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Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Mount Seymour, Vancouver, BC

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Elevation : 450m
9km, 5h
45min from Vancouver

And here I am – back home in Vancouver after 6 months on the road. It didn’t take me long before I headed straight up in the mountains to enjoy our local views again. Strangely, I realized I had never done detailed trip report about hiking Mount Seymour, one of our most popular local mountain (and my personal favorite in town) even though I have been up there how-do-know-how-many-times (Read about it here, or here, or even here! Bonus – this time we also had a lovely encounter on the trail… Remember not to get closer to the animals, and leave no trace (as any type of garbage or food left behind will attract them and contribute to how they get used to humans, which is a danger for us and for them).

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The drive up to Mount Seymour recreation area is quite simple and can be done quickly when the traffic gods are on your side. It was a very warm week-end in Vancouver, but we headed up around noon. The trailhead is located at the far end of the parking lot (passed the Washrooms and all the buildings) on the right. You will see the ski runs and one of the lifts – follow the Mount Seymour Main Trail on the left hand side. You will go away from the ski run in the forest and start heading up.

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Continue reading “Mount Seymour, Vancouver, BC”

Few Days in Montreal in Summer

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After spending some time with family, I made my way to Montreal to meet up with friends. I am currently spending 3 full weeks in Québec, which is the longest time I’ve been here in just about 5 years.

Montreal is not the best location for outdoors, but it sure is to me the best place in Canada to enjoy culture, gastronomy, arts and live music. I started my time in the area by going for a 3 days camping trip to Mont-Tremblant, where we enjoyed the private group camping at the Lot-des-Colons. There was a small sandy area going down to the main river where we could swim and cliff jump while other visitors paddled in their kayaks or canoes down the river.

Continue reading “Few Days in Montreal in Summer”

Acropole-des-Draveurs, Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Riviere-Malbaie, Quebec

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Elevation gain: 800m
5hrs, 10,4 km (round-trip)

During my first week back in Quebec, we decided to go and hike one of the most beautiful trails in the province. I had heard many times about this hike, and was told it was one of the most difficult around. Well – compared to many of my other posts, let me tell you I personally wouldn’t call this a difficult trail. However – there is about 600m of elevation gain over the first 2-2.5km of the trail, which can be demanding, especially as the trail has been built with steps (rocks and large stones).

Continue reading “Acropole-des-Draveurs, Hautes-Gorges-de-la-Riviere-Malbaie, Quebec”

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia from San Pedro de Atacama

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I was not planning on visiting Bolivia during this trip. Actually I was not really planning on coming to Chile either – but life happens and when I heard about San Pedro de Atacama it was a no brainer – I had to come and check it out. In the end it turned out pretty good, considering that it was cheaper for me to fly back to Montreal from Santiago anyways – why not do a quick little stop in Chile, and at the same time, take this world famous tour to the Bolivian salt flats?
So here I went – I booked my tour again through Inca Norte, but they are a vendor for another tour company called Licancabur Tours. Tours for 4 days (3 days tours plus return to San Pedro de Atacama) usually are sold in this season between 115 000 to 150 000 pesos per person. It is worth trying to deal a good price. I had found a cheaper price than I ended up paying for, but the receptionist in my hostel did not recommend me to book with the agency with the cheaper price… so I listened. In the end tours are really similar and it will really depend on the personality of your guide, which is a hit or miss. In total there was 18 of us starting the tour on the same day with that company, which means we would be 3 jeeps following each other during the excursion (which is good to know, in case something happens). In theory the pick-up is planned between 7-730AM, but I got a text from my travel agency in the evening confirming that the pick-up would start at 8AM. Well – 845AM still waiting outside with my bags, we decided to contact the agency to see what was happening. Again, this is very normal here as nothing is ever on time (wish I was being sarcastic), but I was told there was delays at the border and that they would come pick me up sooner than later. 9AM finally my transportation arrived and we were able to make it on the road. Ended up realizing that the rest of the group already went through the Chile customs to get stamped out before they came to pick me up, so not too sure what happened there. Doesn’t really matter in the end as I was in the car, stamped out of Chile and on my way to the Bolivian border.

Continue reading “Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia from San Pedro de Atacama”

Geiser del Tatio and Sunset at the Mirador, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

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Just because we really enjoy early morning pick-ups (not), Guillaume, 2 other French travelers and I booked for the morning tour of the Geiser del Tatio. Pick-up is between 4-430AM to start the 1h45 drive up to 4500m where you will arrive at the park. Again – all the tours go about the same time, which means I had to wait in line for 25 minutes to go to the bathroom (would have rather just go in the bushes at that point… but wait – there are no bushes there!).

The park is the 3rd largest Geyser park in the world, and at this time of the year the geysers can go up to 5m high depending on the temperature and the time of the day. I was told early morning is better as the difference of temperature from the outside air and the geyser is higher, thus creating larger and higher jets. That’s the reason why the tours start so early too.

Continue reading “Geiser del Tatio and Sunset at the Mirador, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile”

Lagunas altiplanicas, Piedras Rojas y Salar de Atacama, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile

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The second excursion I joined in San Pedro was a full day trip to the Lagunas Altiplanicas and Piedras Rojas. Pick-up was at 730AM (although I should really mention they are always late… they give you a time estimate (for example between 7-730AM) but depending on other people’s punctuality (which in South America doesn’t really exist), you’ll for sure end up waiting in the cold for a bit. Just brace yourself for it!) and we then drove for about 1h to a small town higher up in the mountains (I think it is called Socaire, heading down South of San Pedro). You can tell the place has been set up for tourist tours – you have one large restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch for groups, conveniently located right in front of 2 gift shops. And that’s about all there is. You can go and visit the church if you want!
After our warm breakfast we headed back up in the mountains and drove up to about 4200m, where we stopped for about 30min at the Lagunas Miscanti and Miniques. Again, the one thing I don’t particularly like about group tours is that you have very limited time in the places visited. The guide also walks around with the group but that limits the distance you will be walking/exploring too… so Guillaume and I just left the group as soon as we got out of the bus and started walking as far as we could to explore as much as possible of the area within our 30min stop. Some of the paths were closed because of the show (which I find really cute) so we just went around the areas that could be accessed. I have to say at this point it got my breath going on, as trying to walk as fast as I can for 30min at 4200m means I am out of breath basically as soon as I got out of the bus (ok not that bad… but on the way back up definitely). The area around San Pedro is full of volcanoes and once more the views were just incredible. Continue reading “Lagunas altiplanicas, Piedras Rojas y Salar de Atacama, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile”

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