December 16, 2015
Deep within Vancouver Island is Mount Washington, home to a trifecta of the truly remarkable for skiers and snowboarders: massive mountains, ancient forests and endless…
By Destination British Columbia April 13, 2015 #php comments_number('0 Comment', '1 Comment', '% Comments'); ?> #php echo wpb_get_post_views(get_the_ID()); ?>
People of the Wild is a blog series profiling residents of BC who have one thing in common: their love of the BC wild. This week we’re featuring Lindsay Anderson, a food writer and blogger who has turned her passions for travel and cuisine into an exciting career. Originally from Prince George, Lindsay is currently based in Vancouver. Spending her formative years in Northern BC and subsequently embracing BC’s big cities has enabled Lindsay to provide a unique perspective of life at both ends of the province.
Why do you call BC home?
I was born and raised in BC. I grew up in Prince George and then moved to Victoria for my undergraduate degree. Throughout that time I was always bouncing back and forth; I was going to school in southern BC and working each summer in Northern BC. I worked at a campground on Purden Lake, an hour outside of Prince George, for three summers. It had a little cafe by the lake and I lived at the top of a ski hill just down the road. Later on I spent my summers cooking at a tree planting camp. Whether it was in this little cabin at the top this ski hill or a tent in the woods, I spent my summers in the northern BC wilderness, which is nice to reflect on. After my undergrad, I travelled a lot and lived in many different places but I always found myself back in BC before taking off on the next adventure.
I completed my Masters of Food, Culture, and Communication at the University of Gastronomic Sciences in Italy before moving to Vancouver. I hadn’t been in the city for long before I started my job with Richmond 365 Days of Dining. After I finished, my friend Dana and I launched FEAST: An Edible Road Trip. It was essentially a five month road trip across all ten provinces and all three territories, covering 37,000 km (23,000 miles) to explore Canadian food culture.
I live in East Van in Strathcona in a lane home that I absolutely love because it looks like a little cabin in the city. No matter where I have travelled or lived, it always feels comfortable to return to BC. Not just because I have family and friends here that I adore, but because it’s also an incredibly beautiful place. The diversity, the landscapes, and the opportunities for getting outdoors are unparalleled. I don’t know where else to find a place that has so few people and so much space.
It’s also wonderful to live in a liberal place like Vancouver where people actually respect and appreciate the surrounding environment and want to protect it. It’s not until I had grown up and travelled elsewhere that I had a greater appreciation for what I’d left at home. Until you meet people from outside of BC, you don’t realize that the life you’ve had and the things you’ve done and the place you’re from is quite extraordinary. Going away has given me the perspective on what it is that home means to me.
What do you get out of being in nature? How does BC’s wilderness make you feel?
I find that it’s an incredible stress reliever. Sometimes it may be weeks at a time where I can’t get out to go on a hike, but knowing the possibility is always there is helpful. In Vancouver, we have Stanley Park, so you really don’t have to go that far to find some peace and quiet and a sense of the natural environment. I find it soothing to be able to see the ocean and mountains and not feel trapped in a city of concrete and buildings. Once I’m in the wilderness it helps me so much to unplug from email and social media. I really thrive in the fresh air and quiet. When you’re outside on a hike or kayak trip, the only demand made of you is that you’re able to maneuver your body across the terrain. You get to focus and be incredibly present, as opposed to thinking ahead or thinking back. My brain has a tendency to be constantly running through lists, so it’s nice to be able to turn that down for a little while.
On your typical day out in the BC wild, what do you normally bring with you?
I always pack my faithful old backpack that I use on a near daily basis. It’s a Marmot bag and it’s a perfect daypack. Then, I usually have a purple North Face shell in case it rains. I almost always have a buff because they’re versatile and I can use it if my head gets cold. I bring lots of water. Sometimes I bring my big camera but it depends on the day, so there’s always the option to leave it behind and take photos with my phone. If we’re going to be a little bit late, I usually have a headlamp. I’m always terrified that I’ll get hungry when I’m hiking, so I always pack enough snacks for about six people. It’s almost guaranteed that half my bag will be full of trail mix.
Describe your perfect day in BC.
What about two? Because I live in southern BC, but grew up in Northern BC, I’ve got two different perfect days since they’re very different places.
My perfect day in southern BC would be spending a weekend in a cabin on a Gulf Island. Whenever I stop and think about how I would want to spend a relaxing morning, it’s drinking a hot cup of tea overlooking a body of water. It just sounds like heaven to me. Galiano Island springs to mind as a specific destination for this. There are so many things to do over the course of the day there. Hiking to Dionisio Point isn’t hard, but it’s a fun scramble along the coastline. Then heading out for a kayak in the afternoon along the shoreline to see some seals is unbelievable. After that, having a barbeque of salmon and fresh food from the farmers market is a perfect way to end the day. With the company of friends, it doesn’t get much better than that.
If I’m in Northern BC, an ideal day would be going fishing with my Dad. Growing up, we didn’t go to Disneyland, we went to the lake. There are so few people and so many lakes up there that you can basically have a lake to yourself.
Each summer my Dad would take us to Carp Lake, which is about three hours northwest of Prince George. It’s a huge lake full of different islands. He would pack up a little boat with all the gear that we needed and we’d boat out to an island called White Spruce Island to set up camp for three or four days. It was the most idyllic thing. Last summer I went home to go fishing with my Dad and we went back to Carp Lake. We stayed at the campground on the shore and spent our days catching trout for our dinner. We’d usually boat out to White Spruce Island and stop there to have our lunch. It was so surreal because we hadn’t been there in probably twenty years and it had not changed one bit. Here was one of my favourite places from my childhood and it was exactly the same. It actually made me tear up.
What are three things that you would suggest that a new traveller to BC not miss this season?
It’s kind of ambitious to do, but if you can get up to Haida Gwaii, it’s just one of the most compelling places I’ve ever been. There’s so much history, culture, and interesting food. Dana and I went to Haida Gwaii on our trip and it was just stunningly beautiful.
On Vancouver Island, Tofino and Ucluelet are great destinations. If you want a bigger trip, say a cool kayaking trip, I’d recommend getting over to the northwest part of the Island. At the beginning of FEAST we did a kayak trip with West Coast Expeditions, who are based on Spring Island. It’s north of Bamfield near to the First Nation village Kyuquot, which is only accessible by water. We saw bald eagles in incredible numbers every day and it was a really special experience. Even if it’s not somewhere as remote as that, a wild, west coast experience on the Island is totally worth it.
Lastly, I would suggest going horseback riding in the Chilcotin. There are some really awesome guest ranches that you can go stay at and they’ll take you on rides up into the mountains. We did a trip in high school and they took our whole class to the Flying U Ranch. We were crossing rivers and having the best time and the landscape there is just out of control.
What would you consider to be BC’s best-kept secret?
Tumbler Ridge is an outdoor paradise four hours north of Prince George that many people don’t get the opportunity to visit. I spent four summers there with the tree planting camp. There’s lots of awesome little day hikes that take you to all these spectacular waterfalls. Kinuseo Falls is in the vicinity as well, and it’s one of the biggest waterfalls in Canada. It’s often featured in sweeping vista shots of the BC wild but no one really knows where it is! Then there’s Boulder Gardens, which is this really interesting natural phenomena. It’s stacks of rock in odd shapes and forms in the middle of a valley and it’s strikingly beautiful. On top of that there are glacier fed lakes and Monkman Provincial Park which is great for multi-day hikes.
Any last words of advice to somebody thinking about travelling to BC?
Come, because you’re never going to regret it. And then once you’re here don’t be afraid to ask locals for advice. Most people who live in BC are pretty happy about being here and are willing to share their experiences with visitors. Don’t be afraid about asking people to help you with narrowing down your options, because there are so many things to do here.
Follow along with Lindsay’s BC adventures here.
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