Canada’s coastlines and national parks, plus this neighbor’s 150th heritage anniversary in 2017, are components of three summer wilderness vacations with Wild Women Expeditions, the tour company offering more active travel departures for women only than any other operator in the world.
“Canada is a country designed for adventurers. For women who want it all, Canada delivers the goods,” said Jennifer Haddow, Owner of Wild Women Expeditions. “We’ve been trailblazing outdoor adventures in Canada for over a quarter of a century. Increasingly women want to feel the freedom of connecting with wild space in its finest form. In Canada are some of the wildest and grandest natural treasures on the planet.”
Wild Women Expeditions’ Canadian programs are prototypes for the baptism-by-wilderness experiences that Haddow’s team arranges in 26 countries. These journeys reflect that…
- Women need opportunities to just be themselves, together;
- The wilderness helps women connect with elements of their psyche that may be lost in the daily hustle and bustle;
- Pairing women and wilderness often encourages women beyond their comfort zones, leading to increased confidence;
- These ingredients can be transformational, perhaps leading to answers to the question that Poet Mary Oliver poses: What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Backcountry camping is one of Wild Women’s signatures, a staple of 70 percent of its trips (a higher percentage of wilderness immersion than any other women-only company offers). Women carry their accommodations (tents) on their backs, as well as food and personal belongings, into a remote wilderness where come night, a campfire and the stars overhead provide the only light. Geology, wildlife and First Nation spiritual heritage found in Canada’s national parks figure into adventures in Newfoundland, British Columbia, and Vancouver Island. Professional wilderness guides, all female, lead the trips. Following are capsule descriptions of three of the company’s Canadian adventures:
Newfoundland Gros Morne (National Park) Multi-Sport Adventure is a seven-day hiking and kayaking expedition that utilizes ocean-side cabins. The trip includes professional, local female guide(s), all meals, fully outfitted sea kayak day trip on Bonne Bay (think Minke whales, eagles, terns, and kingfishers), guided hikes (think Woodland caribou, Rock ptarmigan and Arctic hare) and walks throughout the park, a Western Brook Pond fjord boat tour, roundtrip transfers from Deer Lake Regional Airport (servicing Toronto) and a park pass.
Daily challenges reflect the philosophy that women can discover and build on their own inner strengths by mastering hurdles in the safe company of other women. The first hike in this UNESCO World Heritage Site is 5km with a 500m elevation gain/loss on rugged trails; the second is roundtrip 9km with a 300m elevation gain/loss; an estimated five-hour kayak excursion precedes the third hike, a 16 km, 800m elevation gain/loss trek experienced in over eight hours while climbing Gros Morne Mountain, the highest point in the park at 806m. Easy walks follow in tandem with a catch-your-breath boat tour of a landlocked fjord.
This park is as important to Plate Tectonics Theory as Ecuador’s Galapagos Archipelago is to the Theory of Evolution. The challenges of this environment become metaphors for those the women face, hiking first through a barren, nutrient-challenged landscape; then discovering where the peridotite ends and the ancient oceanic crust begins, down through boreal forest to rugged coastline where pillow lava and sea stacks dominate the shoreline; then moving on to the rich marine wonderland of Bonne Bay and a landlocked lake before accomplishing a summit.
Haida Gwaii Kayak Adventure in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site is a fully outfitted eight-day camping (on beaches) and kayaking expedition and includes camping gear, all meals, Zodiac transportation, park pass and the expertise of two certified kayak guides.
This National Marine Conservation Area of Canada is north of Vancouver, BC. Here paddlers drift through Haida First Nation waterways, passing ancient totem poles. Black bears mosey among towering trees; sea lions and seals flop at the water’s edge. “You are one with the water. The silence is heavy and heavenly,” said Haddow, adding that water, wildlife and the spirit of the First Nation combine to create a spiritual quest.
Routes south and north begin in Sandspit on Moresby Island (serviced by air from Vancouver). Southern route departures are Aug. 14-21, 2017, and Aug. 20-27, 2018. Northern Route departures are Aug. 21-28, 2017, and Aug. 27- Sept. 3, 2018.
Vancouver Island Multi-Sport Adventure in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is a fully outfitted, eight-day camping, kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, surfing and hiking adventure. The trip includes services of two female guides, three nights camping, four nights inn accommodation, all meals, ground transportation, scheduled activities (and all gear), half-day surfing and paddling lessons, four-day sea kayak expedition to Vargas Island in Clayoquot Sound and guided coastal hikes.
Guests meet at Tofino Ecolodge on Vancouver Island, accessed by ferry or air shuttle from Victoria or Nanaimo, BC. From here the Wild Pacific Trail and the Pacific Ocean become both playgrounds and challenges, as does a three-night camping/four-day backcountry kayaking trip to experience the old growth forests and First Nation spirits of Clayoquot Sound, a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve off the west coast of Vancouver Island.
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