People are drawn to the Kootenays because of the beauty, but they return (time and time) again because of the culture.
I’m not talking about culture as in dining, museums, art galleries and theatre — though for the population size of the Kootenays, there aren’t many regions in Canada that can compete.
The culture I’m referring to is directly tied to the people: a laid-back, make-yourself-at-home, never-take-ourselves-too-seriously culture.
You dream of those perfect campfires you see on Instagram. You know the kind: Campmates gathered ‘round a bright blaze, cradling hipster tin mugs filled with cider and cocoa, heads thrown back in laughter. The fire’s warm glow lights the scene.
You must recreate this setting. It’s your social media duty.
So, with blazing expectations of greatness, out to the fire ring you go, armed with a full box of matches and tinder. But strike after strike, each match fizzles.
Make room in your pack for these household items and turn your legacy as a fire disaster into fire master.
Water holds mystery. It’s not a terrain feature humans can easily explore and, being that humans are curious by nature, we want to get closer and understand it. But unless you’re a long-distance swimmer or enjoy getting sucked into rapids, to get into the midst of this element and navigate it for any extended period of time, you need a vessel.
Luckily, our ancestors paved the way for us. We’ve turned their utilitarian need for paddling into a modern-day recreational passion. Here in the Kootenays, we’ve got plenty of places to satisfy — or spark — that passion.
The open road is calling to you and, being the adventure-lover you are, you’re all set to lay down tracks in British Columbia. You might be traversing the province from Calgary to Vancouver or focusing on the Kootenays; either way, you’re headed into big country and you’ll need a place (or 25, in this case) to stretch the legs.
In addition to our wineries, hot springs, and breweries, the Kootenays have plenty to pull over for.
The early winter sun casts a warm hue over the Selkirks in front of me. I sit, thermos of hot apple cider resting on my knee, watching as the snow-ladened scene transitions from gold to rose to a purple-blue tinge. The last is a signal that it’s time to step back into my skis and make the short trek to my car, pulled off the side of Giveout Creek Forest Service Road.
It’s just that in this solo moment, I’m finding it hard to rip myself away.
You can chalk it all up to Instagram.
I was on a road trip with my Florida mother; it was her second visit to British Columbia and her first to its Pacific coast. Traveling across the province, I couldn’t contain my excitement for the beauty of what she was about to see, especially when it came to the Coast Range.
"I made it on the ferry and put my car in park, rolled down the windows and ticked down the minutes of the crossing: 35 to go. I felt guilty for not thinking to bring my computer so I could get a head start on writing or work on photos that were sitting untouched on my hard drive.
Pressed to be productive, my fingers flipped through notifications on my phone. When a fading cell signal kept me from replying, I gave up.
That’s when I noticed the breeze coming off Kootenay Lake. I observed the difference in temperature from the sun—just warm enough—and the wind that bordered on being chilled. A few degrees cooler, I thought, and I’d need a jacket.
This last thought surprised me: When was the last time I noticed something so minute as the perfect balance of temperatures?"
This is a piece about coming face-to-face with being un-busy.
Everyone knows where to get a rush during our Kootenay winters; our mountains are famous for skiing, snowboarding, and snowmobiling. But our region doesn’t slow-down in the summer. Snowy skies turn to sun, frozen water melts into rapids, and white pow turns to “brown pow”. This all comes together into a playground for off-roading, water sports, and taking flight through the skies.
That vacation you’re planning? That’s not gonna help you relax. You’ve jammed it full of tours, tee times and dinner reservations. You’ve scheduled a mountain bike tour followed by a wine tasting followed by an ultra-hard-to-book dinner at a super posh restaurant followed by an art show followed by a concert — and you haven’t even unpacked your bags yet.
Hey, buddy: This isn’t the office. Your over-productivity holds no value when it comes to vacation. Or, at least, that’s how vacations used to be. With all the madness of digital life and busyness swirling around our daily schedules, it’s time we reclaim the right to the ‘Do Nothing’ vacation.
It moves in rhythm, keeping time with the persistent, resonating thump. Lights scan from overhead; varied skin tones, tie-dyed shirts, and bright beach balls are highlights of the wave it illuminates below.
You’re part of it, bobbing with the rest, lost in the moment in the sea of a summer music festival.
You’d be hard pressed to find a better setting for a music festival than here in the Kootenays. Mountains surrounding stages reverberate beats back to festival goers, while the region’s lakes carry the sounds kilometres beyond.
The Kootenays hold colossal secrets — the kind that end in a discovery you’ll want to share. And while some of the secrets listed below are well-known in certain circles, read up: you’ll likely find (or learn) something new.
Without further ado, the following are 25 things with big reputations, big thrills, or big views that can be found in the Kootenays. Have you checked off any of these?
This is the last in the four-part series of reasons to be a hiker—as if you needed a reason! But if your friends, family, or co-workers are curious as to why you’re so into this outdoor obsession, pass them this list; maybe they’ll catch on.
This is the third in a series of reasons to be a hiker—as if you needed a reason! But if your friends, family, or co-workers are curious as to why you’re so into this outdoor obsession, pass them this list; maybe they’ll catch on.
This is the second in a series of reasons to be a hiker — as if you needed a reason! But if your friends, family, or co-workers are curious as to why you’re so into this outdoor obsession, pass them this list; maybe they’ll catch on.