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


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


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


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

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.


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!

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.


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!

A Sunday Stroll

Life on the road is absolutely exhilarating. But you can’t always be trotting from country to country eternally. You eventually have to go back home to recharge the battery and you soon fall back into routine. You feel trapped in normality and daydream of your next destination. But until you set sails and explore the whole wide world again, you have to remember that you also live in a place that is worth discovering and spending time in.

As my home base, I chose Whistler, a Canadian resort town located in the southern Pacific Ranges of the Coast Mountains of British Columbia. Living here is an outdoor lovers’ dream. Not only is Whistler known as one of the best skiiing destinations in the world, but it also offers many great lakes to fish, challenging mountains to hike, stunning waterfalls to photograph, wilderness grounds to camp, trails to run, hike and bike. The senses are pleased everyday with nature and it is a place of endless adventures.

This Sunday, my friend Cori and I planned a leisure walk to Brandywine Falls. This provincial park is situated south of Whistler in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor. There is access to the waterfalls from the parking lot, involving an easy and short walk. But ‘easy’ isn’t how we like to spend our Sundays, so we decided to begin our excursion in Whistler and walk the Sea-to-Sky Trail, just to spice things up a notch. The Sea-to-Sky Trail is a 180km wide dirt and gravel trail starting in Squamish and stretching all the way up to D’Arcy. It is great for biking and hiking, and offers scenic sights all along the way. photo 1-8 We parked in the southern portion of Whistler, Function Junction, and accessed the trail from the road. Along with our 4 furry canine companions, we began our excursion. IMG_6172   The sun filtered its soft light through the massive Douglas-Firs and Western Red Cedars and glittered with dew resting on their branches. We embraced the essence of nature as we meandered through the beautiful coastal forest. IMG_6177 We crossed a couple of suspended bridges overlapping the Cheakamus River. We watched the crashing water flowing aggressively underneath our feet. IMG_6180 As we approached our destination, strolling through a pine forest and lava beds, we could hear the roaring sounds of the water amplifying. When we arrived to the platform viewpoint, we admired the 66m waterfall thundering down the valley below. We cracked our bottle of bubbles and contemplated the water gushing from the abrupt cliff and the impressive gorge holding such a spectacle. IMG_6181 As the rain peaked out of the clouds and cooled off our heating bodies, we packed our bags and headed back. We were sheltered by the thick trees standing strong and high and we ascended the winding trail. IMG_6178 Our legs were burning and our conversations fading. Everytime we slowed the pace, all dogs rested in the moss, tongue out and reaching for air. IMG_6176 We arrived at the car at dusk, soaked and muddy, with the greatest smile of satisfaction. Our leisure walk ended up being a 25km adventure hike. This excursion reminded me how fortunate I am to be living in a place of such natural beauties.


You don’t always need to fly to satisfy your wanderlust. Whether you live in a city, on a coastal town or in the mountains, your home has hidden gems ready to be discovered. You can apply the spirit of travel at home, by simply being mindful and aware of what is around you. Open yourself to your surroundings, be curious, and have an adventurous mind. By appreciating the little things, and embracing the challenges, you become part of the beauty. And that’s the most wonderful adventure of all!


Totally Pampered!

This post has also been published on Clapway.

I have been adventuring a lot lately, discovering dirt roads, camping new grounds, surfing new waves, hiking new peaks. But this time, for my friend Julie’s birthday, I decided it would be nice to get a little less dirty, and a little more sassy.

Starting off the day with a scenic flight to Vancouver from Whistler aboard one of Harbour Air‘s float planes, seemed like the ideal start to a day of indulgences. So on Saturday morning, after breakfasts of delicious omelettes and mimosas on the patio of Table Nineteen, at Nicklaus North Golf Course, we boarded our Beaver aircraft.

We took off from the calm glacier-fed waters of Green Lake and flew over the town of Whistler, hugging the mountains of Whistler and Blackcomb. As we ascended in a cloudless sky, we noticed below the familiars: the lakes we swim, the trails we hike, the roads we drive. I even spotted my house!

We were left in awe and wonder as we aviated over the Garibaldi Range of the Coast Mountains, flying up close to the mighty Black Tusk, a pinnacle of volcanic rock erecting 2,319m above sea level.

As we travelled south towards the big city, we looked upon the magnificent Stawamus Chief, a granite dome towering over 700m above water. Ahead laid a picturesque image of the majestic Howe Sound.


We approached Vancouver, and admired the sailboats soaking in the sun in the Burrard Inlet, between the city and the North Shore Mountains. We commenced our descent in the downtown’s harbour, where we glimpsed at the spectacular Lions Gates Bridge on our right, and two massive cruise ships on our left, preparing to set sail to Alaska. Our eyes were pleased with splendors, and our hearts filled with joy and gratitude.

Once we landed in Vancouver’s downtown, we decided to rent bicycles and play tourists for the day. We pedaled around the famous Stanley Park‘s SeaWall, a 9km waterfront paved path, looping around the urban park. We paused for a quick refreshment where we made friends with geese grazing on grasses in the field.

After a couple hours of cycling and wandering, it felt right to head to a nail spa to rest, relax and simply get pampered. We went to Robson Nail & Spa where we had “manis & pedis” while sitting comfortably in a massage chair and sipping on green tea.


After our beauty treatments, we walked up Robson Street. We chose Ebisu for dinner where we splurged on delicious cocktails and wine and regaled on very unique sushis.


With our palates pleased and our bellies satisfied from a great meal, we headed to our hotel room at Executive Hotel Le Soleil, a 4-diamond luxurious boutique hotel located in the heart of downtown, a complimentary birthday gift from a friend of Julie’s. We popped champagne and cheered for a spectacular day of indulgences.


We live in a world where we tend to spend more time working than living, and find ourselves guilty of forgetting to take care of our own heart, mind and body. Never forget to reward yourself occasionally. Whether they are daily little pleasures, or sporadic extravagant expenditures, pampering ourselves allows us to re-emerge into our daily routines with extra confidence, boosted self-esteem, and increased energy. Not only does pampering enhance our inner glow, but it also makes us feel special and worthy. Every boy deserves to be spoiled once in a while and every girl deserves to feel like a princess from time to time. So go ahead and pamper yourself, not only because you deserve it, but because you are worth it!


Rainbow Lake – Whistler, BC

Summer has been magnificent so far with suns sparkling the forecast everyday and warm, pleasant temperatures reaching 30˚C each afternoon. Rain was needed and so it did for a couple of days, just enough to soak the dryness of the forest and revive the grass and trees of their pure lush greens.

It is wildflower season and it is the perfect time to undertake a hike. There are so many wonderful options here in the Sea-to-Sky corridor, from Squamish to D’arcy, from short easy hikes, to strenuous day hikes, to multi-day hikes. Unfortunately, most of them are part of provincial parks, like Garibaldi Park, or  are drinking water supply areas so dogs are not allowed on the trails. There are also regulations for camping and swimming at certain spots. Make sure you read all signs and recommendations before you start your alpine excursion.

I called Claudel on Friday morning and see if she could come up from Squamish and meet me in Whistler. I haven’t seen her in a while and I missed her down-to-earth, calm and wise personality. She is also a huge nature lover and studies Fish, Wildlife and Recreation at BCIT.  She is the perfect partner for this hiking mission. She agreed to meet me on Monday morning.

We decided to go to the Rainbow Lake Trail, a 16km round-trip hike reaching 850m in 8km. We also decided to bring the dogs, as you are allowed to do so until the intake and then you have to maintain them on leash (I would’ve felt guilty otherwise to sweat for 16km without my dogs).

rainbow lake trail topo map

We travelled up the trail through a forest of Western Red Cedars, Black Spruces, Lodgepole Pines, Douglas firs and Western Hemlocks, traversing wooden platforms over marshlands. The essence of nature was fresh and earthy. Claudel stopped here and there, picking up wild ginger from the soil and identifying some leaves and pieces of bark from the trees.

The well-marked trail was easy to follow and was also well-maintained. However, the mosquitos and flies kept sticking to our sudor as soon as we paused to catch our breath. So we continued moving at a steady pace (gosh I’m not in shape!).

We passed a beautiful waterfall where we stopped in the breeze and let our drinking water slide through our dehydrated throats. Half way there!

After perspiration, bug bites, heart pumping and thighs burning, we arrived to our destination. We have reached the summit and found the tranquil alpine lake peacefully resting in the middle of a garden of wildflowers, surrounded by mountains peeking through a baldachin forest.

We ended up spending 3 hours atop, laying in a bed of wildflowers sipping on rewarding mimosas between buzzes of bugs and bees. We conversed about life: the things we have accomplished, the things we want to achieve. Life surely goes by fast and there is so much left to undertake. And that Monday of late July we attained that summit.

Just like life, a little of determination, courage and commitment can bring you to the top. Keep pushing yourself, even if it itches. It’s never supposed to be easy. Don’t give up, because once you arrive on top, you know you have succeeded. And that feeling is unique to yourself, because only you know how hard you worked for it. Enjoy it. Embrace it.  And don’t forget to smell the roses along way 😉

What to pack:

  • Water bottle
  • Lunch (sandwich, fruits, granola bar, nuts, etc.)
  • Towel
  • Bathing suit
  • Sunscreen
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Flashlight
  • Lighter
  • Whistle
  • Bear bells

* Don’t forget you only want to pack the necessary. It might be a long haul. However, always leave room for the sparkling 😉

What to wear:

  • Good hiking shoes
  • Sunglasses
  • Hat
  • Comfortable clothes

Information websites and lists of trails in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor:




Happy trails everyone!

The Road to Home

As soon as flight AA1746 from Grand Cayman landed its wheels on the wet tarmac of Vancouver’s International airport, a double spiral of anxiety and excitement swirled inside my guts. Delicate sleet danced softly toward the ground. I disembarked the craft and followed a crowd of Asian-Canadian passengers. The scents of Tim Horton’s fresh coffee and sugar donuts was an enticing welcome.

The walk towards the exit seemed for ever long. I was so excited to see him, and the snow, and the mountains. He stood motionless in the middle of a time-lapsed crowd, holding a bouquet of  honeysuckles. I knew nothing would have really changed, even after nearly two years of my being away on an island but still, the beard on his face made me feel like I had been forever gone.

“The city never snows. Only for you”, he said.

We drove through the city, entering the pumping heart of downtown. The workers in the food stalls on Granville St. were hustling to keep up with the hungry mass and the smells of smokey hot-dogs grilling on charcoals and sweet crepes being poured on hot rocks made me salivate on my car seat. And as the evening crowd started to assemble on the outdoor heated patios of Robson St., the consumers struggled on the sidewalk overburdened with shopping bags. The homeless were curled up at each corners with a collection of decrepit winter supplies.

When we arrived at the entrance of Lions Gate Bridge, I looked through the fogged windshield and glimpsed at the two lions sculptures standing strong and tall. Their 2010 Olympic red scarfs floated in the cold wind. Behind, the porch lights of the houses of the North Shore started to glimmer against the dark mountains. Below, the cargo boats slowly pursued their path.

We drove north on winding Highway 99 into the steep and rugged Coast mountains. The snow stopped, revealing the rays of a late autumn sunset reflecting on the Pacific ocean. We made our way through the Sea-to-Sky corridor, driving by past ancient volcanoes, dramatic valleys, snowcapped mountains and gleaming ocean. Sailboats caught the last beam of light on the turquoise waters of the fjord of Howe Sound. A scenic journey through picturesque landscape of familiar grounds.


As we passed the port town of Squamish, a cloud covered the sky, sending glittering snow and leaving a delicate white veil on the asphalt. Soon enough we were in a magical tunnel of snowflakes climbing into paradise.

It was a dark night when we arrived, however the village was a shimmer of colourful lights. Children wearing oversized Canucks jerseys were having a snowball fight in the public square. Honeymooners strolled through the village, holding hands and licking chocolate chip ice cream cones from Cow’s. An extensive family from Mexico was sitting on a bench by Zog’s sipping hot chocolates and savouring delicious BeaverTail sweet delicatessens.

He held my hand and, as the snow continued to glitter the little resort town of Whistler, he looked into my eyes and said: “Welcome home”.