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British Columbia: travel guide and experiences report

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On these pages, Ingo Schmidt from Holzwickede (Germany) tells about a fantastic holiday in the South-West of Canada, a trip through the Canadian province of British Columbia along Fraser River.

A short history

In 2004, my girlfriend and me - we were studying Anglistics and Germanistics at the Ruhr-Universität in Bochum, Germany at the time - were facing a question that was tricky not only in respects of money as we had to decide where to go during the compulsory three-months-stay abroad that was required when studying English. We looked through catalogues issued by language schools all over the world, made plans and rejected them until help came by a chanceful event. Sitting in a pub, we mentioned Canada when speaking to a friend, a skilled forest worker. He was expecting a guest at the time, the German owner of a hunting camp in Canada for whom he had built log cabins, cut trails and retrieved game that had been shot from the bush. And - exept for hunting - which has a completely different meaning in Canada than here, Canada sounded somehow good.

You do not only often see polar lights in British Columbia, but also marvellous sunrises

We soon managed to arrange a meeting, and just a week after we were sitting in our - already mentioned - friend's kitchen who was busy preparing a newly shot, northern german doe. At this time, however, my girlfriend had been living as a vegetarian for 14 years, but it suddenly became obvious that this way of life would have to be given up if we were planning to stay in a hunting camp in Canada as hunting camps live on the game they shoot to a large extent.

Then the door-bell rung, a thickset man in his late forties came in and started cheering when he saw the doe stew - that really was up to its name - on the stove. Without having any knowledge of hunting or forest work, the only thing we had to do to be hired was to translate "livestock" by "Vieh". The issue was not discussed any more.

Five months and three e-mails later, we landed in Vancouver along with a rucksack full of outdoor gear and the information better not to mention anything about "work" during entry. Getting a job license for Canada seemed supposedly slightly harder than designing a perpetuum mobile. Probably, we wouldn't even have been allowede to leave the airport, thus we just paid a three-months-visit to a friend in Dawson Creek.

Now, the large, wide British Columbia lay ahead of us, with its unlimited possibilities, and it exceeded all expectations towards a wild and beautiful country by far. The experiences described in the following report basically refer to a round trip through British Columbia of about 4,000 kilometres, beginning and ending in Vancouver.



Index

British Columbia - General Information

  • Geography
  • Climate, vegetation and animals
  • Population and culture

British Columbia's South

  • Stop 1: Hope
  • Stop 2: Kamloops / Okanagan / Kelowna
  • Stop 3: Revelstoke

British Columbia's East

  • Stop 4: Banff National Park / Jasper National Park
  • Lake Louise
  • Columbia Icefield
  • Athabasca Falls

The Interior Plateau of British Columbia

  • Stop 5: Prince George
  • Stop 6: Williams Lake
  • Stop 7: Whistler

Vancouver Island, Victoria and Vancouver

  • Stop 8: Vancouver Island / Victoria
  • Vancouver

British Columbia - additional information

  • Choosing a vehicle
  • Accomodation and camping facilities
  • Orientation and help in cases of emergency

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