My Xterra training paradise!

Forty years ago this summer, my parents discovered Hornby Island, a northern gulf island in British Columbia, and bought some waterfront property overlooking a sandstone beach. After ten years of camping, my parents built our family cabin in 1981, which they have expanded and renovated over the years. With it being only an hour trip, which includes two 10-minute ferry rides from where I grew up in Courtenay, B.C., it has been the ideal weekend and summer vacation get-a-way for our family, and now my parents live here most months during the warm half of the year. Here is how the cabin looks today looking up from the water…..


Looking back at the family cabin from the canoe


Beach view to the northeast


Beach view to the northwest

The sunsets are spectacular and most evenings are spent hanging out on the front deck admiring the views. As kids we spent many nights sleeping under the stars on the deck with our border collie dogs curled up beside us. The sound of the waves lapping against the beach is the best background noise for incredible, restful sleeps. On Hornby, “Peace comes dropping slow” (Wordsworth)


A Hornby Island Sunset


Zoe and Nico enjoying dinner with a view!

When we want a break from the rocky, sandstone beach there are three incredible sandy beaches to visit. Here I am at the largest one, Tribune Bay, getting in for an open water swim. The water is crystal clear and it takes me 25 minutes to cross the bay and back at high tide!


Swim training at Tribune Bay


Tribune Bay sand castle buidling with Grandpa

Ironically spelled the same way as my brother’s name, Mt Geoffrey Nature Park has some of the most fun single track trails to mountain bike and run on. I can ride trails for over 4 hours without getting bored on Hornby. There are some incredible views and the flowing single track is so pretty, lined with salal bushes, ferns, beautiful green moss and big B.C. fir trees! The trails are all well-signed and maintained, and there are no bear or cougar worries here either!


Ride with a view – the top of Mt Geoffrey


Taking a break to enjoy the soft “mossiness!”

Finally, for an island this size, roughly 3o square km, it has all the amenities you need! Many artists make their home here including top potters such as Wayne Ngan, and painters such as Graham Herbert. There is a central island co-op with a variety of restaurants and other small boutique like shops. While its a great place to stay active and do some super fun training, the pace of life is slower and very relaxed on Hornby Island. I plan to bring my kids back every summer to create the same wonderful childhood memories I have of this place….but psssst,  please keep this place a secret! 🙂


Nico outside “Fibres” where you can find everything hippy and bohemian for Island life!

2 thoughts on “My Xterra training paradise!

  1. Danelle – The wonders of the Internet brought me to your site, as I searched for what you all know as the Outer Ridge Trail on Mt. Geoffrey. In the Summer of 1992 I found myself pushing my loaded touring bike (100 lbs of bike+ gear) on a faint singletrack trail that eventually led me to what I will always remember as the ‘most beautiful view of my trip”, which was one of the overlooks shown in the picture you’ve posted here on the Outer Ridge Trail. The competition on my trip for the best view was tough indeed – Peyto Lake in your Canadian Rockies, Bixby Bridge along the Big Sur coastline in California, and views from atop Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park in my native Virginia. My solo bicycle tour covered 8,020 miles over 200 days, from a departure from Tysons Corner, VA to a finish in Scottsdale AZ. Here at age 55 whenever I think of the the best view on my “Riding out the Recession” North American Bicycle Tour, I NOW can say it was on your Outer Ridge Trail. Thanks for the info and the memory!


    Mike Jaskiewicz
    Fairfax, VA

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