I had the privilege of attending The Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show being held in Vancouver this weekend – April 24 and 25.

Somehow I lied my way into a media pass and was able to scope out over 300 exhibitors. Yup, that’s more than the total number of dates I’ve had in 5 years.

The media pass was not procured by my clever wit or good looks – no, no.

Right now I treat my blogging career as a happy mistake. I also operate on a high level of denseness. In this case, I boldly asked Robin Esrock for an interview over Twitter. Who is he, you  may ask?

Only the Vancouver based travel writer who’s been published in scads of newspapers and periodicals.  Only the creator of Word Travels, airing on OLN and Citytv, co-hosted with the fantastic Julia Dimon.  He literally just returned from China, promptly emailed me that he would love to do an interview, and didn’t I know he was speaking at the travel show?

My response: uh, the what show?

Hmmm.. perhaps mistake is the incorrect word, how about fluke?

So I plod along viciously clueless, caving into the realization that’s how I roll.

Anyway, Robin was kind enough to extend a media pass and the rest is history. I promise to devote a full post to him, which applies to all the travel writer wannabes out there.

And how did the first day of the Outdoor Adventure and Travel Show roll? Quite a variety. The usual suspects were on hand –  Gap Adventures and Intrepid Travel for instance.

I was personally seeking a dose of the unique or out of the ordinary. Thus, this post will cover some travel services that struck my fancy.

Ruby Range Adventure

Ruby Range is an adventure company that specializes in the Yukon. Their personalized tours span anywhere from 5 to 22 days. The Yukon is chock full of untouched mountains and rivers, and the managing director told me that most Canadians miss the rich landscape of the Yukon, simply passing through on the way to Alaska. Good point. Personally, the Yukon has always fascinated me. Now I can partake in camping or hotel roundtrips by van or bus. Talk about close contact to the wild. Visit www.rubyrange.com or call 1-888-667-2209.

Boeing Tour

This is not a tour of their factory in Seattle, but a neat diversion in Evertt, Washington. Called the Future of Flight Aviation Center, you can gawk at the 747, 777 and 787 jets. What hooked me is the aviation center is currently devising biofuel options. They are actually growing algae as a possible fuel source.  Algae is high in fat and can be grown indoors. Incredible! Boeing is also testing Camelina, a promising fuel alternative. The cool part? Camelina is essentally a weed. Admission is $15 for adults and $8 for kids 15 and under. Visit www.futureofflight.org or call 1-800-464-1476.

Wild Play Element Parks

Remember hundreds of years ago when were basically monkeys swinging from trees? Okay, maybe not.  Either way, Wild Play recreates those days. Called the Monkido, it’s an aerial tree course, a sophisticated set of monkey bars to frolic with. People of all ages can zip line, hang from rope swings, scale ladders or tightropes, and rip across wobbly bridges. The thrilling part? Some of the sequences are up to 60 feet above ground. The neatest thing about Wild Play is the emphasis on comfort level – go at your own pace and physical strength. The second neatest thing is that kids are encouraged to participate. The kids course is only $19.99, while the adults runs a reasonable $39.99. With locations in Nanaimo, Victoria and Whistler a variety of terrain is available. Visit www.wildplay.com for specific locations.

North Okanagan Valley Tours

Most British Columbians equate the Okanagan Valley with wine tour upon wine tour. Mary-Jo O’Keefe is trying to change that stereotype. Her company, MJO tours extends a menu of choices to any type of traveler. Sure, she offers wine tours, but how about a pontoon boat ride down Okanagan Lake? Or enjoy an ecological and historical tour with a local geological guide ending with “high tea” at the Mackie Lake House. Prices are reasonable ranging from $89 to $160 for tours robust with activity. A sound reason for a staycation. Visit www.mjotours.com or call 1-877-726-6548.

Mondo Adventure Travel

Certainly Mondo could be categorized as another Gap or Intrepid. Perhaps I took a shine because they are local, either way Mondo has access to tours and flights to fulfill your travel adventure. The most unique aspect about them is their impeccable service for Galapagos. Another locale on the Nomadic Chick bucket list. I blame Darwin’s writings for this lust. Mondo cuts out the middle man, dealing directly with travel suppliers at Galapagos. They can customize a tour, but a few options are by boat from 4 to 7 days or a hotel based tour. I’ll definitely be considering them as my travel provider when the time comes to chase Darwin’s ghost. Visit www.mondoadventuretravel.com or call 1-877-825-6818.

Tomorrow’s post will highlight some travel products from the show.

Photos: I Am Mike and Jer under Creative Commons.