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Holiday Escapes

Outdoor Adventures & Star Gazing With Your Dog

Hello, everyone! With the holiday season in full swing and the second week of December upon us, I can't help but wonder how you're all holding up. It's that time of year when the to-do list seems to stretch longer than ever, and I find myself a few presents short of what should be under the tree. As for that tree decorating. Well, let's just say, this is the first time in my life where it took me until the 10th of December to actually have my tree completed.

As the holiday season engulfs us in its whirlwind, finding these Holiday Escapes becomes a treasured tradition, offering moments of peace and reflection. But don't worry, if you're starting to feel a bit stretched thin, you're not alone. It's the perfect moment to hit the pause button, even if just for a night, because let's face it, tackling everything at once can be overwhelming. Trust me, I've been there too.

Throughout the year, I hold onto this mantra although I can’t quite remember where I heard it:

“Off into the woods I go

To free my mind & heal my soul”

When I need to step back and rediscover my center, I turn to the great outdoors—into the woods, along a trail, preferably by some serene water. That's where I find my Zen and my peace. Thankfully my son and Pebbles are always up for an adventure.

Today, I’d like to share with you some trails and hiking paths that are well worth exploring. We'll also touch on some parks renowned for their enchanting Christmas displays. And to wrap it all up, we'll venture into the serene world of star gazing, a personal favorite of mine for finding serenity amidst the holiday rush.

Man and dog walk away down a wintery path

Paws & Holiday Escapes

Here in the Comox Valley, we're fortunate to be surrounded by breathtaking natural beauty, and as a local, you probably already know about the abundance of trails that offer a perfect escape into nature. However, if you're new to the area or simply seeking fresh recommendations, I've got you covered. In this section, we'll explore my top three local trails, each offering its unique charm, whether you're looking for a leisurely stroll or a more adventurous hike.

Rosewell Creek Provincial Park: 

Rosewell Creek Provincial Park is a common misspelling of Rosewall Creek Provincial Park, a 54-hectare nature park near Fanny Bay on central Vancouver Island. The park is named after Lieutenant Ian MacDonald, a Fanny Bay resident who died in action during World War II1.

The park features a mixture of coniferous and broad leaf maple trees, and a salmon spawning stream. One of the best times to visit the park is in the fall, when the maple leaves turn into vibrant colours. The park has a 2 km hiking trail that leads to a beautiful waterfall2. The park is also a winter habitat for waterfowl and shorebirds3.


Some additional information about the park is:

The park was established in 19564.

The park can be accessed by the Cook Creek interchange off Hwy 19 or Hwy 19A1.

The park has two picnic areas on either side of the creek connected by a short riverside trail1.

The park is operated by R.L.C. Enterprize Ltd1.


Personal Note: One of my favorite things about this particular area is that it’s far enough. You can get a little drive in. on your way. And it is such a beautiful drive along the Old Island Highway. It’s probably one of my favorite stretches of the whole island.


Railway Trail and Trent River Loop:

The Railway Trail and Trent River Loop is a 4.8 mile (7.7 km) loop trail near Comox Valley A, British Columbia, Canada. It is an easy trail that offers a number of activity options such as hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking. The trail is accessible year-round and dogs are allowed on leash. The trail passes through forest and river views and has a moderate elevation gain of 324 ft (99 m).


Right in my backyard, the Railway Trail and Trent River Loop holds a special place in my heart. This trail offers versatility suitable for the entire family. It's the kind of journey where my son can easily keep up, and Pebbles, despite her age, enjoys every step. This trail allows us to connect with nature, appreciate the changing seasons, and share cherished moments together.


Personal Note: "The Railway Trail and Trent River Loop is my personal favorite, and it's not just because it's practically in my backyard. It's a trail that holds memories of quality family time and the joy of experiencing nature with my loved ones.


Trent Falls: 

Trent Falls is a 1.3 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Comox Valley A, British Columbia, Canada that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels1. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash1. The falls are an easy 1⁄2 km stroll from the parking lot along a wide and gentle accessible trail2. A wheelchair-friendly viewing area at the end of the accessible trail offers a great viewpoint. Steps to the river located just 40 m downstream of the falls provide access to the rock outcrops and pools of clear water2. The best time to visit this trail is from February to October1


Personal Note: "Trent Falls has been on my to-do list for a while, and I've heard from friends that it's nothing short of spectacular. Living on the island all my life, it's surprising that I haven't experienced it yet, but it's certainly on my bucket list!"



Top Three Safety Tips:

Before we embark on our adventures, it's essential to ensure the safety and well-being of both you and your furry friend. Let's explore the top three safety tips to keep in mind during your outdoor escapades with your pup.


Prepare for the Weather: Depending on the season, the weather can change quickly in the great outdoors. Dress both yourself and your pup appropriately. Ensure your furry friend is comfortable with any protective gear they may need, like boots for snowy terrain.

Hydration and Nutrition: Always carry enough water for both you and your dog, as well as some snacks or treats for energy. Keep an eye on your dog's condition, and take regular breaks to rest and rehydrate.

Leash and Trail Etiquette: Respect local regulations regarding leash usage, and keep your dog on a leash where required. Even in off-leash areas, maintain control and ensure your pup doesn't disturb wildlife or other hikers. Always clean up after your dog to keep the trails pristine.


With these safety tips in mind, you and your furry companion can fully enjoy your outdoor adventures.


A woman and her dog on an east vancouver island beach

Stargazing on Vancouver Island

As the winter nights embrace us with their crystal-clear skies, there's no better way to embrace the holiday season than by gazing up at the stars with your faithful four-legged friend by your side. Here on Vancouver Island, we're blessed with pristine evenings that reveal the secrets of the universe. Stargazing with your dog is an enchanting experience that allows you to connect with nature and the cosmos.


Cattle Point DARK SKY Urban Star Park (Victoria): 

Tucked away in the heart of Victoria, Cattle Point DARK SKY Urban Star Park is a celestial sanctuary within an urban landscape. This park is part of a global movement dedicated to preserving the purity of our night skies by implementing light pollution reduction measures¹. When you visit on a clear night, you'll find yourself immersed in a natural masterpiece—the Milky Way. Here, the glittering tapestry of stars unfolds overhead, casting its soft glow upon the Earth below.

As you and your faithful companion gaze upwards, the city's hustle and bustle fade into the background, replaced by the tranquil serenity of the cosmos. To enhance your stargazing experience, consider using the Star Tracker app, a personal favorite of mine. With this incredible app, you can simply point your phone at any point in the sky, and it will show you the constellations that are present. Whether you can see them with the naked eye or require a telescope, Star Tracker makes identifying constellations a breeze.


Ocean Village in Tofino: 

Nestled on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, Ocean Village in Tofino is a stargazer's paradise. Here, the rocky shoreline and sandy beaches receive minimal interference from nearby communities, granting an unobstructed view of the night sky. Facing the vast expanse of the open ocean, the horizon stretches as far as the eye can see, creating a sensation that you're peering at the very edge of the world¹.


Armed with a flashlight and your loyal pup, prepare for a night of celestial wonder. The stars above Ocean Village shine brilliantly, illuminating the night with their cosmic glow. It's a place where time seems to stand still, and the connection between you and your dog deepens under the vast, star-studded canvas. Make the most of your stargazing adventure with the Star Tracker app, which helps you identify constellations and celestial wonders effortlessly.


As you explore these remarkable stargazing destinations on Vancouver Island, you'll discover that the night sky holds its own magic, providing moments of peace and reflection amidst the holiday rush.


 🐾 With heartfelt love, Melissa & Pebbles 🐾


If you've found this guide helpful and are passionate about ensuring a happy, healthy life for your pet, check out our other blog articles!


We’d love to hear from you, too. Share your stories in the comments below. Your insights not only enrich our community’s knowledge but also reinforce the collective love we share for our canine companions.

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