Beautiful Northern British Columbia

I have two sisters that live in BC, and my older sister just moved to the north east corner of the province. Kristjana lives in Dawson Creek, which is a real place in Canada, and not the setting of Dawson´s Creek TV show. She´s on mile 0 of the Alaskan highway, only a stones´ throw away from Alberta, and the last week in April seemed a perfect time to explore her new hood. We took a small roadtrip to Grande Prarie, to attend a speakeasy Gatsby party… as one does, when in Alberta.

roadtrip Alberta

We took hikes thru bear country and wind farms, to frozen wateralls and the incredible overlook at Murray Canyon. We hiked near Tumbler Ridge and Bear Mountain Wind Park, without bear spray, but luckily enough we only ran into a wild Moose on the road home – the first moose Ive ever seen, alive. Unluckily, we also drive past 3 dead Moose, and I´m still confused how such a huge animal can be roadkill without a totalled car beside it.

Beautiful Northern British Columbia

Flying into YVR Vancouver Airport is one of my favourite flights – descending slowly into the lower mainland and landing right beside the sea (and a sunset over it, if youre timing´s right) offers spectacular views of the rocky mountains and snow capped ski resorts surrinding the city. You can easily spot the suburbs around Vancouver, and the westend where UBC campus sits, unmoved since 1908.

Icelandair flight 697 direct from Iceland to Vancouver

I didnt spend much time in Vancouver, and its surprising how few friends are still left in the city, leading unsettled lives. I may be the only one, but my younger sister has set some deep roots there with her own family. My grandma will be 90 this year, so I didn´t miss the chance to see her again.

mile 0

My oldest, longest friend Lisa had a new crumpet dog we could take hiking at Lighthouse park, and she´s a dear friend to me because she really makes me feel the passing of time and the value of friendship. While I stagnate as the solo backpacker forever popping in and out of people´s established lives, she´s now invited me to her second wedding (I went to her first, 12 years ago, and happily witnessed her divorce – he was a douche). I try to remember how we went from 9 year old girls riding invisible horses to grown up women going thru such adult lives… but it still seems like just yesterday we used to gallop around the woods in Surrey.

at Lighthouse park

I have kind of (tried to) grow up recently, digging some kind of roots in Reykjavik by buying my first apartment. But, strangely enough, it doesnt feel like home, since I basically just bought it as a place to keep stuff, my stuff, and the only apartment I could afford that fits my gorgeous grand piano. I dont feel like sitting still, even now, with an address of my own, so I´ll just keep visiting, places, people, and their lives, and as long as I´ve got friends and family elsewhere, I´ve always got a home in them.

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Being a Tourist in Beautiful British Columbia

Beautiful British Columbia

Beautiful British Columbia

I used to call Canada home, having lived in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley for nearly 12 years. I went to highschool in Chilliwack, a town that always smells like cowpoop and only really has 2 highschools. It was the 10 year reuinion of my 2004 Sardis Senior Secondary graduating class, and also a friends wedding, so I had two good reasons to go back home. My sisters and mom still live there, and I still have a room at moms house, and grandmas home-cooking is reason alone to make sure I visit the family. But, I also wanted to experience BC as a tourist for a change, combine a familiar place with the novelty of exploration, and so I ended up on a roadtrip around Vancouver Island.

A friend of a friend from Vancouver came to visit Iceland in May, so after helping him out with his westfjords roadtrip, he so kindly repaid me with the best Vancouver Island roadtrip I could have ever asked for. We started by taking the ferry from Horseshoe bay to Nanaimo, and then drove along the east-coast beaches and lake-side parks on our first day. It was sunny and 30 degrees C, and I was slightly jet-lagged and in weather-shock, but nothing that a good nights rest in a tent and a campfire-cooked meal couldnt fix.

foggy Tofino

foggy Tofino

We stayed in Tofino and Ucluelet, hiking almost every trail between them in Pacific Rim National park. Sadly there wasn’t much surf those days, but we managed to see a whole pod of gray whales on our way to Hot Spring Cove. Theres a place, only reachable by boat or floatplane, where hot water pours out of the cliffside, into pools of water beside the sea. As the tide came in, the seawater mixed with the hot water to create little cold pools, but we could hop between them to find the perfect temperature.

Hot Springs Cove

Hot Springs Cove

On our way back to Nanaimo, we stopped in Port Alberni for a little wine-tasting. We spent the afternoon at Emerald Coast vineyard and the Chase and Warren estate winery, but got a lot more than just wine at Chase and Warren. We were hosted by the owner, who was maybe a little tipsy himself, and enjoyed home-made chocolates and sockeye salmon along with our free wine samples. We left with a case, as you do, and enjoyed a few bottles that night in Ladysmith, where we slept in a beautiful house on the water, complete with a (not-so-natural) hottub.

Reid and Erin

Reid and Erin

The other highlight of my trip was Reid and Erin’s wedding, a couple I’ve known since UBC days, and a perfect occasion to have an informal 2004 cohort UBC reunion. Friends came from all over north America and enjoyed the serene setting of North Arm farm, cradled between the massive mountain peaks in Pemberton, and witnessed the most beautiful outdoor wedding I’ve ever seen. After a night of dancing and romping around in some blueberry patches, I got on a plane back to Iceland, wishing I could have taken some of that summer sun with me on my next horse tour.