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Backpacker Magazine – March 2009

International Mulitsport Meccas: Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Float, backpack, and mountain bike Canada's wild west coast.

by: Michael Lanza

Vancouver Island, British Columbia | French Alps
Darjeeling, India | Queenstown, New Zealand
Sardinia, Italy | Julian Alps, Slovenia | Cotopaxi National Park, Ecuador

Sea Kayak
By day, paddle amid Johnstone Strait's menagerie of sea creatures: minke whales, dolphins, and the world's largest pod of orcas (200-plus). Each evening, camp on one of the scores of forested islands of Broughton Archipelago Marine Provincial Park (

First Nations ruins at Village Island and finish at Paddlers Inn (, a floating eco-lodge in remote Simoom Sound. (Water taxi and other services are available, including guides who have the necessary permission to camp on First Nations land.)

Rainforest meets rocky shoreline on the 47-mile West Coast Trail in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Camp beside creeks and watch bald eagles, loons, and killer whales just offshore.

Mountain Bike
Sample the North Shore of Vancouver's bike trails, many with manmade structures (including log teeter-totters and 20-foot-high bridges), like the classic Ned's Atomic Dustbin on Seymour Mountain. North Shore Mountain Bike Association,

Rock Climb
Canada's best granite is in the Squamish area, 30 minutes from Vancouver. Rope up for more than 1,500 routes, from long trad lines to single-pitch sport climbs.

Cost $$$$

Hiking the Great Northwest, by Ira and Vicky Spring and Harvey Manning (The Mountaineers Books, $17)

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