Outdoors

 
Photographer
Jeff Bartlett

Outdoors

Western Canada is blessed with the kind of places that outdoors lovers will never tire of. The Rockies will leave you feeling at once small amid the epic landscape, but also stronger when you challenge yourself to hike that mountain, ski that new run or paddle those glacier-fed lakes. In B.C's Okanagan, you'll be tempted to stand-up paddle board on lakes, fish in mountain streams or pedal your way along an old rail track called the Kettle Valley Trail.  The province's north is a place in equal measure peaceful and wild with its backcountry parks where you paddle glassy lakes amid towering snow-capped peaks, bald eagles soaring overhead. And when you hit the serenity and edge of the world feeling along the west coast you'll know you've arrived in a special place. The mystical First Nations lands draw you in to its ancient stories and a landscape where in one day you could easily spy a black bear and her cubs searchig for salmon along a shore, or an orca's spray creating a rainbow of mist under a sunny sky. Best view yet is from a kayak, of course. It all adds up to experiences that will make you look at Canada in a whole new light. 

I looked at the notes I jotted down about my first fly fishing experience: “Chili” was the first comment. The second was: “Squishy."

Even if you are good at balancing your busy schedule and finding zen in everyday life, sometimes we all just need that well deserved time off to relax and recharge. Here are the top 3 places to find your Zen in the Canadian Rockies.

Without hesitation, Chef Michael Buffett of Start Fresh Kitchen declares his pasta-making classes the most popular.

The aha moments come thick and fast while cycling the section of the Okanagan Rail Trail that hugs glinting green Kalamalka Lake. There are jaw-dropping vistas galore along the 23-kilometre glacial body of water.

Did you know you can experience what a non-motorized flight is like in Port Alberni? Then ‘Get High’ again when you #ExplorePortAlberni with a hike in the Alberni Valley.

After tipping back a pint at the just-opened Piston Broke Brewery (and, yes, there might be a little play on words in their name), I realized that the city of Brooks in the County of Newell was starting to grow on me. And, while new craft breweries typically win me over when I open the door and the friendly barkeep says “hello,” Brooks has much more going for it than tasty beer. The world-renowned badlands just to the north of town, for example, are an attraction worth traveling days to see.

At approximately 7:25 AM, the sun crested the eastern horizon and brilliant beams of white light shot through the leaning lodge poles on the massive teepee (the largest teepee in the world, they say!). It was a classic prairie sunrise and, given the temperature hovered around zero, I welcomed the warmth. But, to be completely honest, I wasn't actually cold. When you cycle along the amazing biking trails in Medicine Hat you tend to work up a pretty good sweat!

Vernon, B.C. – The story of the Okanagan Valley can be told through a natural corridor that runs along the valley; moving from the Syilx (Okanagan) band to gold-rush-era miners and turn-of-the-century rail lines. Today, the former Canadian Northern rail corridor once again connects communities from Coldstream to Kelowna, this time as the Okanagan Rail Trail. It’s a unique addition to the ever-expanding bike trail system of the Okanagan. 

Cranbrook, B.C. – I was glued to the plane’s window as it started its descent into the Canadian Rockies International Airport in Cranbrook. The vistas, equally beautiful and mysterious, gave a hint of what the valley has to offer. Soon we’d be on the ground and experiencing it all for the first time. A short flight from Vancouver via Pacific Coastal Airlines was about to unleash a new world of possibilities.  

Lethbridge's Paradise Canyon Golf Resort played host for the 2018 PGA MacKenzie Tour, but it's not the only links game in town.