Heading north the hills got steeper and the trees got taller the closer we got to Nelson. The Mountain passes north of the border get very steep! We saw some 8% grades and there are a few stories about overheated vehicles catching fire on the side of the road. The day we got to Nelson it was about 97*F – HOT and sunny! The following day it was about 65*F and raining. Quite a switcheroo. I met up with a friend from the states and we went for a hike; got pretty soaked but the dog had fun so it was worth it.
First day riding in Nelson we went to the Morning Mountain area and rode Bottoms Up to Upper Bottom then descended on Turnstile. The two Bottoms trails are very nice climbing routes in an area dominated by downhill trails. Turnstile is a machine-made downhill course with high-bank turns and jumps. All of the jumps had ride-a-rounds so I took those. It took and hour and a half to ride up and about 15 minutes to get back down.
Second day riding was at the Smallwood Creek area. We rode up the Bigwood trail and when I say rode I mean hike-a-bike. The trail is a fabulous descent and a brutal climb. It’s suppose to be ridden as a downhill portion of a bigger loop. We climbed up to the scenic overlook in about an hour and the view is so worth it. The downhill portion was a hoot and took about 15 minutes to get back to the car.
Nelson is a downhill riding area. The climbs are on roads or climbing trails that get you access to an assortment of downhill options. Also Canadian blue square = American black diamond trails. Canadians are tough!
Off the bike today I took the ferry ride (free) from Balfour to Kootenay Bay and back. About an hour on the water taking in the sights. We got a good view of the Kootenay Glacier area and we got to peek in the yards of some mighty expensive water-front property. My neighbors took an afternoon sailing and had lunch near Kootenay Bay. I took a morning trip before the eateries were open so I skipped the tour of town.
On the way back to Nelson I swung by the Kootenay Creek Provincial Park and took a hike around the visitor center. I also started up the road to the Kootenay Glacier and Old Growth trails but the road got steep and rough and I gave up, turned around, and got down. Maybe in a rental car with the damage wavier or a logging truck, eh.
Took a side trip over to Castlegar to see what happens down river on a Saturday. Seems they generate a bit of hydro-electric power and do some fishing on the river down there. There is a park in town, Zuckerburg Island Park, that can be accessed via a suspended foot bridge. Very wobbly. Big fun! The island was home for the Zuckerburg family in the early 1900’s and now it’s a public park. Worth a stop if you are already in town.
I’ll be in Nelson for another week so stay tuned!
Tech report: There was WiFi at the campground which was a little slow but worked for most things. The cell service switched from Verizon to Rogers (and Telus, and Bell) and Rogers’ data service is too slow to be of any use as a hot spot. It works for calls, texts, and getting maps, but if you want to update your blog – forget it!