Towards the Beautiful Islands
✍️ • 🕑 May-June 2022 • Series: Towards the Beautiful Islands
It feels like a world, and a pandemic away, but in June of 2019, I had the great pleasure of going on a road trip, camping around the Yukon with two good friends of mine. Together, we had a blast.
To fly from New York to Whitehorse, I had a few layovers. During the final stretch, from Vancouver to Whitehorse, the scenery was the most spectacular: craggly mountains meeting a stunning coastline for miles and miles.
And, though the Yukon was absolutely stunning and beautiful in its own right, when I flew over those mountain ranges for the first time, I couldn't help but feel some niggling doubt in the back of my mind. If British Columbia was so beautiful, why was I bothering going further North?
So, eventually, I looked at a map of the mountains and coast, and I decided that the place I really wanted to go was Haida Gwaii. It wasn't part of the craggly coast I flew over, but it was at least adjacent to it, accessible, and seemed cooler & cooler the more that I read about it.
I did a bit of Googling, read a few tourist information pages, and stuck it in the back of my mind as a place that would be really super to visit. But, I made no such plans.
Eventually though, the pandemic hit. Haida Gwaii closed to tourism. I got a job that moved me to Seattle. Haida Gwaii was (to my knowledge) still closed under COVID.
In February of 2022, I caught coronavirus myself. Some time, around the post-COVID burst of energy I was feeling, I started looking up potential paths for another trip I wanted to head on -- towards the Arctic Circle. As I was doing this research, I found that Haida Gwaii was open for tourism.
Right there and then, I decided that 2022 was the time to go. I made some half-hearted attempts to rope some friends into joining, but ultimately decided to go solo, seeking the flexibility in time, hiking, accommodations, and budget that such a choice would enable.
My trip: a mixture of vacation and remote work (but mostly vacation) would take me from Seattle to Haida Gwaii and back over land and over sea. There was to be no air travel involved, as my car would rack up miles and dirt throughout the province.
My course would take me around lands claimed as British Columbia, from the Rocky Mountains to Vancouver Island. Through the cities of Kamloops, Prince George, and Prince Rupert. And, obviously, to Haida Gwaii. I would go as North as Meziadin Junction, as East as Jasper National Park (in Alberta), and as West as Graham Island's Rennell Sound. I would sleep every night within the imaginary boundaries that define British Columbia.
Thus began a trip that would cross many mountain ranges, include a fair few miles of hiking, innumerable waterfalls, about 3,300 miles driven, and a week's worth of time spent mostly on boats. (Steve, don't you know you get seasick!?!)
Oh, and punishing my car significantly on a bazillion forest service roads.
And with that overview, I hope you're looking forward to hearing about what I got up to along the way.
See ya next time!
(If I keep to my schedule, this should be the first of fourteen or so of these posts this month. 😲)
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Thanks for reading!
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