Gina Begin

Gina Begin

Writer, with a side of photography.

Adventure travel, skiing, rock & ice climbing, road tripping, North American destinations, budget travel, solo travel, adventure sports, social media, small business, nonprofit organizations

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British Columbia’s Joffre Lakes: An Instagram Discovery

You can chalk it all up to Instagram.

I was on a road trip with my Florida mother; it was her second visit to British Columbia and her first to its Pacific coast. Traveling across the province, I couldn’t contain my excitement for the beauty of what she was about to see, especially when it came to the Coast Range.

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A Day Of Karma Yoga: Visiting Kootenay Bay’s Yasodhara Ashram

"I made it on the ferry and put my car in park, rolled down the windows and ticked down the minutes of the crossing: 35 to go. I felt guilty for not thinking to bring my computer so I could get a head start on writing or work on photos that were sitting untouched on my hard drive.

Pressed to be productive, my fingers flipped through notifications on my phone. When a fading cell signal kept me from replying, I gave up.

That’s when I noticed the breeze coming off Kootenay Lake. I observed the difference in temperature from the sun—just warm enough—and the wind that bordered on being chilled. A few degrees cooler, I thought, and I’d need a jacket.

This last thought surprised me: When was the last time I noticed something so minute as the perfect balance of temperatures?"

This is a piece about coming face-to-face with being un-busy.

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Our Extreme Adventures In The Kootenays: What’s Your Rush?

Everyone knows where to get a rush during our Kootenay winters; our mountains are famous for skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. But our region doesn’t slow-down in the summer. Snowy skies turn to sun, frozen water melts into rapids, and white pow turns to “brown pow”. This all comes together into a playground for off-roading, water sports, and taking flight through the skies.

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Totally Laid-Back Kootenays: Do Nothing Vacation

That vacation you’re planning? That’s not gonna help you relax. You’ve jammed it full of tours, tee times and dinner reservations. You’ve scheduled a mountain bike tour followed by a wine tasting followed by an ultra-hard-to-book dinner at a super posh restaurant followed by an art show followed by a concert — and you haven’t even unpacked your bags yet.

Hey, buddy: This isn’t the office. Your over-productivity holds no value when it comes to vacation. Or, at least, that’s how vacations used to be. With all the madness of digital life and busyness swirling around our daily schedules, it’s time we reclaim the right to the ‘Do Nothing’ vacation.

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Pet Friendly Kootenays

Your pet isn’t just a pet, they are part of your family. Yes?

Let’s find out how much you’ve taken that to heart with a little quiz, shall we?

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Kootenay Music Festivals: Where the Mountains Set the Stage

It moves in rhythm, keeping time with the persistent, resonating thump. Lights scan from overhead; varied skin tones, tie-dyed shirts, and bright beach balls are highlights of the wave it illuminates below.

You’re part of it, bobbing with the rest, lost in the moment in the sea of a summer music festival.

You’d be hard pressed to find a better setting for a music festival than here in the Kootenays. Mountains surrounding stages reverberate beats back to festival goers, while the region’s lakes carry the sounds kilometres beyond.

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25 Colossal Things to See and Do in the Kootenays

The Kootenays hold colossal secrets — the kind that end in a discovery you’ll want to share. And while some of the secrets listed below are well-known in certain circles, read up: you’ll likely find (or learn) something new.

Without further ado, the following are 25 things with big reputations, big thrills, or big views that can be found in the Kootenays. Have you checked off any of these?

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45 Reasons To be a Hiker – Part 4

This is the last in the four-part series of reasons to be a hiker—as if you needed a reason! But if your friends, family, or co-workers are curious as to why you’re so into this outdoor obsession, pass them this list; maybe they’ll catch on.

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45 Reasons To be a Hiker – Part 3

This is the third in a series of reasons to be a hiker—as if you needed a reason! But if your friends, family, or co-workers are curious as to why you’re so into this outdoor obsession, pass them this list; maybe they’ll catch on.

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45 Reasons To be a Hiker – Part 2

This is the second in a series of reasons to be a hiker — as if you needed a reason! But if your friends, family, or co-workers are curious as to why you’re so into this outdoor obsession, pass them this list; maybe they’ll catch on.

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45 Reasons To be a Hiker - Part I

As if you needed a reason to hike — but maybe your friends, family, or co-workers do. So, if they ask, here’s a list of reasons why you hike (and why they should, too).

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Glamping In The Kootenays

Glamourous camping = glamping.

The term doesn’t just refer to sleeping in a glorified tent. The level of glamping can run the gamut, including everything from real beds to catered camp dinners. Your shelter may be one of a variety of non-permanent structures: canvas tents strung with romantic lighting, soft-walled treehouses with an on-site sauna, or yurts equipped with woodstoves and propane-fueled kitchens.

Amongst all the options, the part that remains the same is the desire to spend less time setting up camp and getting comfortable and more time enjoying the outdoors.

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Force of Nature: Belief Beyond My Urban World

REI's 2017 "Force of Nature" campaign calls women to review their partnership with the natural world + the strength drawn from it. This is my story.

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The Creston Cru: Get A Taste Of These Vineyards

Dawn creeps over the Purcell mountains to the east, slowly bringing Creston Valley’s songbirds to life.

Between the protection of the range and the Kootenay River below, three wineries and their vineyards await their turn in the sun. Although a relatively new venture for the valley, the wine produced here has already proven itself a strong contender, winning awards not just in British Columbia but well beyond the province’s borders.

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Scaling Kootenay Heights: Ropes Courses, Via Ferratas and Ziplines

Are you up for a challenge? Good—the Kootenays are ready for you, too. From mountain biking to whitewater kayaking, all throughout this mountainous region are places to put your coordination, balance, and bravery to the test. But if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush in nature with some structure built in, it’s time to try one of the area’s ropes courses, via ferratas or ziplines.