In the tradition of the early explorers I have been penning my field notes. It's possible that I've been reading too much National Geographic.

In This Issue

Lake O'Hara

Lake O'Hara Viewpoint

3 Years in the Making

I’d been wanting to go to Lake O’Hara for 3 years but it’s insanely hard to get a reservation out there. They have 30 sites, you can book up to 3 months in advance, and they recommend you start trying 3 months to the day. They only take phone reservations and it’s very hard to get through. Even if you do it’s typical for all of the sites to be booked within the first hour.

Hoping to Strike Gold

To make things even more difficult I wanted to go when the larch trees were turning yellow. Although a conifer, the larch is a deciduous tree and loses its leaves in the autumn. Nature photographers think of these trees like beer; They look good, they smell good, and you'd crawl over your own mother to photograph one! Unfortunately the lighting wasn't great so now I have a reason to go back next year.

Everywhere You Want To Be

The camp is located about 10 minutes away from Lake O'Hara itself. The lake is glacier fed and looks amazing. That's not all though! There are lots of hiking trails that start near the lake and lead to magical places filled with waterfalls, more lakes, fantastic views, and unicorns (probably). Some of the trails are very restricted and only 4 groups are allowed to hike them per day.

Community Camps

The campground is community based with a shared fire pit. At night everyone would gather around and share stories about where they've been. I ended up meeting two awesome people: Dani Lefrancois and Callum Snape; both of which are incredible photographers. Even though I thought I might die of hypothermia at times it was an amazing trip. I will definitely be heading back.

Dan Jurak

Dan Jurak is one of the finest Prairie photographers I've come across and has been a true inspiration to me personally.

When I was starting out I came across Dan's photos and was instantly amazed. At the time he was doing some heavy processing and I found his images incredibly imaginative and it made me rethink what an artist could convey through photography.

Dan has since toned down his processing but his images are more powerful than ever in terms of expression and mood. While most of the photographers I follow are shooting famous scenes Dan is out scouring the Prairies and I often find his work more intriguing and just as stunning.

All images in this entry are © Dan Jurak. Used with permission.

On Canada's Left Coast

The pull of the coast.

I've always wanted to visit Vancouver Island, which is almost as far West as you can go in Canada. It houses wicked coastlines, ancient cedar forests, and armies of wildlife. If it were a nation their flag would feature an otter surfing on a killer whale and they would be led by a bear instead of a person. I stayed on the North end of the island near a small town called Tofino which is moderately transient and full of tourists and surfers.

That's one way to get there.

I booked a flight to Comox British Columbia, rented a car, and drove across the whole island which was crazy beautiful. I highly recommend renting a car because the trip would take forever in a golf cart. During my driving adventure I saw several bears, passed through Cathedral Grove, and went by some gorgeous lakes.

Like nowhere else I've been.

I caught a water taxi to Refuge Cove, which is inaccessible by land vehicles, for a short hiking trip. On my way I passed by sea otters (which float on their backs while holding hands to form rafts) and a pod of killer whales. It really feels like civilization hasn’t been there long enough to screw it up yet.

The native culture is celebrated in the area too. The Haida are known for Totem Poles and their art. Their war canoes were built out of cedar trees and some were large enough to accommodate 60 paddlers.

Did I mention the tacos?

Tofino isn’t just a bunch of people wandering around unspoiled wilderness though. They have a very progressive tourism industry. The food truck behind the surf shop has world class fish tacos. The accommodation was celebrity worthy. My favorite moments though were walking along beaches with my friend. We would look in tide pools and pet the starfish then RUN LIKE HELL FROM THE RISING TIDES!

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