Photo: A pit stop along the Appleton Creek Trail. Source: Darren Robinson.
Our goal every Wednesday is to provide you with outdoor excursion ideas for the upcoming weekend. Here are our top 5 picks for the first weekend of April:
1. Hiking the Appleton Creek Trail:
You know how ever so often you’ll come across a photo that makes you stop, jaw-drop, and go, “Where on Earth is that?!?”. We discovered such a place on the Sunshine Coast. Thanks to photographer Darren Robinson for introducing us to the Appleton Creek Trail – a rain forest and waterfall hiking trail just north of Powell River. Darren insists he’s “kind of weird about waterfalls” and admits “there are worse things to be weird about. I don’t know, they just move me. They make me happy. And this trail is chalked full of them.” We think it’s remarkable and not just because of the waterfalls, but also for the lush temperate rain forest that makes this part of BC a little slice of paradise. Take a look at Darren’s photos here to see what we mean. According to Darren, the trail isn’t necessarily the most obvious place to get to, but we think he explains how to get there, and what to expect very well on his blog. And rumour has it that there’s a recreation campsite at the trail end. Hmmmm… spring camping, anyone?
2. April Fools Run – April 3:
Are you a runner? This Sunday is the April Fools Run – a half-marathon where you can run, walk or relay those scenic 21.1 km from Gibsons all the way to Sechelt. (Pssst – that’s a Vancouver Sun Run x2!) According to Everything Sunshine Coast, the April Fools Run “is a great Sunshine Coast tradition that began as a bet between two reporters from the local newspaper. [The event] has grown to 600 participants. It has also gained the reputation as one of the best half-marathons in the country by Canadian Runner magazine.” If you haven’t been to the Sunshine Coast yet, we think this would be an incredible way to be introduced to the region. A big thanks to Sunshine Coast Tourism and Coracle Cove B&B for putting this great event on our radar.
3. Heritage to Hatzic 10K & 5K Run & Walk – April 3:
The good news continues for runners this weekend as there are two events to choose from! This Sunday is the Heritage to Hatzig 10km & 5km Run & Walk. We think it offers a really unique way to experience and appreciate the Fraser Valley. Hosted by Mission Hillstompers, this 10K & 5K run/walk includes the new trails in Mission’s Heritage Park and through the quiet area of Hatzic. There are great views of Westminster Abby and the gorgeous Mount Baker in the distance. While online registration is over, you can register in person at 7am (until 8:30am) on the day of the race. The race then begins at 9AM at the Heritage Park Secondary School in Mission. For full details, visit www.missionhillstomp.com
4. Sea Lion Tours – April & May:
Every year at approximately this time, hundreds of sea lions can be found basking on the jetty at the mouth of the Fraser River, but unless you have your own boat and you know how to navigate the waters around Steveston, you’re probably never going to see them in person. That’s where Steveston Seabreeze Adventures comes in. Starting this Friday, they’re offering Sea Lion Tours in addition to other eco tours. You not only get the chance to see California and Steller’s sea lions in their natural habitat, but you also see other Fraser River estuary wildlife. Don’t procrastinate too long, however, as the season typically ends by late May. For more information, visit Steveston Seabreeze’s website here.
5. Fondue by Snowmobile:
It’s true – you don’t have to go to the Rockies to experience snowmobiling. If you’re looking for this kind of excitement closer to town, head up the Sea to Sky this weekend to Whistler. Says Whistler resident & professional German snowboarder Vera Jannsen, “The areas surrounding Whistler have some of the best sled-access terrain worldwide – no other place this size can compete with the precipitation and the fairly stable snowpack.” But if you want to make the weekend especially memorable, we think Whistler’s Crystal Hut Fondue by Snowmobile package sounds pretty fantastic. Considered one of the Top 5 Luxury winter activities in Whistler, the package involves you driving your own snowmobile (or share with a friend) as your guide leads you up winding trails to the charming Crystal Hut (perched 6,000 ft atop Blackcomb). You then get to enjoy a traditional fondue dinner with wine, dessert, live music and majestic views. Sounds good to us! For full details, visit the official website here. Pssst – looks like they have a 10% discount if you pre-book online. How about that?