Bowen Island is a 20-minute ferry ride away from Horseshoe Bay in West Vancouver, British Columbia.

Once you disembark at Snug Cove and pass the restaurants, pubs, and library you are in a different world, where trees, mountains, and lakes beckon.

The highest point on the island is Mount Gardner. The most difficult part of a hike to the top is to find the correct path as it’s not well marked. From the Handlogger’s Trail if you head up the path sign posted “N Mt Gardner Trail” you can easily miss the right hand turning at the top. This is because the ‘pond’ mentioned in the guide books as a reference point is seasonal and was dried up (as of August 15th, 2010).

After a steep ascent, if you find yourself heading downhill you have gone too far. When you reach the point where the trail flattens out and goes left you should look right and you might see the signpost on a tree, which is almost hidden. Head right and within 5 minutes you will be at a viewpoint looking out over Keats and Gambier Islands, with the Sunshine Coast also visible. When I was there five young eagles were learning to ride the thermals and one agitated raven was flying between them. The summit is a further 20 minutes away and the total elevation gain from the car park at the trail head is approximately 710 metres.

julian200Julian has written articles on Middle Eastern and European architecture for the US magazine Skipping Stones. He has written travel articles that were published in The Toronto Globe and Mail, Fate Magazine, National Catholic Register, and Northwest Travel. Julian has also written articles for the In The Know Traveler, Go Nomad, InTravelmag, and Go World Travel websites. He has also taken many photographs that have appeared in travel guides by National Geographic, Thomas Cook and The Rough Guides. Examples of his work can be found at http://www.photographersdirect.com/sellers/details.asp?portfolio=13734