2012 Westside Trip (Part 2)

Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, British Columbia. Photo taken by Michelle Leung.

This is part two of our 2012 trip to Washington State, Alaska, and BC. Part one follows our trip through Washington and Oregon, as well as our land tour and cruise through Alaska and Yukon. Part two follows our journey through Vancouver Island, the Selkirks and Rocky Mountains to Okanagan Valley.

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2012 Westside Trip

Trip planning is a daunting task: it’s a combination of spatial and temporal organization, coupled with good research skills to figure out where to go, what to see, and how much it costs. Checking out other people’s itineraries is a great way to plan; this gives you an idea of not only where to go, but also a good indication on how long you will spend at each destination.

For those looking to explore some of the west coast, here’s the outline of our 2012 trip (and some of the places we missed along the way), and over the next few posts we’ll explore some of those parks in more depth! Continue reading

Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada


Established: 1895

Size: 505 km²

Location: Southwestern Alberta, bordering British Columbia and Montana


In 1858, while attempting to find a suitable pass through Western Canada for the Canadian Pacific Railway, Lieutenant Thomas Blakiston reached the area which is now known as Waterton Lakes National Park and named the chain of three lakes after naturalist Charles Waterton. In 1895, Kootenai Lakes Forest Park was created with an area of 87 km² as Canada’s fourth national park. The park was renamed Waterton Lakes National Park in 1911 but its area was reduced to 35 km². In 1979, Waterton Lakes National Park was was the second park to be designated a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve. Continue reading

Glacier National Park (US)

Logan Pass Goat
Mountain Goat (Oreamnos americanus) seen at Logan Pass Visitor Center, Glacier National Park (US). Photo by Teddie Leung.

Established: 1910

Size: 4101 km2

Location: Northwestern Montana, bordering Alberta


During our 2009 trip, we passed through Glacier National Park via the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the same day we visited Waterton Lakes National Park. It was raining, so we largely missed out on the beauty of the road. The rain stopped briefley at Logan Pass and the Logan Pass Visitor Center, where we saw a goat, a deer, and a ground squirrel! The Visitor Center is unmistakeable because of its unusual design and was listed on the National Register for Historic Places in 2008. Continue reading

Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

“Go with my flow,” he said, “with water comes earth.”

“View my colours,” he said, “then review my meaning.”

“Discover my past,” he said, “for you will uncover my depth.”

Then, he left.

Then, I found myself staring at the lake, searching for Narcissus but only finding an abyss of an unimaginable depth. The lower mirror.

I looked farther and saw the green and beige, the sharp and flat, the north and south—intersecting—in juxtaposition. Moderation is the juxtaposition of extremes. The middle mirror.

I look up to my camera. Green turns red as argillite waits. Beige mixes with clear as stream carries canyon. Complementary, opposites, antonyms are synonyms. The upper mirror.

The Prince of Wales Hotel. The familiarity I can feel, the connection I cannot grasp. The image.

Inspired by Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada. Continue reading

Sirmilik National Park of Canada

Bear guard in front of Triangle Mountain, Bylot IslandEstablished: 2001

Size: 22,252 square kilometres

Location: Northern tip of Baffin Island, Nunavut


Sirmilik MapSirmilik National Park in Nunavut is one of the most remote parks in Canada. Featuring almost 400 plant species species, over 70 types of birds, and 7 kinds of land animals, the incredible flora and fauna that exists there far outnumbers the people that visit the park. However, this past summer, the participants on the 2015 Students on Ice Arctic Expedition were some of those very fortunate few. I was able to participate in this expedition thanks to an incredibly generous scholarship from the Leacross Foundation, and now I would like to use my unique experience to raise awareness about Canada’s Northern Parks! Continue reading

Sable Island National Park Reserve of Canada


Established: 2013

Size: 34 sq. km

Location: on the Continental Shelf, 300 km east of Halifax, Nova Scotia (see map)

Many people want to explore the top of the world, to visit the barren north, where getting there is half the challenge and then you have to be self-sustaining and highly flexible (the weather decides how long you stay). I’ll admit, I have that goal too; I want to participate in either Students on Ice (stay tuned for the next post!) or the Juneau Icefield Research Program this summer to kickstart my northern experience. But it’s important to know that there are places that parallel the harshness and greatness of the North.

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