Taipei, Taiwan

Back in January, I was fortunate enough to take part in a trip to Taiwan, as part of a team presenting projects at an event at the Taiwan National Science Education Center. Most of the activities that we joined during the week were organized for us, although we had a lot of free time in the evening to visit on our own. We also had 3 extra days that we used to visit additional spots, including a one day excursion that I organized as I really wanted to get some hiking in.

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Mt. Washington and Forbidden Plateau, Comox Valley, BC

It was a short time for our holidays, so we decided to stay on the island and keep exploring our new backyard. All fully equipped now with my new mini-van DIY camper, we found a campground that was still opened in Comox to stay for 3 nights (we would treat ourselves to a nice Airbnb for our last day!).

The camper is getting better each time we drive out – this time I built an awning from individual items I found (awning poles, a small tarp and some heavy duty suction cups, along with some rope!) to protect me from the rain when I have to go out to the bathroom in the middle of the night (yep, that’s an issue when you have to sit right back onto your bed with your wet raingear!). It held very well the first night, but unfortunately, we had to take it down the second night as the valley was hit by another massive wind and rain storm… The small tree that I attached my rope onto actually was pulled out of the ground (roots and all!) because the wind was so strong… But other than that, the awning proved to be quite efficient and simple (5min to put up!) (and cheap!). Read More

Exploring Vancouver Island – Part 2

Living in Victoria now, I have been able to go on some short adventures during the past few months. Any time we get a chance, we get into the camper and drive for a bit to explore new spots, get some new ideas of places we would like to go back, just getting a vibe for our new backyard.  Read More

Exploring Vancouver Island – Part 1

On our way to Campbell River, BC

I haven’t taken the time to sit down and post for a while. It’s been a busy time, settling on Vancouver Island, getting used to the new life in Victoria, getting new jobs and trying to keep exploring all at the same time.

Luckily, it didn’t take me too long to join in the island vibe. I bought myself an old mini-van, which we converted quickly into a simple but efficient DIY camper. Looking forward any suggestions of good places to go around the island is you have any! Read More

SUP day at Cheakamus Lake, Whistler, BC

Full-day trip (8hrs round-trip, slow pace)
6km hiking (round-trip), roughly 12-14km of paddling (round-trip)

Guess I didn’t have enough of Garibaldi Park yet… So my friends and I hiked up to the lake with our inflatables SUP on our backs and paddled the entire lake! You can read a more detailed description of the actual trail to arrive to the lake (only 3km to the first campsite where we embarked on our SUPs!) here. The trail is quite easy and mainly flat, so not very difficult. Make sure you have a steady pack for your SUP, as the 3km can feel very uncomfortable with a pack that isn’t well ajusted.

The lake is about 6km long. We paddled first by crossing on the other side in front of the first campground – then we simply followed the shore entirely until we came back to our departure point.

You will have amazing views of the mountains around, the lake and even Cheakamus Glacier once you arrive at the end of the lake. There you will also find the river that flows and feeds the lake. The water was calm, clear, and there was barely no wind. Must do if you like to paddle!

Enjoy!

 

Russet Lake via High Note Trail Overnight, Whistler & Garibaldi Park, BC

 

11-12hrs, about 27km round-trip
Cumulative elevation gain: 1200m total round-trip
Cumulative elevation loss: 1590m total round-trip

We have done this trail as an overnight, staying only one night at Russet Lake. We wanted to stay for 2 nights, but unfortunately, all the Saturday night campsites were already booked through the Garibaldi Park reservation system. We had no idea that all of Garibaldi Park was now fully going by reservations, as it used to be only Garibaldi and Taylor Meadows areas… so make sure to book your spot ahead if you want to stay anywhere in Garibaldi now! It was about 13$ per person for camping per night, up to 4 people for one tent spot. There is also a cabin at Russet Lake, which can sleep about 8, and is first-arrived, first-served within the people who paid and reserved for the camping.

There were many trail options for us to take in order to get all the way to Russet Lake. To be honest, it was a bit difficult to get a clear idea of the terrain, difficulty and elevation gain/loss on these trails. Because the trail is divided into so many sections, I found partial information, length and times and tried to get a good overview of which path we would be taking. There are basically 4 ways to get to Russet Lake : 1. Taking the Singing Pass trail up, then turning left at the junction towards Russet Lake (about 1300m of elevation gain until the junction over 11 km), 2. Taking the Pika Traverse/Half Note Trail/Burnt Stew Trails to cut through towards the Musical Bumps trail, 3. Taking the High Note Trail starting from the Roundhouse (top of the gondola) towards Harmony Lake and then the Musical Bumps, and 4. Taking the High Note Trail starting from the top of the Peak Chair and then the Musical Bumps trail. We chose to hike on our first day with option #4, by taking the Whistler gondola up (63$/person, save 5$ if you book your ticket online a few days before, OR you get 25% off if you are with someone who has an Edge Card or a Season Pass), then walking to the Peak Chair Lift, going up with the lift at the top of Whistler mountain and hiking this portion of High Note Trail until the junction with the Musical Bumps, and then all the way to Russet Lake passed the junction with the Singing Pass Trail. Read More