Goodbye fall mountain biking

It was a great fall riding season, starting off a bit wet but getting into a real “Indian summer” later in October, allowing some solid trail time. “Sunny and 16 Celsius” across the board. 

I spent five days working and riding in Williams Lake, which in my opinion must be the best mountain biking in Canada (but I haven’t been to Nova Scotia yet…). At least for a tight community there are over 300km of trails in the local area alone. Fun stuff.

The valley fog was really hanging around for a while there, allowing some really cool photos, although a crazy schedule of late didn’t allow nearly enough time to tap into this. I’m a sucker for fog photography. In my opinion, the soft and diffused light offered by the mix of sun and fog is the best it gets.

Enjoy a few pics of my buddy Jared Dyck, who loves his mountain biking like a baby loves a worn-out blanket.

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Posted on 11/05 at 05:29 AM | Comments

Incomappleux

I just returned from an incredible trip to the Incomappleux River (aka Fish River) north of Nakusp- a couple of hundred km’s from here but about as remote a wilderness as you can find so close to civilization.

Remote is a relative term, of course. Some people freak out when they drive between Revelstoke and Nelson because there are only a couple gas stations, and a ferry. Looking east from that ferry, one can see a valley called the Incomappleux that stretches deep into uncharted waters- literally. I accompanied eight local (Revelstoke and Kootenay area) paddlers for a six day descent of the river- the first successful one on record. Another group in 2003 did not survive the journey and much of our information about the river was owing to search and rescue efforts following that tragedy. The surviving member of that fateful trip walked out for six days beside the river and I think I got a sense of what physical hardship he experienced, albeit I was supposedly doing it for fun.

You’ll have to wait until next spring to read all about it in Kootenay Mountain Culture magazine but in the meantime here are a few pics from this expedition. Have you ever hiked over a mountain pass for 2.5 days with 120lbs of gear and a boat strapped to your back? Me neither and it doesn’t look like fun! Needless to say the boys made it down the river after much hard work, a couple of floods, a few bear encounters, many blisters and some campfire stories. I need to amend my last blog post about “minus the friends” because no doubt, I have spilled blood with these boys and we more or less share a special bond now, sealed by devil’s club thorns. Thanks to them for asking me to join the trip and hike alongside what looked like a beautiful and at times scary-as-hell river to paddle!

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Posted on 09/18 at 04:25 PM | Comments

Assiniboine

Here’s a sneak preview of last week’s trip for British Columbia Magazine:
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As usual, I won’t divulge much from an assignment until it’s published but I’m pretty sure they won’t use this photo - my lens was all fogged up. But, you get the idea of what’s happening and I kinda like it. This was one of those dream trips where everything panned out on the work side of things, with the added bonus of being able to climb a mountain with good friends. Thanks Andrew and Peter Findlay and Chad Sayers for the good times. Stay tuned for next summer’s BC magazine for this article on climbing the Matterhorn of the Rockies!

Now I am off on another trip of a different sort altogether: hiking down an unexplored BC river valley only a couple hours from my house. Minus the friends, unfortunately but you can’t have it all!

Posted on 09/02 at 05:08 AM | Comments

Two months

Fletcher is two months old today so I thought I’d share a photo of the young lad! Not sure he’s gonna be the blondie that is brother is!

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Posted on 08/21 at 11:20 PM | Comments

Boreal Forest

Here’s a report from a brief work stint in northeastern British Columbia at the edge of Canada’s great boreal forest.
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This is still a relatively intact ecosystem that is surprisingly diverse. The breeding bird diversity alone rivals most other places in Canada (probably comes in at number two behind somewhere in southern Ontario). Today someone saw a wolverine, and grizzlies are sighted daily. The forest understory is lush and verdant and has some of the thickest devil’s club I’ve seen anywhere. Blueberries are dripping off their stalks. The aspen groves are gigantic and full of Connecticut Warblers and Ovenbirds. Growth and activity however are winding down with mid-summer in full swing and autumn just around the corner.

Posted on 07/30 at 10:42 PM | Comments

Upper Highballer

Up on Give-out road is one of Nelson’s mainstay mountain biking areas. Unfortunately it’s also a mainstay logging area too, but by no coincidence are the trails here because of the logging roads in the area. 

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There’s Highballer, Lowballer, Midballer, Upper Highballer and Upper Upper Highballer (Bulls on Parade). We’ll be losing some aesthetics on a section of Upper Highballer this week due to some recent logging activities.
After many years of living in British Columbia, I’ve learned to acknowledge the necessity of resource extraction in our lives. I’m glad to say that the bike club and the logging company were in communication about this and other cutblocks. It’s tough to see trees like this removed- I’m sure there will be some remediation work on the trail and it’s not like we don’t have dozens and dozens of trails flowing through other forests-probably more trails than beautiful cedar groves like this, but oh well…

Posted on 07/15 at 09:27 PM | Comments

Summer soak

My buddy Pete and I took a run down the Slocan River last week to stave off some of the heat.

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The river- a serpentine jewel that cuts through the Selkirk Mountains- is a mainstay float for hippies and other residents of the Slocan Valley (there are a few non-hippies). However, it’s running a bit high due to recent rains, so nobody was out, not to mention the nipple-perking temps. But we went for it anyway. Neither of us are devout canoeists, at least in flowing water, so it was a bit sketchy running some wave trains (almost lost our beer!) but we eddied out pretty fast when we saw this rope swing. We each took a few runs at it and then continued down the river. I felt like I was 16 again.

Posted on 07/15 at 09:20 PM | Comments

Fletcher

I’m so proud to announce (to whomever reads this) that our big happy family just got a bit bigger with the addition of our newborn son Fletcher, who was born on June 27th.

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He’ll join his big brother Casey in all sorts of adventures, just you wait! I really can’t say enough about how incredible the whole child-birthing process is, and how admirable my lovely wife Amy is for going through all of it, twice. Unfortunately for her, the hardships continue with the presence of three boys in the household and the toilet seat getting left up more often. Oh well- the teenage years will be easier, I hope.

Thanks again for following my updates here- you’ll for sure be seeing these characters in some photos as the years progress.

Steve

Posted on 06/30 at 10:07 PM | Comments

BOB

I woke up the other day to a classic Nelson late spring scene- a line of fog over a still-cool Kootenay Lake and a brilliant blue sky above. The Big Orange Bridge was in its full glory!

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This only happens a few times each year. Here’s my neighbour and Kootenay Mountain Culture designer Chris Rowat gliding across the BOB on a morning ride that happened to coincide exactly with an impromptu morning photo shoot. All I needed next was a paddleboarder cruising below- oh wait, that happened too…  Sometimes the timing just works out perfectly!

Posted on 06/13 at 07:24 PM | Comments

Squamish!

I had a chance to breeze through Squamish the other day. They call it “Canada’s Recreation Capital”, which could describe many towns in the west, however when it comes to climbing Squamish is IT…

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Jasmin Caton
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Tim Emmett

A special thanks to Jasmin Caton and Tim Emmett for their climbing prowess and endless energy. I am truly inspired by the great vibe they and others convey in Squamish! It’s so nice to have this feather in our British Columbian hat. In the time it takes for me to plan a trip abroad, I can driven to Squamish and back, and climb a dozen routes in between. So fun!

Posted on 06/13 at 06:55 PM | Comments

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