Along my cross-Canada moving roadtrip, I needed to find a few places to stay overnight while still trying to enjoy the scenery and the time I spent in the mountains. I was able to get a spot at the Whiskey Jack Wilderness Hostel in Yoho National Park for one night. The dorms were very clean and comfortable, and we had access to a shower, water and a large kitchen in the common area. The vibe is really quiet and calm, as most travellers here are hikers getting ready to hit the trail early in the morning. The hostel is closed from 10am-5pm, when the doors get locked as everyone goes on with their day. The hostel is very conveniently located right at the trailhead of some large hikes in Yoho, and right in front of the Takakkaw Falls. Plan your food well, because the closest grocery store is located in Golden BC, or back in Lake Louise, AB. I would definitely recommend to stay here if you need a base camp for your hiking!
3hrs, 7km round-trip
Elevation gain: 520m
The trailhead for Padget Lookout is in front of Wapta Lake, on the Trans-Canada Highway in BC. It is located between Lake Louise, AB and Field, BC. This was my first mountain hike in over a year and I must say it gets your heart pumping!
The first 1.4km of the trail goes slightly uphill until you reach a large tree with massive roots, and the sign for the junction to Sherbrooke Lake or Padget Lookout. I did not have the time to do both, but was told that doing both trails in one day should take more or less 4hrs round-trip.
It has been a big year, and I haven’t had the change to get outdoors as much (or to the extend) that I would have liked. Good thing is – my favorite season is on the way, and I am prepping to move (yet again) to settle on Vancouver Island this summer.
Before that, I have tried to explore as much as I possibly could the Ottawa Valley for what it has to offer (a big difficult for me in the winter, considering the weather wasn’t particularly exciting this year… forgot how I did not enjoy -30C snowstorms!).
To end our trip on a high note, we kept the surf town for the last 3 days of our vacations. We left towards San Juan del Sur from Ometepe taking a taxi from the ferry terminal in San Jorge. The drive was about 45min and cost 20US$ total. One of the best part of our stay in San Juan del Sur (SJDS) was the hostel – we scored big with this one, and stayed at Buena Onda Backpackers in a private double room for 3 nights. The hostel is a few minutes walk out of town (so you can actually get a quiet night) with an amazing view of the bay and downtown area. It is the cleanest place we have seen so far in Nicaragua and although I wouldn’t recommend it for solo travelers looking to meet other people (only private rooms, feels more like an airbnb with other guests sharing the common areas), it was just exactly what we were looking for.
After two days chilling on the beach in Apoyo, we left for an adventure towards Ometepe. The island of Ometepe is located in the largest lake in Nicaragua, on the South-West of the country. The island is basically made of 2 volcanoes – Concepcion and Maderas. To get to the island, you need to take a ferry (50 Cordobas per person, about 1h30 of travel) from San Jorge port to Moyogalpa on Ometepe. We took a shuttle from our hostel to San Jorge, without booking our ferry ahead or really knowing which ferry we would get on. We had again a good karma, and we got on the next ferry about 20min later. We also got offer rentals for scooters, motorcycles and ATV while buying our tickets. We were offered an ATV for 80$US, all prepared and ready for us at the port on the other side. We decided to wait and try to deal better once on Ometepe.
After 4 days in Leon, we took a shuttle (12$US/person) towards Granada. Our next stop was the Lago de Apoyo – a lake filling the crater of one of the volcanoes. We had to get out of the shuttle on the side of the road where the highway between Masaya and Granada reaches the entrance towards Apoyo. From there, we dealt a taxi towards our hostel which was directly by the water. We stayed 2 nights in a dorm at the Hostel Paradiso. Although this is a hostel, there are a lot of private rooms and it felt almost like a little all-included resort… except nothing is included! The price was reasonable for a hostel dorm, and from there you can eat, drink, get a massage, hang out on the beach, swim in the lake, play beach volleyball, play board games at the beach restaurant, play pools, watch TV, kayak or rent a Stand up paddle board.