You and your partner want the ultimate remote getaway?
You and your family want to share a bonding experience of the most powerful, lasting kind?
You and your friends or group want to craft the perfect mountain retreat, tailored precisely for your level of fitness and enthusiasm for adventure?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, a Private Summer Adventure Trip with CMH could be your ticket to the best holiday of your life.
Here’s how it works:
By booking a Private Summer Adventure Trip, CMH will reserve a private guide just for you. This means the plethora of CMH Summer Adventures will be yours for the choosing, with helicopter access, at your pace, your level of difficulty, and with only the people you want to be with. Daily options include:
- Easy hikes on across the tundra in the most spectacular alpine terrain imaginable.
- Deluxe picnics in impossibly beautiful locations.
- Simply relaxing in a postcard-perfect setting.
- Playing on cool snowfields during the heat of summer.
- Taking photographs of an alpine paradise at your pace with a helicopter to get your lenses up there.
- Challenging all day treks to summits looking down on glaciers and a sea of mountains stretching as far as the eye can see in every direction.
- An airy via ferrata climb near the world-famous Bugaboo Spires.
- Mountaineering and rock climbing adventures at your choice of difficulty and commitment.
- Glacier treks across ancient ice caps and between huge granite walls.
- Ziplines across a wilderness canyon.
- Design your own adventure!
CMH Private Summer Adventure Trips are a holiday that can be the most relaxing, easy, beautiful days you’ve ever had - or the wildest, most breathtaking, exciting but safe adventure you can imagine.
What do you want your holiday to be?
It's a question we hear quite often "How old do my kids need to be to go hiking?" And our response: Any age will do!
Whether you are packing your infant or toddler in a carrier and carrying the load yourself, or encouraging your pre-schooler to walk 'up here, just around the next corner to the next rock' before your next break, kids are always ready and love to get out there. And what better example can we set for our children than by showing them that it is fun and it feels good to get outside and explore.
Kids of all ages have loads of energy to burn and are normally quite happy to spend a few hours chasing squirrels, jumping over rocks and roots and checking out the bugs. Like our neighbor's dog, our kids tend to put on more miles than we do on a walk or a hike as they run ahead, run back to tell us some crazy story and run ahead again.
Keep your own expectations in check and look to your kids to signal when it's time to stop for a break or turn for home. Another helpful hint: Don't underestimate the power of chocolate!
For some additional tips on hiking with kids and some great suggested hikes in the Banff area, click here to watch this video of CMH Summer Adventures' Ellen Slaughter on Calgary's Breakfast TV.
Do you hike as a family? Share any tips you have for successful outings with us in the comments section below!
Photo: A dad and his kids enjoying an above-the-world heli-hike on a Bugaboo Family Adventure with CMH by Topher Donahue.
by Ellen Barone
You don’t have to travel solo or stay home just because you’re an introvert—if you take along this advice. (As for the insatiable wanderlust that may result? You're on your own.)
Some of my most memorable (and solitary) travel experiences – sea kayaking with whales in Alaska, trekking to Machu Picchu, Heli-Hiking in the Canadian Rockies, photographing lions in Africa, crossing the Moroccan Sahara by camel, and snorkeling with Galapagos sea lions – have occurred on small group adventure trips.
For me, guided adventures, especially in challenging destinations, offer all the benefits of independent travel with none of the hassles or risk. But as an introvert accustomed to spending much of my time alone, it can be a challenge to balance my need for silence and solitude within the extroverted dynamics of group travel.
If the idea of sharing your vacation with others is keeping you from booking the trip of a lifetime, here are four travel-tested suggestions to help you maintain your independence.
1. Carve out time alone each day.
Don't be surprised if you find yourself enjoying the company of your travel companions more than you thought you would: Adventure travelers are a convivial, globetrotting tribe. To avoid social overload, however, be sure to carve out time alone each day. Hang back on a trail hike. Enjoy a solitary meal. Skip a planned excursion for some solo exploration. Tuck away in a quiet spot with a good book. Carry an iPod and earphones to tune-out as needed.
2. Splurge for your own room.
If you’re not traveling with a beloved who understands and respects your needs, most tour outfitters offer solo travelers the option of single accommodations. It may (or may not) cost more than sharing twin accommodations with another tour member of the same sex. But believe me, it’s worth it. I’ve gone the roommate route and regretted it every time, no matter how much I liked the person. Having time alone to recharge at the end of each day, or a private place to retreat to, is vital to maintaining balance.
3. Develop the art of being alone in a group.
As an Introvert, I am not shy or anti-social, nor do I dislike people: Quite the opposite. I have good social skills. I am a popular speaker and teacher. I love to meet new people and engage in long conversations about meaningful topics. But too much external stimulation exhausts me. So I’ve learned to pace myself with mini meditative moments. Whenever possible, I mentally disengage from life’s periphery long enough to be alone with my thoughts, to observe the world around me and within me. Try it. It’s a portable and soul-nourishing habit that’s as restorative at home or work as on the road.
4. You don’t have to do it all.
By design, adventure travel itineraries are action packed. Active exploration of our amazing planet is what it’s all about. One of the biggest challenges for introverts, however, can be balancing the need for downtime with the desire to do everything on the agenda. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to opt out when you need to or to suggest alternative ways to experience a place or activity that better suits your style. On a Galapagos cruise, for example, I set out with the group for an island hike as planned but arranged to spend the afternoon at an isolated beach to photograph and journal alone; easily reuniting with the others on the return leg of the hike. It’s been my experience that unless what you’re suggesting is unsafe or logistically impossible, most guides and trip managers are happy to accommodate any requests that will enhance your vacation.
What about you? How do you, or the introvert in your life, manage to stay balanced in an extroverted world? Use the comments box to tell us.
Ellen Barone is freelance journalist specializing in travel and frequent contributor to the Adventure blog. For the latest travel news, tips, and reviews, visit her website at EllenBarone.com.
Related Reading: Quiet: The Power of Introverts In A World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain. A passionately argued and impressively researched book filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically society undervalues introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. Listen to the author’s powerful Ted talk.
Photo of the author enjoying some alone time while Heli-Hiking with CMH Summer Adventures.
In the most spectacular adventure travel destinations, sometimes the obvious hides behind the scenery. This year, the CMH Bugaboos guides realized they were missing out on what is perhaps the most obvious, unique and valuable adventure in the Bugaboos: heli-supported glacier treks around, under, and among the world-famous Bugaboo Spires.
For decades now, the Bugaboos guides have been hiking around the edges of the Bugaboos spectacular glaciers while leading CMH Summer Adventures, climbing on the spires, and even unofficially tracking the recession of Vowell Glacier by placing cairns at the edge of the ice each season, but the CMH Glacier Trek in the Bugaboos is an entirely new exploration.
The guides’ decision to begin offering what could be the coolest adventure at CMH was in part due to their own desire to spend more time on the glaciers and among the massive spires - and in part due to changes in the world of adventure travel.
“People are looking to do something a little bit different.” said Peter Macpherson, the CMH Bugaboos assistant manager. The success of the via ferrata programs in both the Bugaboos and the Bobbie Burns shows how much people enjoy unique adventures in nature’s wildest environments, but the airy exposure of the via ferrata and the technical demands of alpine climbing are not for everyone.
Glacier Treks add a thrilling, explorative, but technically easy element to CMH Summer Adventures in the from of a stunning all-day adventure that isn’t possible anywhere else in the world.
When I spoke with Dave Cochrane, CMH Bugaboos area manager, about the new program, the excitement was obvious in his voice. “You don’t need technical skills at all, but we’ll use ropes for parts of it to walk around crevasses and exposed places. It’s truly an adventure!” he said. (Some routes will include easy rappels, controlled by the guides, to descend from one glacier to another.)
Depending on conditions, Glacier Trekkers may use crampons on their boots to give them better footing on the ice, and ice axes as walking sticks, but there will be no technical climbing involved. While you explore the heart of the Bugaboos, your guides will share their knowledge of the range's fascinating glaciology and geomorphology as well as the area's colourful human and climbing history.
Hiking through the Bugaboos Spires is something that has traditionally been the elite realm of technical rock climbers, but with CMH Glacier Treks, anyone with enough fitness for an all-day hike will be able to participate in the incredible experience of walking under kilometre-high pillars of vertical granite (like in the above photo with Pigeon Spire near the top of the Vowell Glacier), looking down into the mouths of ancient crevasses - and then returning by helicopter to the comforts of the Bugaboo Lodge for a massage, a spa, and an intimate gourmet dinner.
The Bugaboo Provincial Park prohibits helicopters within the boundary of the park, so Glacier Trekkers will be lifted by helicopter from the Bugaboo Lodge to a starting point along the border of the Park, traverse various glacier systems lacing the spires within the Park during a full day adventure - including Vowell Glacier, Crescent Glacier, Cobalt Glacier, Bugaboo Glacier or Howser Glacier - and then finish with a helicopter pickup at a different location at the park boundary. This will make CMH Glacier Treks, while not technical, committing in terms of all-day endurance. Glacier Trekkers will need to be fit enough for the full day’s adventure without an early helicopter pick up as has been available for tired hikers while heli-hiking.
“Walking through the Bugaboo Spires,” mused Dave, “It’s pretty exciting to think about - there is nowhere else in the world you can do that!”
Photos by Topher Donahue
Summer 2012 is the inaugural season for CMH Glacier Treks. For more questions about the most exciting adventure at CMH, visit our website or contact CMH Reservations at 1-(800) 661-0252.
National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis has been garnering a significant amount of media coverage in the last few months as he has voiced his concerns over the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline through Northern British Columbia that, if given the go-ahead, will transport 525,000 barrels of oil per day from near Edmonton, AB to Kitimat, BC.*
While the project is being sold to Canadians as one that will provide widespread economic and social benefits, Davis feels strongly that the development of the pipeline will destroy an area of cultural and environmental significance in this isolated and once-protected area of the country.
This isn't the first time Davis has spoken out about the protection of Northern BC. He recently wrote the text for a book entitled The Sacred Headwaters capturing the cultural significance of this area of Northern BC where he lives in a collection of stunning photographs and moving text. In a recent Ted Talk, Davis speaks about the Tahltan people of this region and their association with this land. "For them the headwaters are a kitchen, sanctuary, the burial ground of their ancestors,” says Davis. The area is currently being surveyed by Imperial Metals and Shell as potential mine sites that Davis says will destroy the land and taint the water with toxic chemicals; a by-product of this mining.
CMH Summer Adventures is pleased to host Wade Davis this summer at the Bugaboo Lodge in southeastern BC. For four days guests will have the opportunity to hike and walk with Davis while sharing discussions on these issues, and many more. In addition to The Sacred Headwaters, Davis has also written Into the Silence which delves into the story of Mallory, Everest and the Great War and has become a National Bestseller in Canada. Other books to his credit include Light at the Edge of the World: A Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures, The Serpent and the Rainbow, One River, The Lost Amazon and more. While at the Bugaboo Lodge Davis will share excerpts from his Massey Lectures series: The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdon Matters in the Modern World.
To learn more about this exclusive opportunity to travel, walk and converse with Wade Davis, please visit www.cmhsummer.com/davis. To learn more about the Sacred Headwaters of Northern BC, visit www.sacredheadwaters.com.
*Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines "Project at a Glance", http://www.northerngateway.ca/project-details/project-at-a-glance/.
What is it about reflections that never cease to intrigue us? We know if we look across a smooth body of water, from a low perspective, that we will see a reflection. Yet, when a reflection unfolds before us, our minds are captivated by the vision, and if we're holding our cameras, we can't help but take a picture.
Here are my five favourite reflection images from the kaleidoscope of wilderness adventures that make up CMH Summer Adventures.
This first one, a reflection of a rock being thrown into a glacial tarn, is one of those pictures that I left open on my desktop for a long time. A moment of natural chaos and perfection in the waters of the Columbia Mountains:
Here, in a technique I learned from the late, great photographer, Galen Rowell, two hikers are invisible against a shadowy background while their reflections do the hiking:
Just a few steps from the CMH Bugaboo Lodge, a small lake provides both cool swimming on hot afternoons, as well as a photographer’s dream on clear mornings:
This one, of the CMH Bobbie Burns Lodge shows the main ingredients of CMH Summer Adventures. An incredibly remote wilderness lodge and the twin engine Bell 212 helicopter - known as the safest helicopter ever made - a flavorful modern recipe for adventure:
Finally, my favourite reflection photo ever, shows a group of hikers dwarfed by the splendor of Western Canada’s sublime wilderness:
Perhaps the thing that fascinates us most about reflections is the symbolism of our own experience - a sort of affirmation of our ability to reflect on our lives and a hope that we can reflect on some of our experiences with the clarity of nature.
For me, this metaphorical reflection is one of the main reasons I continue to go into the wilderness for adventures. While most of life is muddled with expectations, responsibilities, and complexities, my lifetime’s experiences in nature form a combined collection of memories that I can reflect upon with crystal clarity, every bit as crisp, colourful, and perfect as the lines in these images.
Photos by Topher Donahue.
If sharing your experiences online is part of your holiday, there is nothing quite like CMH Summer Adventures to get your social network drooling on their smartphones. In three days with CMH you can share photos and experiences from a zipline across a raging river, a via ferrata along a knife-edge ridge, a glacier trek over ancient ice, hiking on the alpine tundra, and a comfortable, photogenic lodge deep within the Canadian wilderness. Capturing the attention of your friends is virtually assured.
Compare this to a cruise, where you are sharing an experience that everyone is familiar with; you post some photos of the boat, the ocean, the accommodations, some islands - and your friends, regardless if they've ever been on a cruise or not, will say, “...seen that before.”
During a CMH Summer Adventure, you’ll have the opportunity to share experiences that are as visually stunning and unique as an expedition to Mount Everest - but everyman's version with posh accommodations, a helicopter to help you spend the day in the most beautiful part of the mountains, and just the right amount of physical exertion tailored to your fitness level and desire.
The CMH Lodges, while remote, are equipped with internet access, so daily updates are easy. After a soak in the hot tub, taking in the view of the famous Bugaboo Spires, you can upload photos and stories from you day’s adventures and share with your world an experience that most people don’t realize even exists.
There is something authentic about the social media that comes from high quality experiential travel destinations. And CMH, with 47 years of experience in providing world-class adventure travel experiences, is as authentic as it gets.
At the end of the trip, you’ll have a collection of photographs and experiences with value that rivals half a dozen typical holiday trips, you’ll blow away your family and friends while you share the experience online, and you’ll return home with a full reboot of the most important thing: your self.
Photos by Andrea Johnson and Topher Donahue.
This year, Nikon released the D4 at the top of their DSLR lineup, and as usual the web exploded with opinions and reviews. I started shooting with the camera, but it seemed as though I was using a different camera than was being reviewed.
First, there were the image tests. Reviewers took test photos with the Nikon D4 side by side with the last top dog from Nikon, the D3s, and found there is no major improvement in image quality. They tested the video and found it wasn’t as perfect as they had hoped. Like the stock market, people’s expectations for new cameras seem to matter more than true value.
I went out and captured photos with the D4 that led me to an entirely different conclusion: for outdoor adventure, action, and nature photography, as well as indoor photography with difficult lighting, the D4 is probably the best camera ever made.
Sure, images produced with the D3s are superb, but what I found with the D4 is that I am getting the results I want with much less effort than would have been necessary with the D3s in similar conditions, allowing me to pay attention to my own creativity rather than camera management.
For example, the 3D focus tracking, which uses the colours surrounding the focus point to predict the next in-focus point, is so accurate and so fast that it allows me to pay attention to composition and timing rather than focus, and results in action sequences with 100% of the images in focus.
Sure, the pundits will argue that auto focus is a different category from image quality, and in the lab I’m sure it is, but in the real world I beg to differ. For me, an adventure and lifestyle photographer, all the aspects of a camera are intertwined and image quality is the complicated sum of the camera’s various technologies and my own creative ability.
Then there are the video reviews, which reported some of the D4 video settings aren’t as good as hoped. No surprise there. DSLR video is still new, and each generation is taking big steps. The D4 has a 2.7x cropped sensor setting that delivers spectacular video results, while the other settings are not as good. Perfect - I’ll use the spectacular setting.
Then there is the discussion around the light meter. The D3s was the first pro camera that I described as the ultimate point-and-shoot. And it was, but now the D4 nails perfect exposure and focus in difficult lighting situations more of the time with less effort. Sure, I still mess with exposure and focus for different results, but when I pull the D4 out of the bag and fire away without paying attention to anything except the shutter button and composition, like for the above photo of my son running on a dike in northern Germany, the results are drastically better than the D3s.
The D4 is the first camera that has an auto ISO that I’m willing to use - its parameters can be customized and automatically changes with the length of the lens attached to the camera.
It is also the first professional camera that I would highly recommend to amateur photographers because it is so easy to use. Let’s say you are going on the world’s most beautiful holiday and you love photography - then why not take the best camera that is also the easiest to use?
The D4 is a major game-changer for me. Right now I’m in Europe, visiting the in-laws, traveling, and taking photos of whatever I please. On similar trips in the past, I always took a smaller, lighter camera kit and saved my professional gear for professional assignments. This time, I couldn’t leave home without the D4 for one simple reason: The Nikon D4 makes photography easier.
Finally there is the debate between the D800 and the D4. In the real world, there is no debate. If you’re a diverse professional or amateur who can afford both, you’ll buy both - they serve two entirely different purposes. If you are a specialist, you should know which camera is best for you.
From my favourite pocket camera, the Canon S95, to my professional Nikon kit, I do the same thing: learn the limitations of the camera and push my own limits within them. Every camera has limits, and next time I get the chance to go into the wilderness to document some of the word’s most photogenic adventures, I know I will be able to raise my own standards of photography by exploring the limits of the Nikon D4.
This is a guest post by Ellen Slaughter, host of CMH's Bodacious in the Bugaboos
I am the very proud mom of 3 grown kids – a daughter and two sons. That’s why I’m excited that Mother’s Day is just around the corner. For millions of mom’s around the world, Mother’s Day is a very special day. It’s our day to be spoiled by our families and a time to reflect on Motherhood – the incredible joys and, yes, sometimes the heartache and tears that it brings.
In our family, Mother’s Day has always been the day when I got to choose what we would do to celebrate. So, to the mountains and “a’ hiking” we would go! Sometimes even on Mother’s Day, it felt like a massive push getting everyone organized and out the door. The promise of DQ Blizzards at the end of the day always seemed to help! Now, a few years later, as our kids have grown and moved out and away, some of the best memories and laughs we share when we’re all together are about our crazy mountain adventures.
My daughter, Kate, and I share a great love of the mountains that transcends Mother’s Day. Over the years we’ve skied many days together and hiked many a trail in the Rockies. I recently asked Kate to share some of her thoughts about what our adventures together have meant to her. Here’s some of what she said… “Some moms and daughters bond over shopping, hair and make-up. That didn’t really work for us. The way we got to really bond was heading out of town on outdoor adventures. We always had such great time to connect in the mountains. There were no distractions – tv, phone, friends, boyfriends, brothers, chores, homework, etc. to get in the way of our awesome talks. You really gave me the gift of true time in the mountains.” She went on to say, “Having a mom who was always up for an adventure set such an awesome example for me growing up. You showed me that you can be feminine, brave and adventurous all at the same time. Girl Power!!”
If you and your daughter(s) are looking for a memorable way to celebrate Mother’s Day this year, a way to create memories you’ll cherish forever, how about giving each other the gift of shared time and mountain magic on a CMH summer trip? One I recommend is The Ultimate Mother-Daughter Getaway. On this 3 day Heli-Hiking Escape, you will hike with Marybeth Bond, acclaimed National Geographic Author and Women’s Travel Expert. She and her daughter, JC will inspire you as they share the challenges and laughs that strengthened their bond while cycling across the US to raise funds for bone health in women (NOF.org). When you’re not out flying high in the chopper and soaking in the spectacular beauty of the Purcell Mountains, you’ll be tucked away at our remote, luxurious Bobbie Burns lodge relaxing in the hot tub, enjoying a well-deserved massage and chatting as only Mothers and Daughters can over cocktails and 5-star meals!
To all you moms out there, however you choose to celebrate Mother’s Day and make memories with your loved ones this year, let your star shine bright!
Long live the Motherhood!
“No screens,” he said bluntly.
“What?” I replied.
With young children of my own, I had asked a friend of mine, Michael, who works as a “life coach” helping adolescents and their parents, what he felt was the biggest issue for families these days.
Michael didn’t even pause before explaining himself: “Keep them away from screens as long as you can. For some reason, kids don’t do well processing their world through computer screens - of all sorts. The feedback is too fragmented and they don’t learn to work through issues.”
His words have stayed with me, but I don’t know what to do about them. The advantages of a digitally connected family are obvious. I want to know where my kids are, if they change plans, if there’s a problem, and if they want to get ahold of me. I also see that the modern world orbits around a touch screen to the point of overcrowding the available bandwidth; and families, already a threatened institution in the western world, don’t need another reason to avoid spending time together.
I want my kids to use technology, but I don’t want it to stunt their interpersonal skills. I hope they’ll learn to filter the buckets of worthless information online from the golden kernels of learning, opportunity, and self-improvement. I don’t want to hide them from the world, but I don’t want to have a text-based relationship with them either.
I know I’m not alone. I’d guess many parents are in a similar quandary.
My only strategy is this: immersion in nature at every opportunity. For me, the natural world - be it going fishing, or hiking up a spectacular mountain ridge - makes the screen-based parts of life seem incredibly shallow. When you’re surrounded by 365 degrees of natural stimulation tickling every sense known to man, suddenly a palm-sized touch screen seems like a pretty insignificant window on the world.
A progressive school in the United States, featured in Richard Louv’s bestselling book Last Child in the Woods, intentionally avoids computer-based school work until high school. The school gives them a break from, as Louv explians, “the electronic impulses coming at them all the time, so their sensory abilities are more open to what is happening naturally around them.”
The specifics don’t seem so important. Be it an unforgettable guided mountain adenture, or just playing catch in the nearest park, the natural world offers something that the computer world doesn’t even come close to providing.
Computers are great. My wife and I use them every day. Our kids like them too. I don’t plan to lock up my screens, but I do plan to give them every opportunity to see that the sweetest experiences the world has to offer don’t come from a computer screen.
What do you think? Are screens getting in the way of your relationship with your children?
Photo of teens finding their own bandwidth on a CMH Summer Adventure.