PAUL and Wendy Reilly of Orrvale just love the outdoor lifestyle, they have travelled much of Australia camping out so when they decided to visit Canada the outdoor lifestyle was the way to go.
Flying into British Columbia, their first stop was Vancouver. From there they headed to Vancouver Island and onto the remote location of Port Hardy on the North Eastern end of the Island, staying at Telegraph Cove. It was September and the bears were out in force and so were the Salmon, the bears would man the falls and catch the salmon as they swam up stream.
Wendy and Paul decided to go on a Drift Boat so they could see the bears up close and did they ever, so many bears both on the bank and in the water. Back at their camp they stayed on a small island in tents, they were told there were no bears on the island but bears can swim so it pays to be alert.
They used sea Kayaks to explore the area with whale watching high on the agenda. During one trip they had eight humpbacks around them and saw orca’s as well.
On leaving the area, they took a bus to Nanaimo and hired a car driving to Tofino, Wendy describes the area as Canada’s Byron Bay. From here they explored the national Park and learnt a lot about Canada’s First Nation People.
When traveling back to Victoria on Vancouver Island, they took the opportunity to visit The Butchart Gardens, a massive complex of different gardens established in an old cement quarry. As Wendy says, if you are into gardening then this is a must see and over a million people a year agree with her.
They then took a light plane to Bella Coola, a remote location where they could explore nature up close. They hired a 4X4 vehicle and set off to explore the Provincial Park taking to dirt tracks and making their way up into the mountains. From there they followed a small walking track to the location of a huge lake, the view was spectacular, but all the time they kept an eye open for any bears in the area.
Wendy says you have to be on guard and take precautions against Grizzly and Black Bears. They locked their food and cooking utensils in the car so as not to attract the big bears, but they also carried a can of bear deterrent, the spray can which they dubbed ‘Bearoguard’, contains something like pepper spray but you could end up with one hell of a mad bear.
They flew back to Vancouver where they hired a Ford 350 Camper and set off on a two week trip through the Rocky Mountains, first stop was Well’s Gray Provincial Park, the camping was great and there was lots to explore.
They continued onto Jasper where it snowed! The week prior, temperatures had been around 27 degrees, but on this day, it was just 4 degrees and it was cold!
Next, they made their way to Banff and then onto Revel Spoke, where they were close to the USA border. They took on the Crowsnest Highway stretching between British Columbia and Alberta, this took them through some of the most spectacular county they had seen.
This area is dotted with many small towns along the way. They met lots of interesting people and learned more about the history of the area where a lot of Japanese descendants now live, the result of internment camps during the war.
Finally they arrived back in Vancouver just in time to return the camper and head to the airport for the flight home.
Wendy and Paul just loved their time in British Columbia, the people were so friendly and made it so easy to get around. Back home they would like to thank Shirlie From Lyn McNaught Travel in Mooroopna for helping to arrange their trip to Canada’s Great Outdoors.
Until next time,