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Good to Know

10 ways you know you’re “not” a climber

Climbing is not a sport people feel ambivalent about.

Some gravitate towards it with obsession. Others question why anyone would get up for it at all. If you’re not sure yet which end of the rope you fall on, these points might help you recognize if you are “not” a climber.

Your mind is in knots trying to remember how to tie knots.

The clove hitch, munter, prusik, or double fisherman’s? You may not be able to reproduce them, but you would order them at a bar because they all sound like the names of delicious cocktails.

You don’t cram your feet into shoes that feel three sizes too small.

As far as you’re concerned, foot binding is an antiquated practice that should have been outlawed in the last millennium. Plus, you prefer your toenails to be a healthy pink.

Your first choice of a hangout spot is not a precarious ledge.

If you are near an area that’s climbing worthy, chances are you will be spending time chilling on a ridiculously vertical piece of rock. Your idea of “living on the edge” might be more like sunning yourself at a clothing-optional beach.

You cringe when your skin feels dry.

To deliberately coat your hands with dusty chalk seems gross. Never mind come home with it in your nose, mouth, and eyes. You’re more the type who liberally applies lotion at the first sign of dehydration.

You don’t enjoy crushing your bits.

Whether it’s for reasons of sheer vanity or propagating the human species, it seems questionable to cinch your beloved jiggly parts into a harness, also affectionately known as a “sausage casing”.

You have trust issues.

With your life on the line, you’re not sure if balancing on minuscule footholds while dangling several metres off the ground on a rope that has seen better days with a relative stranger holding the other end, is the best of ideas.

You don’t show off your shredded skin and bloody gashes with pride.

The activity of climbing also includes falling. On hard, sharp rock. You think of broken skin as an indicator that something went horribly wrong and not a sign of a really good time.

You don’t stare out the window and sulk whenever it’s raining.

When the grey skies open, you excitedly bundle in your waterproof gear and get the heck outside. You feel vibrantly alive. You are not deprived of your joy in life because the “rock is wet”.

You wouldn’t purposely tie yourself to an anchor.

Your growth-seeking spirit does not want to be tied down to anything designed to hold you in place, especially something associated with sinking.

You don’t give a crap about getting to the top of anything.

Whenever you see boulders, rock walls, or 3000 foot monoliths, you recoil at the thought of scrambling up to their lofty peaks. You don’t even take elevators to penthouse suites. Too high.

If you’re still not sure if you are a climber or “not”, then you may just have to try it to find out.

An islander’s guide to visiting Bowen for city folk

You are excited to escape the city and set sail for your island getaway. You can already smell the salty sea air and feel the warm sun on your face.

We islanders enjoy having other people visit and experience what we love so much about living here on Bowen, however, we are also protective of this blessed place we call home. If you follow a few of these guidelines, you will be welcomed with open arms. Or, at least, you won’t have anyone rolling their eyes at you.

Consider leaving your car at home

Lighten your footprint by using your feet. Because who wants to head to paradise only to find themselves stuck in traffic and choking on fumes. You are likely escaping the city to immerse yourself in nature, so embrace your own biped nature. Know that everything essential on Bowen is within walking distance of the ferry. And if it isn’t, there are several options for getting around – scooter rental, public transit, plus an organized hitchhiking network. Catching a ride with a friendly local is encouraged, look for the designated LIFT stops.

Slow down

If you insist on bringing your vehicle, there’s not a lot of rules we take seriously here, but the speed limit (max 40 km/h) is one of them. Our roads are single lane, without shoulder, and are shared with pedestrians, cyclists, and wildlife. Travel with care. There’s nowhere to get to that requires any urgency, anyways. Well, maybe except to the grocery store before it closes. Or to the beach before the sun sets. But if you miss the ferry, don’t worry, there’s another one real soon.

Our local restaurants are all amazing, and also operate on ‘island’ principles. Service is more about having an enjoyable experience than ushering people through a revolving door, which means sometimes it takes more time. Relax. That’s why you’re here anyways, right?

Support local business

Leave the Starbucks and McDonald’s behind in the city. We value that our businesses are locally owned and operated. It’s part of what adds to Bowen’s unique character and charm. It can be a challenge to maintain a business in a small community, especially during the quieter winter months, so share your love with the artisans and families of Bowen by shopping local. Besides, we have WAY better options on the island for coffee and burgers. But please don’t ask any of the restaurants if they offer “happy meals” for the kiddos. They do not.

Keep the landscape clean

You’ve come to be rejuvenated by the forests, mountains, and sea. We must all do our part to keep them pristine. Increased population during the visitor season strains our local services, such as garbage collection. If you bring trash from the city, please dispose of it responsibly. If you have carried your coffee cup all the way from town, take the extra step and carry it to the garbage can. Feel free to go the extra mile and join the latest social trend, plogging, and pick up any rubbish you find while exploring the island. Also, please do not smoke in the forests, especially in the summer months. We like our forests green.

Say hello

We islanders are a friendly bunch. It’s a telltale sign you are a city dweller when you walk past without looking us in the eye and saying hello. Or at least a small smile. It can be an adjustment if you are from a large city where trying to acknowledge every other human would be overwhelming. But here, it’s an aspect of what makes life so enjoyable. We love to engage in a brief dialogue with a passerby. It doesn’t need to be deeply meaningful, you can simply comment on the scenery, or that you like their funky purple hat, or whatever. Just take a moment to connect. You will be reminded about the goodness of humanity by doing so.

Figure out the ferry

We are a community that depends on the ferry for our connection to the world at large. The “Queen of Cap” is our lifeline, sometimes quite literally. We use it to commute to work, visit family, attend cancer treatments, etc. When the ferry system gets botched up, it’s one of the few things around here that raises our blood pressure. If you take note of a few simple rules, everyone will have a smoother sailing: do not cut in line; if you are travelling on foot, allow cars to unload and load before crossing the road and halting traffic; and when lining up to leave Bowen, observe the yellow crosshatches painted on the road that indicate “no parking”. Bon voyage!

Kiley Redhead

Director of Adventure

Kiley believes adventure brings out the best in her and that is has the transformative capacity to do the same for others.

Hiking on Bowen Checklist

If you are planning a self-guided hiking trip to Bowen Island during the warm-season months, these are some recommended essentials to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.


Pre-trip planning

  • Research your route. Find Bowen trails information here.
  • Check the weather forecast and plan for daylight.
  • Check the ferry schedule.
  • Decide on your transportation. Bowen is a walking-friendly island, you may want to consider taking public transportation instead of bringing your vehicle. Learn more about getting to Bowen here.
  • Let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return. File a trip plan using AdventureSmart’s online tool.
  • Pack your bag. Download your Hiking Checklist PDF.

What to bring

Clothing and footwear
  • Daypack for carrying items
  • Proper hiking shoes or boots
  • Weather-appropriate outdoor clothing (e.g. wicking base layers for warmer days, breathable waterproof jacket for rainy days, insulating layers for cooler days or evenings)
  • Sun protection including hat and sunglasses
  • Extra dry clothing (e.g. socks and base layers) for rainy weather
Essential safety items
  • Headlamp or flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Knife
  • Map and compass/GPS (Note: cell service in many areas is spotty or unavailable)
  • Whistle
  • Water or other hydrating liquids
  • Nutrient-dense snacks or lunch (find some suggestions here)
  • Phone to call in emergency
  • Suncreen
Optional gear
  • Hiking polls
  • Camera and extra batteries
  • Emergency blanket or bivy bag

Safety tips

  • In the summer months, observe the local fire danger ratings. All open fires are banned. Please consider not smoking on the trails while the forests are tinder dry.
  • Most hikes on Bowen include hills of varying degree. Ensure your fitness level is adequate for your chosen route.

Trail etiquette

  • Many trails are dog friendly, however, some do require a leash.
  • Respect the environment. Please pack out your garbage (and your dog’s poop).
  • Bring your adventurous spirit and remember to have fun!

Be adventure smart. Even though Bowen Island is relatively small, you can still find yourself in a remote location. If you would prefer to hike with a local guide, check out our hiking adventures here.

Baz Cardinal

In Charge of Fun

Baz believes adventure begins with freshly-brewed coffee and ends with West Coast craft beer.

Crave-worthy adventure snacks

Every individual has different requirements as to their nutrition needs when it comes to outdoor adventure.

Some can go for hours without refueling. For me, when I’m active even for a short time, I get what I call “hiker’s belly”. You can hear my stomach growling from 50 metres away, I’m sure of it. During high-intensity activities especially, I crave foods containing mostly fats and proteins. When prepping for heading into the wild, I draw upon my education as a holistic nutritionist to choose snacks from high quality sources of these macronutrients. These are some of my favourite foodstuffs and go-to recipes that do well to quell my hunger pangs.


What makes adventure snacks desirable is that they are:

• Packable: They don’t take up too much space and won’t be harmed by getting “squished” in your pack or dry bag.
• Portable: They can be eaten by hand.
• Resistant to the elements: They won’t degrade too quickly in blazing heat or are still edible even if they get a little wet.
• Nutrient-dense: To maintain your energy levels.
• Satiating: They are filling and/or refreshing. This is an important aspect to maintain a positive mental state.

Classic on-the-go snacks

These provisions don’t take much time to prepare or can be found easily at your local natural foods store:

• Nuts (adventurers love nuts!)
• Dried fruits (some of my faves are dates or mango slices)
• Roasted seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin
• Chocolate (go for quality)
• Personal trail mix (combine your unique preference of the above four ingredients)
• Olives (to satisfy those sodium cravings that arise from exertion)
• Chunks of cheese (aged cheeses tend to fare best in the elements)
• Hard-boiled eggs
• Oven-dried tomatoes
• Fresh fruit such as apple or orange slices (skip the banana, they don’t survive packing or extreme temperatures very well)
• Avocado (whole, sliced, or mushed are all good)
• Natural peanut butter or pumpkin seed butter spread on whole grain bread or tortilla wraps
• Bean dip or hummus with veggie sticks (think carrot, cucumber, red pepper, radish, cherry tomatoes)

A bit fancier

These eats require a little more pre-planning and effort, but when you are hours into a mountain hike or ocean paddle, you will truly appreciate it. My adventure buddy is big on eating healthy foods, not as enamoured with actual cooking. When I bring the snacks for our escapades, she comments that she eats better than most other times in her life. These are some of the recipes I enjoy making for the road:

Slightly spicy roasted pepitas
Roasted veggie and bean burritos (add avocado and skip the cheese for vegan friends)
Peanut butter energy bites
Chocolate banana bread
Homemade beef jerky
Beet hummus with za’atar pita chips
Pumpkin millet muffins
 Glowing spiced lentil soup (bring a thermos-full on your cold weather adventures)
Black bean and yellow rice salad (remember to take your spork!)

I love trying new recipes. Let us know what are some of your favourite adventure snacks.

Kiley Redhead

Director of Adventure

Kiley believes adventure brings out the best in her and it has the capacity to do the same for others.