Solo Road-Tripping up the Gold Rush Trail

In 1858 word got out of the discovery of gold in the upper Fraser and people began flocking to British Columbia in droves with hopes of striking it rich. After the gold count began declining, prospectors made their way further north into British Columbia’s interior in search of the rich-gold bearing creeks of the Cariboo.

Though I can’t even begin to imagine how vastly the route has expanded in the past 170 years, The Gold Rush trail remains to this day. Now, it’s a highway through the heart of British Columbia’s broad landscapes (that my pictures can’t even remotely do justice) and heartland. It’s a route to remind people just how vast and breathtaking this part of the world truly is.

I’ve been on the road the past few days. I’ve driven more than 1,500 miles up and down British Columbia’s ‘Gold Rush Trail’ chasing the scenery, the feeling of calm and every tourist attraction that I could possibly find.

Why? Because when you’re road-tripping alone, YOU and only you get to decide what you want to do and where you want to go. It’s a powerful feeling, not needing to check with someone before you stop somewhere or do something. I loved it.

I spent some time with my best friend and her family. Time with them always grounds me. She inspires me and her children cant help but make me feel happier. They’re adorable, they say silly things and everything is exciting to them at this point in life. What’s not to love about that?

I spent a lot of time on the road. Truthfully, I love driving alone. I love taking a stop to appreciate the view. I love feeling the sun beat down on my face as I hear the river rushing beneath me. I love finding new ‘tourist traps’ to wander into. I, most importantly, love driving the highways with no cell service. When your phone just doesn’t work – it’s the universe’s way of telling you to let go and be one with the world. And that, that I have done.

The Fraser Canyon, home to the famous ‘Jackass Mountain’, is a several hundred kilometer long highway that was literally built by blasting out the sides of mountains to make enough room for roadway. The road can often get crowded with herds of Big Horn Sheep that make for the most darling of Canadian ‘traffic jams. Also on the highway you can find a string of seven tunnels, and some original bridges from the 1800’s Gold Rush that have been turned into Provincial Parks for people to hike/picnic.

I love nature. I love being out in the world, seeing how the mountains have peaked up over thousands of years, how the river has curved it’s way through the landscapes, how the trees have grown in some places and not in other. And I love finding homes in the middle of nowhere. I find myself imagining what these people do for work, how they can live so far away from towns… how long their morning commute must be, without traffic. A morning commute without traffic, how’s that for irony that’s not really irony?

The Fraser River, one of the largest (if not the largest) in the province, winds along the side of the highway, providing scenic sights throughout the drive for you to be able to stop, take a breath of the freshest, cleanest, thin mountain air, feel the sun beating down on your skin and realize how truly incredible nature is.

I found a farm, and a mini-orchard along the way. This might have been my favourite stop of today. Not for the overpriced baked goods and delectable goodies that I am not able to eat. But more because of the fact that it’s a tiny little farm outside a tiny little town (population 200) and so many people know about this tiny little farm outside of the tiny little town that when I drove up the place was packed.

I came, I saw, I picked some apples, posed for some photos and was transplanted to a simpler time and place in which life’s little things (such an apple orchard) can really be the biggest and most important piece of so very many people’s day. And I mean, can you get fresher apples than from straight off the tree?

Today was a reminder to not take life so seriously all the time. Sometimes, the best thing I can do for myself is stop at a little roadside pullout, have solo-picnic and dip my toes in the lake. It’s the little things that can bring brightness to your day. And when you’re driving 1,500 kms on your own, you need to get out and stretch your legs.

In one highway you can go from the Pacific Ocean to densely pack coniferous forests, into the Coast Mountains, along the Fraser River/Canyon, into the BC desert (complete with rattlesnakes and all) and then back into the densely packed temperate forests that are Northern British Columbia.

This province is S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G. Every piece of it is breathtaking. And it’s so hard to explain in just a few words and a few photos.

Solo road-tripping is peaceful, calming and everything that I needed to reset and recharge to face the world again.

If you’ve ever been thinking about going on a road trip on your own, do it. You don’t have to travel across the world in order to travel. Sometimes you can get in your car to travel in ‘your own back yard’ and find places, sights, tourist stops you’ve never seen or heard of before.

And if you’ve ever been thinking about doing a Canadian road trip, do it. I highly, highly, highly recommend British Columbia. Any highway that you drive in this province you’re going to be hit with incredible scenery, vast landscapes, beautiful wildlife and a reminder of what a small space you take in this universe. Which, in my mind, are all incredibly valuable experiences.

*Point of Note – The ‘Gold Rush Trail’ is also the road that you need to take to get to Alaska if you’re interested in road-tripping that far north.

True crime hitting too close to home.

The remote part of Canada which I live has been making a lot of international news lately for some very horrible crimes. When things like this happen in this area of the country, it really hits too close to home. While murders might be prevalent in large, metropolitan areas, the population of Northern BC is so small, it’s really true what they say when they say everyone knows everyone. The fact that someone could do something like this, it’s a hard pill to swallow.

Chynna Deese and Lucas Fowler (Credits: NSW Police) – Photo from CBC Article

To those of you who’ve heard of the terrifying murders of Australian Lucas Fowler and American Chynna Deese, a millennial couple travelling the world, who were murdered on a remote stretch of highway en route to Alaska, the story continues to unfold.

A third body, that of an unidentified man believed to be in his 50s or 60s was found some 500 miles down the highway just steps away from a burned out truck and the two teenagers who owned the truck were/are missing. The public initially believed the two teenagers to also be the victims of foul play. Today, however, the RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) have announced that the two teenagers are the primary suspects in all three murders.

The teenagers are believed to be on the run and were last seen driving a 2011 Toyota Rav4 in Northern Saskatchewan. Kam McLeod and Bryar Schmegelsky are to be considered dangerous and people are being asked to call 911 immediately if you see either of the two suspects, and do not approach.

Kam McLeod, left, and Bryer Schmegelsky, right (B.C. RCMP/Al Schmegelsky) – Photos from CBC Article

I’m hoping these two are found quickly and I’m hoping there’s more to the story. I’m still having a hard time believing two 18 year old’s are responsible for three murders. That being said, if they are, I hope they’re caught before they have the opportunity to hurt anyone else.

Lucas and Chynna’s family deserve some peace after this truly horrible crime. So does the unidentified third man found dead next to the burned out truck. If you’re in Canada… or even if you’re not… keep your eyes on the lookout for these two.

For Lucas, Chynna and the unidentified third victim, I sincerely hope that police are able to find some closure for you soon.

All photos and information in this post from CBC News. Link here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/couple-killed-in-bc-missing-persons-lucas-fowler-chynna-deese-1.5221657

The largest Ancient Inland Rainforest on Earth

Nestled in the heart of the British Columbia interior is the largest ancient inland temperate rainforest on earth. The watershed of the upper Fraser River has given rise to a unique inland wet-temperate rainforest; a forest ecosystem that combines attributes of both the coastal wet-temperate rainforests of British Columbia and adjacent boreal forests of Alberta and the far north.

Though forests are plentiful in British Columbia (close to 25% of the earth’s temperate rainforests are in BC), this particular region of the province is something special. Showcasing trees that span five meters in diameter at their base, reaching hundreds of feet towards the sky, densely packed to canopy vegetation and plant life found nowhere else on earth, it’s estimated the trees in this forest range between 1,000 – 2,000 years old.

Though this land has been protected as provincial park for several decades, in 2016 a portion of the park was turned into a hiking/walking trail to teach people the importance of rainforests in our ecosystem. What a perfect place for Auntie Vee to take the little chickens for an adventure! Their dad works 5-5 on Friday’s and mom had to be in court, so I had my niece and nephew and we went for a day hike.

Without further adieu, here are some unfiltered photos from the largest ancient inland temperate rainforest on earth.

It was quite a rainy day for an adveture. But hey, there’s something poetic about finding rain in the rainforest. The kids loved it, and me, I’m always happy to experience just how vast this planet truly is and remind myself what a beautiful corner of this world I come from.

If I ever won the lottery.

One thing that I really love is real estate. Not for investment, but more so for living. Homes fascinate people. How people make them, how people decorate them, what’s popular and how styles come into popularity and fade out of popularity. All homes inspire me.

I love to drive down new streets and look at the homes, see what I like and what I do not. I also love browsing homes on Realtor.ca (also known as MLS). Realtor.CA allows you to see inside of the incredible homes that you can only see from the street when you drive by. It’s like being a fly on the wall in someone else’s life. (And I’m kind of nosy!)

I also like to look at homes and imagine lives for the people who live in them. I dream up entire scenarios of who they are and what they do, how they spend their time. Then I turn the stories into what I would do and how I would spend my time when I lived there.

I just love looking at homes.

One of the places that I love looking at homes is Vancouver. I’ve always felt at home when I’ve been in Vancouver and I’ve always had this idea in my mind that when I retire, I’m going to buy a massive home in Vancouver with a lot of windows and a home library to fill with the books of my travels. It’ll be my haven to come back to from all of my travels and my place for my loved ones to come and visit and escape the world for spring breaks and summer vacations, Christmas’ on the West Coast or just a weekend away. It’ll all be mine.

If I ever won the lottery…

I present: 4205 RockRidge Road, Vancouver B.C. Canada.

All photo credits go to the realtor Eric Christiansen/Realtor.ca.

“Sitting high on prestigious Rockridge Road is this incredible modern home designed by renowned architect Rob Ciccozzi for the current owners. Enjoy stunning views through massive floor to ceiling windows and a floating staircase running down a gorgeous concrete feature wall in the entrance foyer. The main floor boasts 12 foot ceilings, beautiful hardwood flooring, a huge climate-controlled wine room. The open plan kitchen, dining and living room are gorgeous and flow smoothly through massive folding doors to a huge patio and deck with sundrenched swimming pool. Offering 5 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms and an incredible master suite. Truly a special home in an amazing neighborhood. ” – From Listing

Click here to view > (House listing)

I love clean, crisp, minimalist designs. White walls, wood floors, simple appearances. If you look to the right it appears to be a wall of windows that can be fully opened for indoor/outdoor living, which is an incredible bonus!

Look at how warm and cozy this beautiful bedroom looks. I love that it’s so simple. There’s no need for a tv in the bedroom when you’ve got windows that large with views of the city.

The type of bathroom that dreams are made of. Imagine sitting in that tub, looking out at the view of the city lights/English bay to wind down each night. Also, that walk in shower with glass walls! I love everything about this room.

I love the fireplaces/cement throughout this house. It gives it a very minimalist look. The simple furniture is something that raises the profile of the home as it allows viewers to picture their own things in the space. I’m a fan of basic colours for large furniture and bright colours for accents (cushions, stools, etc).

I could imagine myself putting a giant bookshelf in here, as big as this wall. I would spend my days wandering through second hand bookstores all over the world to collect books to fill it with.

When it comes to homes, I love the ‘West Coast Contemporary’ style. Imagine having this many windows in your home to watch the sunset each night or the raindrops fall in the winter, or view the city lights each night before going to bed.

Imaging the parties, drinking the wine… playing the piano, singing the songs in my horrible, horrendous singing voice. I can absolutely see myself in every square inch of this home.

All I need is a cool, crisp $5.9 million dollars and it could be mine! Oh and $13,900 per year for property taxes.

All credits to realtor Eric Christiansen and Realtor.ca. Listing >

Back in British Columbia!

I spent a quick two days in Calgary, went to four job interviews (including the two that I spoke of in my most recent post: Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow), hung out with some important people and stayed at the most divine, incredibly priced hotel I think I’ve been to in the past few years. (Hotel review coming soon)

I haven’t heard back about the job yet. The CEO said that he would issue an offer of employment next week. I’m trying to not get my hopes up, but I’m also trying to talk myself up so that I believe I’m going to get it. The position would be such a perfect fit for me, so I am genuinely asking the universe for a favour for this one.

Happy Victoria Day long weekend, everyone. If you’re Canadian you know this is one of the most important holiday’s of the year because it’s our nation-wide kick off for summer! If you have a long weekend this weekend, I hope that you enjoy it. And, if you don’t have a long weekend, be jealous. Canada is awesome.

I’m off to spend some time with my brother and sister-in-law. She’s pregnant and she’s due in just under a month… and let me tell you, babies are the most fun to shop for.

Love and Light.

So… I ditched Derrick.

It’s true, I did. My life is presently Derrick free at the moment. And, whilst things haven’t really calmed down since, I am feeling a certain gratitude for not having to deal with him.

I fled for British Columbia, where the forests are plentiful and the cell reception is sparse. There’s a neighbourhood moose that likes to walk down the street in the morning’s – perhaps he’s up early to get his workout done before his day begins. (And yes, it’s a ‘he’. I’m Canadian, we know these things) It’s very much a small town… the kind of place where everyone seems to know everyone and there’s a mini-van in every driveway and a roast in every oven. Oh, it’s also the kind of place where there’s still snow on the ground on April 16. Yeah, there’s definitely character.

As far as my health goes, I received no diagnosis from the Ear Nose and Throat Specialist. Not only that, but I also was told that he’s got nothing left to do to help me and that there’s no explanation for it, so I just have to live with it. It wasn’t the answer that I wanted, but, until I can find a new doctor who’s willing to think outside of the box, I guess I do just have to live with it.

In taking steps with my anxiety, I got a referral to talk with a Psychologist. They’re supposed to call me next Monday. I’ve known for a while now, at least a few months, that talking to someone could be a benefit to me. I’ve just been scared to go because I don’t have insurance right now and it’s quite expensive. That being said, I’ve decided that I’m going to go and I’m going to try it. We’ll see what happens. Trying to explain to the doctor that I have anxiety and not depression was a struggle.

I’m trying really hard to keep my insecurities in check. Not because I’m afraid of them, but moreso because I do not want to let them win. I know that I have a lot of work to do on myself, but everyone has to start somewhere.

Here’s to starting from somewhere. My brother sent me a text message that said ‘May the odds be forever in your favour’. Here’s to hoping.

The BEST places to see in Canada.

Growing up in Canada you kind of, sort of, might start to believe that what you see all around you is what everyone gets to see. That everywhere is as beautiful as you have it and that the sights you’ve come to call home are sights that others get to call home as well. It’s a naive way of thinking, but some would say we’re pretty sheltered up here anyways.

I started travelling when I got to University and it was at that point that I realized that not everyone gets to see what I see.

And don’t get me wrong, every place has a beauty about it in its own way, but I happen to be a little bit biased in my belief that Canada is ‘next-level’ on the spectrum of beautiful places in this world.

Some of these photos were taken by me, some of them I’ve found online. About two years ago my house was broken into – stolen was all of my electronics including a laptop that contained pictures of all of my travels – so if a photo was taken by me then it’s been in the past two years that I’ve been. And if it’s credited to someone else, I wanted to show the beauty but no longer have my photos. Insert sad face for stolen computer.

Here are a few places I’ve been that I think everyone needs to see:

LAKE LOUISE

Nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Picture the most beautiful, pristine lake that you could possibly imagine, surround it by escalating mountains covered in snow, fields of green and one of the most expensive hotels in Canada to stay at, and that is the luxury that is Lake Louise.

Visit in the winter for walking, skating, skiing or snowshoeing on the lake itself. In late January each year they host the ‘Ice Magic Festival’ where artists create incredible sculptures of ice that stay until they melt.

Visit in the spring, summer or fall for some of the most turquoise blue waters you’ll ever see. There’s a trail around the lake for you to walk, if you so feel the desire for exercise, and if you’re really an outdoorsy person, you can hike up some trails on those mountains at the far side of the lake for some pretty exceptional views.

Any way that you look at it, Lake Louise is a must see.

Photo: British Columbia Magazine

VANCOUVER

I actually grew up in Vancouver, so this one has a strong bias for me. This multicultural maven of a city is just as beautiful as it looks. Situated almost perfectly between the Coast Mountains and Pacific Ocean, it really doesn’t matter which way you look in this city you will see a beautiful view.

If you prefer the city life you can wander down city streets staring up at skyscrapers from every angle, drinking some of the best coffee in the world and shopping in stores to suit any budget. There’s a cafe on every corner, a ‘sorry eh’ at every passing and not enough time in a day to see the multifaceted face that makes up its downtown.

And if you much prefer a nature, Vancouver is filled with parks and natural landscapes that allow you to get out and roam, ride a bike, go to the beach, hike a mountain, walk through the forest… all in the same day. I recommend the Grouse Grind. But, there’s much to do in this city, and I strongly recommend you try it all.

Photo: ME

ANCIENT FOREST

In Northern British Columbia, about an hour’s drive from Prince George, you will find the entrance to the ‘Ancient Forest’. This several kilometer hike is through the largest Ancient Inland Rainforest in the world. Trees are much like those you would see in the Redwoods National forest in that they’re more massive than you could possible dream up, and they’ve likely been there for thousands upon thousands of years. The densely packed plant-life shelters you from weather (the trees are so thick you cannot feel rain) and the beauty is unimaginable.

Photo: Styleathome.com

OLD TOWN, QUEBEC CITY

If you want a true feel for French-Canadian culture, Quebec City is the place to find it. With a mixture of old-world charm, quaint city streets lined with history and the smells of amazing food pouring out of the shops and restaurants surrounding you, Quebec City feels a lot like a European destination in Canada.

While you’re here, try the poutine, it’s better than anything else on earth.

NORTH OF 60 (YUKON, NORTHWEST TERRITORIES, NUNAVUT)

Photo: travelzoo.com

As someone who’s been lucky enough to visit the Yukon, Northwest and Nunavut territories, I’m leaving this one open and saying they’re all worth the time if you’ve got it. Honestly, north of the 60th parallel is a whole different world in Canada. In the summer the sun doesn’t set and in the winter the sun barely rises. It’s a way of life the locals are accustomed too and the tourists are fascinated with when they witness it.

For no other reason, I recommend the trip for the Northern Lights. Watching Aurora Borealis dance across the midnight sky is unlike any other experience you will ever have. You can rent some snowmobiles and take them out into the middle of nowhere (for fun) and for better views of the lights by night, or, in summer, you can go golfing at midnight.

I wish more people would make it farther north. It’s expensive, don’t get me wrong. But it’s well worth the experience if you ask me.

Photo: Wildlife Worldwide

PRINCESS ROYAL ISLAND – THE GREAT BEAR RAINFOREST

No, that’s not a polar bear you’re looking at. That’s the elusive kermode ‘Spirit Bear’ who calls the rainforests of British Columbia’s coastline home. Princess Royal Island as a unique little fishing destination nestled in the coastline islands of British Columbia.

Fun fact: Twelve of the 17 crew of U.S. Air Force 44-92075 were found alive here in 1950, during the first lost nuclear/Broken Arrow episode of the Cold War. 

The Island is a protected zone by the World Wildlife Fund for having one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. Animals you’ll find in these forests: black bears, grizzly bears, deer, wolves and foxes, and nesting populations of golden eagles, bald eagles, and the endangered marbled murrelet. 

If you ever want to feel at one with nature, it’s a difficult place to get to, but once you’re there, it’s worth every second.

Photo: Bay of Fundy Tourism

HOPEWELL ROCKS – BAY OF FUNDY

You might have seen these rocks before in photos for weddings or engagements, or just plain instagram swoonworthy photographer shots. People largely flock to these rocks out of fascination, but stay for the peace, serenity and beauty that is the area when they get there.

A few years back I got to go to the Bay of Fundy for a work project and I’ve got to say, the way the tide rolls in and swallows up the beach, making those rocks look like they pop out of the ocean is pretty cool to see. Thinking back on it, I wish I could take a camera and take a time lapse of the tide rolling in. Something tells me it would make an incredibly satisfying video. Nevertheless, I am rambling.

If you’re ever on the East Coast, check out Hopewell rocks. Take some beautiful photos and take some lunch. As a girl who grew up next to the pacific can tell you, there’s a certain peace to the Atlantic Ocean air that will make your whole day melt away.

Photo: National Geographic

FOGO ISLAND, NEWFOUNDLAND

When I think of Fogo Island, I am most sad that I no longer have my old computer with all of my photos on it. (Important interruption: print your photos, boys and girls. Or, at the very least, save them to an external hard drive) Fogo Island is my definition of peace. You go there to escape the world, and when you’re there, you really do. It’s just you, some Newfies you can hardly understand because they talk so fast, and the ocean.

If you’re ever wanting a dream get away for inner peace and calm, Fogo Island is the place to go. I would love to wander those rocks again. To just take some time for me.