Where to go in Canada, the US and Mexico

From wilderness to wonderful

As jubilados (Spanish for retirees) living in Canada, we’re interested in exploring the natural and nuanced in North America

“One of Newfoundland’s best kept secrets.” Trail Peak, 2020.

“In my opinion it’s better than Gros Morne.” Perry Gillingham, mayor of King’s Point, 2016.

“Definitely in the top 10 of all the hikes we’ve done worldwide.” Magellan, May 20, 2022.

High praise. It made us think. What are we, and most hikers, looking for in a good day hike? We came up with seven criteria, awarding four boots for excellent, three for pretty good, two for okay, one for meh.

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“Ow’s she cuttin’ me cocky?”

“Beskind b’y. Ow’s she getting on?”

Newfinese for,

“How are you, my friend? “

“I’m feeling great. How are you faring?”

After a month (May 18-June 18) of touring Newfoundland in a rented campervan, feeling discombobulated and achingly homesick for the place, it’s taken me this long to feel “Beskind.”

The province with the oldest exposed rocks in the world. The first province to respond to the Titanic’s distress signal, vaccinate for smallpox, host a transatlantic flight, use wireless communication, prove the theory of continental drift. The province with the oldest city and the oldest street in North America. The province whose people are Canada’s most giving1, most sexually active2 and most satisfied3.

In no specific order, here are 13 reasons why The Rock gobsmacked us.

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An oceanfront campsite in a provincial park on a July long weekend; perfect right? Not with the winds at Agate Beach Campground in Naikoon Park on Haida Gwaii. Magellan and I headed inland in the park, to Hiellen Longhouse Village, a dream the Old Massett Village Council realized in 2015.

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Drownded while bathing in open cut.

The record book at the Y.O.O.P. Cemetery in Dawson City says that’s how Alex Murchison died on July 2, 1903.

Y.O.O.P.? Ruth Ann and I were curious. Back at our lodging, we poured ourselves a gin, wondered aloud if Alex had been imbibing the day he succumbed in the bog, and googled Y.O.O.P.

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“I have to have this book,” I told Ruth Ann. “You know how much I love all things lemon. And Sicily.”

This spring Magellan and I were in Sidney on Vancouver Island, which Ruth Ann says is the independent bookstore capital of Canada. From our day of investigating the town with Ruth Ann and Bruce, I see why.

Though I was hoping Ruth Ann would encourage me to buy The Land Where Lemons Grow, we both knew that it should return to its prominent shelf in Tanner’s Books. That a Sunday Times bestseller, BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and Guild of Food Writers Food Book of the Year would certainly be available at the VPL. That $22 could be better spent elsewhere.

Two days later, this book of “tangy trivia, pithy charm and invigorating zest” was ready for pickup at the library. And oh my, has it sharpened my taste for the fruit it celebrates. (But caused me to part with far more than $22!)

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“Everybody digs Bill Frisell,” writes Philip Watson in the first biography of one of today’s most innovative and influential musicians, Beautiful Dreamer: The Guitarist Who Changed The Sound of American Music. Since 1982 when Bill made his first recording, people from all over the world have been listening to his music (more than 500,000 a month—just on Spotify) and attending his concerts. Coincidentally, also since 1982 when the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival first began, people from all over the world have been coming to Washington state to see this flower show. The instant I read that Bill would be playing at Domitriou’s Jazz Alley in Seattle I booked us a table. Our first holiday crossing a border in two years. The day of the event was glorious, the warmest and sunniest this year. At Magellan’s suggestion, we stopped at RoozenGaarde, the largest display of tulips, daffodils and irises in the country—attracting more than 500,000 people during the month-long festival.

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