Go wild. Discover a land of giants, some over 800 years old. Explore lush, ancient forests and fragile eco systems, one step at a time. Hike alpine meadows awash in a rainbow of colour with no one else in sight. Don a wetsuit and snorkel, and swim a gentle, yet untamed river alongside spawning salmon. Absorb the stories of British Columbia one natural adventure at a time. Paddle your own kayak in the realm of Orcas, in one of the best place to whale watch in all of BC. Awaken to the song of the Humpback whale. Fall asleep beneath the hushed canopy of a temperate rainforest.
A Vacation Unlike Any Other
Tune in to the rhythm of the mountains and the ocean on a BC vacation that’s unlike any other. Escape the hubbub of your everyday world, combining hiking inland Vancouver Island with ocean kayaking amongst killer whales on a guided, seven-day odyssey of outdoor adventure.
Restore Life’s Equilibrium on an Expedition of Discovery
Expert guides, in tune with the natural wonders of BC lead an expedition of discovery to hike the mountains surrounding Campbell River and kayak the secluded inlets and tranquil bays of the Johnstone Strait, where Orcas, Humpbacks, porpoises, dolphins, and resident sea lions play in their natural environment without feeding times, or fences.
Restore life’s equilibrium from beneath the canopy of a rainforest or from the seat of a kayak on an Ecosummer Expedition – where mild adventures often become wild adventures.
Day One – The Adventure Begins
The Rosedale on Robson is the gathering place where your adventure begins. Say hello to your fellow travelers, meet up with your guide, pack up the van and you’re off through to Horseshoe Bay, and a ferry crossing of the Georgia Strait traveling to Vancouver Island. Keep a lookout as the ferry slips quietly past the Sunshine Coast for occasional glimpses of dolphins and otters who frequent these waters.
You’re making your way to Campbell River, but not before stopping to explore Cathedral Grove, the majestic old-growth forest at MacMillan Provincial Park. Stretch your legs and your soul, wandering beneath the canopy of the forest described as “inspiring.” Drink in the scent of cedar, fir, and hemlock, marveling at how small you feel when standing beneath trees stretching over 70 m up to the sky.
Your arrival in Campbell River allows plenty of time to check in to your hotel before enjoying an evening on your own. Whether you indulge in a relaxing stroll along the waterfront, drinking in views of the Georgia Strait and Quadra Island, or heading straight into town for a wharf side dinner – our guides are happy to make recommendations and assist you with making plans for the night.
Day Two – Hike the Wildflower Meadows of Strathcona Provincial Park
A hearty breakfast fuels you for the alpine adventures ahead. Our destination today is the wildflower meadows of Strathcona Provincial Park – BC’s oldest, and some would say, most beautiful Provincial Park.
One glimpse of Strathcona’s rugged, snow-covered peaks and sun-drenched valleys will whet your appetite for the hike ahead along winding trails 380-million years in the making. You’ll find evidence of the volcanic forces and immense ice sheets that formed this place every step along the trail. Follow the call of the red-breasted nuthatch, hiking blueberry-lined trails leading to wildflower meadows of heather, lupine and Indian paintbrush and the shores of Bedwell Lake. Your reward at the end of the trail is a cool refreshing swim in Baby Bedwell Lake before embarking on your return hike and an afternoon and evening at leisure.
Day Three – Snorkel With Salmon
Today’s the day you get a fish-eye view of Campbell River’s timeless and humbling beauty – snorkeling with salmon! Home to five different species of salmon, the river is most prolific in summer when thousands of salmon complete a four year quest, returning from the ocean to swim upstream against the current, returning to their spawning grounds.
Don your wetsuit, goggles, flippers and snorkel and wade in…the water is chilly, but fine! Relax into the current and let it carry you downstream while salmon swim beside and beneath you, and eagles soar above. You’ll marvel at how crystal clear the water is – and just how close the salmon are…within your reach, in fact. Professional guides are with you every minute, helping you navigate the trickier sections of the river, and if swimming with salmon isn’t really your thing, that’s okay – you can join a gentle river raft, experiencing the annual salmon migration from a different perspective.
The next stop on your west coast adventure is the tiny fishing hamlet of Telegraph Cove where meandering amongst the colourful buildings on stilts means walking the plank (of the boardwalk, that is). Bring your camera along – Telegraph Cove is pure eye-candy and a rare glimpse of BC’s storied past where remote outposts such as Telegraph Cove were the only connection loggers and fishermen had with the outside world. Explore the Whale Interpretive Centre learning about the Resident and Transient Orcas that feed in these waters, building anticipation of adventures to come over the next few days.
Your final stop for the night is Pt. McNeil, on Vancouver Island’s (Vancouver Island) northeastern shores. Take part in the pre-trip briefing at the Haida Way Motor Inn where you’ll have the chance to have any last minute questions answered before settling in for the night – the adventure gets underway the next day!
Day Four – Journey to Orca Camp
This is the day you’ve been waiting for – your first opportunity to see (and hear) Orcas in the wild takes place aboard your water-taxi bound for Warden Beach, home to Orca Camp (Orca Camp) and your staging ground for adventure. As you slowly watch civilization slowly slip away, you'll begin to notice the wild thing surrounding you: sea lions hauled out, basking in the sun, Pacific Whitesided Dolphins dancing on the ocean's surface, eagles fishing for salmon, Humpback and Killer Whales surfacing, submerging and surfacing again.
Our guides are quick to welcome you to camp, helping you becoming oriented to life in the wild. Learn all about bear-proofing your gear, selecting your tent, and where the outhouse is located. Join the rest of the group gathering at the beach where paddling lessons are underway. Learn how to enter and exit your boat, the "right" way to paddle and steer, and then you're off! Explore the near shore keeping a watchful eye out for signs of whales in the area. When you return from your afternoon exploration tuck into a hearty dinner, prepared surfside. If weather and whales permit, there's time to kayak after dinner, flexing your muscles in preparation for tomorrow’s adventures.
Day Five – Orca Camp
Days that are measured in wildlife sightings and the number of Orca shots on your camera begin and end at base camp. Off the grid, unplugged, disconnected from urban living, this is where you’ll reconnect with the natural world…and with each other.
Fuel up with a hearty breakfast, spend your day kayaking and exploring the Johnstone Strait, and your night reliving your adventures around the campfire at Orca Camp.
Day Six – Orca Camp
Spend a full day paddling the Johnstone Strait, delighting in the encounters you’re sure to have along the way. Porpoises, sea lions, jumping salmon, and eagles fishing from the shore.
This will be your last opportunity to experience kayaking with Orcas, until you come again. Make the most of your day before the water-taxi returns you to Pt. McNeill and an overnight stay at the Haida Way Inn.
Day Seven – Return to Reality
Your week in the wilds of BC comes to an end on this final morning when you embark on the return journey to Vancouver and the Rosedale on Robson. Transfer to the city the same way you came, via ferry ride along the Georgia Strait where there may just be one last opportunity to experience BC wildlife from the deck of the boat.