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Hiking the Enchantment Lakes: 9 magical sights in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness

Crystal Lake. Photo: Stephen Hui
Crystal Lake. Photo: Stephen Hui

While reservations for Berg Lake and the West Coast Trail are hot tickets for hikers in British Columbia, a backpacking permit for the Enchantment Lakes is one of the most-coveted prizes in Washington.

Found in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, near the Bavarian-themed tourist trap known as Leavenworth, the Enchantments are a constellation of stunning alpine tarns situated in the Central Cascades. Every year, the U.S. Forest Service holds a preseason lottery (February 15 to March 1) to allocate the majority of overnight permits for the peak and (snowy) shoulder seasons (May 15 to October 31).

Day hikers require a permit too, but it’s free and available at the trailheads — no reservation necessary. Both out-and-back and crossover hikes are possible; a privately operated shuttle service helps with the latter.

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Hiking the Tatchu Trail on Vancouver Island

After experiencing the North Coast Trail and East Beach Trail, I felt a yearning to return to the wild coast of British Columbia. Backpacking the remote Tatchu Trail on Vancouver Island fit the bill.

This essentially unmarked coastal route traverses the Tatchu Peninsula in the territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth people, covering 32 km (20 mi) on the west coast of the island. Access is by air or water; we opted to floatplane in and out from Gold River with Air Nootka.

From Port Eliza, we trekked northwest to Rugged Point in five days, encountering no other hikers or even kayakers. Things got off to a wet start upon disembarking the floatplane, when my backpack fell in the ocean as we transferred gear and ourselves from dock to shore using an inflatable dinghy. Then it rained as I hastily separated my soggy and dry clothes.

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Destination Hikes is now available for pre-order at local bookstores

Wedgemount Lake. Photo: Stephen Hui
Wedgemount Lake. Photo: Stephen Hui

The release of Destination Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia is six months away.

If you can’t wait to get your hands on the book — or if you want to give someone a delayed-action gift — it’s now available for pre-order.

Independent bookstores taking pre-orders for Destination Hikes include Massy Books in Vancouver, Armchair Books in Whistler, Galiano Island Books in Sturdies Bay, and Munro’s Books in Victoria. Support your local bookstore!

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Book trailer: Destination Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia

Even seen a trailer for a hiking guidebook? Well, there’s a first time for everything.

Without further ado, I’d like to present the official book trailer for Destination Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia: Swimming Holes, Mountain Peaks, Waterfalls, and More.

A quick book teaser is also available for those with shorter attention spans.

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Destination Hikes: My next B.C. guidebook lands May 2021

Gott Peak
Gott Peak. Photo: Stephen Hui

Two years ago, I was so excited to launch 105 Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia. Since then, I’ve been hard at work on a second guidebook.

I’m thrilled to announce Greystone Books is publishing Destination Hikes In and Around Southwestern British Columbia: Swimming Holes, Mountain Peaks, Waterfalls, and More. The publication date is May 11, 2021.

Here’s the publisher’s description of the book:

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