Vancouver Island is located on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. It’s the largest Pacific Island east of New Zealand. The island is named after British Navy officer George Vancouver who explored and charted North America’s northwestern Pacific Coast in 1792. George Vancouver was born in King’s Lynn, Norfolk – the same fine county that I was born and am proud to live in.
The island offers exceptional variety to it’s visitors. The south and east of the island are were the majority of it’s population resides in the cities of Victoria and Nanaimo. The north and east of the island are wild with very few settlements established in the rugged terrain of mountains and vast forests.
It has one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems: Rainforests, marshes, meadows, beaches, mountains, oceans, rivers and lakes create habitats for multitudes of wildlife species. In fact, the region is one of the world’s premier locations for whale watching, birding, as well as salmon and trout fishing.
Much of the island is protected parkland. It contains many pockets of old-growth fir and cedar forests, as well as rare, naturally occurring groves of Garry oak. Vancouver Island is bisected, north to south, by the Beaufort Mountain Range, which is home to one of Canada’s biggest all-natural ski bases.
The beauty and tranquility of this region has long been a draw for artists and artisans. Art galleries, studios and shops selling unique, locally produced arts and crafts are found in many population centres, particularly on the Gulf Islands.
It’s remoteness is a huge appeal to me, a massive part of the challenge is I’ll be the only person for hundreds of miles on many days of the trip. I’ll be at the mercy of the elements, camping wild with potential encounters with bears, wolves and cougars.
Highest Peak: 7,200 ft