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Monthly Trailblazer Updates are moving to Email

We’re simplifying things by sending out a monthly email update to Trailblazers, summarizing the work done on the website and guidebook. It’s a peek behind the scenes. Thank you for all your support! You can unsubscribe to the monthly email update anytime. If you feel like you were missed on the list, email me at…

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Thank you for all your support in September

This was a big month for West Kootenay Hiking maintenance! I had to find and test a new plugin to create our interactive topographic maps. After exploring several options, I found a great solution and have begun the process of updating all 130 trails on the website. I was also able to explore 2 new…

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Thank you for all your support in August

We were all challenged by the wildfire smoke in August, but hopefully you found some beautiful moments in the mountains after the cooler weather and rain returned. Once again I had to trim back my hiking wish list due to childcare limitations, but I was pleased to explore the new Mount Beattie trail up near…

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Thank you for all your support in July!

July should be all about alpine hiking, but here at West Kootenay Hiking it was a lot more about navigating technical problems and childcare shortages. I was able to revisit a few older trails to grab updated photos and GPS tracks, but my ambitious hiking “hit list” got knocked down by thunderstorms, urgent technical problems,…

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Thank you for all your support in June

It’s the end of another month, and I’ve been able to add 6 new trails to West Kootenay Hiking as well as rewrite Delaurentiis Bluffs to reflect the new trail work. Two of the new trails are bonus routes just for you as a Trail Blazer! Grassy Mountain: https://westkootenayhiking.ca/grassy-mountain/ Mount Reco Loop: https://westkootenayhiking.ca/mount-reco-loop/ You can…

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Thank you for all your support in May

A huge thank you for supporting my work on West Kootenay Hiking this month.  I was able to put a lot more time into this website, including some much needed software updates to keep the site secure.  I was also able to explore and write-up 7 new shoulder season trails in the last month, with…

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2022 Reflection

A great year for hiking the West Kootenay! We had warm, dry weather in October that extended alpine hiking season into an extra glorious, golden month.

New Trails Added

Just 2 new trails were added to the site, as I’ve been focused on hiking favourite trails closer to home. With a baby on board and the price of gas these days, it’s been much simpler to revisit trails then venture into the unknown. I’ve made countless updates to existing trail write-ups with access road conditions and trail updates, but only got to 2 new places:

It’s so encouraging to see new beautiful trails being built close to communities with reliable access roads. Whitewater Ski Resort now has the brand new Summit Trail in addition to White Queen. It’s been great to have more accessible alpine routes, especially in areas where there is already human disruption like around the ski resort.

Donation

Once again, West Kootenay Hiking made a small amount of money through merch sales. This year the $110 in profit will be donated to the Creston Valley Trails Society.

What’s Next?

I’ve loved working on West Kootenay Hiking for the past 7 years. It’s been a volunteer project and I’m glad so many visitors and community members find it helpful! I am finding though that with so much on my plate these days, I need to turn it into more of a paid part-time job and less of a volunteer side-project, otherwise it is always on the back burner and I am not doing it justice!

So in 2023, I’ll be continuing to make updates and will hopefully add a couple more trails, but also explore a vision for to WKH where I can dedicated a few hours a week to site maintenance and replying to visitors and adding more articles to the blog.

Hiking the bub in the Selkirk Range. It’s a heavy load, but we’re both so happy to be here together!

With that in mind, one of my great joys from 2022 has been hiking with fellow mountain mamas and babies. The transition to motherhood is tough, but there is an inspiring community here of parents that stay outdoorsy and active and bring their babies along for the ride.

One of my new mama friends has designed a fleece sweater for pregnant, postpartum, and nursing parents. This is something I needed so badly over the last couple of years on my adventures, and I’m so excited for her new local company. I’m a proud backer of the kickstarter campaign, and I am also sharing an affiliate link here:

That’s all for now! Looking forward to another hiking season and more adventures!

-Abby

My happy alpine baby soaking in the sun and golden larches
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2021 Reflection

2021 was another unusual year with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing and everyone flocking to the great outdoors to stay safe and healthy. We also had extreme heat in the Kootenays followed by almost a month of thick wildfire smoke. A challenging time during the height of hiking season!

New Trails Added

Only a handful of new trails were added to West Kootenay Hiking in 2021. I brought a new tiny hiker into this world and we adventured on shorter trails, closer to home while navigating the new world of parenthood.

I also went back to re-hike many favourites and update the information on this site. A real gem is the Kalso River Trail which now has “Koot” sculptures to explore!

Donation

Once again, West Kootenay Hiking made a small amount of money through merch sales. Each year I pass the profits onto a local trail society and for 2021 I’ve donated to the Kalso Outdoor Recreation & Trails Society.

What’s Next?

West Kootenay Hiking has over 100 trails documented and gets over 300,000 visitors a year. Over the last few years, I’ve really tried to keep the site updated with new trails and changing conditions.

But looking forward, I won’t have the same capacity to get out and hike the big alpine grinds over the next few years. I’m starting to think about bringing on a co-editor or handing this project off to another local person with technical experience and an adventurous spirit who’d like to keep it going. I’ll start exploring possibilities in 2022 and see where it goes!

Hiking the baby to Kokanee Lake
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A quick reflection on 2020…

What a strange year 2020 was! Just as hiking trails were thawing out last March, the COVID-19 pandemic began and many parks and recreation sites were closed.

New Trails Added

With restrictions in the spring, I re-hiked many of the trails within a short drive of Nelson and added new photos and information to West Kootenay Hiking. A highlight this summer was finally hiking the entire Seven Summits Trail near Rossland! I’d done many segments over the years, but doing the entire thing in one epic day had been on my bucket-list.

The Seven Summits Trail near Rossland

New trails explored in 2020:

The West Kootenay saw increased visitors during the summer when local travel within BC was encouraged. This led to some trailheads becoming very busy and some concern among locals about overuse and crowding. It’s important to remember that trails are on public lands, often built with public funding, for everyone to enjoy responsibly whether they are a long-term local or first-time visitor. Some things we can all do to make our trails better are:

  • Follow Leave No Trace principles to reduce environmental impact
  • Be fully prepared for your adventure by following the Adventure Smart program. Leave a trip plan, take the essentials, and have the proper training/experience for your adventure.
  • Contribute to the local trail society that maintains the space you’re exploring. Make a donation, become a member, volunteer.
  • Advocate for increased funding to BC Parks as well as Rec Sites & Trails BC.
  • Be flexible in your plans. If you know a place is busy, go hike somewhere else or visit during off-peak times. Every season there are new trails being built by volunteer trail societies and there is no shortage of mountains.

During the summer of 2020, West Kootenay Hiking promoted new or lesser-known trails on social media to encourage people to explore new places and spread out.

Exploring the newer Salmo Ski Hill Trails – great hiking and mountain biking!

Donation to the Friends of Rossland Range

West Kootenay Hiking is a non-profit project, aimed at sharing helpful information and benefiting the outdoor community. The website made $147.09 in merchandise sales in 2020 and in turn, $150.00 has been donated to the Friends of Rossland Range (FORR). FORR maintain the awesome Rossland Range Rec Site, and although the day-use cabins were closed during COVID-19, the society is looking for donations to help cover the cost of plowing the winter parking areas and pullouts.

The Eagle’s Nest Cabin in the Rossland Range Rec Site
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Winter 2020 Updates

It’s February and already starting to feel a bit like spring with milder temperatures and returning daylight. Luckily, the West Kootenays got a record amount of snow in January, providing lots of opportunity of winter adventure.

Things slowed down on West Kootenay Hiking this winter, but I am working on a snowshoe guide and collecting some more routes. Snowshoeing can have higher risks than hiking with avalanche terrain, winter conditions, and more route finding. My focus has been on posting beginner-intermediate routes that stay in simple avalanche terrain.

Here are some new routes to check out:

Whitewater Snowshoe Trails

Whitewater Ski Resort maintains a network of multi-purpose winter trails. This area provides accessible winter…

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Mount Crowe Snowshoe

A winter wonderland awaits! The snowshoe route up to Mount Crowe leads to amazing views…

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2019 Financials

West Kootenay Hiking made a bit of money through donations and merchandise sales. Thanks to all who supported the project! You can view the 2019 financial statement on Google Docs.

The $136.24 of profit from 2019 will be donated to the Castlegar Parks and Trails Society. This local group has been doing some awesome work and I’ve really appreciated adventuring on their trails! Check out the Brilliant Overlook Trail, the Mel Deanna Trail, the Merry Creek Trails, and the Scattebo Reach Trail for some of their projects.

Want to support West Kootenay Hiking too? You can purchase merchandise online at Redbubble. All designs were created by me and are printed on demand when you order.

That’s all for now! Back to planning more 2020 adventures!

Happy hiking!

-Abby