We first visited Canada in 1984 and again briefly in 1999, but those trips were work-related and since then it has been a dream to return and spend a bit more time getting to know the landscapes that we saw but could not explore. Finally, 28 years after that first visit we have returned to do a bit of hiking - for us the best way to get to know a country. It would be foolish to think that in eight weeks we could do any more than scratch the surface of this, the second largest country on the planet.

These pages start on the west coast, with one toe in the Pacific and end on the east coast, with one toe in the Atlantic. In between we have concentrated on two areas, the Rocky Mountains and the broad-leafed deciduous forests of the east.

The first walk described here is the West Coast Trail, which features in many lists of world's best hikes. However, it also has a reputation for bad weather being subject to wild Pacific storms, so much so, that the fair Nello decided she would rather spend time with her grand-daughter then walk through days of mud and rain (as many have). Hence I left a week earlier and joined a guided group to do this walk (which ended up being concerned more about sunburn than hypothermia).

After Nello arrived, we rented a car and headed of to Jasper to start our Rocky Mountain walking adventures, this time just the two of us and a can of bear-spray. We did several multi-day and day-walks in Jasper, Banff and Yoho National Parks as well as Assiniboine Provincial Park. As the photodiaries will show, the Canadian Rockies totally live up to their reputation as a hiker's paradise.

After three weeks we headed back to Vancouver to catch a flight to Montreal for a further three week exploration of the east. The focus (and timing) of our trip was to see the autumn colours of the deciduous forests and renew our acquaintance with "la belle langue", though we had been warned that Quebecquois French was not necessarily the same as the French we had learnt in France. The weather, however, was turning and rain became more common then sunshine. Nonetheless, there were enough fine days for some urban walking in Montreal and Quebec City, and some beautiful forest walks plus a bit of canoeing in Mont Tremblant and La Mauricie National Parks.

A three-day hike along the Saguenay Fiord, staying in the world's best refuges, was a highlight of the walking in the east, before the weather finally settled for bad. We spent the last half of our time in the east wandering through New Brunswick and Nova Scotia trying to find a dry spot. Still, we got to see the world's biggest tides roll in at The Bay of Fundy and do a couple of short walks in Cape Breton. Even when the clouds were grey, the autumn forests were magnificent, wearing their coats of many colours - scarlet, red, orange and yellow.

All in all, we had a great time, but realised it was time to leave when the rain on our car windscreen turned to sleet. A flight from Montreal to Vancouver and then on to Beijing for a stop-over before heading on home, not only broke up the jet-lag, but gave us three days to fulfill another great ambition, walking the Great Wall of China. Well, just a few of its 6000km, but they were everything I had imagined.

Thus ended another walking foray to distant corners of the globe - if you have the time, read on and enjoy this sampler of the hiking possibilities in Canada. We certainly did.