It’s pretty easy to score an average holiday and hardly worth stressing your relationship over. But how do you convince your partner to take a really spectacular holiday, the kind you’ll remember for the rest of your lives as the best vacation ever?
It seems like it should be easy, if the vacation is really that good, but quite often something gets in the way. You’re not on the same page. It's just not their cup of tea. You’re having a bit of power struggle. One of you has ulterior motives that you’re not sharing. There are a million little reasons why it’s difficult to agree on a destination.
So here are 10 tips to help you get your partner inspired for YOUR dream vacation:
- Take the trip they want to do first. If you're in a long-term relationship, there’s probably nothing more powerful than simply agreeing to do exactly what your partner wants to do this year, and do it with enthusiasm. Sacrifice this year, and next year you’ll find it a lot easier to get them on board with your dream trip.
- Do all the research before pitching the idea. If you have all the answers, it’s a lot easier to field your partner’s questions in a way that will be accurate and supportive of their concerns. Let them know you really want to do it by learning as much as you can, not by trying to argue them into it.
- Buy them a gift that is suitable or inspiring for the trip you have in mind. A camera. A book on the area you want to visit. New specialized clothing in their favourite colour.
- Have dinner with friends who have done the trip you want to do. Steer the conversation towards the trip, then let your friends convince your partner - not you.
- Forgo a few luxuries and then let your partner know you’d rather spend the money on your dream trip. Even if you have unlimited funds, showing that your dream trip ranks higher than other material possessions and experiences is a great way to demonstrate how important it is to you.
- Hang some photos of your dream destination on the wall in your study and office. They say a photo is worth a thousand words, but in this case, a photo might be worth a thousand arguments.
- Make it easy for your partner to say yes. Set up the logistics so they have as few excuses as possible by researching travel plans to fit their schedule and sleep habits, renewing their passport for them and taking care of all the details.
- Befriend their colleagues and friends so you can get them on your team to help convince your partner to take your dream trip.
- Research arrangements for kids and pets before even talking to your partner about it. These kinds of things can be the most difficult, and if you already take care of the things your partner cares most about, it makes it much easier for them to go for it.
- Don’t just buy the airline ticket. There’s nothing more stressful than suddenly being faced with a trip you have to take. There may be exceptions to this if your relationship thrives on big surprises, or if it is your partner’s dream trip too,but in most cases this is not a good start to a dream trip.
Any other good suggestions for getting your partner inspired for your dream trip?
Photos of a dream trip to Western Canada by Topher Donahue.
We last saw Wade Davis in the Bugaboos where he was a featured speaker during the CMH Summer Adventure Speaker Series, so we are well aware of his world-class communication skills. He’s written 15 books and is also the National Geographic Society’s Explorer in Residence, so I suppose it comes as not surprise that he’s winning prestigious awards for his writing. Still, we’d like to congratulate the Harvard PhD ethnobotanist for his latest accolades.
This time, his book Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest has won the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction and its $30,000 prize. Wade spent 10 years researching the book and in the process uncovered much that was previously unknown about the fateful expedition and the risk-taking motivation of WWI era British explorers.
The book’s summary explains, “Wade Davis asks not whether George Mallory was the first to reach the summit of Everest, but why he kept climbing on that fateful day.”
According to an article on the BBC, David Willetts MP, the chair of the judges for the award, explained their reason for choosing Into the Silence as this year’s winner: "It’s an exciting story of human endeavor imbued with deep historical significance. Wade’s scrupulous use of sources and attention to detail, combined with his storytelling skills and ability to enter into the minds of the people he is writing about make this a thoroughly enlightening and enjoyable book.”
The award's web page summarizes that "the book sheds new light on Mallory’s expeditions to scale Everest, against the backdrop of the impact of the Great War and British Imperialism, and giving a detailed insight in to the explorers’ world."
With the promise of Into the Silence delving into the motivations of 20th Century explorers through a masterfully researched examination of one of modern history's most storied epics, I’ve already ordered my copy. Stay tuned for a review of Wade’s award-winning book.
Coincidentally, I received the October 2012 CMH Newsletter on the same day I heard about Wade Davis winning the Samuel Johnson Award. In the newsletter, he's featured for many reasons:
First, Wade is part of the CMH Speaker Series.
Second, Wade's been called “a real-life Indiana Jones” and has been the focus of Hollywood and Imax films.
Third, Wade was born and raised in British Columbia and way back in the 70s he worked as a seasonal park ranger in Bugaboo Provincial Park, the same place and about the same time CMH Summer Adventures began.
Last but not least, Wade Davis is planning to join us again next summer in the Bugaboos for the CMH Speaker Series on July 21-24. Call CMH Reservations at 1 (800) 661-0252 for questions about joining the award-winning explorer for hiking, presentations and intimate conversations in one of his favourite places on the planet.
Mt. Everest photo by Topher Donahue.
As the previous winter’s snows melt up the hillsides of the Canadian Rockies, springtime follows close behind, even into the late summer. In a phenomenon not unique to the region, but perhaps more pronounced in the Columbia Mountains than mountain areas with less heavy snowfall, the wildflower season can last well into late August or even early September.
The Columbia Mountains, a subrange of the Rockies, is a freak of nature that reveals itself in many forms. The heart of this unique quality is the range’s precipitation patterns. The region receives enough annual precipitation to qualify as a rainforest, but most of it falls in the winter months in the form of snow - to the tune of 12 to 18 metres (40 to 60 feet) each winter, leaving the long, sunny, summer days to the flowers.
The Columbia River is the largest river in a region containing one of the world’s richest reserves of fresh water. As the deep snowbanks melt, armies of wildflowers bursting with every colour of the rainbow creep of the mountainsides, following the streams and trickles of the melting snow.
Even in the late summer, when the other legendary wildflower zones are dry, with their blooms long since faded, the flowers of the Columbia Range are quite often still in full glory.
Last week, during a photo shoot in the Bugaboos, I had a hard time keeping my lens out of the dew-soaked bouquet that spread all around us. By the end of each day, my knees were soaked, my memory cards full, and my optical nerves saturated with colour.
One morning, we were greeted with a dusting of fresh snow where the helicopter dropped us near treeline. It melted quickly under the bright alpine sun, leaving the blossoms even more brilliant than the day before.
Even the flowers surrounding the Bugaboo Lodge, while nurtured by human hands, were in full glory and formed a fanatsy-like foreground to sunrise on the famous Bugaboo Spires.
A photographer, Jeff Wendorff, who runs wildlife and landscape photo workshops was there to check out CMH Summer Adventures and decide if it was a good venue for a photo workshop. At the end of our three days together, I asked him if he thought the Bugaboos would work for his workshops.
Photographers interested in current photo workshops with CMH should visit our website. It is highly recommended that anyone booked on a CMH Summer Adventure bring the best camera they own with extra batteries and memory cards - it’s more beautiful than you think.
Last week, the Bodacious Babes hit the Bugaboos and experienced a flavor of beauty that has to be seen to be believed. No words can do it justice, so instead here’s a photo essay on one of their hikes in the Canadian Rockies that is surely in the running for one of the most beautiful places on earth.
It started with pilot Perry dropping us off near treeline aboug halfway up a mile-deep valley on the remote western side of the legendary Bugaboos.
Before the sound of the helicopter had receded into the distance, we were so awestruck by the beauty that some clapped, some laughed, some cried and some hugged.
All of us spun in circles wondering if we’d ever been anywhere more spectacular.
Once we were able to compose ourselves enough to walk, we began wandering through a landscape somewhere between the the Shire of Tolkien’s Hobbit, and the mountains of the Himalaya.
Clouds of mist swirled around the peaks behind us as we hiked through lush fields of wildflowers and past clear running streams.
Above us, the lofty Howser Towers formed an almighty backdrop.
After following the crest of a moraine left by a long-departed glacier, and just about when it seemed it could get no more beautiful, Lyle, our guide, took us past a tarn the colour of the sky in a setting that inspires painters and poets alike.
After a long morning that seemed like both an eternity and an instant, we reached a glacier guarding the high pass to reach the more popular side of the Bugaboos. After a lunch and moment caught between meditation and a nap, pilot Perry returned and whisked us over the pass to another slice of paradise - but that’s for another story.
For questions about Girlfriend Getaways with CMH Summer Adventures, a women's trip that rivals the most fun a person can have, contact Canadian Mountain Holidays at 1 (800) 661-0252.
Photos by Topher Donahue.
There are a few mountains and ranges on this planet that are so compelling as to be almost beyond belief. The Fitzroy Range in Patagonia. The Tetons in Wyoming. The Matterhorn in Switzerland. Half Dome in Yosemite. The Karakoram in Pakistan. The Bugaboos in British Columbia.
It doesn’t really matter how one visits these areas - be it by car, bus, boat, plane, helicopter, foot or bicycle, hiking or climbing - it’s all (better than) good.
There are others as well, but these half a dozen mountain ranges are in many ways the crown jewels of topography on planet Earth. At CMH Summer Adventures we consider ourselves extremely lucky to be able to explore in and around one of these jewels: the Bugaboos.
After a rock climbing adventure in the Bugaboos, I stopped by the CMH Bugaboos Lodge and talked with a group of heli-hikers twice my age who had just spent a couple of glorious days on comfortable hikes along low-angled ridges and between turquoise lakes with postcard views of the Bugaboo Spires while heli-hiking with CMH Summer Adventures.
We compared notes:
- They did things they didn’t believe were possible for them; I did things I didn’t believe were possible for me.
- They stepped onto summits looking over vistas of fairytale mountains; I stood on summits and looked around at the kinds of mountains climber’s dreams are made of.
- They had a few of the best days of their lives; I had a few of the best days of mine.
In the end, we realized the mountain experience is the same for everyone - we just all find it in different places. It’s one of the things that makes mountain sport so special - anyone can do it. And of all the planet's alpine crown jewels, the Bugaboos is certainly the best suited for everyone to experience.*
With this fact in mind, here are six of my favourite technical climbs in the Bugaboos, places where I’ve spent the best days of my life. As you look at the following photos remember that the Bugaboos has something to offer everyone and can make climbers, hikers and sightseers feel the same euphoria and elation that I felt during and after climbing on these beautiful spires.
The West Face of the North Howser Tower:
As the biggest wall in the Bugaboos, the West Face of the North Howser Tower is about a thousand metres tall, the same height as Yosemite’s famed El Capitan, but in an alpine setting. Climbs are mostly 5.11 or 5.12 in didfficulty, and both long and extremely committing. Of course, just looking at the peak is a complete mountain experience.
West Ridge of Pigeon Spire:
One of the best rock climbs in the world, and at a moderate grade of 5.4, anyone who can climb can do the West Ridge of Pigeon. In this photo, a climber in yellow near the summit is dwarfed by the massive peak.
The West Face of Snowpatch Spire:
The West Face of Snowpatch Spire gets high marks, not so much for the superior climbing but for the outrageous position overlooking the rest of the Bugaboo Spires, views down both the Vowell Glacier and Bugaboo Glacier, and an incomparable pointed summit to complete the ascent.
One of the least committing climbing objectives in the Bugaboos, Crescent Spire, offers a climbing option for everyone, from 5.4 to 5.12. Here, a climber stretches for the safety of a gear placement on Energy Crisis, a sustained 5.11 that follows a clean corner for 70 metres.
The East Face of Snowpatch Spire:
Arguably made of the most beautiful stone in the world, the East Face of Snowpatch is worth hiking underneath just to stare upward at the black and white streaked rock framed against the blue sky and the white glacier. If I could have a house that looked like a mountain, this would be it.
The East Face of Snafflehound Spire:
A lesser known and rarely visited spire in the Vowell Range just north of the main Bugaboos Group, the smooth East Face of Snafflehound Spire is home to the cleanest cracks I’ve ever seen. Unfortunately many of the lines are not continuous to enough to make for climbs of reasonable difficulty, but our ascent of the face may have been the first 5.13 in the Bugaboos.
For those of you who are not familiar with climbing ratings, the “5” indicates that the climb is 5th class - meaning a rope and protection devices are usually used to secure the climbers in case of a fall. The number following the decimal point, like the “10” in 5.10, gives climbers a subjective idea of how difficult the gymnastics of the ascent may be. In the mountains, the grading can be viewed like this:
- 5.1-5.5 is considered beginner terrain
- 5.6-5.8 is considered intermediate terrain
- 5.9-5.11 is considered advanced terrain
- 5.12-5.13 is considered extremely difficult terrain.
- The world’s most elite climbs are 5.14-5.15, but no climbs of this difficulty have yet been climbed in alpine environments like the Bugaboos.
*The Bugaboos are the most suited for everyone thanks to CMH Summer Adventures with their unique helicopter access and diverse holiday programs for all ages and abilities in the area surrounding Bugaboo Glacier Provincial Park.
In 1978, a bus tour operator named Arthur Tauck, who had joined CMH in the winter for helicopter skiing, realized a summertime tour of the same remote part of the Canadian Rockies, with easy helicopter access, comfortable lodging, and first-rate cuisine might appeal wonderfully to his elderly guests on bus tours.
In 2001, CMH produced a coffee-table photo book titled, “Heli-Hiking and Mountaineering” in which Tauck penned an intro that reveals much about the sublime world of heli-hiking, his vision for its origin, and why heli-hiking is so ideal for older guests.
Besides the obvious beauty of the remote mountains he'd seen while skiing, Tauck was curious how he might be able to take tours to other places besides the more popular Canadian Rockies tourist destinations. He wrote:
“There was another question in my mind, too: would the senior citizens we cater to appreciate a mountain program given the frailties of age?
"Coincidentally, about the same time, I happened to visit my wife’s ailing grandmother, who was in a home living out her waning days. It was a sad visit. She was failing fast. Among her last words to me were, ‘Arthur, inside this baggy old body of bones, I’m still 25.' I cried, and later realized she had answered one of my questions.
"We had always designed tours around out perception of our elderly clientele’s physical limitations. Maybe that was a mistake. My grandmother-in-law convinced me that we should let our clients determine their own limitations. We should design tours that would engage their spirit and tenacity, that would leave them with renewed pride in themselves.
"I tracked down this guy Hans Gmoser (founder of Canadian Mountain Holidays). I wanted to talk to him about my idea of introducing my clients to his lodges and letting them partake of the magic and purity of an alpine experience geared to their wishes and capabilities. I envisioned a program like Hans’ heli-skiing where each day guests are divided by ability and heli-lifted to four or five different venues they could explore with a guide."
Tauck gave CMH a call, and heli-hiking was born. (Above, an early heli-hiking group prepares for liftoff from the Bugaboo Lodge.) It worked perfectly. For decades Tauck Tours included a CMH heli-hiking segment during bus tours of the Canadian Rockies with elderly travelers. Tauck concluded:
“The result was a renewed sense of pride. They met the challenge of satisfying their inner spirit at a time in their lives when they were beginning to accept the more sedentary life that comes with age. It was a joy to watch them fanny-slide down snowy slopes, frolic like kids with snowballs in the midst of summer, and push themselves along ridge lines and up the slopes far above timber. They learned about the flora, fauna, and the power of glaciation. They embraced the mountain environment... and they bonded with one another and wished they could adopt the CMH staff that made it all possible.
"Then, upon departure, while waiting for the helicopter to return them to reality, I would witness reflection, sometimes tearful. Maybe it was about their accomplishments and the fact that they may never have such an experience again.
"I too, have found myself with moist eyes seeing their emotion. I realized Hans and I were the authors of an experience that enhanced and sometimes changed the lives of many.
"We have watched, awestruck, amputees navigate the meadows and the glaciers. We have seen the more fit eagerly reach out to embrace the challenges of mountaineering. And we have witnessed families unite with teenagers, parents and grandparents, each at their own level of participation, but each sharing the same emotion.
"My original goal of creating Heli-Hiking to take advantage of added rooms in the Rockies for financial gain has long since faded in importance. As it turned out, my personal gain is the realization that Heli-Hiking has rekindled the dreams that reside inside so many of us. My only regret is that my wife’s 97-year-old grandmother never had a chance to live the experience she inspired. God bless her.”
Since then, CMH Summer Adventures has hosted seniors, kids, world-class athletes, handicapped travelers (shown above in a wheelchair on Grizzly Ridge near the Bugaboos), families, famous mountaineers, and everyone in between. CMH Summer Adventure programs have diversified to include safe-but-thrilling adventures for adrenaline-seekers, photo workshops and family adventures, but perhaps the most incomparable value in CMH Summer Adventures is still heli-hiking for elderly travelers who can experience Mr. Tauck's vision of engaging their spirit and tenacity once again and leave with renewed pride in themselves.
Photos courtesy Canadian Mountain Holidays archives.
REI Adventures describes a stay with CMH like this: “...a high mountain adventure of helicopter rides and spectacular encounters with nature, combined with private rooms in remote, alpine lodges and fantastic food.”
Indeed, there are few outings in the adventure travel world that combine such lofty adventures with such comfortable and relaxing hospitality. By day you can explore pristine alpine areas, under the watchful eye of an experienced mountain guide, where you can’t find even a single human footprint, trail, or road - and by night you can relax in a hot tub overlooking paradise of the wilderness kind.
Then the next day you can be lifted by a Bell 212 helicopter, known as the safest helicopter ever made, to a place that would be among the most photographed viewpoints on earth if there was a road to get there. From there, you can wander across tundra overlooking white glaciers, steep black mountains, and enjoy a lunch where the only difficulty is deciding which way to sit to take in what part of the 360-degree panorama.
That night you’ll enjoy a massage, a gourmet meal shared with knowledgable mountain guides, and a fine bottle of wine.
When it’s time to leave the Lodge, you’ll be happy if you’re one of the lucky ones who booked the Lodge-to-Lodge adventure, because while the rest of the group is going back to the real world, you’ll hike across an easy ridge and the CMH wizards of logistics will take the rest of your travel kit, suitcases, and clothing to the neighboring CMH Lodge.
That night you’ll be comfortably at home in a different lodge, with a different world-class view, but the same hospitality and incomparable wilderness comfort of CMH Summer Adventures. The CMH Lodges were built to provide easy and comfortable access to some of the most difficult to access mountains in North America.
Imagine Yosemite with only a couple dozen people in the entire park or the Tetons where the nearest paved road was 50 kilometres away. Then imagine a comfortable lodge that feels more like home than a hotel, with a staff that is passionate about adventure, hospitality, and wilderness. Combine the two visions and you'll just begin to understand the CMH flavor of wilderness adventure.
Upon waking in the morning, it will be as if you are in your own personal National or Provincial Park - the second in less than a week. Mountain guides will accompany you on relaxing adventures (or tough hikes, climbs, or Via Ferrata ascents if you prefer) and share their vast knowledge of the geology, glaciology, and ecology of the area - as well as keep your holiday safe, easy and stress free.
Most of the world’s travel options that provide the kind of adventure found with CMH Summer Adventures require weeks rather than days, athletic fitness rather than everyday walking ability, and third world travel logistics and complications rather than a short flight to Calgary and exemplary service that allows you to just relax and enjoy yourself.
In fact, here’s a challenge: does anyone out there know of anywhere else on earth that offers both adventure and comfort equal to CMH Summer Adventures?
Photos by Topher Donahue and Andrea Johnson.
Calling all families! Wanting your kids to turn off the television, shut off the x-box and step into nature’s ultimate playground? CMH Summer Adventures is offering family focused heli-hiking trips consisting of a three day escape into Canada’s pristine alpine meadows. Experience untouched wilderness feet-first in the Canadian Rockies.
With ‘nature deficit disorder’ on the rise in children, their mental and physical health is at stake. A CMH Family Adventure means you and your kids can have fun and stay active, while being completely immersed in the great outdoors. From sliding down snow-covered hills, to dipping toes in glacier fed lakes, there is no shortage of excitement. Guaranteeing big grins and glowing faces, our CMH Family Adventure leaders ensure each child is experiencing an engaging and educational trip. By incorporating games and activities throughout the day, your child will see nature in a new light. Family trips aren’t just for the youngsters. Teenagers, and those with a penchant for adrenalin, will have the opportunity to zip-line across river gorges; traverse a two story tree-top ropes course; rope up for some glacier trekking; or clip in to a via ferrata and summit a mountain peak.
If breathtaking mountain views, carpets of glacier lilies, and the tranquility of the atmosphere aren’t enough to fill your imagination, think of the quality time you will enjoy as you embark on this exceptional adventure together. You and your family will unwind, spend time exploring the land, connect with nature and create memories to last a lifetime.
CMH Family Adventures are available at both the Bobbie Burns (July 24 - 27 and August 8 – 11) and Bugaboos (July 27 - 30 and August 11 – 14). So put down the cell phone, pull up your hiking socks, and head outdoors this summer for a family adventure of a lifetime.
To learn more about CMH Family Adventures give us a call at 1-800-661-0252 or visit www.cmhsummer.com. Nature’s playground awaits.
Back by popular demand, CMH Summer Adventures is once again offering painting and photography enthusiasts the opportunity to study with the masters in British Columbia's Bugaboo mountains, amid some of the most stunning natural scenery in the world.
Photography Workshop with John E. Marriott
From August 5-8, 2012, guests of CMH Summer Adventures will be able to enroll in a Photography Worksop with acclaimed wilderness photographer, John E. Marriott. Returning to the Bugaboos for the third straight year, Marriott will join guests on their alpine adventures, while instructing the amateur photographer guests in how to capture the best digital images of the area's dramatic wildflowers, framed by the jagged spires and glacial lakes of the Bugaboos range. And after fulfilling days of activity and photography, guests will join Marriott back at the lodge for gourmet alpine cuisine served family-style, followed by evening discussions about photographic techniques and new technology.
Painting Workshop with Robert Genn
Following very successful workshops in 2010 and 2011, renowned Canadian painters Robert Genn and Liz Wiltzen will once again lead guests in a Painting Workshop in the Bugaboos, from September 4-7, 2012. The assembled artists-in-training will be dropped off by helicopter in remote areas of the Purcell Mountains, along with Genn and Wiltzen, who will be available, upon request, to mentor and give critiques, or just let students explore, get inspired by the landscape and put brush to canvas in solitude.
Interested in learning more or joining one of these artistic workshops? Call CMH Summer Adventures and ask for Audrey at 1-800-661-0252 or if you are ready to request a space you can always book online.
It all depends who you ask.
If you’re like the Canadian-American team that just removed a famous climbing route from Cerro Torre, one of the most beautiful mountains in the world (shown below) at the southern tip of South America, because a series of metal expansion bolts made it, in their opinion, too easy, you’d probably say that you need to be in your 20s and fit as an Olympian.
If you’re like the elder couple in their 90s, shown in this photo heli-hiking in Western Canada, you might say that the twilight of life is the best age for mountain adventures. Modern access, lightweight and comfortable equipment, and world-class adventure travel programs make some of the most untouched alpine environments the perfect place to enjoy a quiet walk past some of the sweetest views on planet earth.
If you’re like the family I met in the Bugaboos a couple of summers ago, who recruited the logistical wizardry of CMH Summer Adventures to get 4 generations of their family together for a summer holiday in the remote mountains of Western Canada, you probably have the best answer: anyone can do it.
Canadian Mountain Holidays is a perfect study of how the perceived optimal age for outdoor adventure has changed over the last half a decade:
- In the 60s, CMH invented helicopter skiing and catered exclusively to the most adventurous, talented skiers in the world.
- In the 70s, CMH invented heli-hiking for groups of seniors looking for relaxing, yet inspiring tours in spectacular locations far from the busy, easily accessible tourist locations. By using reliable twin engine jet helicopters for transportation from comfortable lodges into an alpine wonderland, everyone was able to enjoy a mountain adventure.
- In the 80s, CMH diversified their summer program to include fit, younger hikers and couples who wanted to include difficult hikes with helicopter access to the heart of Western Canada’s rugged mountains.
- In the 90s, CMH responded to the growing popularity of mountaineering and led adventure travelers of all ages and abilities into technical terrain where ropes were used to keep them safe in case of a slip, and many people who never thought they’d want to climb a technical mountain stood safely on lofty summits thanks to the expertise of professional mountain guides.
Most recently, in the new millennium, CMH Summer Adventures added Via Ferrata climbs, adventure trails, and a family program that includes professional youth educators to complete one of the most diverse adventure travel programs around. In short, CMH has answered the question under no uncertain terms: every age is the right age for mountain adventures.