Thanksgiving Hike 2015


Karen readies the turkey for the oven.. not sure why the person who doesn’t eat meat is doing this job!

The fresh turkey supplied by Sunday and Ross was readied and put in the oven, so that meant it was time to gather up the crew and head out for a short hike. This time it is the Columbia-Kootenay trail in Rossland.

Jennifer, Hendry, Karen, Fran and I plus our niece Sunday and her mom Judy met up at the Centennial Trail parking lot which  is the starting point and from there the trail heads south behind upper Rossland. It was perfect fall weather for a hike with the forecast rain showers turning out to be a few drops as we drove through Rossland.

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It is a well marked (as an intermediate level trail), well maintained, and generally easy trail for walkers and bike riders and takes about an hour or so to complete. It winds uphill through forested slopes and past relics of past mines and finishes at a view point overlooking Happy Valley.

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Panorama of the crew at the viewpoint.

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Karen and me at the viewpoint.

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At the viewpoint over looking the Happy Valley section of Rossland.


Columbia Gardens Winery Visit

This trek is a little different from our usual hikes around streets, stairs and trails in Trail. It is a trip to the local winery located south of Trail, near the Trail Airport in an area known as Columbia Gardens.

New owners have continued making wine with locally grown grapes as well as expanding their offerings with some grapes brought in from the Okanagan valley near Oliver, BC.

I drove Fran & Karen to our local winery, Columbia Gardens Winery, located south of Trail near the airport. It has been a couple of years since the last visit and the new owners are working hard to promote their award winning wines. Hendry has met the new owners and was given a taste of their first offering of Port – still not available for sale as it still needs some more time to fully age.

A personalized tasting session was provided which all of their wines were offered with a full description of its blending and suggestions for pairings with food.  When the girls were finished, several bottles purchased and another fine local business supported.

It is still early in the spring so the vines have not started to produce leaves yet, so the walk in the vineyard will have to wait for another time.

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Tasting wines

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Posing in the vineyard

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Heading to the wine shop.

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Elder Trail Hike – 2015-04-19

Glenn Wallace offered to take us for a short loop trek on the Elder Trail overlooking West Trail. The trail leads up the mountain above West Trail to a former homestead owned by the Elder Family. No buildings remain, but many signs still exist of the old place including rock walls, steps to nowhere, and what appears to be a section of foundation wall.

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At the trailhead parking lot.

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Ready to go.

The trail is well marked and well used so it is easy to follow. Not too steep but certainly has sections above the old homestead that are a good workout. Lots of switchbacks make the climb easier as you past from the homestead area and head into more wooded sections.

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Above the halfway point on the trail

The view gets better as you go higher on the hillside. It was a gorgeous day for a hike.

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Heading into the treelike.

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Nice view up the river.

We arrived at our lunch stop at the top of the loop – a large rock outcropping at the edge of a meadow. It provides a spectacular view of most of the Trail area including views of the smelter operations that few have ever seen.

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Arriving at the lunch stop. A nice rock to sit and relax.


10373013_10155440384320076_4820106713854713445_o The view from our lunch stop.

After a leisurely lunch we headed back down on the second half of the loop and back to the parking lot.

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On our way back down…Checking what appears to be the foundations of the old house.

Thanksgiving Dinner 2014

We took the opportunity, due to bathroom renovations in our house, to have the family dinner at Hendry’s condo at Red Resort. We met up at the condo, unpacked the extra chairs and the rest of the food, and after checking the turkey in the oven set off for a short walk around the resort.

Starting up the road on our walk - seems steeper than in the winter

Starting up the road on our walk – seems steeper than in the winter

We started by checking out the diggings for the planned hotel – lots of rock uncovered, no wonder they call it Granite Mountain! We swung down into the housing development to check out the condos and homes that have been built over the last few years. Most skiers don’t know they exist as they are well hidden from the ski runs. We looped back to the lodge they across the base of Red heading towards the lower part of the Red Top Trail.

Trail on Red Mountain - checking the very large leaves on this plant.

Trail on Red Mountain – checking the very large leaves on this plant.

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Very cool trail amongst the trees and well maintained by the local trails society – well done guys!

Posing for photo with Granite Mtn in the background.

Posing for photo with Granite Mtn in the background.

Off trail and onto the old access road, down through the Caldera housing subdivision and stopping for another photo op with the fall colours of the trees, Granite and Grey Mountains in the background, and a small pile of bear scat just as a reminder meant we were just about back to the condo.

A quick check on the turkey confirmed all was well; a nice bit of relaxation before our newly wed friends Brian & Anna arrived, Uncle Richard was picked up a delivered, and a lot of snacks (bacon wrapped water chestnuts included).

Ping pong game warming up.

Ping pong game warming up.

Hendry and Jen playing for the win.

Hendry and Jen playing for the win.

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Cooks readying the meal.

Cooks readying the meal.

Time to eat!

The whole gang - Norm holding the camera, Jen, Hendry, Fran, Richard, & newly weds Brian & Anna.

The whole gang – Norm holding the camera, Jen, Hendry, Fran, Richard, & newly weds Brian & Anna.

Biking to McCormack Creek Trestle

We were looking for a long weekend activity and decided on a bike ride up to the McCormack Creek Trestle. This was a ride we did several years ago and found it was a reasonable ride that would take a couple of hours or so. 

The trail head is located on the west side of Keenlyside Dam at Robson, near the tugboat docks. The trail follows the rail bed of the Columbia & Western Railroad and can be ridden, should you want to, all the way to Christina Lake and beyond.

The easy, uphill ride travels along the Lower Arrow Lake Reservoir passing log booms destined for the Celgar mill.

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Log boom near the Labarthe Tunnel

We stopped to check out the Labarthe Tunnel (about 3km past the lock gate) and took a couple of photos. The tunnel and station are underwater most of the year, but the water levels at this time of the year are low enough to expose the tunnel. Fran & Norm had kayaked through the tunnel a few weeks ago with Heather Hurst, so knew the location.

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Hendry, Fran & Jen checking the view at Labarthe Tunnel stop – tunnel entrance can be seen just above Jen’s helmet.

We continued our ride and passed several people driving quads or dirt bikes heading down the trail as well as one young family of three walking up the trail. At the 8.6 km mark, we reached the bridge and took a break for water and a snack. Just about the time we were leaving, the family arrived so we had a short chat. 

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8.6 km in 45 minutes – it took a lot longer the first time we did this ride!

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We made it! Time for a snack. Big thanks to the trail crews who have been upgrading the trails and bridge decks.

Time to head back and the skies were darkening and a few drops of rain started to fall…. and then it started to pour! The closer we got to the trailhead, the harder it seemed to rain and by the time we made it back needless to say we were soaked to the skin.

17.2 km; 2 hrs.


Annable to Lower Warfield

There was a break in the recent rainy weather, so Mom and I headed to Warfield for an autumn walk. We parked part way down Haig Street and started west along the road. We crossed the small bridge and made out way along Annable Road. Part way up on the left there is a short trail. It eventually meets up with the junction of Forrest and Murray Drives. We turned left on Forrest and went a several blocks. We stopped for a few minutes at Laurier Drive to check out the house we lived in 38 years ago. Mom reminisced about what it used to look like – how big the tree in the front was and other trees that were no longer there between the house and the highway. I thought about an old picture of my sister jumping off the rock wall in the yard.

At Lytton, we turned left and took another left at Calder. This winds its way down, back to Annable Road. Instead of going back to the car the way we came, we turned left onto Wellington, crossing the railway tracks. We continued on, took a right onto Currie, right onto French, and one more right onto Haig and back to the car.

We walked for 50 minutes. I messed up the GPS, but it was likely around 5 km long.


This was the nicest looking day of a stormy long weekend. I was on my own today, so I checked out the Kootenay Columbia Trails Society website for inspiration. I picked Redtop since it sounded like there would be other people. I followed KCTS’s directions and description. It was a a nice hike that switchbacks up the mountain. I mainly saw bikers with occasional hikers. After passing Poochy’s cabin near the top, I noticed ripe huckleberries along the trail. I spent 30 minutes picking berries, glad to have a bag with me. It was still quite cloudy, but it was an impressive sight at the top.

It took me 2 hours. It is 7.8 km (return) with a 430 m elevation change.

Oct. 6 – back again on a beautiful sunny day.

Oct. 12 – back again with my mom, dad, and sister. Much cooler day, but still a gorgeous autumn day.