West Kootenay Hiking – Fall Updates

Well, the 2018 hiking season is over and it’s time to get down to work!

On July 1st, I launched westkootenayhiking.ca and posted my vision and plan for the site: Introducing… WestKootenayHiking.ca.

Since then, I’ve had so much positive feedback from the local hiking community and the site has had over 23,000 views. There has been an incredible response to this project, and I’m so grateful to everyone who’s offered feedback and support. Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism reached out over the summer and re-designed their hiking page with links and content from this site. They’ve made a donation to Nelson Search & Rescue on my behalf – thank you!

Summer 2018 was a record wildfire season. We had several trail closures and weeks of heavy fire smoke. My goal was to really use this last summer to explore more trails and expand the hikes on this site, but the fires limited where we could go and what we could see (summited Mount Reco twice but never saw the view!). Nevertheless, trails did get hiked and things are moving along on schedule…

Work completed Summary 2018

  • 12 new hikes added
  • Redesigned trail review pages: added interactive GPS maps, driving directions, and trip rating system
  • Added trip report form so visitors can rate hikes
  • Expanded the Resources page with info about hiking safety, access roads, and more!
  • Updated site to HTTPS (secure)
  • 9 graphic designs added to Redbubble to support westkootenayhiking.ca

Next steps

So what is happening over the winter? Here is my to-do list over the next few months:

  • Improve post categorization and search functionality.
  • A few tweaks to the site design and layout. I find the font a bit small – anyone else?
  • Reformat old hikes with the new trail review template – post new photos and GPS files.
  • Add ‘Guest Post’ option for locals to contribute hikes and tips.

Revenue Model

I’d like this site to make some money! My hope is to cover the monthly webhosting costs and then contribute in a meaningful way to local trail initiatives and Search & Rescue chapters.

Over the last few months, I’ve created a collection of Kootenay hiking designs that can be ordered as prints, t-shirts, tote bags, mugs, and more through Redbubble. Redbubble is a print-on-demand site and a share of each purchase will go back to support this project! Check out the Shop & Support link for more info.

I’m also thinking of putting up a bit of online advertising on the site to help boost revenue. Right now the web traffic is too low to be worth the effort, but long term it could be a good option to help support the project. What do you think?

Trail Review Pages

The “Trail Review” pages have been redesigned to include interactive maps. I’ve also started adding detailed driving directions based on your comments. Check out Mount Jardine for a sample of the new layout and please send me any feedback any time!

Happy hiking!

-Abby

Introducing… WestKootenayHiking.ca

Happy Canada Day! Today is the launch of WestKootenayHiking.ca!

When I moved to Nelson in April 2016, I started a personal hiking blog called “The Kooteneer” to capture trail reports and adventures on our West Kootenay hiking trails. Since then, I’ve written nearly 100 posts and had traffic to the blog steadily increasing to over 10,000 visitors.

Seeing the interest in a West Kootenay online hiking resource (and also how I was almost maxed out on my free wordpress.com space!), I began making plans in 2017 to expand The Kooteneer into something bigger that could go beyond one person’s adventures in the mountains and capture information for our entire hiking community. I wanted to create an online hiking guide that could be used and maintained by locals and had the most up-to-date info about hiking trails and access.

I’ve looked at many hiking sites for inspiration! One of my favourites is the Washington Trails Association!

Designing this kind of website takes quite a bit of time and energy and so I’m using a phased approach to slowly expand the scope and functionality of this site. See below!

Phase 1 – Complete

  • Transfer kooteneer.wordpress.com to westkootenayhiking.com
  • Set up basic site design and SEO, keep it mobile-friendly!
  • Summer 2018: continue adding new hikes and collecting GPS data

Phase 2 – Fall 2018

  • Reach out for feedback from local hiking community
  • Introduce new “trail” templates to standardize trail information (stats, map, GPS, pictures, access road). Reformat a lot of old content!
  • Add interactive maps and elevation profiles to each trail with GPS download
  • Expand the “Resources” section

Phase 3 – Winter 2018-2019

  • Set up ‘User Generated Posts’ for trip reports so that visitors can submit info.
  • Set up functionality for users to rank trails.
  • Improve post categorization and search functionality.
  • Expand admin access to a small team of local editors to help add new trails, monitor user trip reports, maintain the site, and expand the Resources section.
  • Establish revenue model to cover the costs of webhosting (grants, ads, merch) – profits to go back to local hiking clubs/conservation societies.

Hopefully the site will be ready to go for Summer 2019 hiking season! In the meantime, there is lots of information posted that I’ve collected over the past two years and I’ll keep adding content.

If you have any thoughts or feedback on this project, please contact me!

I’ll be reaching out to the local community periodically for feedback throughout this process (especially on designing trail templates and trip reports)!

This site is a passion project and I’m happy to dedicate the hours to building and developing westkootenayhiking.ca. If you’re an experienced web developer who would like to volunteer mentorship and feedback (and possibly some trouble-shooting!) throughout this process, please get in touch. 🙂

-Abby

See Part 2: West Kootenay Hiking – Fall Updates

 

 

Wildflowers on the Flagpole Trail

With summery temperatures pushing +30, the snow-line is finally receding higher into the mountains and more shoulder-season hikes are opening up.

The wildflowers on the Flagpole trail above Nelson are absolutely fantastic right now. Red paintbrush, blue delphinium, and huge clusters of yellow balsamroot, as well as many more are blanketing the open sections of the trail!

IMG_4475
Looking down along the Kootenay River
IMG_4476
Hiking back towards Nelson

Fall Colours at the Flagpole

It was a beautiful day to hike up to the flagpole above Pulpit Rock. The fall leaves are at their peak right now and Nelson is full of colour!

The flagpole trail has had a number of improvements this season, including the development of new switchbacks to ease the moderate route. I took the difficult route up just to change things up. The grade is much steeper, and there are sections that involve scrambling up rocky bluffs! Nevertheless, the views up the difficult trail are very good with a constant panorama of Nelson below.

IMG_3893.JPG
Looking down the Kootenay River Valley towards the Playmor Junction

Return to Gimli Ridge

I spent a summery September day hiking Gimli Ridge! We hiked this trail last year under ominous active weather, but today the Valhallas were sunny and warm and cheerful.

Some other improvements over last year’s excursion:

  • More goats! We met a large, male mountain goat gallomping down the trail to Mulvey Basin.
  • Bannock Road is freshly graded, accessible by 2WD low clearance,  thanks to a new logging operation near the trailhead. The car-sized boulder has been removed from the road.
  • BC Parks has installed a new and exciting toilet at the campsite on the saddle. Nice to see some upgrades, worrisome to see a conveyor-belt used in such a manner.

Continue reading “Return to Gimli Ridge”