Yesterday was the first significant snowfall here at my new home on the East Shore of Kootenay Lake. Even though most of it has melted, it serves as a reminder that winter is on its way. And also a reminder that an update is overdue.
Mid-summer, after tying up my parents’ affairs in Victoria (which all took a bit longer than expected) I bought a house in a tiny former mining town in southeastern BC. Since then I have been fairly occupied with setting up and settling into my new home. With an endless number of potential projects that come with home ownership, I pretty much wrote this year off for any major adventures and have mostly focused on local day hikes. There are several kilometres of lakeside trail and old forest roads within a half block of my front door which I regularly make use of. As well a number of other trails are but a short drive away.
I took a week in early September to do some van camping and hiking at some favourite old haunts in the West Kootenays, then did another shorter trip with my brother, who visited me from Ontario for a good chunk of September. It was fun doing the tourist thing on my home turf with him. We mostly visited museums and ghost towns – the SS Moyie in Kaslo, the museum and hydro plant in Sandon, the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre in New Denver – all places I hadn’t been to in a couple of decades (the museums, not the towns). It was also our first visit in two and a half years that didn’t revolve around our parents and that didn’t feel like work (we had spent almost 3 months together in Victoria earlier this year sorting and packing up and getting their house ready to sell).
I’ve been taking advantage of some beautiful cooler fall days to get in as many longer hikes as possible before winter closes in. Though a long hike these days isn’t really that long, ranging somewhere between 8 and 12 kilometres; the spirit is raring to go further but the feet and knees say otherwise.
I’ve also been thinking about how this new home is supposed to be a base camp to facilitate my adventures and not to tie me down with endless chores. I do plan to be here through most of the winter, but have started coming up with a loose itinerary of trips for next year. For the next few years actually. Starting with some of the harder but scaled down bucket list items that I think my body is still up for. To keep me hopeful and on track I have already reserved campsites along the Berg Lake trail in Mt. Robson Provincial Park for the week of June 21st. (I’m hoping to get a few easier early season backpacking trips in before then, but have kept my Mt Robson itinerary very easy, taking 3 (partial) days to reach a campsite at the pass, spending a day there, then returning over 2 days – kind of pathetic for someone who not that long ago could still grind out 30k days, but I don’t want to set myself up for failure).
Some parting shots from a few of my recent day hikes: