A look back on the summer that was.
You may have noticed things have been a little quiet around here over the past few months. It’s not from a lack of things to talk about. Quite the opposite, actually. These days, we just can’t seem to find enough time to write and publish blog posts.
We have good intentions. Really, we do. But, with full time jobs and two energetic boys, we’re finding it increasingly challenging to find some focus time.
If only there was an app that could pull my thoughts out of my brain and magically translate them into a well written blog post. Wouldn’t that be great?
We had a fun summer that was jam packed with big trips, short trips, day trips and lazy afternoons on the beach. Earlier in the year, while on a ski trip in central British Columbia, we set a goal to get out of the city at least twice per month this summer.
Vancouver is an awesome place to be in the summer, so there’s plenty of things to do without leaving the city. But when we don’t make an effort to get out of the city, we often look back on summer feeling like we could have done more. It’s just too easy to let daily routines get in the way of experiencing new things.
Even if the destination is only a few hours away, it’s important to leave the city and spend quality time together. It allows us to be present in the moment and forces us to shake up our routines.
Point Roberts, Washington State
Our summer travels began with a trip to Point Roberts, a peaceful seaside village located in the Pacific Northwest that is technically a part of mainland United States, but it’s not physically connected to it (read more about Point Roberts in this post – scroll to the bottom for travel tips).
We spent a few days at a townhouse located across the road from the beach. There are lots of things to do in Point Roberts, like biking, hiking and beach combing, but the most common activity is doing nothing. By that, I mean waking up in the morning with no agenda and letting the mood dictate how your day will play out.
For us, that meant frequent visits to the beach equipped with pail and shovel.
The beach at Point Roberts is a Happy Place for many.
Superman scouting the ocean for creatures.
Road Trip around Ireland and Northern Ireland
The big trip of the summer was an epic 2-week road trip around Ireland and Northern Ireland. We did a big circle around the island, starting and finishing in Dublin. This was our first time visiting Ireland and it did not disappoint.
We still have so many stories and photos to share from that trip, so make sure you come back again over the coming weeks. Next up, we will be writing about our visit to the Cliffs of Moher and the Giant’s Causeway (pictured above).
More on that trip here – Highlights from our 2 week Ireland road trip
Porteau Cove, British Columbia
After our Irish road trip, we re-visited Porteau Cove Provincial Park for a few days. We rented a beautiful oceanfront log cabin and spent our days searching for treasures at low tide and roasting marshmallows in the evening. The cabins and provincial park are located just south of Squamish in Sea-to-Sky Country.
We first stayed at the Olympic Legacy Cabins last November and loved it. We wrote about Porteau Cove here. The problem, however, was that it was quite cold in November and the sun started to go down around 4:30 PM. That meant shorter days and less time to enjoy our peaceful surroundings.
Hours after returning from that trip to Porteau Cove we booked the same cabin for the summer. The cabins have everything we look for – oceanfront views, privacy, comfort, peaceful beach, forest, and short drive time from our house. It’s the prefect weekend escape.
Below are a few photos from our time at Porteau Cove.
View from the cabin’s private deck.
Family time on the beach.
Tippy toe, tippy toe! Careful navigation.
Searching for treasures at low tide.
Campfires in the evening. Summer perfection.
The pier at Porteau Cove.
Happiness lives in a colourful Popsicle.
River Rafting, Glamping and Waterfalls
Next up was a white water rafting retreat in the Nahatlatch Provincial Park, located about an hour’s drive north of the town of Hope. On the way to the rafting resort, we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls Provincial Park and hiked to its namesake, the cascading Bridal Veil waterfall (pictured above).
Unfortunately, I left my GoPro camera at home, so I wasn’t able to capture any photos from the river rafting experience. Doh! The rafting is world class. The Nahatlatch River is Class 3+ and has 37 rapids, which is apparently the most in Canada. It lived up to its reputation. Pure awesome.
We stayed at the REO Rafting Resort, an edge-of-the-river retreat that has several Glamping tents (see pictures below). The resort is located in complete wilderness, so you have no choice but to relax and connect with nature.
This was my Glamping tent. Literally 10 feet from the rushing water.
View from the deck in front of my tent. Amazing!
I love traditional camping, but I might be ruined now.
Not a bad place for a morning coffee and evening beer!
I snapped this photo while still in bed. One of the best sleeps I’ve had in years.
Views of the retreat on the river’s edge.
Cultus Lake Provincial Park
Next up was a visit to Cultus Lake Provincial Park. Cultus Lake is a popular family destination for British Columbia residents because it’s located only 2 hours east of Vancouver, just south of Chilliwack.
The park has several campgrounds, beaches, hiking trails and amusement parks, so it can get quite busy in the summer months when the lake is packed with speed boats, canoes and kayaks. There are over 300 campsites spread throughout the massive 2,700 hectare park.
Prior to this visit, we had never been to Cultus Lake. A friend of ours owns a trailer in the Lindell Beach Holiday Resort, located on the south end of the large fresh-water lake. The holiday park has several vacation trailers that are privately owned. Many of the owners rent their units, so we finally decided to spend a few days at the park.
We’ve been contemplating whether we should purchase a vacation property now that our boys are getting older. We would love to have a home-away-from-home that our boys can grow up with, so we’ve been planning most of our short trips to places that have property for sale.
The Lindell Beach Holiday Resort checks a lot of boxes for us – it’s close to home (2 hour drive with no border crossing), it’s surrounded by nature, there’s a water park and amusement park 10 minutes away, and the units are relatively inexpensive. The downside is that it’s only open during the summer. It might make the final cut, but our hearts keep pointing us to Whistler.
Connor catching some morning sun on the trailer’s stairs.
Nothing says summer like evening campfires and roasting marshmallows.
Cultus Lake is also home to Dinotown. So that happened.
Exploring the Cultus Lake Adventure Park.
Comox Valley on Vancouver Island
The summer adventures continued with a trip to the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. The highlight of the trip was the seaplane flight over Howe Sound and the South Coast. This was the first time our boys had been on a seaplane, so you can imagine their excitement when the plane took off and landed on water.
Fortunately, we had fantastic weather on our flights to and from Comox Harbour. Unfortunately, the rest of the time in poured rain. We spent 3 nights in Comox to participate in a promotional campaign for BC Tranist named #ExploreBCbyBus. We wrote about the experience here.
Cabin in Sunshine Valley, British Columbia
We closed out the summer with a first-time visit to Sunshine Valley, located east of Hope near the Cascade Mountains, about 2.5 hours drive from Vancouver. We rented a beautiful log cabin for a few nights over the Labour Day long weekend.
The motivation to visit Sunshine Valley was similar to Cultus Lake – we were researching potential vacation properties. We have passed by Sunshine Valley a few times while on the way to Manning Park and thought it would be a fun place to check out. So we did.
The log cabin is incredible. It’s the perfect mountain/forest escape. Most of our time was spent wandering around the cabin and roasting marshmallows over the camp fire – are you sensing a theme?
We cherish these moments with our boys. Spending time in nature allows us to connect with them on a completely different level. It’s been so much fun getting to know them and watch them become unique individuals.
Below are some photos of the cabin and Sunshine Valley.
First time the boys slept in bunk beds together. Big moment.
“Boys, look at the camera”. So they both look the other way.
Probably the most unusual looking playground we’ve visited.
Oops, we lost one. Man down!
On the way home from Sunshine Valley we stopped at the infamous Castle Fun Park, a road trip classic that almost every resident in British Columbia has visited at least once in their lives. It was a big hit.
The mini-golf at Castle Fun Park is really cool.
Braydon loved the life-like dinosaurs. Connor screamed and ran outside.
Hiking in the Capilano Canyon on the North Shore.
Camping indoors – because why not?
Hiking the temperate rain forests on British Columbia’s South Coast.
In other news… Braydon started kindergarten!
Can you believe that?! Neither can we.
Kids have a way of making life feel like it’s moving at lightning speed. Watching him walk away with his new classmates was a surreal moment for us. *tear*
Well, there you have it. A recap of our 2016 summer.
It’s mind-blowing how quickly it comes and goes.
How about you? What was your highlight from this past summer?
What are you looking forward to this winter?