Summer is the time to slow down, disconnect, decompress and savour the moment, particularly if at that moment in time you are somewhere where you want to be. Like Christina Lake, and you’re on a bike, hike, kayak or paddle board going slow, silent and simple.
Summer releases for some of us the urge to “rev up our motors” and take to the trail with our ATVs, the roads with our motorcycles and the lake with our jet-skis and wake boats. While Christina Lake and the Boundary/Kootenay region of the province are large and wild enough spaces to accommodate mechanized exploration, choosing to traverse the area on your own steam buys you time to loiter in arguably one of the most beautiful areas of B.C.
Where else have you got a landscape that straddles two distinct biomes—grassland and temperate forest—and within that a spectrum of ecosystems that feature copses of towering cottonwoods, pondorosa pines and first-growth cedars?
Where two rivers lazily loop their way past farmland, nurseries, historic Doukhobor homesteads and sunbleached river rocks and sandflats?
Where a decommissioned railway gently— with never an incline of more than two per cent—winds its way down mountain passes on either side of a “sunshine valley,” passing over no less than four magnificent old trestle bridges and one canyon gorge?
Where a lake on a major highway has escaped the scourge of overdevelopment because half of it extends into protected provincial park terrain? And whose water—clear and sun-warmed—gives it an enviable status as a family favourite for swimming and boating?
These are the waterways, footpaths and historic byways close by the lake which let us experience life at a tempo it was designed. To be inhaled, heard and connected to one deliberate footstep, pedal and paddle at a time.
If you need more encouragement to get unplugged and offroad this summer, you’ll find the support you need through a number of local and online resources:
Christina Lake Welcome Centre; a goldmine of information and assistance for all things lake-oriented. Check out their new trail map which clearly marks, describes and gives directions to trailheads for 27 hiking and mountain biking trails, the canoe and kayak access points on the lake and all marine park campgrounds.
One of the most important factors to consider when you plan your route is the trail’s rating; you don’t want to be ascending 500 metres an hour on an old single track trail with two 10-year-olds in tow. Ratings are a valuable feature of this trail map.
As well, maintenance work on the trails over the past couple of years have left trails more systematically signed (look for the orange triangles on the trees) and trailheads now officially signposted.
Four websites: cltrails.info, trailforks.com, kettlerivermba.com, trailsbc.ca for information regarding hike/bike trails in the Boundary, mountain biking in the Kettle River basin, and the section of the Trans Canada trail between Grand Forks and Christina Lake. The jury is still out on if and when the next section of the trail will be paved (from Nursery Trestle to Gilpin Grasslands Park) but in the meantime, enjoy
that marvelous 1.7 kilometre glide from town to the Nursery Trestle!
Local rental services. See Wildways Adventure Sports for kayak, paddle board and bike rentals, and just general help with your tires, your derailleur, your route, and the shuttles available. Kayaks, canoes and paddle boards
can also be rented at the Christina Lake Marina, kayaks at Lakeview Motel, and bikes from Chain Reaction in Grand Forks.
Take life adagio (a musical term which means ‘at a slow tempo’) this summer, and truly tune into the harmony of our glorious outdoors!
J. Kathleen Thompson has resided beside the Monashees for 16 years and waxes lyrical about the
Boundary, travel, culture and living life ‘con gusto’