Mountain Meadow Hiking with Kaoru

September 11, 2015

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace. – Milan Kundera

A couple of weeks ago, I finally took a much needed (and long overdue) adventure to British Columbia, Canada – for the very first time. I have been calling Toronto my home-base for a year and a half again now (since returning from living in Costa Rica) and have been feeling very landlocked and trapped by this urban jungle as a result. The mountains were beckoning and I had to listen to their call.

I connected with a close friend living in Squamish and arranged to stay with her for the duration of my visit so she could act as a bit of a tour guide and adventure buddy. On one particularly beautiful and sunny day, my pal and I packed up the car and headed north to spend the day hiking through Callaghan Country, within the Callaghan Valley – a gorgeous area to explore in the warm summer months. The valley is bordered by a ringwall of five mountains, including the potentially active Mount Cayley and the dormant Mount Callaghan.

Starting at the base of Callaghan Lake, we trekked the 4.5km over tree roots and stumps in the lush, dense forests, through sub-alpine meadows filled with tall grass and wildflowers, and finally into awe-inducing mountain views as we arrived at Journeyman Lodge and Conflict Lake, within the heart of Callaghan Country. With each hill climbed and every corner turned, the diverse landscape altered and we were greeted by another beautiful scene to take in.

But being the pooch lover that I am, what was a gorgeous hike without a little dog action involved?! Chiquita was back home in Toronto having her own adventures with her tรญa (“aunt”), due to flight restrictions. With the potential of extreme heat on the tarmac at airports, airlines place restrictions on pets traveling in the baggage compartment during summer months. Alas Chi was to sit this vacation out and this nine-day vacation was to be the longest amount of time we’ve ever been apart!

I tapped into some local resources and we connectedย with Canine Valley to have Kaoru, a gorgeous and sweet therapy dog to accompany us on our day hike adventure. I’m not kidding when I say Kaoru has healing powers; only four days into my trip and I was going through serious dog withdrawals and feening a furry cuddle. After spending a few minutes getting acquainted with Kaoru, I wrapped my arms around her for a big hug and immediately felt the kind of warmth and love that can only be experienced by giving a pooch a squeeze. She joined us for the day, leading and guiding us along the trails, eating wild huckleberries from my palm, and splashing through the shallow lakes. I fell in love with both her calm demeanour and endearing playfulness over the duration of the day.

All in all, it was an amazing hike spent in wonderful company. I just hope that one day soon I will make it back with Chiquita by my side to watch her experience a good frolic in the mountain meadows!


Gorgeous Kaoru checks out the trail ahead and waits patiently for us to catch up


Wild huckleberries and blueberries coming into season during our hike along the Callaghan Country trails and provided a delicious snack


Lush greenery and gorgeous scenery throughout the hike


Minimally snow-capped mountain peaks along the rim of the valley


Spending quality time with Kaoru and getting my dog fix even on the other side of the country


The view of Journeyman Lodge within the heart of Callaghan Country


The outdoor sauna at Journeyman Lodge, nestled high in the trees


Kaoru cools off in Conflict Lake near the lodge


Friendly Whiskey Jack birds will land to eat directly out of your palm


Bird whisperer


Sub-alpine meadows lie deep in the valley of Callaghan.

For more information on Callaghan Country and Journeyman Lodge, check out their site here.

For more information on Canine Valley, see their site here.

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