Two great road trips this summer have led me to discover the many riches in my own BC backyard.  Travel abroad might steal me away, but BC’s pleasures and stunning countryside can compete with anything that I have seen anywhere.

Following the Sea to Sky highway past majestic Blackcomb and Whistler mountains, through agricultural Pemberton guarded by towering Mount Currie, and along the twisty-winding road leading to Lillooet, experience a drive of jaw dropping endless visual thrills.  Then onward through semi-desert to the Okanagan’s green acres and rolling terrain planted in varietal grapes, where the myriad names capture my attention and lures me to stop and taste.

Fruit trees literally drip with ripened product and roadside stands offer endless healthy, organic produce. Penticton’s thriving Sunday Market rivals anything I have encountered elsewhere with a good balance of home grown produce, home made breads, sweets, treats and many very clever artisans offering up their intricate designs in oh so many creative forms.

Campsites abound and in Summerland I stop beside a lovely stream, only steps away from the waters of the great Ogopogo and high banks where the sweet wonders of wine and orchard await. My small campervan is dwarfed by the big rigs in the campsite, but we are all out tasting our BC provincial pleasures.

A second trip north to Prince Rupert featured two days driving on uncluttered roads with sightings of fox, deer and black bears with cubs. Gigantic mountains, crystal waterfalls and an ever changing tapestry of green trees offered a sense of peace and calm in a raw and wild land.  I now fully understand why this province draws so many Europeans who travel her length and breadth in rented campervans.  This kind of beauty and wilderness  is so good for the soul!

A stunning orange-red sunset in Prince George provided a lasting memory before I travelled on to discover Prince Rupert’s Cow Bay history, shops and restaurants – good  leisure time fun.  A day on the water viewing grizzlies in the Khutzeymateen Provincial Park and bear sanctuary, along with sightings of humpbacks and orcas, was an extraordinary gift in the road trip adventure.

Ferry rides over to Haida Gwai’i and back and then down the inside passage to Port Hardy were voyages through First Nations history and culture, rich in the connectedness to the land, the sea and the animals.

Such a small part of my backyard, and so much more to see.

“Beautiful British Columbia” is no misnomer.

Peggy Wright, CTC, CITM, CATS is ‘The Travel Agent Next Door.’

Follow her travel blog at www.gypsyjourneys.ca, or contact her at pwright@thetravelagentnextdoor.com.