Connecting...Solo Travel News

Exploring Southwestern British Columbia Without a Car

Featured in "Resources" Column by Diane Redfern

Connecting...Solo Travel News July 02, 2002 Vancouver, BC.

The province of British Columbia has become much more accessible with the publication of BC Car-Free: Exploring Southwestern British Columbia Without a Car. This is good news for solo travelers because the price of renting a car is often prohibitive for one person. With BC Car-Free in hand outdoor enthusiasts can undertake the following activities using foot, peddle or paddle power along with connections via an assortment of buses, trains, ferries, or water-taxis: hiking (41), backpacking (10), ocean kayaking (13), cycle touring (10), river rafting (3), horse-back riding (1), cave exploring (1), canoeing (1), whale-watching (3), birding (5), salmon watching (3), getaways (3).

Author Brian Grover says, "I wanted to introduce as many outdoor pursuits as possible so those with an emerging interest could try many things." Of course, solos need to be selective about venturing into wilderness locales alone. When I asked Grover about this, he replied: "My knee-jerk reaction was to say 'No way. The out-of-doors and solo travel do not mix.' On closer inspection, however, there is a great deal in BC Car-Free that the solo traveler can undertake safely. I had just never thought about it before. Cool." About half the book in fact. For example, of the 41 listed day hikes the majority ramble over park trails in and around the city of Vancouver, with civilization, other hikers, and help, if needed, never far away.

Grover suggests that all of the cycling trips are suitable for solos, and he even includes tips on surmounting scary city barriers such as the Lions Gate Bridge. The river rafting, cave exploring, birding, whale and salmon watching excursions in the company of professional guides, or in managed settings. Getting to some of the happenings may be an adventure in itself, involving fancy connecting maneuvers on public transport. Ocean-going kayaking and backpacking tips are out-of-league for all but the most intrepid solo; nevertheless Grover lists a couple of each that can be attempted quite safely.

BC Car-Free is well-researched, thorough and easy to follow with 52 maps, and a complete "Getting There" appendix. Great value! Details: BC Car-Free: Exploring Southwestem British Columbia Without a Car, 2001 by Brian Grover Whisky-Jack Communications Vancouver, C$19.95) www.car-free.ca

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