About Me

Hi I’m Taryn… and I’m Happiest Outdoors.

 

So what does that mean… “Happiest Outdoors”?

I feel best when I get outside and move my body. For me, that mostly means hiking and backpacking, but it also means running, biking, paddling, and snowshoeing near my home in Vancouver, BC. And I also love exploring new parts of the world. But it can sometimes be as simple as walking around my neighbourhood after dinner.

I spend time outside for lots of different reasons (mental health, exercise, nature is BEAUTIFUL), but the common thread between all of these reasons, is that being outdoors makes me the happiest. (Shocker, given the website name I know!) I’m willing to bet being active outdoors makes you happy too.

But heading outside can be intimidating if it’s not something you’re familiar with. You might be wondering where to go, what to bring, or if you’re going to get eaten by a bear. (I know I was when I was new to hiking!)

When I first started hiking I had a hard time finding info online about the hikes I was interested in or about outdoor gear. I’m an information junkie so I did (and still do) as much obsessive research as possible. I figured that others probably also had trouble finding hiking info. And if I was spending waaay too learning, I shouldn’t just keep that info to myself – I should start a blog. So this website was born from that passion to know more.

I believe that the outdoors is for everyone. I want to inspire and enable you to get outdoors at home or around the world, no matter if you’re a beginner or an experienced hiker. Basically, I want to make sure that you have the info you need to get outside, have an adventure, and also be Happiest Outdoors.

Check out some of my most popular posts to read more:

 

A Little More About Me

Exploring the giant old growth trees of Avatar Grove on Vancouver Island

I’m a 30-something hiker, adventure traveller and Leave No Trace Trainer living from Vancouver, Canada. In my next life, I’d like to be a marmot. (Wait. Wut? Well it sounds pretty great: live in an alpine meadow, eat flowers, lay in the sun, when winter comes, crawl into a burrow with my family and sleep until its over. What’s not to like?)

I grew up in Vancouver’s suburbs in a family that was pretty sporty (So. Much. Soccer!) and kinda outdoorsy. We went hiking and camping a few times a year, and I did a little bit of mountain biking with my Dad.

When I was in university I got my first car and suddenly had the freedom to go wherever I wanted. I started going on little local hikes with friends but I quickly realized that hiking as an adult was NOT the same as having my Dad organize my adventures. I had to figure out where to go, what I needed to bring, and carry it all myself. And if I got lost, it was totally my own fault.

But I figured it out… kind of. I bought a hiking guide book and some hiking boots. I learned the hard way to always carry a rain jacket, a water bottle and a first aid kit. After a few years, I got more confident in nature.

And then my new boyfriend invited me to go backpacking with him. I tried to pretend I was an experienced hiker and was totally cool with the idea. Truthfully, I was a bit terrified. I had never slept in a tent that wasn’t next to a car. I had never gone more than 48 hours without a shower. I had never carried a backpack big enough to hold all the gear I’d need for days. I had no idea what to wear. I didn’t own a sleeping bag. But I was also a bit excited.

Oh and did I mention the destination for this first ever backpacking trip? The world famous (and famously challenging) West Coast Trail. Yup.

To prep for the trip I scoured the internet for information. I read every single WCT trip report I could find. I read gear lists. I scraped together money for new gear and told my grandma I didn’t want jewelry as a university graduation gift… I wanted a down sleeping bag. (Thanks Grandma!)

I experienced a lot of imposter syndrome on that trip and was constantly convinced I was “doing it wrong”. But the trip ended up being amazing and kind of life changing: It turns out I love backpacking! I definitely did cry a few times (It was hard! My pack was sooo heavy!), but I learned a lot and was hooked for life on both backpacking and researching hiking info. (I was hooked on the boyfriend too – we got married a few years later!)

Over the next few years I went backpacking more and more. (Here’s a list of every place I’ve ever been backpacking if you’re weirdly curious.) I started planning backpacking trips for my friends, instead of following along on other people’s trips. I learned a ton more about hiking gear and started helping my friends shop for their own gear. I became so gear obsessed that I even got a part-time job during university working at an outdoor store. I took a Leave No Trace trainer course, a wilderness first aid course, a wilderness survival course, and learned to orienteer to improve my map and compass skills.

Eventually I started taking trips to more “advanced” backpacking destinations like the Long Range Traverse and the Nootka Trail. And most of my vacations began to be outdoor focused as I travelled to Nepal, Iceland, and Australia.

My day job even started to reflect my outdoors obsession: I ditched the legal career I had trained for and started working as a website writer for a large outdoor retailer. I spent 6 years there, researching products, writing product descriptions and helping craft staff training materials. I learned A LOT about the technology behind outdoor gear!

In early 2019, I left that job to strike out on my own. Now I work on this website (and a bunch of other side projects) full-time. (Side note: Let’s work together!) In some ways it’s a dream job, but it’s also lots of work and just a little bit terrifying. I’ve got lots more planned for this website in the coming months, and I can’t wait to share it with you.

If you want to stay up to date with what I’m doing sign up for my email newsletter. I share my latest news there first. You can also follow me on Instagram and Facebook where I often give sneak peaks of my hikes in my Stories and share Leave No Trace tips on #LeaveNoTraceTuesday.

22 Comments

  • Reply
    Roger D
    December 15, 2014 at 9:14 pm

    Hey, wow your so lucky to have these opportunities! I once had them but moved back East..Oh well…excellent article and the ice skating sounds amazing!

  • Reply
    Victoria
    December 16, 2014 at 2:13 pm

    Hi!
    Love your Instagram page. Just wondering how long elfin lakes took you a couple weeks ago?
    Thanks
    Victoria

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      December 16, 2014 at 10:59 pm

      Hi Victoria. Glad you like the photos! Elfin Lakes took us about 7.5 hours including a longish lunch stop at the lakes. I was with a fairly fast group so I think most people would take a bit longer. As well, once there is enough snow to do it on snowshoes it would definitely take longer as snowshoeing is a bit slower than just walking. I wrote a blog post about our trip to Elfin if you want more info: https://happiestoutdoors.ca/elfin-lakes/

  • Reply
    swellconditions
    January 27, 2015 at 6:21 am

    Hello Taryn, I found you though Instagram – what a beautiful gallery you have there! I just wanted to say “hi” and I’m glad I found your blog, you’ve got some great posts here! ~ Heather

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      January 27, 2015 at 6:14 pm

      Hi Heather, So glad you have enjoyed my blog and it’s always great to make another “Insta”-friend. I’ve added your blog to my RSS reader and I look forward to more posts from you. – Taryn

  • Reply
    Karen Kirsch
    February 12, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Hi Taryn,

    I also follow you on instagram which inspires me daily!! I have to say I am super impressed by this blog. I love it! I’ll be adding it to my list to read.

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      February 12, 2015 at 8:39 pm

      Hi Karen, Thanks for your kind comments about my blog and Instagram! What’s your Instagram user name? I’ll have to check out your feed.

  • Reply
    Andy
    April 25, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    Hi Taryn! I am looking at doing the Cheakamus Lk to Garibaldi Lk traverse. Advice on direction, route etc….distance between camp sites?
    Thx
    Andy

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      April 25, 2016 at 8:21 pm

      Hi Andy. It’s been a long time since I did that trip (over a decade) and I’ve only ever done it from Rubble Creek trailhead to Cheakmus Lake but I think I can still offer some advice. The Garibaldi Lake area can be very busy (rightly so as it is beautiful) so you should try to plan your trip so that you don’t arrive at the Garibaldi Lake campground on a Friday or Saturday night as the campground will be full. You might also want to plan to spend an extra day at Garibaldi Lake so you can hike Black Tusk or Mount Price. On the actual traverse, the middle day between Garibaldi Lake and the Helm Creek campsite is a nice hike with lots of interesting things to see, especially the cinder flats. If you have enough time, definitely hike up Panorama Ridge as the view is amazing. The Helm Creek campsite is nothing special (and can be VERY buggy). The switch back trail from Helm Creek campsite to Cheakamus Lake is similar to the Rubble Creek switchbacks up to Garibaldi Lake except that the Helm Creek side is way way WAY less busy. Other than timing your arrival to Garibaldi Lake to a day that won’t be as busy, I think you could easily hike the traverse in either direction. Have fun!

  • Reply
    Kayla
    July 3, 2016 at 11:10 am

    Hi Taryn!
    I was wondering where did you get Leave No Trace Trainer certified?
    I love backpacking! 🙂
    Kayla

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      July 3, 2016 at 10:50 pm

      I got certified when I lived in Halifax, Nova Scotia but there are trainers everywhere. If you are in Canada check out leavenotrace.ca and for America lnt.org as there are listings for trainers on both sites. Often people who teach wilderness survival, wilderness first aid, avalanche safety, or work as guides will also run Leave No Trace courses. You can take a short awareness workshop (anything from a few hours to a full day) or you can take a 2-day course to become a certified Trainer (that’s what I did). You can also take a 5-day course to become a Master Educator so you can train new trainers.

  • Reply
    Suzanne
    December 20, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    HI Taryn,
    Love your blog! I came across it as I was planning a walk at UBC. I was wondering if you’d consider doing some additional info for future walks/hikes? You’ve got a great resource going here, but I have to go hike the trails on my own to check the accessibility factor for people with wheelchairs or other physical disabilities. Here’s some ideas: http://www.wheelchairtraveling.com/how-to-rate-wheelchair-accessible-hiking-trails

    Just a thought to help the beauty of the outdoors become more accessible for all 🙂

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      December 21, 2016 at 9:10 pm

      Hi Suzanne. Glad you love the blog! I actually did some work at UBC on universal design and accessibility when I was a student there over 10 years ago. I worked on the first version of UBC’s wayfinding/mapping website to provide universal access information for each and every building for wheelchair users or others with physical disabilities. So I’m familiar with the challenges that some people face when navigating the built environment, and I guess by extension, the natural environment as well.

      Thus far I haven’t included any information on my trail posts about whether the trail is suitable for wheelchairs or those with physical disabilities because unfortunately 99% of the places that I hike are probably too challenging for those users. I agree that the beauty of the outdoors should be accessible for all, and there are definitely places that work well for wheelchair users or those with physical disabilities. A couple of trails spring to mind that are designed for universal access: Yew Lake trail at Cypress Provincial Park and the Spirea Nature Trail at Golden Ears Provincial Park. I’m sure there must be more. A thought for you: If you’ve spent the time exploring trails checking to see if they are accessible for physically disabled users, maybe you could start a blog about that? It sounds like you have some good info to share 🙂

  • Reply
    Nancy
    December 30, 2017 at 4:40 am

    Hello from the other side of the country (Well, the other side of the world for now). I’ve been to Vancouver many times, and I LOVE your city! It’s the best place to live in Canada, in my opinion 😀 (Don’t tell the other Torontonians!)

  • Reply
    Don Carlson
    July 19, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    I was looking at all the hikes you have done in the Squamish & Whistler corridor including Elfin Lakes & was surprissed to see that you have not listed Mamquam Lake. Perhaps the question of whether the Ring Creek Bridge still exists or is passable has kept you from attempting this hike. My twin bros. & I did it many years ago in early-mid 80s as a long 44 km. day trip on the August long weekend. We had attempted it on the July long weekend but even the trail to Elfin Lakes had lots of snow from about the half way mark so we abandoned that attempt. In August we left the parking in the dark & returned at last light with a only a brief 10-15 minute stop at Elfin Lakes for a snack & water & about 1 hour at Mamquam Lake for lunch, soak our weary feet & make about a dozen casts with a fishing rod before having to begin our trek back to the parking lot. As is apparently typical, the Ring Creek Bridge was out of commission but as we arrived there early in the morning it was not too difficult to cross although it was icy cold & instantly numbed our feet. Our return crossing was in late afternoon so the creek was much higher, swifter & more difficult to cross. We had heavy day packs so it was passable via careful wading & rock hopping but I do not think we would have risked it with heavy backpacks. I have always wanted to return because I love fishing & had one large strike which I lost after about 6-8 seconds. My brother is a once is enough hiker & rarely does a hike a second time. The trail down into the lake is fairly steep & its definitely a slog climbing up it when you begin the return journey & would be even more so with a large, heavy backpack. We were walking on an ice field for about 1 km in the area between Ring Creek & Mamquam Lake. It was not too slippery to traverse & was pretty cool because in the heat of the day ( & that day was the hottest of that year hitting over 90 degrees Fahrenheit) there were all kinds of small pools reflecting green & turquoise hues. By the time we arrived back at Elfin Lakes the bottom of our feet & ankles were extremely tired & sore & we knew we still had 11 km to go. While it is possible to do this as a very long day hike I would not recommend doing so without at least 1 overnight so the hiker can enjoy the lake experience. We only saw 2 small tents in the meadows around the lake but never saw or heard a soul during the brief time we were at Mamquam Lake. We could, however, hear some vehicle sounds from the logging road high above the lake.

    WEDGEMOUNT LAKE: I did this hike in the mid-late 80s with my brother & a friend & it stands out as the most disappointing hike I have ever done. The 103 or 105 hiking book(s) rave about how beautiful it is after but after slogging our way up the trail & surviving the large, slippery granite bounders near the trail head we were all very disappointed. The first simultaneous comments out of my brother & friends mouths were that it looked like a mining slag (tailings) pond. They should know as our friend was from Smithers & my brother audited several large mining companies during his stint with Price Waterhouse. I had never seen a slag pond but my immediate reaction was that this was probably a most apt description. I have reviewed the dozen or so photos that I took many times over the years & they make the area look better than it was in real life likely because I was using Fuji film & the blues sky was much deeper blue than reality as were most of the other colours re clothing etc. I was wondering what your thoughts were on the scenic rating of this hike. I do not remember the actual hike up as being anything special other than some colourful early fall leaves on some trees near the bottom. It was basically dull, unrelenting & a true slog from the boulder field to the lake & in our opinions not worth the effort. We passed a girl only about 10 minutes from the top. She had run out of legs & gave up. We told her we felt she was very close & one of us would climb back to the ridge & let her know if it was worth slogging up the last half km or so but if she did see or hear us at the ridge line not to continue on as it likely was no worth any extra effort on her part. Needless to say we did not go back to encourage her to complete the hike & that was a 1st for all of us. She was very good looking too & the 3 of us were all single so not going back to encourage her on gives you the clearest picture of how unattractive& disappointing all 3 of us viewed the lake scenery. Maybe an attractive young woman joining us for lunch would have made the hike seem more worthwhile? Did we miss something? To the best of my recollection there was a Quonset hut at the lake & the ridge line around the lake appeared to match that shown in the hiking books we had read.

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      July 19, 2018 at 8:34 pm

      Hi Don. The list on this site is just the list of places I’ve camped. I’ve hiked from Elfin Lakes part way to Mamquam Lake but the fog and rain rolled in so we turned around and headed back to Elfin. I’m hoping to get all the way to Mamquam later this summer though.

      I’m surprised to hear you didn’t like Wedgemount Lake. If you are used to seeing subalpine lakes surrounded by meadows then Wedgemount might not be as appealing. It’s in the high alpine, above the vegetation line. The coolest part of visiting Wedgemount is hiking down to the far end of the lake to see the glacier. When I first visited about 10 years ago the toe of the glacier was next to the lake. When I was there last summer the glacier had retreated a few hundred meters uphill and was forming a new meltwater lake at it’s toe. You can see a photo of it in the August section of this post: https://happiestoutdoors.ca/memories-of-2017/

  • Reply
    Daisy
    May 25, 2019 at 11:00 am

    Fantastic journey both in the sense of your outdoor experiences and your own path! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your guide on hiking trails. Must I confess that the writing rekindled my eagerness to be back in the mountains?
    I’m looking forward to more of your adventures and wish the very best for your project!

  • Reply
    George Sorensen
    July 6, 2019 at 1:08 pm

    Hello – On your Overland Track in Tasmania – how did you get to the trail head? How did you get to Hobart at the end of the hike? Or did you go to Hobart.

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      July 6, 2019 at 4:26 pm

      Hi George. On my Overland Track trip I hired a private shuttle to take me from Devonport to the trail and then back to Devonport. I was staying at a friend’s house in Devonport so I didn’t go to Hobart before or after the hike. If you want info about getting to and from the Overland Track, I wrote a whole post about Overland Track transport: https://happiestoutdoors.ca/overland-track-transport/ It has all the info you need!

  • Reply
    George Sorensen
    July 7, 2019 at 8:11 am

    Yes, thanks I looked further into your website and found this! Great information. My wife and I are visiting Vancouver now, we live in Oregon, and riding the bus a lot. Grouse Mountain was an interesting, expensive, and busy visit. Planning the Tasmania trek for next February.

  • Reply
    Isabel Wilson
    September 15, 2019 at 4:26 pm

    Hi Taryn! I started researching for an upcoming trip to Tasmania and came across your excellent description of the Overland Track. Thank you so much for all the effort you put into that. It’s soooo helpful! How funny to be reading materials about Tasmania and discovering that the author is a fellow Vancouverite : ) Best of luck with your venture and thank you again for putting in the effort to help the rest of us : )

    • Reply
      Taryn Eyton
      September 16, 2019 at 7:22 am

      Hi Isabel, Glad you found the Overland Track post helpful. It was definitely one of my favourite places in Tasmania. Have a great trip.

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