Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Houseboating at it´s best - Shuswap Lake, British Columbia




Nestled amongst vast BC mountain valleys, the beautiful Shuswap Lake in the North Okanagan, accessed through Sicamous, British Columbia is the home for Waterway Houseboats. This magnificent lake, half way between Calgary and Vancouver is a recreation paradise. Countless kilometers of pristine shoreline on Shuswap Lake await your exploration. Sun drenched beaches, beautiful waterfalls and awesome fishing are yours to discover from the comfort of your home away from home. Swimming, hiking, water skiing, golfing, ATV riding and mountain biking are some of the activities available for those with the need for more vigorous action.



Before you even reach Sicamous, you’ll see something spectacular - the houseboats. No matter how many people your vacationing with, There are a variety of luxury houseboats to accommodate your needs. From the first class fittings and trim to our comfortable berths and spacious bathrooms, you’ll feel like you're a guest in a first class resort condominium. Some of them even have hot tubs on board!

Spring starts early on Shuswap Lake. You can get a jump on summer fun at Great pre summer rates. April to June 9th is a favourite time of year for many Houseboaters - not only for the fabulous fishing, but also for golfing, hiking, exploring and especially the famous Shuswap Lake Beach Parties that are always going on somewhere on this fabulous lake system. Meet new friends or relax with old friends in one of the hundreds of secluded coves or beaches.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Trophy Mountain Buffalo Ranch Wells Gray Park- British Columbia


We are just adding this property to our website. A welcome newcomer to the Wells Gray Park scene.


Trophy Mountain Buffalo Ranch is located 20 kilometers (12 miles) north of Clearwater, British Columbia. The ranch is surrounded by beautiful Wells Gray Provincial Park. Within a 20 minute drive, you will find many things to do and see, such as; hiking, sightseeing, canoeing, fishing and whitewater rafting. Wells Gray Park is world famous for "Helmcken Falls". The falls are three times higher than Niagara Falls.

As you drive down the driveway, you will see a herd of bison on your left and horses on your right. You will also see a well treed campground. Overlooking the property is the log home Guest House. Enjoy a quiet country stay, where you can eat and watch the Buffalo Roam.

This unique home is built from hand-axed square logs. Built in the late 1920's, it originally resided in Blue River, north of Clearwater. In 1992 the home was taken apart log by log and brought to Clearwater where it was reassembled by Joe Fischer. Along with the Guest House, there is horseback riding, bison farming, campground and a fully licenced restaurant specializing in bison meat.

Enjoy a scenic horseback adventure to Moul Falls. The 3 hour trip takes you by a fabulous view of the Clearwater River and then down to Moul Creek. There you have break to stretch your legs and walk down to the falls. If you go all the way down to the bottom, make sure you take the short trail behind the falls. On the way home we may go faster or stay at a walking pace, depending of the abilities of the group.

You do not have to be an experienced rider to take the trip. As well as seasoned riders, we take people who are beginners and many first timers. Children must be of 10 years old and up to join our guided trips.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cruise North Expeditions


Nobody Gets Closer - News from Cruise North

Cruise North Expeditions and our exciting line-up of expeditions for 2009/10, including our first-ever tour of the Northwest Passage.

Cruise North is a very special company. Owned and operated by and for the Inuit of the region we visit, the company is an investment in protecting the past, and at the same time, preparing for the future. Our top priorities are cultural preservation, community investment and environmental commitment. With each expedition our guests help us to realize our goals.

Our expeditions highlight this region’s striking landscape and seemingly impossible contradictions of nature, where delicate wildflowers survive among rugged terrain and exotic animal life.

We travel to islands in Canada’s Arctic where polar bears, measuring up to 11 feet in length, patrol their favourite beaches, while thick-billed murres in the thousands fly overhead. We visit sites populated by the almost prehistoric-looking muskox, with their crown tusks and skirts of fur. White beluga whales, a walrus colony and all sorts of marine mammals are common sights aboard our expeditions.

We travel to virtually untouched archaeological sites dating back thousands of years, explore remote outposts and follow in the footsteps of early explorers in their search of new lands. On ship and ashore we are greeted by Inuit hosts and visit communities where residents still live traditional lives by harvesting from the land and speaking the Inuit language of Inuktitut.

While relaxing on deck, we glide alongside immense icebergs thousands of years old, and take in the scenery of rolling tundra and towering fiords.

This is the Cruise North experience. Join us for an unforgettable and authentic journey to catch the spirit of the North.

All Bookable through Frontier Canada - www.frontier-canada.co.uk

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

One of my favourite hotels in Ontario


Arowhon Pines - Algonquin Park - Ontario


Arowhon Pines is a small, rustic 50-room summer resort located in the heart of Algonquin Park, a huge nature and wildlife preserve. Arowhon Pines is on the shores of Little Joe Lake from where you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the woods of the Canadian north. Perfect for a peaceful getaway, honeymoon or to celebrate an anniversary.

The tranquillity of Arowhon Pines' natural setting amidst lakes, rivers and forests filled with wildlife - myriad of birds, moose, deer, fox - seeps into your soul. They combine this spectacular peaceful location with a renowned kitchen, warm hospitality and attentive service - your assurance of this is the fact that 60 per cent of guests return year after year.

The rustic log cabins range in size from three, four, eight and twelve bedrooms. All bedrooms, furnished with antique pine furniture, have ensuite bathrooms with robes, electric heat and hair dryers. Each shared cabin has a spacious central lounge with comfortable chairs and couches around a wood burning fireplace. The one and two bedroom suites, each in their own building, have a lounge, fireplace and private deck.

In keeping with Arowhon's approach to a relaxed and peaceful holiday in the woods, there are no televisions or radios in the rooms. Outside telephones are centrally located. In the evenings guests watch a movie, drop by an impromptu bonfire, take a moonlight paddle or enjoy meeting others from around the world in the lounge.

Arrowhon Pines is a pretty three hour drive from Toronto and Ottawa - and is open from late May to Thanksgiving.

Aboriginal Journeys - Campbell River, British Columbia





Aboriginal Journeys is a family owned and operated First Nations wildlife viewing and adventure tour company located in Campbell River on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada within the traditional territory of the Laichwiltach (Native) peoples.

They offer awe-inspiring wildlife, marine life, and nature-viewing excursions through some of the most scenic areas found anywhere in the world. Enjoy Whale Watching, Grizzly Bear viewing, Black Bears, soaring Eagles, playful Dolphins, and other Marine Wildlife in their natural habitats.

View some of the world's strongest ocean currents with rapids, boils, and whirlpools. Our tours provide insight to our local First Nations (Native) history and culture.

Enjoy a comfortable journey aboard the tour boats — such as our 27-foot covered high-speed tour boat with onboard washroom. This vessel carries 12 passengers and is fully equipped with proper navigation and safety equipment. Even on a rainy day, you'll be warm and dry inside. We also have a 24-foot Zodiac tour boat that carries 12 passengers.

Your tours are guided by locally born residents, Garry Henkel and Daniel Billy, an elder from the We-Wai-Kai First Nation on Quadra Island. Garry is Daniel's son-in-law. Both are certified boating professionals. Garry has over 30 years experience and Daniel over 60 years experience working and travelling within our waters.

The Laichwiltach (Laichkwiltach / Lekwiltok / Ligwithdaxw) peoples are part of the Nation now commonly referred to as the Kwakwak'awakw (and Kwak'wala speaking people).

The Kwakwak'awakw Nation's territory extends from Cape Mudge to the mouth of Bute Inlet in the south to Smith Inlet in the north and around the northern part of Vancouver Island to Quatsino Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The Laichwiltach are the southernmost of the Kwak'wala speaking people.

Monday, August 17, 2009

On of the greatest sights in the world



The Icefields Parkway drive between Banff, Lake Louise and Jasper is pretty spectacular stuff! The undeniable highlight is the Columbia Icefield which is one of the largest accumulations of ice and snow south of the Arctic Circle, covering an area of nearly 325 square kilometres in the Western Canadian Province of Alberta.

The Athabasca Glacier is a tongue of ice 6 kms long and 1 km wide which drops almost to the road. Brewsters of Banff, offer tours up onto the icy slopes in the purpose built Ice Explorer, an all-terrain vehicle equipped with large, low pressure tires. The 5 km round trip travels up over the ice and the driver/guide explain how glaciers are formed and points out interesting geological features. Up at the icefall, below the glacier headwall, you can walk around on the ice, make snowballs from 400 years old snow, take pictures and cool your heels for a while.

The tours run from the Icefield Centre, a chalet-style stone building which houses 'The Glacier Gallery' an extensive interpretive centre on the National Park. There is also a dining room, cafeteria and snack bar, gift shop and from the third floor up - a hotel. The Chalet Hotel has 32 guest rooms - most have at least two queen beds and a loft. You can actually hear the glacier moving in the still of the night.

If you are traveling the Icefields Parkway - you can’t miss the Glacier. Leaving from Banff the Parkway follows the Bow, Mistaya and North Saskatchewan Rivers and after an essential diversion to see Lake Louise, you return to the Parkway and drive on by Bow Lake, Peyto and Crowfoot Glaciers, Mistaya Canyon and the Weeping Wall to the Glacier.

From Jasper, the route passes Athabasca Falls and the Sunwapta Canyon. It is breathtaking wilderness habitat for elk, bighorn sheep, moose, mountain goat and both grizzly and black bears. Allow a whole day for this drive of 230 km (143 miles) from Banff to Jasper and if you are on motor coach tour, the Icefield is usually a major sightseeing stop. There are also roundtrip motor coach day tours from Banff to the Icefields.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Vancouver Transit System - good news! Airport/downtown in 26 minutes


The new Canada Line opens on August 17, 2009 4 months ahead of schedule! Vancouver is the only Canadian city with a rapid transit link to the airport. It will take approximately 26 minutes for visitors to travel on the Sky Train between Vancouver International Airport and downtown, with three stops in downtown. Have a look at http://www.translink.ca/en/Rider-Info/Canada-Line/Map-and-Travel-Times.aspx and more information is at www.canadaline.ca/. The Vancouver Airporter bus will stop operations September 30.

The Canada Line will cost C$3.75 (£2.00) per person one-way for all journeys on the Sky Train. From January 1st 2010, Vancouver Transit Authority will charge a premium fare for Canada Line passengers going to and from the airport. The premium will be $2.50 (£1.40) over and above the regular transit fare and a premium ticket will be valid for 90 minutes; therefore, the total cost will be $6.25. (£3.50.

Still good value compared with the tube to Heathrow!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Osoyoos Desert - Okanagan Valley, British Columbia


Tucked into the southernmost corner of British Columbia’s beautiful Okanagan Valley, this extraordinary habitat is home to one of North America’s most fragile and endangered ecosystems. The area hosts one of the largest concentrations of species at risk (over 100 rare plants and over 300 rare invertebrates) in Canada, and is of international importance. Our desert is actually part of the Great-Basin Desert.

The Osoyoos Desert Centre is a 67 acre nature interpretive facility where visitors can learn about desert ecology, habitat restoration and conservation of endangered ecosystems in the South Okanagan. Guests are invited to explore Canada’s desert by taking a guided or self-guided tour along a 1.5 km elevated wooden boardwalk. In addition, the Centre features an interpretive facility with hands-on exhibits and a native plant demonstration garden.

The Southern Okanagan Valley provides the hot dry summers and mild winters characteristic of the arid antelope-brush ecosystem. This region is home to a diverse array of uniquely adapted wildlife species such the Nuttall’s Cottontail, Great Basin Spadefoot Toad, Western Rattlesnake, Tiger Salamander and Wind Scorpion, to name a few.

The humming birds ‘hum’ and the rattlesnakes ‘rattle’ in the bright morning sun of Canada’s only desert. Simmering at the northern tip of the Sonora desert system which starts way down in Mexico, this dry, arid finger extends up through North America to the resort and vineyard country of the Southern Okanagan Valley where the long hot summers and dry mild winters maintain an eco system unique in Canada.

Don’t worry too much about the ‘rattlers’ though; they are shy and are seldom seen, and only then if you stray from the raised boardwalk! But you can watch the humming birds, darting, diving, then hovering at their honey feeders.

Early morning is for the birds – and you can join local birding experts very early each Wednesday morning to see and hear the desert’s avian species and experience the beauty of the desert at sunrise. Nesting Bluebirds feed their young and Meadowlarks swoop after food.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hiking in Banff National Park


White Mountain Adventures is a small, Banff based, active outdoor company, in operation since 1987. In addition to the Sunshine Meadows service, they also offer a variety of other unique services in the Rockies and across western Canada.

Join a professional naturalist/guides for a hike on top of the world! You'll have great opportunities to learn about the unique alpine ecosystem, about different plants and animals found in the alpine, and about the colorful history of the area. And best of all, you'll stretch your legs and see a lot more of one of nature's finest landscapes!

Walk among flower-speckled meadows and turquoise lakes. Hike up through golden larches and along the ridges above. Take in the views from a sun-baked summit!

Example: Mt. Assiniboine Provincial Park, part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, is famous for its meadows and easy hiking peaks which lie below the Matterhorn-like summit that towers above.

This relaxed hiking tour is for those interested in experiencing four days of walking in this beautiful sub-alpine region along with the simplicity of life that comes with staying at the rustic Naisset Cabins.There are not many areas where it is possible to do this and yet avoid carrying the heavier backpack usually required to visit such a place.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Diamond Tooth Gerties - Dawson City - Yukon



A group of local citizens keen to promote tourism formed the Klondike Visitors' Association in the late 1950s. Recognizing that gambling was a major part of Dawson’s Gold Rush history, the association obtained a special gambling licence from the Canadian Government and in the early 1970s began running casino nights on the dry-docked S.S. Keno.

Today, Dawson City’s world famous non-profit gambling hall is named after bona fide dance hall queen Diamond Tooth Gertie. During the Gold Rush of 1898, in order to distinguish herself from numerous Klondike kings and queens, Gertie Lovejoy wedged a sparkling diamond between her two front teeth. Any discomfort this caused paid dividends. Instead of working the creeks for her riches, Diamond Tooth Gertie made her fortune by mining the lonely prospectors who readily opened their gold pokes in return for her affections. In Dawson City today, Gertrude Lovejoy’s moniker lives on at the town-run Diamond Tooth Gertie's Casino.

Replete with cancan dancers and a singing master of ceremonies named Gertie, Canada’s oldest gambling hall gives you a chance to re-live the heady days of Dawson’s Gold Rush era. With three nightly shows by Gertie and her Gertie Girls, Diamond Tooth Gertie's is today a fixture of fun-filled entertainment where patrons can enjoy a beverage while playing blackjack, roulette, Texas Hold'em poker and an array of glittering slot machines.

Dawson can be visited on several of our Yukon itineraries.

Klemtu in BC's Great Bear Rainforest - The White Spirit Bear


Put quite simply, this is one of the most amazing places in the world that I have ever been to. Accessed by float plane or ferry, a population of under 300 First Nations people, less than 5 kilometres of road and probably the most memorable of any of my bear watching trips.

Don't just take it from me - this is what the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation people say about themselves.

Sprit Bear Adventures - Great Bear Rainforest - British Columbia

Waterfront Accommodation in BC's Great Bear Rainforest and Famed Inside Passage
Visit the Great Bear Rainforest, the largest intact temperate rainforest in the world. Explore the natural habitat of the Spirit Bear and home of the world’s only Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy. Unique tours in the ancestral lands and traditional territory of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation.

Our newly constructed Spirit Bear Lodge in Klemtu is built in the spirit of our First Nations heritage with the comfort of our guests in mind.

Whether you are a guest on one of our unique wildlife viewing tours or cruising the Inside Passage aboard your vessel or sea kayak, the waterfront Spirit Bear Lodge is a welcoming and comfortable place to lay your head at night while visiting British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest

Architecturally, the exterior of the Spirit Bear Lodge pays homage to the traditional long houses built for thousands of years by West Coast First Nations. Inside, the atmosphere is modern and relaxing. After a day of Spirit bear viewing, share stories with fellow guests in “The Great Room”, an intimate central room with comfy couches, 20-foot high, ocean view windows, local Tsimshian Art and two 12-foot, solid cedar dining tables. Gaze out towards the grey blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and watch for passing Orcas, White-Sided Dolphins and Sea Lions. Listen to the silence as you revel in the natural wonders of the pristine and raw landscapes that surrounds you in this unique culturally authentic accommodation.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Lobstermen Tours - A Fun & Unique Lobster Fishing Adventure - Nova Scotia


If you are visiting Lunenburg on Nova Scotia's southern shore - and if you are a lover of lobster (as I am) I think this looks good fun. It is run by Lobstermen Tours in Lunenburg http://www.lobstermentours.com and this is what they say:

"Discover first hand, the salty history of charming Lunenburg, Nova Scotia (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) by experiencing the life of a Lobster Fisherman! This is an entertaining and educational experience and an absolute must if you’re visiting Nova Scotia this summer.

Our tour begins next to the Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic with a brief look at the historic Lunenburg waterfront.

Then, off to the fishing grounds for the hauling of the lobster traps! Along the way you'll learn about lobsters and lobster fishing from the professional crew.

Our boat, the 'Chris L' is a real working lobster boat and is converted into a tour boat for the summer season. It is equipped with comfortable seating, washroom, and a canopy to protect you from nature’s unpredictable elements.

Throughout the tour you’ll benefit from lots of 'hands-on educational science'. We have an onboard marine biologist and a touch tank featuring lobsters, crabs, and other marine creatures.

Another highlight of your adventure will be watching seals and marine birds in their natural environment! Throughout the tour you will be treated to some of Nova scotia's most picturesque coastline."

Internation Selkirk Loop


This is a wonderful "off the beaten track" flydrive which Frontier Canada could put together - not on their site at the moment, but with a little encouragement from you could easily be created.

The Selkirk Mountains in northeast Washington, north Idaho and southeast British Columbia, a place of forested hillsides, sparkling waterfalls, snowcapped craggy peaks, and charming small towns. The nearest metropolitan area is Spokane, Washington, about one hour southwest of the Selkirk Loop. Within the Loop, the Selkirk Mountains are accessible from the Salmo Basin, Sullivan Lake, Priest Lake, Pack River, Roman Nose, Kootenay Pass and Kokanee Glacier recreation areas.

Nearly the entire Loop route follows rivers and lakeshores. The waterways historically were used for transportation, but today they are a source of year-round recreation, from fly fishing to ice fishing, boating, water skiing, windsurfing, swimming, canoeing, kayaking, diving and rafting.

Much of the land in the Loop corridor is National Forest, National Wildlife Refuge, Wildlife Management Area, or Provincial Park, so there are myriad opportunities for outdoor recreation - a vast uncrowded playground! Hundreds of miles of trails are available for all levels of hiking, biking, horseback riding, skiing and snowmobile touring. Rock climbing and geo-caching are popular for the more adventurous. These public lands are home to the largest diversity of wildlife in the lower 48 states. The wildlife Refuges and Management Areas are home to more than 50 mammal species and 265+ bird species. Moreover, Lake Pend Oreille and Kootenay Lake are two of the largest lakes in the west.

The Loop's scenery changes with each season. In spring, the bright greens of new foliage blend with the colors of early wildflowers, set against a backdrop of snow-covered mountaintops and rushing waterfalls. In summer, wildflowers are in full bloom, and the rivers and lakes teem with fish below warm blue skies. Fall brings changing colors, with brilliant golds and reds amid the dark green pine and spruce. Canadian geese by the thousands stop for respite on their journey south through the Pacific Flyway. In winter, a peaceful blanket of snow covers higher elevations of the Loop, with greenery remaining in the milder climates of the river valleys. Moose, deer and elk often are spotted as they browse for tender shoots beneath the snow. No wonder this route was voted “The West's Best Scenic Drive” by Sunset Magazine.

The most delightful aspect of the Loop's scenery is its variety, from narrow river canyons to broad fertile valleys and vibrant village scenes, from lowland meadows to breathtaking mountain vistas. Surprises await around every corner!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

CrossRiver Wilderness Centre and Kootenay Wilderness Tours


Although this is written by the owners of CrossRiver - I have stayed there and it is as they claim a special place;


"Welcome to the online mirror for the CrossRiver Wilderness Centre, our home in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. As we hope you will soon discover, this place is truly magical. It has evolved out of love and the landscape itself, and encompasses much more within its warm embrace than may at first be revealed to you. Out here, the patient, respectful, and adventurous heart entices opportunities for great memories and photographs while relaxing around the cabins or teepees, or on a beautiful hike or rafting trip. The wilderness also offers plenty of opportunity for learning, for healing, for direction, for connection, and even transformation, if you want. We speak from experience.

We have had many helpers along the way, who have all added their own gifts and talents to the fabric of our secluded retreat: from carpenters to painters, to cooks, to cleaners, to guides, to teachers, musicians, dancers, preachers, lawyers, doctors, engineers, accountants, storytellers, athletes, photographers, writers, and visionaries, to name a few. What I love most about their contribution, however, is the friendships we’ve been able to build along the way. We look forward to welcoming your own gifts, talents, and magic into the mosaic. This is a place where people can be real; let go of attachment, judgement, hierarchy, and fa├žade, and stand in a respectful circle with all of creation simultaneously. You will see, if you want to.

Once people get here, they sometimes have a hard time leaving; kind of like leaving a family all over again. The divine appointment we are realizing while you are here, however, is one that we will cherish, give thanks for, and honor by always working to keep this place a vibrant, strong, organic, sustainable, and peaceful place for you to return to, or share with others. In the meantime, we invite you to sit still out on the land somewhere; connect with the trees, water, smells, sights, sounds, animals, and people around you in a meaningful way; delight in the adventure of totally new experiences and uncertainty; and allow your imaginations to be captured. You will not regret it.