Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Hiking the Gulf Islands of British Columbia is a “must have” if you like exploring on foot

By Keith and Heather Nicol
Must have book for hikers
    “Hiking the Gulf Islands of British Columbia”  4th edition is just out and is a comprehensive guide to hiking options on the various B.C. Gulf Islands. Fifteen Islands are included and they range from Bowen Island near Vancouver to the east up to Quadra and Cortes to the north and Saltspring and South Pender to the south.  Since we have moved here 3.5 years ago we have barely scratched the surface of these trails so look forward to using this book especially as we hike some of the islands to the south of the Comox Valley like Saltspring and Galiano Islands.  We have explored Hornby, Denman and Quadra Island on foot and generally agree with author Charles Kahn’s assessment of what the best hikes are. He also features a variety of hikes which makes this book useful for walkers of a variety of ages and abilities. 

The Rebecca Spit trail gets 4 stars and is an amazing coastal walk on Quadra Island
 The author typically has a chapter per island and each hike is rated from 1 to 5 stars as well as featuring the trail length, time required, a brief description, level (easy to challenging), access, and cautions. There are plenty of maps but we would have liked to see GPS coordinates for the trailhead as a check to make sure you are on the right track.  Mr Kahn only gives a few trails 5 stars so if you want the best hikes on these islands then you have just 8 to choose from.  Of course ratings are personal and although we would generally agree with the author on the ratings he has given some trails we would rate others ,like Boyle Point Provincial Park, more than just 2 stars. After all it gives a great view of Chrome Island Lighthouse and it also has an eagle’s nest which you can view from above which makes it very popular with photographers and wildlife enthusiasts in the spring and early summer when the eagles are on their nest.  But these are small complaints and overall we really appreciated  the layout and size of the book. 
Helliwell Park coastal trail gets 5 stars on Hornby Island and we agree
    Another feature that we like about the book is that since we are avid sea kayakers there are several listings for possible kayak launch points and destinations in each chapter. This book is published by Harbour Publishing and is available at many bookstores. For more information see:

Paddling with Orcas off of Hornby Island

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