Backpacking Across Isle Royale National Park

…  Spoiler alert: Isle Royale is a babe. The island is wild; there are many moose, two wolves, foxes, rabbits, and several species of birds throughout the chain of islands. The island is also wild; there was more mud than I’ve ever seen in my life, swarming mosquitos, and very primitive campgrounds.

Ups and downs aside, hiking the length of Isle Royale was a huge accomplishment. We want to share …

If you don’t have your own boat, you’ll be taking a ferry from one of three ports: Grand Portage, Minnesota, Houghton, Michigan, or Copper Harbor, Michigan. …

SWITCHBACK KIDS – Three Days and 42 Miles Backpacking Across Isle Royale National Park

hiking & paddling Gates of the Arctic, Alaska

… to Anaktuvuk, float southwest on the John River, hike west to the Alatna River, float southeast on the Alatna to access the Arrigetch, cross the Arrigetch, float northwest on the Noatak River, hike southwest to the Ambler River, and float west to Ambler. 400 miles in 19 days. …

Gates of the Arctic Traverse, Anaktuvuk to Ambler



Click PLAY or watch it on Vimeo.

cycle hiking Orcas Island

Cycle hiking the Islands – trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

I crossed the amazing bridge between Whidbey and Hidalgo worried about my front tire.



After the third time pumping more air I inquired at a general store as to the nearest cycle shop. A gentleman there offered to drive me the 8 miles to Skagit Cycle in Anacortes.

IMG_1831 (1)

I don’t trust myself to fix a tire correctly. 😦

Waiting on the next ferry, I cycled up to the Little Cranberry Lake area.


Nice, but from the little I saw, NOT impressed with Anacortes. Too big. Too much traffic. Not much to write home about. But there is a Jack in the Box. 🙂

During the summer it’s a busy ferry over to Orcas.


Hydration is important. 🙂


As is keeping your paniers locked to your bike.


I’d been looking forward to Orcas and – as it turned out – it was my favourite island, so far.


I cycled directly to Eastsound. That’s the main town.

I checked the hostel. It cost US$50 for a dorm bed. I don’t think I’ve ever paid more than $30.

So I cycled on to Moran State Park. Wild camped near the campground.


Stinging nettle was my only gripe. There are a few mosquitoes too.

Moran encompasses over 5,000 acres of various terrain including forests, wetlands, bogs, hills, and lakes. It is the largest public recreation area in the San Juan Islands and the fourth largest state park in the state. …

The park offers 38 miles of hiking trails …

If you go to Orcas for hiking, be sure to find a copy of the free brochure.


Next morning I climbed out of the tent and walked directly on to the Twin Lakes trail via Mountain Lake.



A crew was doing trail construction at Twin Lakes. I had lunch and watched them. Good work.



Returning via a series of cascades, I resolved to return one day to bike these trails. After Sept 15th they are all open to mountain bikes.

Back to the tent to relax. Then on to my next adventure. Cycling to the summit of Mt Constitution.

… the highest point in the San Juan Islands. A stone observation tower patterned after a medieval watch tower stands at the summit. …


I resolved to only go as high as I could make it without getting off the saddle. It’s 5 miles at an average 8 degree slope. Turned out I made it to the top. 🙂 Beautiful vista.


After a steep and fast ride back down the 5 miles I headed on to lovely Doe Bay resort.





I could definitely stay here for a few days. 🙂

But I wanted to stay near Eastsound that evening. I ended up wild camping in an excellent city park called Crescent Beach Preserve. It was close to a superb coffee shop – Enzo’s.

I rode next to Westsound. En route I hiked Turtleback Mountain.

I started at the north trailhead and hiked up to Waldron overlook. The trail is better for mountain biking than hiking, I’d say.


On the return I stopped at North Valley Overlook, a tranquil, rural scene.



And finally all the way to Deer Harbor.


Time to celebrate.


hiking Ilha Grande, Brazil

Ilha Grande … remains largely undeveloped. …

The island, which is 193 km2 (75 sq mi) in area, is now a popular tourist destination that is noted for its scenic beauty, unspoilt tropical beaches, luxuriant vegetation and rugged landscape. The highest point is the 1,031 m (3,383 ft) Pico da Pedra D’Água. …

Ilha Grande is one of the most pristine remnants of Brazil’s Atlantic rainforest making it one of the richest ecosystems in the world. …

Small-scale ecotourism is being encouraged on the island. Although it has no roads and motorised vehicles banned, the island has more than 150 km (93 mi) of hiking trails …

Ilha Grande Mapa

Ilha Grande Mapa

Stingy Nomads circumambulated the island in 5 days.


… In 5 days we saw: many marmoset and howler monkeys, squirrels, one armadillo, many lizards, owls, bats, parrots, vultures, different tropical birds, humming birds, many spiders with their huge webs all over the jungle and butterflies. On the official web page it says you can also see sloths, we weren’t that lucky, and they warn you about poison snakes, we were lucky enough not to see any. …



Ilha Grande, trekking in the paradise

Sunshine Coast Trail – day 4

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Elk Lake to Lois Main

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Sunshine Coast Trail information page

I left Elk Hut as early, quickly and quietly as possible. Alex was still sleeping upstairs.


Mice are a problem in some huts. You still need to hang your food.


This would be my last day. I hoped it would be easier hiking, descending back to sea level. And it might have been if I’d not been lost once and diverted twice.


Road building and logging operations are ongoing. It’s not unusual to have to detour around sections of the SCT.

I’d complain more stridently … but one of the detours ended up being a favourite section. Lovely off-trail through temperate rain forest.

Signage is actually very good on this new, rapidly changing trail. But I still wished I’d brought my GPS.


I left a Summit Stone at one lovely creekside lunch spot.


If you can put up with the bugs, the SCT is endlessly entertaining. Something new around ever corner.

I’ve got one big chunk of the SCT left to do – the Troubridge Trudge (41km for me). I plan to do that in October or November one year to see if the bugs are hibernating.

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Sunshine Coast Trail information page

Sunshine Coast Trail – day 3

trip report by site editor Rick McCharles

Tin Hat Mountain to Elk Lake

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Sunshine Coast Trail information page

… the Tin Hat hut is an epic 360-degree mountain-top lookout that provides the quintessential view of the rugged mountains, valleys, and lakes that define the Powell River back country experience. This hut is a fully winterized cabin with pellet stove and is located in, arguably, one of the most beautiful spots on the Sunshine Coast Trail. Although it is a climb to get there, the experience is well worth the effort. Summitting this mountain will make you feel like you are, indeed, on top of the world!


It’s the highest elevation point and the biggest attraction of the SCT. I was impressed.



Still early morning, I chatted with Lisa from Calgary in the hut. Then dashed on back down the logging road to where I’d stashed my pack. A savvy hiker like myself doesn’t haul his gear up the mountain unless absolutely necessary. My guidebook hinted at an alternative SCT route that would be easier than the normal steep up and down. 🙂

I was soon lost. 😦

Views were terrific.


But I found myself on a maze of logging road switchbacks. If you don’t like clear cut, you might not like the Sunshine Coast Trail.


Here you can see an old growth survivor. Secondary growth. And the war zone that is clear cut logging.


Worse than forest devastation, the bugs.

bug shirt

bug shirt

By day 3 I wore my bug shirt non-stop. Flying pests are a very good argument why you should NOT hike the Sunshine Coast Trail. All of the other major B.C. coastal hikes have virtually no bugs

Eventually I found my way back to the SCT.


Past Lewis Lake.


On to Elk Lake.


Mosquitos and I had the rustic hut to ourselves. Very tranquil.




Close to dark Alex from Ontario rushed in. Super happy to have made it to the hut in daylight. She’d come from Tin Hat Hut.

day 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | Sunshine Coast Trail information page