How to Instagram BC

 
 
 

How to Instagram British Columbia

 

Four social-media influencers take over British Columbia for a week of tracking grizzlies, kayaking misty inlets, and more

By: WHITNEY JAMES

 
 
 

Sometime last winter, I suggested that Outside GO take a group of photographers with massive social-media followings on a trip. Not only would these new-media gurus take amazing photos, I argued, but they would help us reach an audience the likes of which we could hardly imagine. How did I know it would work? Crickets. Was it worth a try? Yes. Definitely, yes.

 
 
 

Photos by: WHITNEY JAMES

 
 
 

Fast-forward to this fall, and I’ve just returned from a week of adventure in British Columbia with Travis Burke, Rachel Rudwall, Callum Snape, and Jeremy Koreski. I’m still trying to answer those questions, but am bolstered with the research in the November issue of Outside, on newsstands now. Outside Magazine's editor, Chris Keyes, explains that the era of digital media is upon us, and the pages of the issue are filled with stories of social-media fame. This account of our trip to Canada won’t see the printing press, but it might make it to as many readers just the same.

 

The adventure kicked off with a night at the five-star Loden Hotel in Vancouver’s Coal Harbour District. After getting our bearings and a taste for the particularly strong craft beer, we were on our way to Bella Coola, British Columbia, a mere hour’s prop-plane ride away. The flight took us through the peaks of the Coast Mountains, rising some 13,000 feet above sea level. An expert landing put us on the ground in another world far from the city skyline, surrounded by towering cedar trees, silty sounds, and peaks carved by glaciers. We stopped at Clayton Falls (an Instagrammable destination in its own right) before arriving at Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, our wilderness base for the next two nights.

 
 
 
 

I’d heard being at Tweedsmuir feels like having a national park all to yourself. Located on 2.6 million acres where the grizzlies outnumber guests, I had no trouble picking up on that sensation. Right after our arrival, we were escorted directly to the Atnarko River, where we drifted peacefully down the current in dories to spy on bears. We were greeted by a mother and cub around the first corner, fishing for humpback salmon in the picture-perfect evening light. 

 

"There were no sounds aside from our DSLRs clicking away in unison—it was social media gold."  

 

We spent the next two days in a whirlwind of activities. We rode Icelandic horses, tracked grizzlies on foot, explored petroglyphs with a guide from the First Nations, and dined on delicious salmon and steak. All too soon, the charter plane had arrived to spirit us from Bella Coola to Port Hardy to begin the second portion of our trip. We would spend the next three nights at Nimmo Bay. 

 
 
 
 

Nimmo Bay’s reputation precedes it—helicopters sitting outside the idyllic cabins, the bonfire ablaze on the floating dock. Everyone in the group had heard of the place and desperately wanted to visit. This family-owned and -operated gem in the Great Bear Rainforest has a way of working its way onto bucket lists (see more on Nimmo Bay on our Journal). And as soon as we pulled in, we knew our expectations would be far exceeded.

 
 
 
 

The first day, we woke up to one of those rare Pacific Northwest mornings with sun and still waters. But before we had time to soak it all in, we were ushered into waders and packed onto the newest addition to the Nimmo fleet—the Raven. It was the beginning of a surreal day of adventure. We lunched on gourmet soup and sandwiches while humpback whales breached next to our boat. We hiked a path along the shore of a river in search of grizzlies and were met with not one but two, the second bear nearly getting too close as he fished along the river following our tracks.

 

"Thanks to our expert guides, we were safe to spend a moment less than 30 feet away from the grizzly to get the perfect shot."

 

Our adventure at Nimmo Bay wound down as the rains arrived. We passed the time trekking to waterfalls just above our cabins, unwinding in a soulful yoga class, and getting to know one another around meals of epic proportions and flavors. On one of our more ambitious mornings, we cliff-jumped into the coastal waters and stand-up paddleboarded and kayaked through misty inlets (in adherence to the Instagrammer's "little person, big landscape" rule of thumb, of course).

 
 
 
 

Before we knew it, the 1938 Grumman Goose had motored up to the floating dock to take us away. For some of us, it was back to reality. For the others, it was to another trip on a social-media-fueled journey. Just the way they liked it.

Thank you to Destination BC, Destination Canada, the Loden Hotel, Tweedsmuir Park Lodge, and Nimmo Bay Resort for making our trip possible. Read more about our influencers here, or go straight to the itinerary to go on the same adventure.

 
 
 
 

Outside GO is an adventure travel company with decades of experience. We'd love to help you plan your next trip. Rest assured it will be authentic, stylish, and built around your wildest dreams.


 
 

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