Our next adventure was an all-boys camping trip to Tofino. I scored an amazing campsite at Pacific Rim national park which is right on the ocean beach near Tofino. Beth had too much work to go, so I took the three boys solo to go camping for SEVEN DAYS STRAIGHT. 

A few moments:

The loaded car, the ferry ride, and the first night of hot dogs!

First evening on Long Beach: the kids were thrilled to be on the huge beach.

Hot chocolate: a camping breakfast staple

Family portraits: it's getting harder to fit everyone in the frame!

Chesterman's Beach: the daily Tofino outfit was a swimsuit on the bottom and a winter jacket on top for the wind. We explored many windy but beautiful beaches!

Wickaninnish Beach and South Beach: lots of tidepooling, big waves, and me scrambling to get us all off a rocky peninsula before the rising tide turned it into an island and cut us off from shore. 

Biking on the beach: Long Beach is 10 miles long and we were right in the middle of it. The hard sand near the water was very bikeable and we rode for a couple miles exploring the beach. 

Boat trip to hike on Meares Island: There were some truly amazing HUGE old growth trees here -- the biggest trees I've seen in my life. The boys looked like dwarves next to these things. 

And to cap everything off, Obie lost a molar while eating an ice cream cone!!

Quite the eventful trip. The boys held it together amazingly well and were troopers. We stayed up until 10pm every night (watching the sun set on the beach at 9:30), explored a new beach every day, hiked and biked and boated. We did it all. Beth had a peaceful child-free week (of straight work....sigh), and there was a happy family reunion when we returned. I managed to come back with the same number of boys I left with, and everyone was mostly happy the whole time we were there. It was surprisingly manageable...guess the kids are growing up!!??


A few photos from our summer so far: As soon as school ended in June, we headed out to Lake Kelowna in the Okanagan for a Canada Day week vacation with some friends. Little did we know that this was the heat dome week, and the temperature got up to 113 degrees! Still, we had AC in our hotel room, and a nice breeze on the lake, so we were all good. We swam in the pool and at the beach every day, we dressed up and went out to a fancy dinner one night, and we rented a boat to go cruising on the lake. We did see smoke from two wildfires when we were on the boat though! Yikes! Luckily the fires were eventually contained, the temperatures finally started to cool down, and we all made it back in one piece. And so the summer begins...

Final Trip of the Summer

So grateful to Chris for filling our summer with adventures across BC and Alberta. Our last camping trip was to Tofino - the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island - and it was pretty glorious. The first half of the trip was socked in by fog; when the fog lifted, it was awesome. Because of Covid, the majority of the public parking lots were closed - so the only folks on the beach were from our campground. It was incredible to hike for hours and hours down an endless beach and to see only a few people throughout the whole day. Bear and wolf tracks and scat! The most 'wild' and unpopulated beach I have ever been on. 

Day 1 - tidepools, exploring the foggy beaches

Wolf tracks? Bear tracks? Definitely bear scat. 

Day 2 - at first, a very foggy day (and check out those bizarre pelagic goose barnacles!)

And then, the fog lifts!

Final evening - gorgeous sunset

Sun kissed, beach smiles

Our campsite, with a beach view!

Rocky Mountain Road Trip!

First big road trip with the boys! Third time camping this summer! First time in Alberta and seeing the Canadian Rockies! Lots of firsts this trip. 

We spent a week in the Canadian Rockies exploring Banff and Jasper national parks. We drove over 2000 km / 1200 miles, went on a zillion hikes, camped most of the time and cleaned up at a hotel in the end, and saw some great wildlife – including three black bears, two elk, and a mountain goat. Everywhere we went was gorgeous with stunning scenery, and we were blessed with sunny weather the entire time except for the final day. 

Quick overview with lots of pictures:

Vancouver to Banff 

Spent the night in Revelstoke, continued in the morning over Rogers Pass and gorgeous mountain scenary, stopped in Yoho National Park for a waterfall visit, and headed to our campsite outside the town of Banff. 


We settled into our campsite for the next four nights. The boys settled into the routine of a daytime adventure, and then either a campsite meal (aka hot dogs & s'mores) or a restaurant in town. Lots of activity: A quick hike walking distance from the campground that turned out to be GORGEOUS. A trip to Lake Louise. Another hike through a beautiful dry riverbed canyon, with an exciting/terrifying rockfall event that livened things up. And then another hike from our campsite down to the Bow river and into Banff (ending with me running 5km back up the hill to our campground to get the car and drive everyone else home!)

Tunnel Mountain Village Campground & Hoodoos

Grotto Canyon

Bow River

Lake Louise

Lake Louise is one of those iconic vistas we knew about before we visited – the glacial-fed green water, the mountains ringing the lake, the stately chateau-style hotel. We got there at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds and it was still mobbed, lives up to the hype. The lake was beautiful, and we went on a great hike to a civilized tea house at Lake Agnes, a high alpine lake. Then we continued on to the Little Beehive mountain lookout. The kids (including 4 year old Asa) hiked 11 KILOMETERS up and down the mountain (6.84 miles). Way to go! After the hike, I sampled the lake water, and found it was cold!

Icefields Parkway

After four nights in Banff, it was time to move on. We had done some cruising for wildlife sightings in Banff, but no luck. But within a half hour or so of leaving our campsite in Banff on the road to Jasper, we saw our first black bear! The road from Banff to Jasper is another iconic Canadian Rockies sight – a three hour drive that you could spend days exploring. High mountains, alpine lakes, glaciers! It's beautiful but desolate. You don't want to break down on this road! We stopped at the Athabasca glacier and got as close as possible – noting all the signs marking its retreat over the past decades. And finally our wildlife prayers were answered – in addition to the morning bear leaving Banff, we saw two more black bears, a pair of bull elk with giant antlers, and Beth and Obie even spotted a mountain goat! 


We only stayed for two nights in Jasper, but we could have extended it much further – there was so much to explore. We did a hike through a deep river canyon with many pedestrian bridges and waterfalls. And we drove to Maligne Lake, a stunning glacier-fed lake with mountains everywhere. They run a retro-feeling boat tour, which we took across the lake for a stop at another one of Canada's most iconic viewpoints – Spirit Island. More jaw-dropping scenery. Even the kids, jaded by days of amazing mountain views, appreciated how beautiful it was. The weather was looking iffy, but fortune smiled upon us and the rain held off until we were back across the lake and in the car. 

Maligne Canyon & Road

Maligne Lake & Spirit Island

One more night, then a long nine-hour drive and we were back in our beds. The kids were total troopers through the whole week. So many adventures and fun memories for them. Camping, hiking, animals, family time. They were patient on the drives and on the hikes, and while they definitely drove each other (and us) nuts at times, it was such a fun time for the whole family. So thankful we were able to make this trip happen during Covid summer!

Rathtrevor Beach Camping

Another summer camping trip – this time to Rathtrevor Beach with friends. 

A ferry ride over to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island and a short drive north to Parksville and we were there. Beautiful forest, great campground for kids, and a top notch beach. It wasn't baking hot when we were there, but we did get a bit of sun. 

This beach loomed large in Emmet's imagination in particular, as it is the closest spot to Vancouver where you can reliably find sand dollars. The beach goes out forever at low tide, and indeed we found sand dollars everywhere. 

The kids ate s'mores and ran around in the woods together as per our mandatory camping agenda. We went on a hike to some gorgeous waterfalls at Little Qualicum Park nearby, and spent the afternoon at a wildlife rescue animal sanctuary with live bears, eagles, and a zillion other birds, much taxidermy, and big grounds to explore. 

It was fantastic to be able to spend so much time with our friends, and the kids were loving it. Our little guys seemed so grown up on this trip, helping to set up camp, entertaining themselves, no one needing to be carried on the hike, everyone sleeping through the night. What a great trip!