Valhalla!

Sometimes, the best things happen to you if you just take a map and point at places that sound awesome. VALHALLA. How good does that sound? Of course, I had seen the Ski Movie. I had also heard about the famous Valhalla Powder Cats and the Heliskiing Operations.
So when I recognized the place on the map, it seemed like a good idea to check it out while it was still warm-ish… Because, where there´s good skiing, there´s usually good hiking.
Let me skip ahead: It did not disappoint! Our campsite-bible, mentioned in the previous blogpost, gave away another AMAZING campsite.
It was drizzling a bit when we arrived, but soon the clouds cleared and made room for the last sunshine of the day, which we didn´t have to share with anyone else since there wasn´t a single soul at the campsite.
We had a campfire and prayed for sun for the next day, because we had made plans to hike to the Gimli Ridge.
But the Gods up in Valhalla didn´t hear our prayers, and we woke up the next morning to the sound of rain on our car.
We decided to head out even though the weather was not too good, and soon we found ourselves on the sketchiest “gravel” road to the trailhead /Note to myself: Go for a Four-Wheel-Drive the next time you head to BC.
Somehow we made it to the trailhead and, surprise, we were the only ones in the parking lot. I still hadn´t lost hope that the sun might come out in the afternoon, because the forecast had predicted that, but that hope was gone when it started snowing heavily as soon as we reached the treeline.
So we decided to turn around. STOP! There was some sun. Let´s wait. We hiked back up, because the clouds were moving fast and the sun peeked out every now and then. After another hour, we reached Gimli Ridge, and, even though it didn´t look as on the pictures, we were happy that we made it to the top and actually saw this stunning ridge!
On the way down the road, we met some climbers who told us that the weather was supposed to get better the next day. So we decided to head back to our little paradise, where we were still completely alone.

The next morning looked promising, as the sky cleared around 9am, and we were excited to get closer to those amazing peaks!

As usual in BC, the road to the trailhead was not driveable with our family van, but we were really lucky that a nice canadian couple happened to pass us in their pickup just when we had decided not to go any further on the terrible road and reversed.

We also made some international friends on the hike (the only other hikers up there), but more about that in the second part about Nelson…

The hike to the Gwillim Lakes was just incredible and hard to describe. So enjoy the pictures!

 

BC Backroads

Ever since I´ve been to British Columbia in the winter, it was on my list to see this beautiful place in the summer.

Well, that didn´t work out. By the time we started our trip, the leaves on BC´s trees had already started changing their color.

Traveling BC in the fall means having to deal with cold temperatures, rain and snow. But it also means less crowds, incredible landscapes and colors.

The obvious place to start a trip through BC is, of course, Vancouver. The first stop was the beautiful Lindeman Lake. Do you know those crystal clear, greenish blue shimmering lakes on postcards from BC? This is one of the places, although just a small one. Conveniently located along the highway to Kamloops (which was our next stop), this easy hike near Chiliwack can be extended if you go further to Greendrop Lake, which we couldn´t because we were on a tight schedule.

Hiking to the lake in mid-september was a good decision (no crowds!), also we were lucky with the weather. A dive in the lake was mandatory, but ice cold. It´s an easy walk with one steep section, and it is incredibly rewarding!

A quick stop in Sun Peaks and a successful job interview later, the plans for the winter were sorted and we were looking for some nice, hot weather. And we did find it! The Okanagan Valley is the place where a majority of the Canadian apples, peaches, plums and wine comes from! And where there´s wine, there´s lots of sun and warmth! A very different landscape from the high mountains and dense woods of the rest of BC, this place is a MUST in fall.

Because we had to cancel a multi-day canoe trip on the Bowron Lakes due to the bad weather up north, we were still looking for a truly Canadian canoe experience.

So we stopped at True Outdoors in Kelowna, rented a canoe and just went for it. Our brand new book “Camp Free in BC” gave away the exact directions to amazing places along very sketchy, washed out backroads and we had everything we needed to get out there and explore.

We spent a few nights at Island Lake and Postill Lake just east of Kelowna. Eat, Have a Campfire, Sleep, Paddle, Repeat for four days. Life at its best!

We were sad when we had to return the canoe in Penticton, but more adventures were waiting for us. After having read this amazing blog, we decided to head for the Cathedral Provinicial Park. We didn´t know yet if we could make it to the core area of the park (it´s an 8 hour hike in and back), but thanks to our campsite-bible we knew that even the road to the park had to offer a lot of lonely, wild campsites, and we just couldn´t get enough of those incredible campfires.

For different reasons (time,weather and the lack of equipment for a night in the tent at -5°C), we didn´t make it to the core area of the park. We were devastated, but after driving back to Osoyoos and a night at Haynes Point/Sẁiẁs Provincial Park, we were just excited for the next adventures that awaited us!

Off to Nelson! Stay updated for the next story following shortly!

 

 

Living in VANcouver

I´ve always loved travelling in a Van. For me, at least at this point of my life it is the most amazing way of exploring a country. It is simple, yet so adventurous, and it gives you all the flexibility you need to make the most of your time and money (that is, if the car doesn´t break down) when travelling. It makes you NOT waste time on blog posts or checking Facebook. That´s why this post is a month late. At the beginning of September, I used my Van as a real home. Staying in one place for two weeks in a row and living in the Van without travelling in it was a new experience for me. I was really worried, because I was going to stay in the “big” city of Vancouver, and sleeping in a car in a city is usually not easy. But, as the name suggests, VANcouver has made it easy for me.

Working in landscaping for two weeks, I had to drive to different places everyday. But I never had to worry about forgetting a sweater, my rain coat or my lunch, because my home was always with me. After work, I usually headed to Jericho Beach, where I could take a (cold) shower, cook a nice meal, meet nice people and then park my car in one of the side streets there. Even though there were signs saying “No Overnight Parking”, no police or bylaw ever told me of, which was probably because the Van really doesn´t look like someone is sleeping in there.

I lived where usually only really wealthy people could afford houses – especially considering the housing crisis in Vancouver. And it seemed like I wasn´t the only one. Even though it´s really not always easy to live in our car, it was really rewarding! When I got up early enough, I got to see the most amazing sunrise over the Vancouver skyline. And when I wasn´t too tired, I could watch the sunset on Kitsilano beach, having a beer and some nice food, cooked on the gas stove.

See the pictures below to get an impression of how nice VANcouver can be. Hopefully, the next blogpost will follow soon. If not, be sure that I´m having an adventurous time!

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