Snowboarding in Whistler’s Epic Backcountry

Whistler is home to untouched powdery terrain, high alpine bowls and extensive natural playgrounds that we get to enjoy during our beautiful winters. To celebrate another wonderful season, here are a few snowboarding clips taken earlier this year.

𝘓𝘰𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘥, 𝘶𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘥𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘓𝘪𝘭’𝘸𝘢𝘵 𝘗𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦, 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘶𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘢𝘴 𝘓̓𝘪𝘭̓𝘸𝘢𝘵7ú𝘭, 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘚𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘩 𝘗𝘦𝘰𝘱𝘭𝘦, 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘪𝘳 𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘶𝘢𝘨𝘦 𝘢𝘴 𝘚ḵ𝘸𝘹̱𝘸ú7𝘮𝘦𝘴𝘩.

Riders: JF Fortin, Mathieu Beaudry, David Jacques and Vincent Fortin.

Music: ‘I’m a Wanted Man’ by Royal Deluxe.

Tackling the 75km West Coast Trail

I slipped my feet into the white sand. Its cool composure liberated me from the throbbing pain. I was too exhausted to jump into the ocean and wash out all the dirt on my face and my hands, and the sweat that has accumulated on my skin and my clothing. I laid there for a couple of hours, soaking in the warmth of the sun, the breeze of the sea, and the sand between my toes, thinking about nothing but: I did it!

Seven days ago, my girlfriend and I had packed our backpacks with everything we needed to survive for a week: camping gear, hiking clothes, dehydrated food, and survival kit. We had planned this trip for a few weeks and were anxious to finally begin. The West Coast Trail has always fascinated me. I’ve heard about it from fellow adventurers I’d met along my travels, and it seemed like the kind of adventure I had to put on my bucket list. I am no expert hiker, although I have several trips under my belt. The Pacific Northwest has been my backyard for over a decade now, offering many trails to wander, glacier-fed lakes to discover and mountain peaks to conquer. I have also hiked around Kathmandu, Nepal, staying in tea houses, eating home-cooked meals and carrying a small backpack. But the WCT was the kind of adventure I’ve never done before. It was a physical and mental challenge far beyond anything I’ve done. It was much more than just a stroll in the woods.

The West Coast Trail is a gruelling 75km long backpacking trail hugging the southwestern edge of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Construction of the trail debuted in 1889, originally part of a communication system connecting the British Empire in North America by an undersea cable which ran all the way to India. After the wreck of the Valencia in 1906, the trail was improved to facilitate the rescue of shipwrecked survivors along the coast. It is now part of Pacific National Rim and is known as one of the world’s top hiking trails.

Day 1: Embrace the opportunity
Gordon River to Trasher Cove- 6km

Butch took us to the trailhead across the Gordon river with his fishing boat. We jumped off the craft onto the sand, only to be welcomed by a 52 rung vertical climb ladder. Welcome to the WCT!

My bag was heavy. It pulled my shoulders and the strap on my chest pushed my lungs making it hard to breathe. It wasn’t that the trail itself was hard, but rather acclimatizing to my gear. My 43 pound bag carried all I needed for surviving a week in wilderness. I did read it shouldn’t be more than 30% of my weight, yet bringing a deck of cards, a reading book, tank tops and too much food seemed to be essential and weightless at first glance. I regretted my amateur decision of bringing the unnecessary every step I took, carrying a bag nearly half my weight, turning into a turtle camouflaged by her shell. It was a slow march through the woods, travelling 1km an hour.

As I hiked I pondered what drew me into doing this trail. It wasn’t solely for the remote beauty of the coastline, the impressive old growth forests and the endless empty beaches. I wanted to test my capabilities, to see how far I could go physically and mentally. I was attracted to the sheer challenge, to the experience, to the accomplishment, to the opportunity to learn and to grow.

When we got to Trasher Cove, we set up camp on the beach, and watched the sun disappear behind the trees, leaving an orange glow over the ocean. As the sun dimmed its light, we called it a night.

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Day 2: Slow down
Trasher Cove to Camper Bay- 8km

The sunrise was sublime. The sky was clear and the breeze was invigorating. We started the day on the beach at low tide, hiking on black stone shelves, careful about wet surfaces. This part was so beautiful, and pretty enjoyable to trek. We walked through a cave and arrived at Owen Point where a group of sea lions sun bathed on a rock erected from the ocean.

We hopped from boulder to boulder, jumped over crevasses, traversed the edge of a gully holding on a slippery rope.

The magnificence of the views muted me. I was in awe taking in impressive images of the vistas. We took our time, slowing down to admire the incredible landscape.

When the tide rose up, we entered the forest and finished the trek inland. It was muddy, extremely muddy, and we had to be very smart about each step. This very technical day ended up at Camper Bay, where we arrived in our first cable car.

As the sun shied away behind the clouds, we gathered around the campfire with fellow hikers, discussing of food and gear, and sharing stories of the trail and of home.

We retired early to our tent, away from the beach and sheltered in the trees. Then the rain began.

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Day 3: Love the journey
Camper Bay to Walbran- 9km

It poured all night, and it wasn’t ready to stop. We broke camp, put on our monster backpacks and headed back on the trail as the heavy rain lashed. The course was challenging and we got to test our skills and our sense of humour on slippery logs, impassable headlands, uncountable ladders, broken boardwalks, thick patches of deep mud, suspended bridges and one more cable car.

It wouldn’t have been the WCT if it wasn’t for the wet weather, the rugged terrain, the remoteness of the trail. I was soaked, dirty, sweaty, yet I couldn’t be more happy to walk this incredible journey.

As we reached our couple last kms, the sun slowly penetrated the clouds. The forest canopy stood high above me as the sun rays filtered through old growth trees. I fell in love with the lonesome beauty of nature. It was raw, it was pure, it was terrifyingly beautiful.

The trail opened up to the creek, that ran into the ocean. We walked through the fog, shuffling our tired and wet feet in the sand. Campers setting up their tent, warming up by a fire, and collecting water greeted us with a smile. It felt like a parallel universe, being alone all day in the wilderness and arriving to a place temporarily inhabited by humans. I grabbed my flask of maple whisky from my bag, and took off my shoes. I didn’t want to start a fire, set up the tent, get fresh water nor cook dinner. I wanted to admire that well-deserved sunset.

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Day 4: Things aren’t always like planned, and it’s okay
Walbran to Cribbs Creek- 11km

The morning light seeped into the tent. I forced my feet back into my wet socks and boots, and strapped my loaded bag on my back. Our plan was to hike on the beach, but the creek was too high to cross that early. We changed our plan and headed inland, after crossing our third cable car.

It reminded me how in life things don’t always go as planned, and it’s okay. Sometimes we have to change our route or take a detour, but that doesn’t mean we’re not on track.

We arrived at Cribs Creek where I immediately removed my wet gear. I skipped dinner, still full from my decadent $22 cheeseburger I had at Chez Moniques’, a 77-year-old lady who opened up a burger shack in the middle of the trail on reserve land. I was exhausted and chilled to the bones, so after setting camp I crawled in the tent, zipped myself into my sleeping bag, and let my head sink into my pillow.

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Day 5: Keep going forward
Cribs Creek to Tsutsiat Falls- 16km

It felt like a never ending story. My bag seemed heavier than the first day, carrying wet and sandy gear. It was a constant effort to stay upwright. I longed for nothing more than water and to take my pack off my shoulders.

It was a slow progress, stepping one foot in front of another, carefully watching every movement, every step.  My eyes focused on the slippery roots, the sinking mud holes, the loose sidewalk. It became so technical I’d forget to look up. I had to stop, not only to rest my back from the load, but to admire the scenery. I stood in a world of infinite, pure and quiet beauty.

I’d take a deep breath, taking in all the fresh air and the beautiful images. Somehow it gave me energy to pursue. As it reminded me why I was there on this trail, how going forward was the only way to see more, to know more, to live more.

The last couple of hours were brutal. My body was about to collapse in the loose sand, my hair sticking to my face, my provision of water rapidly diminishing. I knew I had to keep going forward, because going back to where I started wasn’t an option. So I put one foot in front of the other, over and over again, because at least I was going somewhere. And I was going to make it.

I was drained, in pain and on the verge of collapsing when we arrived to the falls, but I was also over joyed and astonished of how far I’d gone.

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Day 6: Appreciate the details in each moment
Tsutsiat Falls to Darling Creek- 12km

We woke up to the roar of plunging waves. We admired the falls rushing their fresh water into the ocean bed. The birds songs travelling through my head overpowered the pain on my body. I was ready for another day.

We started off with a series of climbing ladders. I’m not sure if I got used to them, but I didn’t mind them. I had a couple days left on the trail and I was going to win. The clouds rolled in but it never rained. The overcast weather was ideal. There were some really nice stretches in the forest, and cliffside paths, with the ocean appearing in occasional views. I had to pause to appreciate the precious details of my surroundings. It was the lush greens of the trees, the water dripping from the tip of the branches, the sun filtering its timid rays through the fog, the sea foam caressing the sand…

It made me realize that since I’ve been on the trail, my mind never wandered like it does back home. I was so focused on each moment, on each step, free of appreciating the perfection of every circumstances. My mind wasn’t trapped in the past or the future. I was right there, in the reality of the moment, precisely where I was supposed to be.

When we arrived to Darling Creek, we found ourselves completely alone in wilderness. Hikers kept going further on to the next camp. We decided to stay, and enjoyed the whole beach to ourselves. We finally managed to have a raging bonfire, dry our clothes and boots, carved our names on a buoy and share our highlights of our trip, while sipping on the last drops of our whisky and savouring the ice cider I kept for our last night.

The sun came out for a last show of setting light and glow.

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Day 7: Push your limits
Darling Creek to Pachena Bay- 14km

We rose up to a moon crescent and a starry sky. It was 4am and we had a big day ahead of us. We couldn’t miss our shuttle in Pachena Bay back to Gordon River, and considering our slow pace, we had to have an early start. We poured the Bailey’s we kept for that morning into our coffees. I don’t know if it was the caffeine I didn’t have in a week, or the small dose of alcohol in my body, or a sudden boost of stamina on my last day, but I felt awake and energized. I knew I had to push myself even more today than the others. I had to, and I would. I was committed to accomplish this hike with bliss.

The first couple of kms were on the pebbled beach. We arrived at the other camp where everybody were still snoozing. We tiptoed through the tents and took the trail inland, making our way through the forest in the darkness of dusk.

This last stretch was the easiest of the whole trail, and we crunched distance like superheroes. I didn’t let my back, nor my blisters, nor my aching knee, nor my exhaustion discourage me. I was in such a mindset to push and keep going that I couldn’t feel anything anymore but my mind taking over my body. I was in a state I haven’t been in while, pushing myself well beyond what I thought were my limitations. I became numb to my pain, and felt the exhaustive exhilaration of pushing myself to my limits, with a burning desire to make it to the end.

We travelled 14km in less than 3 hours. And then there it was, the end. We have arrived.

We did it.

We signed off and unloaded our packs from our backs. We took off our shoes and our gaiters. We were the first ones of the day to complete the hike, and we had 4 hours before our shuttle. So we took the trail that headed to the white sand beach.

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Humbled and blissed

The coastal trail had humbled me. I was brought into the flow of life, embracing the immense beauty and magic of each moment. I had pushed myself further that I’ve gone before, and discovered a strength within that assured me that I could achieve anything I set my mind to.

The WCT reminded me the importance of setting ourselves goals, pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, challenging ourselves to take one more step, running when we can’t walk anymore. By physically and mentally pushing ourselves, we discover that pain and exhaustion lead to incredible feelings of joy and success.

Life is about choosing our own path, taking risks, embracing uncertainty, taking the unpredictable turn, falling down, getting up, and never giving up when the road gets tough. We are stronger and greater than we think, and are capable of anything we set ourselves for. As long as we keep moving forward. As long as we have the right mindset and are not afraid to cross the creek and get wet.

5 Free Winter Outdoor Activities To Do In The Sea-to-Sky Corridor On A Rainy Day

“There is no bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.”

-Ranulf Fiennes

Some people tend to find inconvenience under atmospheric precipitation. They fear to get wet, to get cold, to soak their hair, to ruin their makeup, to get lost in the fog, or to be drown in sadness. Of course I am not talking about getting outdoors during a severe natural disaster. I’m insinuating getting outside and benefitting from the fresh air while the sky is grey, the temperature is chill and raindrops fall from the clouds. We don’t need to be kids to fill in warm clothes, a waterproof jacket and rubber boots. Adults can also find amusement in jumping in puddles and mud under a drizzle or a heavy downpour. At least, I do. I enjoy those simple pleasures and as childish as it sounds, it makes me happy: It makes me present in the moment.

February has been a rather rainy month in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor with chill winter air sweeping through the valley. Warmer days are in the forecast, and since spring is around the corner, with unpredictable weather, it’s important to remember that it is not a rainy winter day that should cancel our outdoor adventures. I made a list of 5 free winter outdoor activities you can do in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor on a rainy day :

Chase waterfalls

The Sea-to-Sky Country offers 5 stunning waterfalls: Shannon Falls, Brandywine Falls, Alexander Falls, Rainbow Falls, and Nairn Falls. Most of them are just a short hike from the parking lots, allowing you to wind through magical and impressive rainforests before accessing impressive rushing and crashing cascades. There is nothing I like more than walking through a forest under the rain. There is something so soothing about the sound of the rain falling through the tall trees, the freshness of the air and the scent of the earth soaking every drop. There is something so relaxing and purifying about standing at the bottom of a waterfall, breathing the pure air, and feeling the mist of the water pouring vigorously in front of us.

To know more about the waterfalls, visit: http://www.whistlerhiatus.com

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Go eagle watching

Squamish welcomes a significant number of wintering bald eagles from all over the Pacific Northwest each year. They congregate along the Squamish and Cheakamus Rivers to feed on salmon carcasses. It is a great spectacle to observe them perched in the trees, or flying gracefully above the water. The large gathering of eagles is prominent from December to March.

To know more about eagle watching in Squamish, visit: http://www.exploresquamish.com

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Soak in the hot springs

We are spoiled with two incredible, natural and road-accessible hot springs. Key Hole Hot Springs are found 100 km from Whistler, down Pemberton Meadows and up the Upper Lillooet Service Road. Sloquet Hot Springs are located about 142km from Whistler, and most of the drive is on the In-Shuck-Ch Forest Service Road, a gravel road along Lillooet Lake (be aware that snow might cover the road up to Sloquet. Watch the road conditions before you head up). What’s better than to soak in the warmth of mineral-rich pools, tucked into the wilderness, while the rain falls over your head.

To know more about the hot springs, visit: http://www.whistlerhiatus.com

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Bike the trails

If you have a cross-country bike, you are up for a treat. The Sea-to-Sky Corridor has an extensive trail network to explore, rain or shine. Squamish has the best spots to bike in the winter, due to its lack of snow at lower elevation. While mostly sheltered by the thick trees, you can find challenge in pedaling up and down muddy and wet surfaces. There is something cleansing about biking under the rain through the rainforest. A sense of pure joy and freedom.

To know more about the Squamish off-road trails, visit: http://mountainbikingbc.ca

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Photo taken from: http://www.movetosquamish.ca

Walk a dog

If you can’t find any friends willing to embrace the rain with you, why not drop in at your local shelter and see the possibility to walk a dog? Dogs don’t complain about being wet or cold. They wear the warm fur and will wag their tail at the idea of playing in puddles and mud with you. Not only does it allow you to get outside and get some fresh air, but you are also helping a furry friend to stretch its legs. Dog shelters welcome responsible dog lovers to apply as volunteers and drop in to take a dog for a walk.

To know more about these services, visit: Whistler Wag, Animal Control and Pound, and SPCA.

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So next time you see the rain, dress properly, wear the right attitude, and embrace the weather. Trust me, bad weather often looks worse from a window. So get out there and get wet!

2015 Challenge Accomplished: 20 Adventures In the PNW ✓

In 2015, I chose not to travel overseas in order to save money and focus on other projects. It was a tough decision, since I have been travelling around the globe annually for the past 14 years. It was something I had to do, in order to financially get back on track and work on my future. But not travelling doesn’t mean not exploring. I am fortunate to live in an area that offers such an incredible playground. So at the beginning of the year, I challenged myself in doing at least 20 adventures around the beautiful Pacific North West. 

#1. Snowboard trip to Red Mountain, Rossland.

#2. Winter canoeing on Green Lake.

#3. Nordic skiing nights at Callaghan Country.

#4. Fly over the Pemberton Icefield to the Meager Creek hotsprings aboard a helicopter.  

#5. Hike the Sea-to-Sky trail from Whistler to Brandywine.

#6. Camping-canoe trip to Marble Canyon.

#7. Hike to Stawamus Chief to catch the last rays of sunset.

#8. Take a floatplane to Vancouver from Whistler.

#9. Play tourists and bicycle Vancouver’s famous seawall, and through Stanley Park.

#10. Surf trip to Tofino.

#11. Hike Joffre Lakes.

#12. Weekend escapes to Anderson Lake.

#13. Ocean camping in the Gulf Islands.

#14. Family trip to Hornby Island.

#15. Pig roasting at a beach in the middle of a mountain to celebrate the end of the summer.

#16. Night canoeing under a full moon at Callaghan Lake.

#17. Hike the Skywalk trail up to Iceberg Lake.

#18. Spend a night at a cabin in the backcountry.

#19. Night iceskating under the full moon at Joffre Lakes.

But the most amazing adventure of the year:

#20. I bought my first home (on wheels)! I am now living off the grid, a lifestyle I’ve always dreamt about.

It is important to pause once in a while and look what’s around us. We don’t always have to travel across the globe to explore new paths and be treated with incredible views. Beauties are within reach and waiting to be discovered. And sometimes, it is the people who tag along, our home buddies, furry friends or family that make the journey worth of all beauties.

I am excited for 2016. I am well-rested, projects in hand and ready to move mountains! I wish you all a safe journey to the new year, filled with new beginnings, new dreams and new adventures!

La Crémaillère: First Day At the New Home

We are pretty excited about our new purchase: a home on wheels. 

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 An old gondola for storage space.  

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Cracking the first of many bottle of sparkling.

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Cheering to my new setting.

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Loving my new backyard.

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And the views are to die for.

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Much better than TV.

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Getting cozy.

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Friendly neighbourhood. And again, can’t beat the view.

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The sun painted the mountains of a stunning alpenglow.

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And left the sky with a blood moon.

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Not bad for a first day at our new home.

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RV Budgeting: Cost and Expenses

RV living seems like a good way to save money while living in a natural setting. While saving a chunk of money on rent and bills monthly, and with the possibility of re-selling the home at an equivalent price, there are costs and expenses to be aware of before purchasing a mobile home.

Cost:

-Trailer: ( $5,000) 

Our budget was on average $4,000. We knew we wanted a trailer with slide-out, 25ft+, and in a decent shape (no mold, no leaks). After several weeks of research, we realized that we had to raise up our budget a bit in order to get something closer to what we needed. We found our home on wheels on Craigslist. After driving a couple hours to see it, we realized that pictures aren’t always accurate and sometimes it is a “what-you-see-is-what-you-get” kinda deal. The trailer was listed at $5,500 and we managed to get it at $5,000.

Expenses:

-Insurances and Transfer Fees: ($150)

Insurances always depend what kind of vehicle you have and what you need. Insuring a trailer for a year is normally very cheap.

-Towing: ($350)

Since we are parking our trailer at the same location for a few months, we didn’t feel the urge on installing a fifth wheel itch on the truck. Instead, we hired someone from Craigslist that charged a flat rate to tow our fifth wheel to our town (200km). It was cheaper than buying and installing the hitch, and it was done professionally and safely.

-Repairs ($225 so far)

You never know what to truly expect when you purchase a used recreational vehicle. So be ready for the unexpected!

  • Floor: wood laminate on Craigslist: $75
  • Fix leaks (yeah, there were leaks!): plastic cement+ tools: $50
  • Replacing fridge: $100

-Making It Home: ($400)

  • Coffee table: $25
  • Closet and shoe organizers: $40
  • Fluffy blankets, and pillow cases: $20
  • 2 Electric heaters: $135
  • Electric fireplace: $150
  • 2×4 for deck and stairs: 30

-Propane tanks: ($16/mth)

We have 2 propane tanks. They seem to cost about $16 each to fill up where we live. We estimate that we will use one a month for cooking and water heating. As we have full hookups, we will try to solely heat with electric heaters to save on propane.

-Winterizing 

My partner works construction so he has leftover material and gets good deals. He got sheets of plywood that we put around the trailer, as well as foam panels to insulate. We still need to cover the pipes and protect the roof. To be continued…

Total: $6,000

In all, so far, we spent just over $6,000 for our new home. We are realizing that owning and living in an RV during the winter months could become an expensive lifestyle. We already spent over $1,000 just to make it ready to move in and we haven’t put a roof on it for the winter yet. That might be the next thing to be put on our list. This is all new and exciting and we are always aware of possible complication. Life in a RV will definitely be quite an adventure!

Stay tuned!

Considering the RV Life: Is This For You?

I am a home owner. A home on wheels owner. That feels good to say. Plus, I don’t owe any mortgage and I don’t pay someone else’s mortgage. It might not be luxurious like a home with multiple bedrooms, a nice jetted tub or double car garage. I also don’t own the land. But it has a functional kitchen, a cozy living room, a comfy bedroom, a shower and a flush-able toilet. And, I get to choose my backyard and my view whenever I want. What else do I need, really?

Owning and living in a trailer is something I always considered doing. We had a truck camper a few years ago that we used for camping on rainy weekends and in the chill autumn days. Then we traded it for a 24′ trailer that ended up staying in the backyard for a whole summer until we traded it for a boat. At the time, we weren’t ready to live out of our town, further from our social lives. But years went by, and we grew up as the town developed, and after the series of past events, we decided it was the time to invest into a home.

So the idea of living in a trailer came back to mind. We saw immediately the BENEFITS of the RV life:

Not dealing with landlords Finding a place to rent in town for 2 adults, 2 dogs, 2 vehicles, and big toys isn’t easy at all. While the majority of accommodation aren’t pet friendly, only a few have parking for more than one vehicle. As for the toys, better find a place to store them. There was no way we could sign up for another year of steep rent and strict restrictions. We chose to stay at a RV Park/campground for the winter months. There are no restrictions on pets, parking, or toys. We go day per day, and have the freedom to leave whenever we want.

Save money on rent and bills The daily rate includes full hook-ups (hydro + running water) and wi-fi Internet. There are laundry facilities and hot showers on site. Staying at a RV Park will allow us to save around $1,000 on rent and bills monthly.

Personal ownership  Owning a home without owing a mortgage is absolutely amazing. With $5,000 we managed to find a trailer that suited our needs. With a little bit of TLC and making it ready for the colder months, we are excited to turn this vehicle into a cozy home. And after the winter, we have the freedom to travel, or stay, or re-sell it, hopefully, at a similar price.

Having the freedom to wake up in the setting that you want To wake up into nature, in a safe refuge tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the resort is refreshing and grounding. Whether you choose to live on the road, or stay at a same place for a period of time, the advantage of RV living is to have the possibility to choose your backyard.

RV living seems like an attractive lifestyle. But before stepping into anything serious, there are a few THINGS TO PUT INTO CONSIDERATION:

Can you live the compact life? Depending on what size and type of trailer you choose, it is most likely to be slightly smaller than your previous accommodation. Getting used to a smaller space is something to think about, especially if there is more than you living in. As for us, we left a 300sq ft bachelor to move into a 280sq ft trailer. We should be fine.

Can you get rid of things you don’t need? Downsizing, downsizing, downsizing. I’ve been downsizing every time I’ve been moving, but this time is crucial for this new lifestyle. I had to get rid of things I didn’t need, or haven’t used in the past year. I donated TONS of clothing to my local women’s shelter and gave stuff to friends. As much as it was hard to give away certain items, it felt good and refreshing to own little, living off the essentials.

Are you a fixer-upper, or have a friend that is? Having a trailer is like having a car: if you buy new, less work you’ll have to put in it right away. If you buy used, there are always things that need to be fixed. Either way, regular care and maintenance is needed. When we purchased our trailer, we had to fix the leaks on the roof, rip the moldy carpet, put a new floor, and now we have to winterize it and possibly build a roof for the winter. Luckily, my partner is very handy and that helps a lot. A community at a RV Park is usually very tight, and everybody will most likely be happy to help out.

Are you ok with living further from town, but closer to nature? RV parks are most likely to be nestled in a natural surrounding. It is a return to the basics, living off-grid, away from the hustle and bustle. You might trade the cable TV to a good book, the gym for a walk in nature, and the nightclub to a bonfire with neighbours. I guess I was always meant for this!

Are you willing to acclimatize to a smaller space in order to have an incredible backyard? Are you willing to own less to be able to live more? Are you a fixer upper and are looking to save money on rent, own your home and stop paying for someone else’s mortgage? Are you looking for an adventuresome lifestyle, away from the crowds, and closer to nature? Then look no further. RV living is just what you need.

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My new neighbourhood and backyard.

RV Living: I Bought A Trailer

The insurance lady handled back the papers to me: “Congratulations! You are officially the owner of a trailer.” I looked at her, a most satisfied smile spreading from my face to my whole body. She had no idea what this meant to me.

After living predominantly in the beautiful resort town of Whistler for the past 12 years, it was time for a change. This small town has done amazingly for me during all those years: incredible nature hiking trails, quiet lakes, immense snowboarding terrain, tight community, inspiring people. But things have started to develop: The town has grown into becoming one of the most popular four season resorts in the world, hosting millions of visitors every year. Not only the village, the town and the hills are busier, but the trails are crowded, the lakes populated and the secret spots no so secret anymore. I get it. This is how resorts work. If it wasn’t for tourism, this town wouldn’t be what it is today… That’s what we wanted right?

This past summer was the busiest season in Whistler’s history. Of course that’s great, for businesses and for employees to bank on some good money. But the labour shortage brought exhaustion to locals stretching crazy hours and loosing sanity. This labour shortage was, in part, a result of a lack of accommodation. With more and more outsiders buying properties, and Internet platforms such as AirBnB attracting money hungry investors, it left Whistler with barely any accommodation to rent for long-term tenants. And for the lucky ones that found a roof, they could expect to pay 70% of their income just on rent. With a labour shortage, laughable steep rent, and more tourists to cater to, a 10+ hour day, 7 days a week schedule wasn’t surprising to hear. We don’t live in this beautiful town solely to work: we are here to live an experience. How can we do so in such circumstances?

A couple months ago, I received an email from my landlord. They told me that the house was sold and I had a month and a half to move. When I was advised, I was assured I would be able to finish the 7 remaining months on my lease. But the new owners didn’t want tenants, and rather do a nightly rental business with the place. I guess when you buy a million dollar home you do whatever you want, even if it is to dump people in the houseless streets just before winter. It is the second time this year this happened to me. I am a mature and professional adult, and a clean and quiet tenant with great references. That was it: I was done with landlords. I was done with their unbelievable restrictions, greediness and paucity of compassion. I was ready to have my own place, but I wasn’t financially ready for Whistler’s outlandish real estate.

So I bought a trailer.

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Stay tuned as I live the RV life and share my experiences with you!

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!