Explore BC

Follow four travel bloggers—two teams of two—on a month-long adventure as they Explore BC and its many unique experiences.

Team Orca consists of Brendan and Rob, hailing from Rocky Mountain House and Ottawa, respectively. Both are seasoned world travellers and this will be the first time they’ll be meeting each other. Team Eagle is Dina and Ryan, a husband-and-wife duo from London, Ontario, who have visited more than 40 countries together since 2009, yet have never visited British Columbia.

Over the course of four weeks this summer, these four bloggers will attempt to experience much of what BC has to offer: everything from white-water rafting and whale watching to gliding and rock climbing; from winery tours and brewery tours to historic museums and aboriginal experiences. Be sure to follow the adventure on our Facebook page and have your say in where they go and what they do!

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1 MONTH, 2 TEAMS, 1 EPIC BC ROAD TRIP: EXPLORE BC!

From June 22-July 22, we sent four bloggers around the province to experience many of BC’s iconic (and off-the-beaten-path) destinations and activities. And that they did! In four weeks, Team Eagle & Team Orca travelled 7,729 kilometres (4,802 miles), visited 67 BC communities and experienced countless BC activities. Plus, for every 10 new Facebook fans during the campaign, we pledged to plant a tree with Tree Canada. We were able to plant nearly 800 of them – thank you!

Curious about where our bloggers went and what they saw? Read on (& check out their photos!):

TEAM ORCA

Brendan and Rob visited the following communities:

Vancouver
Sidney - photos
Victoria - photos
Cowichan Bay - photos
Duncan - photos
Nanaimo - photos
Nanoose Bay - photos   
Parksville - photos
Ucluelet - photos
Tofino - photos
Qualicum Beach - photos
Campbell River - photos
Port McNeill - photos
Alert Bay - photos
Telegraph Cove - photos
Port Hardy - photos
Prince Rupert - photos
Skidegate (Haida Gwaii) - photos
Prince Rupert - photos
Terrace - photos
Stewart - photos
Hazelton - photos
Smithers - photos
Burns Lake - photos
Prince George - photos
Quesnel
Barkerville - photos
Wells - photos
Williams Lake
Pemberton - photos
Squamish - photos
Vancouver

TEAM EAGLE

Dina & Ryan visited the following communities:

Vancouver - photos
North Vancouver - photos
Whistler - photos
Lillooet - photos
108 Mile Ranch - photos
Clearwater - photos
Williams Lake - photos
Kamloops - photos
Salmon Arm - photos
Sicamous - photos
Craigellachie - photos
Revelstoke - photos
Golden - photos
Field - photos
Radium Hot Springs - photos
Fort Steele - photos
Creston - photos
Nelson - photos
Castlegar - photos
Rossland - photos
Osoyoos - photos
Keremeos - photos
Penticton - photos
Kelowna - photos
Hope - photos
Harrison Hot Springs - photos
Chilliwack - photos
Fort Langley - photos
Steveston - photos
Richmond - photos
Vancouver - photos

The Hell’s Gate Airtram spans Fraser Canyon, a spectacular rocky divide cut by the Fraser River. We visited at a great time, as high water made for dramatic scenery, with white water churning below. The ride across was a little scary, but I was so distracted by the views that I hardly noticed. We visited at a lucky time as we could see salmon jumping along the fish ladder, heading upstream to spawn.

~Team Eagle (Ryan and Dina VagabondQuest.com)

On a boat tour in Harrison Hot Springs, we were delighted to spot an osprey returning to her nest to feed her chicks. We couldn’t see them at first, and they were quite still, but as the mother swooped in with a fish in her talons, they popped their heads up and started chirping, clamouring for their dinner.

~Team Eagle (Ryan and Dina VagabondQuest.com)

Kelowna Bear Ryan U Pick cherry Dina U Pick cherry Ogopogo loves Canadian Apples Japanese Garden Waterfront Knox mountain

It’s cherry season in the Okanagan, and we’ve been eating fat, fresh, and delicious cherries every day! In Kelowna, we picked the cherries ourselves straight from the orchard. Much more fun and cheaper that way! Bring those cherries to the beach, and snack on them while relaxing under the sun. What a way to enjoy a lazy summer afternoon in the Okanagan!

Downtown Kelowna is beautiful. We enjoyed a nice easy stroll around the Cultural District. Starting at Stuart Park at the blue grizzly bear statue, we continued to the Japanese Garden, the museums, and the art walk. We munched some delicious Mennonite apple pie at the Log Barn, then walked along the wharf, saying hi to the legendary lake monster Ogopogo. Back in Stuart Park, we joined the locals in the Dancing in the Park event!

For the best view over Kelowna? Hike up Knox Mountain!

~Team Eagle (Ryan and Dina VagabondQuest.com)

A great view of Penticton can be had from the top of Munson Mountain. It’s easy to find: it’s got “PENTICTON” written across it, like the famous Hollywood sign.

We had a short walk up the hill and were rewarded with a beautiful panorama over the vineyards and lake below.

We’d heard that a thunderstorm was coming, and from our vantage point could see angry skies and lightning striking in the distance. We enjoyed the view for awhile and then hurried back to the comfort of our B&B to escape the impending storm.

Crab cappuccino The RJB

We’ve had a lot of great meals in BC, but one of the standouts was our night at RauDZ Regional Table. We had a unique appetizer: Crab Capuccino. Low in caffeine, high in deliciousness. For a main course Ryan had an awesome steak, butter poached crab, & dry cured bacon burger.

We finished with the creme brulee and salted caramel ice cream (believe us, the taste is out of the world!), accompanied by locally-made raspberry liquors.

~Team Eagle (Ryan and Dina VagabondQuest.com)

Painting Deck Breakfast main Deer Bedroom Breakfast Art Yogurt sunset

We recently stayed at a unique B&B in Penticton: Cormier Studio. The home doubles as an art gallery, stocked with interesting works by the owners, Kena and Lawrence. Every morning Kena makes an amazing breakfast using seasonal ingredients, served al fresco on their patio. During the day we saw deer roaming through the backyard, and at night we were treated to an incredible sunset.

~Team Eagle (Ryan and Dina VagabondQuest.com)

Tubing is a summer institution in Penticton, BC and on a hot day the river channel between Okanagan Lake and Skaha Lake is teeming with tubers. At the launch point, locals arrive with inflatable rafts, chairs, floating pool furniture, and of course tubes. Depending on the currents it can take a few hours to float to the end of the channel, just the right amount of time to polish off a 6-pack of excellent BC beer

There’s a shop that rents tubes, but we found it closed when we arrived. They said it was because of the impending thunderstorm, but the weather didn’t seem to faze any of the locals, who showed up in droves to drink, chat, laugh, and have fun all the way down the river.

~Team Eagle (Ryan and Dina VagabondQuest.com)

Sunset Beautiful scenery Hay ham Appetizer JoieFarm Rose

Every week, God’s Mountain Estate hosts an alfreco vineyard dinner prepared by Joy Road Catering. Last week we were fortunate enough to spend our evening there, savouring innovative locally-sourced foods (Hay-baked ham, anyone?) matched with delicious wines.

Joy Road’s chef Dana’s love for slow, local, seasonal foods showed through in every dish. With each course she explained not only how the dish was cooked, but where the ingredients came from, who grew them, and why she chose them. It added a whole new dimension to the experience.

~Team Eagle (Ryan and Dina VagabondQuest.com)

Fruit stand Beach

We stopped at a fruit stand by the highway and picked up some beautiful local cherries, then went to Sun Oka beach on Okanagan Lake. We lazed on the sand all afternoon, enjoying our delicious fruit and soaking up the sun.

~Team Eagle (Ryan and Dina VagabondQuest.com)

In Burns Lake we were taken on an activity that was right up our alley.  We were hauled up a hill and guided down an amazing downhill mountain bike course.  Although I’m sure we could have taken it easy, that’s not really our style.  We flew down the mountain, ripping around the berms and popping air over any sort of bump we encountered.

Massive props are due to the local initiatives in Burns Lake for setting up something like this.  The trails are world class and, best of all, they are all open to the public free of charge.  If you’re into adventure sport, be sure you check out the downhill mountain biking possibilities in Burns Lake.

Photos and Caption by Brendan van Son - Team Orca - http://www.brendansadventures.com

VagabondQuest Deer Elevation 1873 meters Flower

By far, our favourite thing we did in Osoyoos was hiking to the top of Kobau Mountain. Why? Because it’s spectacular up there! Shrub-steppe at the bottom, mixed with pine forest and alpine flower meadows on the top. The view to Osoyoos city and the unique Spotted Lake with mountains and valleys as far as you can see are breathtaking.

1873m high, you don’t have to hike all the way from the bottom. We drove our Toyota Prius pretty near to the top, parked there, and had a leisurely 30 minute  hike to the top. We made a lot of stops observing the flowers along the way. We spotted some I haven’t seen anywhere else!

We didn’t see anyone else on the mountain that day, which made us love it even more: it was like having the whole world to ourselves!

~Team Eagle (Ryan and Dina VagabondQuest.com)

We saw a superhero floating in the air above Osoyoos Lake! What, super hero?!

Oh wait, it’s just an ordinary human! Oh well… but he is still really cool, floating around with water jets like that! I think I’d be too scared to do that! The thing is called a Flyboard, by the way. Crazy stuff! I wonder if it is difficult to stay straight up, or the device makes it easy to do so.

Well, even though we didn’t try Flyboarding, we still truly enjoyed the beautiful Osoyoos Lake. There are a lot of beaches you can frolick on. Above, you can see me enjoying the beach at Haynes Point, a peninsula in the lake that’s also very popular for camping.

~Team Eagle (Ryan and Dina VagabondQuest.com)

The beautiful thing about the world is that you never know when it’s going to surprise you.  I was in Burns Lake enjoying a quiet evening… I decided to go for a little stroll with my camera and take some night photos.  Then, out of nowhere, the sky burst to life with an amazing light show.  It was like seeing something from a cartoon it was so impressive.  The green, blues and reds just seemed to dance through the sky.  I have seen the northern lights before, but I have never seen them so powerfully!

Photo and caption by Brendan van Son - Team Orca - http://www.brendansadventures.com

Salmon catching The house Scenery Rattlesnake Dina

Watch for rattlesnakes!, said the little yellow sign in the Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre.

We opened our eyes wide, trying to spot one, but this shy little friend wouldn’t show up.

Even though it’s called the Okanagan Desert or Nk’Mip Desert by the the native band Osoyoos, this semi-arid land actually is shrub-steppe. I love the pale green nuance of it. Mountains and mountains tufted with pale green shrubs, meeting the gorgeous coppery-blue Osoyoos Lake.

In Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, we enjoyed the natural walk through this desert-land of dry pale green shrubs. 

It’s cool to imagine the life of the native band Osoyoos in this area in the past. Among many things, they caught salmon from the river, and then wind-dried them for preservation.

On the way out, don’t forget to grab a bag of candied salmon at the cultural centre’s shop. It’s really tasty! We munched it all the way to Keremeos the next day!

~Team Eagle (Ryan and Dina VagabondQuest.com)

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