British Columbia Summer Visit

For the past few years I’ve been spending the month of July in Canada visiting family and old friends, staying primarily in Vancouver, but also visiting the central region of British Columbia known as the Okanagan, as well as Vancouver Island. I love returning to cosmopolitan Vancouver for so many reasons – many shared also by Condé Nast Traveler readers who continually rate it as one ten best cities in the world. Surrounded by mountains and ocean, its rugged beauty attracts people from around the world, to both live and visit. Vancouver is a city of ethnic diversity. A short walk down any street will have you hearing languages and seeing people from around the globe. And those that have come have brought their culture, especially their cuisine, making it a great food city as well.

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2016 Summer BC Tour

July was spent in British Columbia, touring the province to meet up with family and friends. I began in Vancouver, (by myself, Flo stayed in France), where most of my family now lives, and for good reason, it’s an amazing place. Decent weather, great people, incredible geography and easy access to all parts of the province. Downtown Vancouver is situated on a peninsula, although it is almost an island in many respects. In the foreground in the photo below is narrow inlet called False Creek, while the very dark green part in the background is Stanley Park. You can bike, skate, run or walk the whole circumference of the city along the shoreline and rarely have to cross a street.

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Callagnan & Cirque Lake, Whistler, BC

Have had the pleasure to enjoy a few hikes in and around Whistler, such as Garibaldi, and Joffre Lakes, but this most recent visit took me to Callagnan park with my cousin Matt, to paddle board across Callagnan Lake and then hike up to Cirque Lake. Callagnan Park is about halfway up Highway 99, between Squamish and Whistler. Sheltered by surrounding mountains, Callaghan Lake was so calm and mesmerizingly clear that it perfectly reflected back our images on our boards, along with the mountains and glaciers that formed our backdrop. WhistlerHiatus has this to say about a “cirque” lake:

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Green Lake, Whistler, BC, Canada

Our family has been enjoying Whistler summer and winter vacations for nearly 20 years now, and before that, when I was living back in Canada, my father was the first manager of the Blackcomb Lodge so I spent a good amount of time up there skiing in the winter. Those were the early years of Whistler Village and back then it was just hopeful dreams that Whistler would turn out to the be international resort destination, for both summer and winter seasons, that it has become. This past long Labor Day weekend the town was packed, to the point of feeling a little overwhelmed by number of people. We heard languages from around the world as we walked the picturesque village. Afterwards, however, we enjoyed returning to our home on Green Lake, surrounded by pines and evergreens and hardly anyone at home around us.

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Vancouver, Canada

We’ve been seasoned users of for many years, exchanging our home in Punta Mita for most of it, and most recently our apartment in Nice. Just like real estate, home exchanging is about location, location, location; the better the location of your property, the better the exchanges you’ll get. Nice has proven so far to be an excellent property for us to exchange. For the summer of 2014 we did a simultaneous exchange for a lovely apartment in Vancouver, Canada, in the chic neighborhood of Yaletown. The building has a stepped roof, so four units are actually penthouse-like units with very large terraces that overlook a park and the inlet of False Creek. We had one of those units and it couldn’t have been a better location.

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The Canadian Rockies – Icefields Parkway

Moraine Lake and the Moraine Lake Lodge

One of the most beautiful drives in North America is between Banff and Jasper, in British Columbia, called the Icefields Parkway. Spectacular mountain range that offers plenty of incredible viewpoints. We were blessed with great weather during the whole trip.

We’ve got a photo in here of Clearwater, which isn’t along this route, but we started our trip in the Okanagan, headed north through Kamloops, over to Jasper, down to Banff, and then through the Kootenays, returning to the Okanagan. About a 12-day trip.

Places to see:

  • Peyto Lake: Just off the Parkway and a short walk up to a incredible viewpoint of the lake.
  • Moraine Lake and Lodge: Just beautiful. Great, although a workout, trail along the left side of the lake to a high viewpoint (photo below of the lodge was taken from there. Great for canoeing and lots of trails.
  • Maligne Canyon Trail: Very nice walk along the canyon, incredible viewpoints.
  • Athabasca Falls: Along the Parkway.
  • Johnston Canyon Trail: Beautiful, great walk/hike, but as most places, get there early to beat the crowds.

Kokanee Glacier Hike

Early morning light on Six Mile Lakes

This intermediate hike takes you right up to the Kokanee Glacier. For the first part of it, you can do it with regular shoes, but as you get up to the glacier, you’ll want to have good hiking shoes as the rock is very loose. But that’s quite a ways up the trail and most people only go as far as the provincial cabin, a couple of hours up the trail.

The Kokanee Glacier is near at the picturesque town of Nelson, just off of an arm of Kootenay Lake. When heading east of Nelson (you go over the bridge), you’ll see a sign for the Kootenay Glacier on your left. You drive up about a 1/2 hour to Six Miles Lakes, where there is parking available. You’ll see that a number of cars have protection around their tires. These are the people who are camping overnight, as it seems the porcupines like to come out at night and chew on the tires! If you are just there for a day hike, you won’t need to do this.

To get up to the Glacier its about a six-hour, there and back hike. A long, but beautiful trip.