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 Squamish, 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 much time learning, I shouldn’t just keep that info to myself – I should start a website. So Happiest Outdoors 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:
- 15 Unusual Hikes Near Vancouver
- Most Instagrammed Hikes in Vancouver (Updated for 2020)
- The Ultimate Guide to the Pacific Marine Circle Route on Vancouver Island
- Bear Safety for Hikers, Campers and Backpackers
- The Ultimate Guide to Snowshoeing in Vancouver: 10 Places to Go
A Little More About Me
I’m a 30-something hiker, adventure traveller and Leave No Trace Master Educator from Squamish, 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 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 and then a Master Educator 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 seven 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 am also involved in the outdoor community. I’m currently the President of the Friends of Garibaldi Park Society, a trail work and advocacy group that works in my favourite park in the world, Garibaldi Provincial Park. I’ve been volunteering with Leave No Trace Canada for over a decade, teaching Leave No Trace awareness workshops. Since 2020, I have been a member of their Board of Directors.
In spring 2021, my first book, Backpacking in Southwestern British Columbia was released. It’s the essential guide to overnight and long weekend backpacking trips near Vancouver. Click here to learn more about it!
I’ve got lots more planned for this website, and I can’t wait to share it with you. If you want to stay up to date with what I’m doing, follow me on Instagram and Facebook where I often give sneak peaks of my hikes.
Want to get in touch? Email me: taryn[at]happiestoutdoors[dot]ca
Monday 22nd of May 2023
I've read a couple of your trip reports, and I was curious to know your rating of difficulty for the following hikes: nootka island, tatchu trail & North coast trail. Which would you start with and finish with? Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and advice.
Tuesday 23rd of May 2023
Of those three, Nootka is the easiest. It has some overgrown sections on the inland portions and a couple rope assisted climbs, but otherwise it is mostly just walking on the beach. The North Coast trail is challenging with lots of steep rope assisted climbs and lots of very technical inland sections where you really have to watch your footing. Most of the Tatchu Trail is very easy (the north end) but if you do the full trail including the cliff scramble and surge channel bypass, it is more challenging than the NCT.
Thursday 6th of April 2023
We will be traveling Vancouver to Banff in late summer. Where is best place to get info on seeing wildlife, scenic stops etc. We are not backpacking just want to do some short hikes. Thank you.
Friday 7th of April 2023
Not sure if you are looking for things to do in Banff and Vancouver or things to do in between. For wildlife, backroads and dawn and dusk are your best bet, especially in Banff National Park (Bow Valley parkway). For scenic stops, don't miss Revelstoke. It's one of my favourite towns in BC. For shore hikes, check out my list of easy hikes in Vancouver and my list of hikes in Revelstoke.
Monday 20th of March 2023
Loved your Tassie Blog. I am planning to visit Tasmania at the end of May with my one of my relative for 2-3 days. My relative is quite old. She travels a lot and wants to visit Tasmania. Wondering if you could help me in finding some good locations and places where we can visit in two days. Actually it is also my first visit to Tasmania.
Monday 20th of March 2023
Hi Ash, Excited to hear you are travelling to Tasmania! I actually offer custom trip planning services: https://happiestoutdoors.ca/about/custom-trip-planning/ Have a read through and see if that's something you would be interested in. It could be as simple as setting up a call to ask some questions, or as complicated as me designing an itinerary for you.
Thursday 19th of January 2023
Thank you for sharing such a wonderful and detailed list of things to do and see in and around Devonport. My wife and I are departing Melbourne on April 29 for a complete tour of Tasmania in our new caravan so far have only purchased a one way ticket as we have no idea how long it will take. Been to Tassie on numerous occasions but only for work which didn't allow for much leisure hence haven't really been or seen any part of the island in depth apart from Port Arthur. I will be studying your page in detail once we arrive and start planing which route to take.
Kind Regards: Frank & Terezia Varga.
Friday 12th of August 2022
I love the hiking trails on your website. However, am wondering if for example one of your trails says 6 hours with a distance of 13km, does that mean 6 hours 13km round trip or does it mean one way (double if round trip)?
Monday 15th of August 2022
Hi Andrew. All info on my website is for round trip distances if it is an out-and-back or loop hike. If the info is for a section of a longer, multi-day trail (like the West Coast Trail) then the info is for that section from start to finish).