We are Vancouver Island’s hiking and backpacking specialists. Our guests come from all over the world to experience the beauty of this wild rock at the edge of the continent. From mountain peaks to coastal routes, Vancouver Island offers diverse adventures for everyone. We specialize in small groups and big experiences!
MB Guiding is an Association of Canadian Mountain Guides (ACMG) certified guide service. Mike Blake, an ACMG Hiking Guide, is the lead guide and instructor on all trips and workshops. He has been guiding and instructing adventure sports since 2004. If you want to pick a professional guide’s brain, ask Mike all the questions you want. Lara Campbell has had a successful career as a professional pharmaceutical scientist. Lara spends a lot of time writing technical papers in her field of expertise. Looking to expand her portfolio, she trains to improve her outdoor skills. Continuing professional development is an ongoing process for both of us.
“The ACMG is a professional association of trained and certified Mountain Guides, Hiking Guides, and Climbing Instructors.
- We are dedicated to protecting the public interest in mountain travel and climbing instruction.
- We are the only internationally recognized professional association of trained and certified mountain guides and instructors in Canada.
- We set and maintain standards for admission to, and the practice of, the professions of mountain guiding and climbing instruction.”
Reference: ACMG website
We are a team of two that found love in exploring and discovering the wilderness together. Inspired by each other’s devotion to growth, we created MB Guiding in 2014. We’ve pushed each other’s comfort zones and improved our lives more than we could have hoped.
Mike lives and breathes every day with a high-spirited love of the outdoors. He’s always eager to share his passion and enthusiasm with everyone around him. Mike has a particular interest in our diverse wildlife, geography, and history. He combines his technical expertise with wilderness education and natural interpretation. Mike delivers his outdoor knowledge in fun and entertaining ways. Since 1995, he’s called Vancouver Island home.
Lara was born and raised on Vancouver Island. She has a life-long appreciation for wild places and new adventures. Curious about the natural world, she loves the physical challenges of backpacking. Lara draws from her science background to learn outdoor knowledge and build self-confidence. Her newest hobby is studying evolutionary biology. Lara blogs about our adventures and inspires appreciation for the wilderness.
Science has demonstrated that animal products are not necessary for optimal health. The Dieticians of Canada write that “a healthy vegan diet has many benefits including lower rates of obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. It may take planning to get enough protein, iron, zinc, calcium, vitamins D and B12 and omega-3 fats from foods or supplements. A healthy vegan diet can meet all your nutrient needs at any stage of life including when you are pregnant, breastfeeding or for older adults.”
A plant-based or vegan diet includes grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes (beans, peas, lentils), nuts, and seeds. It excludes meat, fish, poultry, dairy, eggs, and products containing these foods. A vegan eats a plant-based diet, but also doesn’t use any products or gear that come from animals (e.g. leather, beeswax, down).
Lara has been vegan for 16 years and Mike for 5 years. When Lara went vegan in 2002, her family thought she was nuts! Living in Vancouver, she would return to Victoria for holiday dinners, only to be teased with curiosity. Her granddad would ask if she brought home her “wooden (tofu) turkey.” Today, Lara and Mike cook delicious vegan feasts for family members and share tasty baked goods with co-workers. Mike’s dad sends us articles about the rising demand for vegetables.
The vegan lifestyle is delicious and easier than ever! When Lara first went vegan, there was only one mainstream cookbook available. Today, there are hundreds of vegan cookbooks, how-to pamphlets, businesses, grocery stores, books, restaurants, documentaries, websites, blogs, and online videos to provide goods, services, instructions, evidence, and inspiration. Data from Google Trends shows that searches for the term “vegan” have exponentially increased over the last few years. Many professional athletes (including ultra-runners, body builders, and NHL hockey players) choose to eat healthy plant-based diets to fuel optimal performance.
We serve yummy plant-based food on our guided trips. But you don’t have to be a plant-based eater to join the adventure! In fact, most of our guests have been omnivores. Everyone brings their own personal snacks. You can refuel with our food at breakfast and dinner without missing your own favourites during the day. Our satisfying dehydrated vegan meals have impressed our most skeptical guests. The menus contain balanced nutrition to support intense hiking and recovery. Guests who are already vegan or vegetarian welcome an experience where their dietary preferences are taken care of.
We are often asked why we are vegan. The health and environmental reasons are important to us, but our primary reason is love of animals. One of the joys of a wilderness experience is seeing wild animals alive and happy in their natural homes. We love to answer questions and share what we have learned. We invite you to be curious and try something new during your adventure with us.
One of our greatest pleasures is helping repeat guests experience a new adventure. Sometimes past workshop participants book a guided trip to practice their new skills. Other times, guests desire new terrain challenges in different locations. Several of our guests are quite skilled in the outdoors, but enjoy the safety, camaraderie, and logistics advantages of joining our guided trips.
Our relationships with these folks span many years, evolving into friendships near and far. We help fulfill personal hiking dream lists. Our alumni always book well in advance for their next trip, often up to a year. We are a small company and they know that space is limited. We are always delighted when a past guest contacts us to see what we have planned for the next hiking season.
Alumni save 20% on second trip, and 30% on third trip!
Family Of Partners
We appreciate the support from our extended family of partners.
- Air Nootka
- Alpine Club of Canada – Vancouver Island Section
- Ambassador Transportation
- Association of Canadian Mountain Guides
- BC Parks
- Cape Scott Water Taxi
- Comox District Mountaineering Club
- Della Falls Water Taxi
- Gaia GPS
- Get West Adventures – MV Uchuck III
- Hello BC
- Island Mountain Ramblers
- Mountain Equipment Co-op
- Nomad Nutrition
- North Coast Trail Backpackers
- North Coast Trail Shuttle
- Parks Canada
- Slipstream Wilderness First Aid
- Strathcona Wilderness Institute
- West Coast Trail Express
- Wild Isle Publishing