An epic fishing adventure at the Arctic Circle

Ten friends, a rustic lodge and days spent on the pristine waters of Great Bear Lake

An epic fishing adventure at the Arctic CircleBy Grady Semmens “Well, I guess I actually have to do this now that we’ve come all this way,” says Jeff warily as he eyes the cloud of mosquitoes that tracks our every move and bounces off the nets that cover our heads. And with that, he casts off every stitch of clothing save for…

Finding your business’s sweet spot

Berry picking is a lot like business: you need to to work through the thorns, avoid the bears and pick where others aren’t

Finding your business’s sweet spotI like picking berries in the summer. It’s one of those memories that lasts into the fall and winter, much like the frozen berries that are hidden in the freezer for a tasty bit of summer on a cold day. I’m not sure if I was always a good berry picker but I do remember…

Going bananas for a threatened fruit

A deadly fungus is spreading all over the world, so we can expect to pay more for bananas. But our world-class scientists could help solve the problem

Going bananas for a threatened fruitThe world could run out of bananas. Reports this summer suggest that a banana-killing fungus, Fusarium TR4 or the Panama disease, has reached Latin America. And it could spread, affecting crops sold in the United States and Canada. After having been detected in the Middle East, Asia and Australia, many experts were expecting the highly-contagious…

Dancing in the dark – in the midst of a hurricane

In Atlantic Canada, the moment you think you have everything nailed down, a Category 2 storm decides to pop in

Dancing in the dark – in the midst of a hurricaneA word to the wise: A daily five-km fast walk and a nightly 15-minute endurance routine on a floor mat doesn’t prepare a 50-something body for a sudden dismount from a handstand – especially if said body lands on its tippy toes, like Baryshnikov on a really, really bad morning. “Crunch!” was the sound heard…

A whale of a shift in seasons on the West Coast

Blackberries, figs, grey and humpback whales, and spawning salmon all herald the arrival of autumn

A whale of a shift in seasons on the West CoastAs August turns the corner to September, some notable and familiar signs of change occur at Skelhp, which is known as “The place where the ancients dropped down from the heavens and taught us how to make canoe paddles out of yew wood.” The blackberries that have been thriving over the past three weeks start…

Hut-to-hut hike rewards adventurers with epic views

Comfy beds and incredible food await after a long, fulfilling day

Hut-to-hut hike rewards adventurers with epic viewsAs we gaped in awe at Talc Lake, a deep blue expanse hanging above Egypt Lake in the distance, a passing hiker said to us, “It only gets better.” Better than this? we wondered. How is that possible? In the vista before us, a waterfall ribbon from Talc seemed to put the cherry on top…

Taking the anxiety out of long crossings in a kayak

Go early, be prepared for any eventuality, plan well, concentrate on strong paddle strokes and keep your destination dead off your bow

Taking the anxiety out of long crossings in a kayakIt’s the classic ocean kayaker’s dilemma: should I wait or go now? You’re all loaded up. It’s probably early in the morning and you don’t want to delay others as your trip unfolds before you. Some or all of your trip-mates may have taken kayak water rescue courses and have at least some confidence in…

Single-use plastic ban won’t solve waste problem

Economic reasoning and basic statistics show that such bans are largely symbolic gestures that come with real downsides

Single-use plastic ban won’t solve waste problemPrime Minister Justin Trudeau recently proposed a federal ban on certain single-use plastics, in an effort to protect marine life and the beauty of Canadian shores. But the proposal fails to get to the root of the problem. Trudeau justified the proposal by saying, “We have a responsibility to work with our partners to reduce…

Once in a blue moon: scaling B.C.’s Fisher Peak

Climbing Fisher requires no mountaineering equipment, no technical skills. But the steady steepness makes for a long, hard day

Once in a blue moon: scaling B.C.’s Fisher PeakOnce in a blue moon something improbable occurs. A goal beyond expectations and beyond the capacity of aging knees is accomplished. The view of Fisher Peak from our Kimberley, B.C., condo is mesmerizing. For years I’ve gazed across the Rocky Mountain Trench at that daunting, taunting pinnacle. Fisher dominates the skyline in this range of…

Spring semester begins at Skelhp

Some familiar buzzes, croaks and tweets and a new cat-like cry as the turning of the seasons teaches anew

Spring semester begins at SkelhpMy British Museum 2019 Diary proclaims the vernal equinox arrived on March 20 this year, with a cryptic little note: “Spring begins.” At Skelhp, we already knew. In fact, I think spring began on Sunday, March 10, when we descended artfully on the deer-fenced garden with pruning clippers to shape some apple and cherry trees.…

You never really know what’s following you until it snows

I’ve adjusted my solo walk schedule and try to be alert to the possibility that a cougar is lurking

You never really know what’s following you until it snowsWe joke in our family about my living a city-mouse/country-mouse existence. Part of the time, I live in a 600-square-foot Vancouver condo and part of the time I live with the land at Skelhp on the Sunshine coast. In Vancouver, I’m visually connected to pigeons, seagulls, and the 4 p.m. return flight of northwestern crows,…

Preparing for another Christmas at Skelhp

There are lights to hang, cleanup work to be done inside and out, kindling to split, a turkey to order and a final round of gifts to buy

Preparing for another Christmas at SkelhpIt’s very calm this morning and still a dark grey overcast at 7 a.m. The offshore islands are shrouded in mist. There’s no sign of human habitation right across the southern horizon. No rising plumes of chimney smoke are visible. No boats or tugs and booms are passing. And it’s cold in the house. Time…