May 16th-19th: People-Focused Through to Kootenay Bay

These three days were the first stretch where I lived for the company of the people I was staying with, rather than my own adventure and the sights and sounds of nature.

May 16th brought the pleasant surprise of meeting my Greenwood warmshowers host Ciel on the trail past Grand Forks and sharing lunch together. 

Valley view from the Columbia-Western Trail approaching Grand Forks.

River view from Cascade, between Grand Forks and Christina Lake.

When my tiring legs and I witnessed this view at Christina Lake, I knew it had to be my camping spot for the night! Watching the steady stream of vehicles flowing through the highway while setting up, I wondered how many noticed my bike and I way up there on the trail.

Birds eye view of the Crowsnest Highway and Christina Lake.

First glance of Christina Lake peeking through the trees the next morning.

With a big day ahead of me, I’d arranged to stay with Richard 85km away in Castlegar the next night through Warmshowers. While the Columbia Western Trail’s steady 2-3% grade was a more reasonable incline than taking the highway across the Paulson Bridge, it still challenged me with over 3 hours of slow trail riding to reach the Ferron Summit.

Last view of a perfectly calm Christina Lake.

Strong waterfall on the trail heading towards Castlegar.

One of three tunnels I explored on May 17th.

At Christina Lake I was well above the highway, and at the Paulson Bridge it was well above me!

Shortly after passing under the Paulson Bridge, I was challenged by my third dose of white powder over the past two weeks! Quite the temperature difference in these parts between sun spots and sunless spots. Less than hour ago I’d been in nearly-20-degree weather taking off my jacket, and there I was at 4 degrees plowing on through.

Pushing through snow again… Between the Paulson Bridge and Ferron Summit.

After reaching the Ferron Summit mid-afternoon, I was rewarded with an easy, steady, scenic downhill into Castlegar. The photos speak for themselves here!

Turquoise waters and white sandy beaches of … Just outside Castlegar!?

I wood never expect these kinds of views out here.

Work still creeping into my head, even as far away as Castlegar…

In Castlegar I had a very jolly and generous Warmshowers host, Richard. 

Richard and I with our wheels outside his Castlegar home.

He treated me to an evening of delicious spaghetti with Italian sausage, ice cream, and funny stories. He’s been almost everywhere in BC cycle touring! 

Daaaaaaaaam Richard!

The next morning we cycled around Castlegar together, stopped at the Doukhobor museum, and continued to Thrum’s Market on my way to Nelson. That was my chance to treat him to Borscht soup for lunch and some baked goods to take home!

Laughing at myself crashing into the side fencing on this very narrow bridge!

Found myself a bike! I think I prefer my current one though…

Borscht soup was so delicious I got a jar for myself to eat the next day!

After lunch on May 18th, I had a relatively short ride to Family Friends Peter and Jane’s home in Nelson. For the third time in four nights I was served spaghetti dinner, which was very okay with me!

Getting close to Nelson!

The following morning Peter took me into downtown Nelson to explore and shop. Saw some interesting looking people there – a bit  like Commercial Drive back in Vancouver! I quite enjoyed Peter and Jane’s company and eagerness to hear about my adventures so far.

Peter and Jane got to meet my selfie stick!

After a third mouth-watering meal courtesy of these two, I hit the road towards the Balfour – Kootenay Bay ferry. I loved that it’s free, a nice change from paying $17 back home for a short cruise!

Waiting my turn for the ferry across Kootenay Lake.

After hopping off the ferry, I had quite the debacle and my first flat tire. I stopped to pump my tires before what I thought would be a lakeside ride most of the way to Creston. Apparently I pumped too vigorously, as I tore a hole in my inner tube where the valve connects.

Remnants of the tube which I wrecked.

This stalled me for a couple hours, and by the time my bike was rideable again I made my way just outside Kootenay Bay to solo camp for the night. The silver lining of my unexpected layover was a woman approaching me to check how I was making out, share stories of her younger self cycle touring, and even give me a bowl of leftover turkey soup!

I’ve already encountered several incredible people whose kindness reaches far beyond what we expect of each other. It’s been very reassuring to witness people with such an outlook in a world where it is common place to consider the needs of ourselves above all else.


7 thoughts on “May 16th-19th: People-Focused Through to Kootenay Bay

  1. Sounds like this trip of yours is going very well; I’ve noticed that in life, when you get off the beaten path so to speak, you encounter a lot of great people!

    Love reading this btw😄


  2. Really stunning photos Cameron, ! dare I say even better than our part Of BC ?.?! Looks like scenery one can only experience on a bike.

    Love your stories and with the photos it’s like watching a movie,!……well …safe and good travels to you, hope your bike works better soon


  3. More great photos and stories! Glad you saw the Doukhobor Museum – I found it very interesting. Great that you spent time with such super nice people and enjoyed some delicious hot food. Must have been a welcome change from regular camp fare. Love borscht too!


  4. my favourite blog post so far! such beautiful scenery, and how awesome you are meeting people along the way! Neat to have some time alone, but also to meet people! Hope your bike is working well, soon enough you’ll be onto the next province! Reading your blog makes me less worried about my crazy big brother out there! haha 🙂


  5. Just so I don’t seem like a lurker I have to say that I’m following your great adventure too and really enjoying your blog so far! What a great adventure – a true spirit quest! The Kootenays are a beautiful part of the province – such good memories from Nelson, Balfour, and area. Can’t wait to hear more!!


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