Kootenay Boundary, Canada - Polarsteps

On Ciel's recommendation we went to the Grand Forks farmers' market on our way through town, and were pretty excited to get some things to balance out all of our discount grocery store/dollar store food: we picked up fresh asparagus, hakurei turnips, a big bag of spinach, and some eggs. We had several errands to run in town-- we'd decided to take the long, remote stretch of trail to Castlegar, so we needed enough food to potentially be out there for a few days, and also opted to get a second can of bear spray. Ciel was in Grand Forks that day and spotted our parked bikes, so we got to chat and touch base one more time before hitting the trail. We eventually left Grand Forks and had a good ride out, hit the first of many old trestle bridges, and had our usual cheese-and-bread sandwiches by the trail, but now with the addition of hakurei turnips and spinach. Coming up to Christina Lake we started climbing and hit some really rough patches of trail and wondered if we'd made the right decision-- we were bumping along over huge, loose rocks and had to walk in some places. They were short-lived, though, and the trail felt overall good enough that we decided to go on the adventure of staying on it. We went just past the town of Christina Lake-- we were up on a high ridge by then, looking down at it-- and stopped at Fife, a station on the old railway. We cooked up some of our market prizes for dinner and had a feast of asparagus and turnip greens sauteed in butter, with some fried tofu and instant mashed potatoes. The old station house had been left standing as a shelter for trail travellers, and we were going to set up our tent and sleep in it, but heard something along the lines of a rat or a squirrel scrambling around in the ceiling and decided not to. We stowed all our food bags and buttery cooking clothes in the outhouse by the old station and camped a little ways up the trail next to some lilac bushes. -Sara After a slow start from getting supplies for the trek on the 120km of the Columbia and Western Rail Trail (CWRT) we departed from Grand Forks. We had talked and gone back and forth as to whether we should take a chance on this trail, because once you are on it there are very few chances to leave it. We had also been burned in the past with recommendations of routes to take; this always happened when the person hasn't cycled the route themselves. The experience from a car is much different than from a bike or on foot. The fact that Ciel is directly involved with the trails, is a huge cyclist and knew exactly what she was talking about. Plus her source, Richard, in Castlegar is a cyclist/bike enthusiast and had connections to get info on the state of the trail at this time. We got the recommendation from Richard, through Ciel, that our loaded bikes could do it. There were a few rocky spots that were tough, especially on the uphill to Fife Station but it was a thousand times better than taking the highway and doing the steep ascent to Bonanza (Paulson-Blueberry) Pass. Taking the bike trail also makes it much nicer when it comes to finding a place to sleep for the night; trails are so quiet and after a point in the evening get no bike or walking traffic. Much nicer than having to wait until almost dark to set up a sneaky tent that will go unnoticed by locals. I also really appreciate the shelters, pit toliets and picnic tables set up along the way. The most minimal infrastructure make such a huge difference. There were also information boards about each former station we passed by on this former rail line. From learning about 1930s hobos riding the rails to get a sandwich and a bindle of provisions from the generous woman at Fife Station to a whole swack of True Crime stories. Most stations had a true crime story; a post master disappearing with his dog and never found (not even the dog) after extensive seaching, the murder of a rail worker over his money (murderer never found), a train fixed to explode to kill a prominent member of the Doukhobor community, more exploding boilers and rockslides. It's wild. Especially when all these things happened in a relatively short period of time from one another. I feel that there is definitely a ghost train that runs over a ghost track here every night. Between the true crime and the spooky tunnels through rock there is no way it doesn't happen. -Kini
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  2. 🚲 Bike Jaunt 🚲
  3. Kootenay Boundary