Calling all nature lovers to British Columbia
2015 was the year of change. After years of sunbathing and holidays in the sun, my family decided to try a new type of holiday. A Canadian road trip in an RV. From recommendations of friends who had visited the country, we decided to follow suit and explore British Columbia. As this country is known for its blue lakes and diverse wildlife, we experienced Canada in its true form.
The natural beauty of this country was seen from stepping off the plane. Arriving in Vancouver airport, we were greeted by a waterfall and a faux animal scene, mimicking what we were about to discover once outside. Picking up our RV from the local rental park, just minutes from Vancouver airport, we were met with a vehicle the size of a small bus, an adjustment for the nominated driver. Attempting to load up four large suitcases and carry on’s became our first challenge. This is when I knew that this experience is one for adventure lovers. Next, we headed to the local Walmart, lining the cupboards with food before our journey took us far from a familiar sense of civilisation. Being removed from the comfort of hotel treatments and all-inclusive perks, travelling in an RV was fully immersive experience.
Our planned trip took us from Vancouver, up to Whistler and onto Jasper. Staying at pre-booked campsites, we took our time to travel around British Columbia, knowing that we would be travelling a considerable distance. My favourite campsite was Whistler, mounted on a cliff edge that had unreal views. Being at the campsite meant being surrounded with other like-minded groups, adding to the experience of the outdoors. Sharing stories on the wildlife we had seen or places that were a must became part of the norm. It was clear that seeing the raw nature of Canada was popular amongst others.
Another great spot was Jasper’s National Park, surrounded by tall trees and bear scat. On first arrival, we were greeted by large elk, a form of deer that roamed the grounds. Most common in British Columbia, the elk only added to our immersive experience, something we would not have realised without travelling in an RV. It is also worth mentioning that being remote did bring its sense of danger, carrying bear bells and wearing mosquito nets were our fashion for the trip.
After passing countless ‘beware of bears’ signs and the tales of sightings, the desire to see a wild bear becomes irresistible. Turning into a guessing game, the windows of our RV became spectator points as to who could spot wildlife. Whilst having an afternoon pitstop, we came across a black bear that was coming out of cover. For our first sighting, we couldn’t have got our phones out quick enough, engrossed by what we were seeing.
By far the most exciting activity was rafting down the Athabasca river in Jasper, ice blue water flowing down from the glacier. Taking on a different side of the mountains, we booked a family experience of Whitewater rafting. After a lesson on safety and being equipped with suits and paddles, we made our way onto the water. What also became a brief history lesson, we coasted down the river learning about Canada’s biology. A controlled but thrilling experience ended up getting us drenched. From riding the rapids, to learning about bear trails, rafting showed us the impressive versatility in what can be experienced.
It is hard to put into words how amazing Canada is and this blog post is only the starting point. After what felt like a jam-packed trip, there were still endless opportunities to have done. The road trip in an RV was an unforgettable experience and really did offer a wider perspective of the country. When looking back, the pictures and videos that we took do not do it justice. A reminder when on your travels, to step back from your phone and be present in what you are seeing. A takeaway from this post, is to consider how you plan to get around and the mode of transport available. Opportunities never fail to inspire.
Top tips for travelling Canada:
- Wear comfortable footwear –It’s the land of adventure, make sure you pack the necessary equipment for your time.
- Bear bells – forest terrain is a bear’s best hiding spot, make sure to carry some kind of deterrent when wondering off the beaten track.
- Always dispose of rubbish– if staying in a remote area (RV/Camping) make sure to clean up and keep things off the ground, this will stop any wildlife from intruding.
- Cameras – the scenery always holds photo opportunities but don’t forget to put down your device and admire the beauty, pictures don’t seem to do it justice.
- Pre-book accommodation– if travelling my RV or car and you need a campsite stay, it is best to book before arriving.
- Bug spray repellent– being out and open to the elements is going to attract the bugs and insects, especially when hosting campfires late at night. Bring along citronella to stop yourself from getting bit.
Written by Grace Pheasey