the sounds of drums resonated through the night.

We woke up the second morning to an overcast sky. After we packed our gear we made a stop to the beach. Corianne went for a last surf session while I watched her played in the wave under the rain, sitting cozy in my camping chair.

We headed back to Nanaimo in the afternoon to catch the last ferry. The sun eventually broke through the clouds, taking over the sky. The ferry ride made us speechless, as we watched the sunrays painting the sky, as it retired behind the islands. IMG_9693 Coastal living offers wonderful benefits. Not only does spending time by the ocean balances the body and creates physical harmony, but it also allows us to take a moment to pause, reflect, meditate and embrace solitude. It brings us to a tranquil state of mindfulness and awareness, and gives a sense of freedom. It clarifies the mind and opens up to new perspectives. There is something healing about looking at the ocean, listening to the soothing sound of the waves pounding on the shore and breathing the invigorating fresh air. So if you ever need to calm your mind, improve your physical health or find inspiration and purpose to your life, perhaps all you need is a holistic dose of Vitamin Sea. image

Picnic Day in Île d’Orléans

Just 15 minutes from downtown Québec City is located Île d’Orleans. The island has been described as the “microcosm of traditional Quebec” and as the “cradle of French civilization in North America.”

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On a sunny Monday morning of October, Karine and I drove across the solo bridge, entering a land of farming and agriculture.

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We acquired provisions in St-Pierre, filling our basket of local terrines, confits, cheeses and wine for our picnic. We also grabbed cheese curds as a snack for the road.

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Elegant houses dating back from the French regime lined the single road.

We stopped in St-Famille to meet up with our friend Mathieu who works on an orchard. We drove the rough terrain with a 4×4 vehicle, then parked between apple trees, facing the stunning views of the Beaupré shoreline and Mt St-Anne.

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We popped the bubbles and devoured the supplies.

We continued our drive to the far end of the island, towards the village of St-François, passing pasture farms and more beautiful ancestral homes.

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I snapped a picture of the church, originally built in 1734, and rebuilt in 1992 by consequences of a fire that destroyed it 1988 (my mother remembers having coffee at St-Francois Church with the priest in 1976).

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We carried on towards the picturesque village of St-Jean, where charming little houses dating from 1825 to 1860 stand along the road.

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We drove along the beautiful scenery stretching along the banks of St-Laurent River and peeked at the bluffs of Lévis.

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Coming at the end of our island tour, we stopped at St-Pétronille and glimpsed at the beautiful city of Québec.

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We had a delightful surprise when we departed the island: a beautiful rainbow arching across the sky.

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Festival de la Galette Sarrasin

Québécois love their poutine. But they also love their buckwheat.

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The buckwheat made its way to Québec during the first colonization, principally by the Bretons. During this time, the buckwheat flour was used to make crepes, and was accompanied with baked beans, molasses and a glass of p’tit caribou It became a popular meal rich in protein for lumberjacks and hommes des bois.

Every year in October, Louiseville welcomes everyone to join its autumn festivities. This rooted folk tradition is a popular family event where cultural and social activities galore.

Here you can discover the local culture with a folklore ambiance, and taste the richness of the fresh produce from Québec, made with passion and essentially, love.

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You are welcome to bring your camping chairs, motorbikes, grandmas/grandpas, kids and pooches, and spend the day savouring homemade concoctions that the Québécois proudly have to offer.

Bon appétit!

Quebec’s Wine Route: A Mother-Daughter Road Trip Through the Colours of Fall

I’ve been living in Western Canada for 11 years now, with only a couple visits to my homeland since I left. I can’t recall the last time I saw the autumn foliage of brilliant yellows, reds and oranges.

While the forests put on their autumn robes, the vines and orchards are ripe with fruits. Going back to Québec in the fall was the perfect time to embrace a burst of colours, aromas and flavours.

My mother and I have decided to spend our quality time together on the road. What a better way to reunite and catch up, then driving on the open road through a carnival of autumn colours. My mom is a great travel partner. She also organized this trip, and designed the itinerary. On the program? Wine, history, culture, exploration and mother-daughter shenanigans through the beautiful regions of Estrie, Cantons de l’Est and Montérégie. Did I mention wine?

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WHERE TO CHEERS

Cep d’Argent, Magog

Nestled on a hill between Mt-Orford and Magog Lake, le Cep d’Argent offers authentic products made by passionate individuals. The winery was founded by 4 Quebecois, and 2 Frenchmen and the first vines were planted in 1985. They have been running since, offering quality products to the Quebec consumers. Le Cep d’Argent is known as the only winery producing champagne in the Eastern Townships, and the knowledgable staff will happily give you a champenoise guided tour to educate you on the meticulous process of making champagne.

WHAT TO DO

Ducs de Montrichard, Orford

This family and artisanal business is proud to create fresh products with high standards of quality. They produce 100% pure duck rilettes, and their terrines and gibiers are free of conservation agents. Pack Ducs de Montrichard products in your picnic basket with ice cider gelée and local cheeses and yum, yum, yum!

Chocolaterie Vanden Eynden, Orford

Real chocolate with 100% cocoa butter. Can’t go wrong with this. If you have a sweet tooth, Chocolaterie Vanden Eynden is a must stop before returning on the road.

WHERE TO STAY

Jouvence Centre de Vacances, Orford

I came here 28 years ago with my mother and brother for Christmas. My mom likes to remember those cold days of winter where children ran in the cobbled stone pathways covered in snow. Jouvence has been a magical place for families and a romantic getaway for couples. Located on a 194-acre site on the shores of Lake Stukely in Mt-Orford National Park, this holiday retreat offers an all-inclusive formula, offering overnight stay, meals and access to outdoor activities. We rented the old chapel, with magnificent views of the lake (yes, I slept in an old chapel and I survived!).

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WHERE TO CHEERS

Domaine Pinnacle, Frelighsburg

Situated on a heritage property near the historic village of Frelishburg, the Domaine Pinnacle is a family-owned orchard and cidery. Located on the 45th parallel (same latitude as the world’s renowned wine-growing regions), the orchard benefits from a microclimate that is advantageous for apple production. Good summer conditions paired with intensely cold Quebec winters make the creation of this delicious ice cider.

In 2000, Domaine Pinnacle created its first ice cider, ranking the cidery amongst the finest producers, and winning dozens of gold medals at important international wine competitions. Here at the Domaine, you can taste the sensuous ice ciders products before you savor a refreshful walk through the 430-acre apple orchard.

Clos Saragnat, Frelighsburg

Certified organic, Clos Saragnat prioritize on an ecological balance. Their production is limited by the complexity and amount of work required for these crops. Their employees consist of the 2 owners, a helper, 3 horses, a few gooses, chickens, insects and most importantly, nature.

Christian Barthomeuf is the co-owner and creator of ice cider in 1989 and pillar of the Dunham viticulture in 1980. He also developed the first ice wine of Quebec in 1989 and the first straw wine in 2000. Him and his wife Louise will have a pleasure to walk you through their vineyard and orchard and share with you their amazing story, build on passion, dreams and ecological vision.

WHAT TO DO

Alpagas du Pinacle, Frelighsburg

After working 13 years in the pharmaceutical field, Marie-France discovered the alpaca. Seduced by the South American camelid, she decided to raise the animal, and use its wool to create magnificient winter accessories. Stop by Alpacas du Pinacle, admire and learn about these soft and beautiful creatures, and visit the boutique. Perhaps you’ll wear a tuque from Bianca’s wool.

WHERE TO STAY

Log cabin rental, Frelighsburg

Frelighsburg is a municipality located in an area historically considered to be part of the Eastern Townships in Quebec. Home to just over 1,000 inhabitants,  it is recognized as one the ”The Most Beautiful Villages in Quebec”. Nestled in an apple-growing valley on the Pike River and at the foothills of the Mt Pinacle, the classic Loyalist settlement is home to many farmers and artists.

My mother and I rented a log wood chalet at the foothills of the Mt Pinacle. Surrounded by superb natural settings and submerged into the fall foliage, the chalet helped us to completely unwind while living the ultimate bucolic experience. No wifi, no service, just the company of a mother and a daughter, great books, a fireplace, and food and wine.

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WHERE TO CHEERS

Chapelle St-Agnes, Sutton

Chapelle St-Agnes vineyard was established in 1997 by Henrietta Anthony, a Montreal antique dealer (although born in Czech Republic). It is located in the Sutton mountains of southern Quebec. Chapelle St-Agnes, named after a 13th century Bohemian saint,  is a beautiful stone structure with a Romanesque style. It is home to many ecclesiastic artifacts that Mrs. Anthony collected over 45 years.

The vineyard is built on a steep hillside, protected by an impressive forest. 

Largely cultivated by hand, the vines are planted close together in an Alsasian manner. No chemical fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides or synthetic fungicides are used.

The vineyeard’s climate is cold enough to produce high quality ice wine every year, and its endoclimate extends the growing season, allowing the grapes the time they need to attain the proper level of maturity needed to create delicious dessert wines.

Domaine des Cotes d’Ardoise, Dunham

The Domaine is the oldest still operational vineyard in the province. The first plantations was in early 1981 and the first bottles to sell, although illegally at this time, in 1983. The permits were issued in 1985 and 3 years later, Domaine des Cotes d’Ardoise was earning the first medal granted to a Quebecois vineyard.

After the informative tasting of 11 whites, reds, ice wines and ice ciders, we took a walk in the garden hosting an impressive exhibition of sculptures from 80 different artists. The sun filtered through the fall foliage, leaving a perfect light on the carpet of colourful fallen leaves.

We sat on a picnic table and admired some 25,000 grapevines. The company was precious, the scenery was serene and the rosé was nice and fine.

WHAT TO DO

Velo-Montagne, Au Diable Vert, Sutton

Unfortunately the weather conditions were not in my favour the day I planned on going, but I decided to still mention it. Au Diable Vert offers access to many outdoor activities such as kayaking, SUP, and hiking trails. The most interesting one is their Velo Volant (flying bicycle). Unique in Canada, Velo Volant is an innovative and ecological activity, allowing you to meaning through the treetops on a suspended bicycle along a mountainside, and passing through ravines and waterfalls. This 1000m circuit is the highest of its kind, an experience that will surely take your breath away!

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Restaurant Fourquet Fourchette, Chambly

I don’t always drink beer, but when I do, is when I travel to a new place and try their reknown local brew. Here in Chambly, it is a must to stop at one of the establishments and try a bottle of Unibroue, a brand that is rooted deep in Quebec culture. In a windy and cold late afternoon, my mom and I stopped at Fourquet Fourchette, a laid-back restaurant along the Richelieu river. As my mother tried the Ephemere Apple, and noted hints of nutmeg, cinnamon and ginger, I went ahead and tried the classic Blanche de Chambly, and tasted subtle spices, coriander and citrus. None of us are beer enthusiasts, however, we finished the last sip of our glasses.

WHERE TO STAY

Auberge Appalaches, Sutton

Rustic and country inn style, the Auberge Appalches is located right next to the Massif of Mt-Sutton. Here you can sleep and  eat. My mother surprised me for a dinner and blues show, as part of the Sutton en Blues Festival.

A La Petite Scene B&B, St-Denis sur Richelieu

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Located on the Chemin des Patriotes and on the shore of the Richelieu, A La Petite Scene is a cultural Bed and Breakfast and is also known as the small town concert hall. Hostess and owner, Manon, invites everyone to grab an instrument and sing along in the living area. Sometimes she hosts music bands, sometimes young filmmakers. She is very inspiring to converse with and will make sure you’ll have a memorable stay.

This is where our flavourful and colourful road adventure ends. It has been an amazing week driving through the autumn colours of the southern Québec countryside, tasting an astonishing variety of wines, discovering ice ciders and indulging in produits du terroir.

But most of all, thank you mom for being the greatest partner!

Rohr Lake – Cayoosh Range, BC

Camping has always been an important part of my life. Since I moved to the west coast in 2003, I camp almost every weekend from late spring to early autumn. In the winter, I camp in the cabins of the backcountry. I don’t mind cold temperatures and am not scared of the wild. In fact, I always put up my tent in the wilderness, places where no one goes, and probably no one’s been. Camping is for me a way of disconnecting from the hustling of my everyday life, reconnecting with myself and finding healing through nature. In fact, for me, there is nothing like the feeling of the mothering power from the earth under my bare feet, the cleansing of my lungs from the pure air, the soothing sound of nature in my ears, and the eye candy images of the natural beauty surrounding me.

I have done truck, boat, canoe, and snowmobile camping. However, I have never camped by foot. I have done a lot of day hikes. However, I have always come back at dusk thinking how great would it be to sleep here under the stars. When I called my outdoorsy friend Claudel and explained her my plan, she jumped aboard instantly.

Most of the hiking trails here in the Sea to Sky are part of Provincial Parks or are watershed areas. Both owners of active dogs, we had to find a trail that allowed our furry friends to happily run wild and free. After a long research, I found Rohr Lake.

Rohr Lake is situated in the Cayoosh Range, on an alpine bench north east of Mt Rohr. The trail is a 15km round trip, for beginner/advanced hikers. I had never heard of it, neither Claudel. There wasn’t much information on the Internet or in the trailmap book, only a few blogs from people that attempted the trail. Perfect, we thought, an unknown and uncrowded trail, exactly up our alley!

We each packed a travel backpack with warm and light clothes, hiking shoes and flip-flops. We had one tent, a chicken salad, a homemade guacamole and corn chips, 2 panini sandwiches, a bunch of grapes and a few energy bars. Claudel brought her sleeping bag and mattress. I went commando on that. I had to leave room for the wine (2 bottles of red, and a sparkling for the mimosas in the morning. Oh and a 6-pack of ciders). Water, dog food, flashlights, whistles, lighters, tissues, cups, cutlery… Our bags were probably half our weight.

It was the last day of spring, on a beautiful and sunny late morning in June. We drove north on Highway 99 to Mt Currie towards Lillooet, on the Duffy Rd. When we passed Joffre Lakes and crossed the first bridge, we turned left onto an unassigned logging road.

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We drove as far as our car could go, and parked on the side of the trail. If you have a 4WD, you can probably access the trailhead. 

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We walked the rest of the road to the beginning of the trail. It wasn’t much later than 15 min of walking on an easy surface that I thought to myself: Maybe Claudel was right, we could have brought just one bottle of wine…

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The first few km were quite lovely. It was a very easy hike through a well marked forest trail. At times we hopped on rocks to cross streams, at other times traversed stomps over creeks.

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After a steep path, we arrived at the intersection of Aspen and Rohr Lake, where we stopped to catch our breath.

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After a confusion in directions, having to drop our bags down on the ground and search for the trail, we found our way and got back on track. The soil was muddy and slippery, wet and snowy. Yet, we were still pretty clean. We made our way to the alpine meadow, where a blanket of moss appeared under the melting snow.

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There was so much snow still that no trail was to be seen. On our right side, there was a rock facade where the stream came down. We knew there was going to be an abrupt 300m uphill, and there it had to be. We left the bags on the grass and climbed the rocks. Miraculously, I spotted a red little flag attached to a tree, flowing in the wind. We scrambled back down the rocks, and picked up our loads.

This wasn’t easy. As much as I could freely jump from rock to rock without my bag, now with 50 pounds glued to my back, I felt unbalanced with a lack of dexterity.

“So this is what it is to hike with an alcoholic!” mocked Claudel, with a winking smile, while climbing the wall with both hands and feet.

Indeed, the fermented juice we both carried made the hike most challenging. Yet, so rewarding!

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After climbing the steep hill, reaching for rocks through the stream and our feet sinking in mud, we made our way on top. We turned around and caught a glimpse of the alpine.

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We made it to Rohr Lake, pristine water surrounded by beautiful mountain. Plus, we had it all to ourselves!

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Why bring a mattress when you can find natural cushiness? I made one from cedar. Even Lady used it for a rest.

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The wine was definitely worth the effort and the sweat!

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We celebrated the summer solstice that night up at Rohr Lake. We said farewell to spring as the sun hid behind the mountains. We watched the stars shimmer the sky at night. And when the sun rose up from a short night sleep, we listened to the birds chirping to a new and beautiful morning of summer.

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