Day 4: Cranbrook to Kimberley and Back via the Northstar Rail Trail: 59km.
– Cranbrook to Grand Forks (by car).
Saturday, August 23, 2014.
Sunny with some clouds. 17C.
Today we hopped on our bikes before breakfast and left the motel in search of the Northstar Rail Trail. Just outside town we found the trailhead and set off on the paved pathway towards Kimberly. The distance markers started at 26km and counted down as we pedalled on. The sun was out and it was a beautiful morning.
Both of us found our legs and got into a good groove right away.
We saw lots of other people on the trail enjoying the warm sunshine.
There was a nice downhill stretch about halfway along and at the bottom we crossed a trestle bridge over the St. Mary River. The final push up into Kimberly was tough as our legs had seemed to run out of steam.
We had been given breakfast vouchers for a local restaurant by the motel proprietor that expired at 11am. We realized that we wouldn’t make it back to Cranbrook in time to be able to use them, but we didn’t care because the ride was so amazing. Then it occurred to me that we wouldn’t be back in Cranbrook for our 11 o’clock check out time either, so I called the motel to let them know what we had done. The proprietor was very understanding and appreciated the phone call.
In Kimberly we found the grocery store and picked up our own breakfast of yogurt, granola and watermelon. We ate in front of the post office watching the town go by. When we were finished we hopped back on our bikes and rolled downhill to pick up the trail back.
The ride back was incredible. We rolled downhill for most of the first 15km stopping only to take some pictures. No wonder why it was so challenging pedaling the last stretch into Kimberly.
Back across the trestle bridge we thought we would have a tough climb, but we kept our legs moving and crested the hill with little effort. The last few kilometers were a pleasure. When we got back to the motel it was one o’clock so we quickly packed our bags into the car along with the bikes and left town.
On the way into Creston we stopped at a local market for maple smoked sockeye, fresh strawberries and a couple peaches. We stopped at the tourist information center and had a picnic on the trunk of the car.
We had an amazing view of the Selkirk mountains.
After lunch we gassed up and then set off for the Kootenay Pass which connects Creston with Salmo and is the highest mountain pass in Canada at 1774m. It was 21C at the bottom and dropped to 11C at the summit. It rained briefly as we reached the top and the descent was an 8 degree grade for 8km before the road slowly leveled off. We both felt thankful that we were not pedaling this route afterall.
Eventually we arrived in Castlegar, or rather passed by Castlegar, but stopped at a rest stop to get this great view of the town. We carried on and began the ascent of the Bonanza Pass. Again the temperature fluctuated from 29C in Castlegar to 15C at the 1535m summit. On the way down to Christina Lake there was a sudden sun shower of spectacular proportions.
We ended up driving to Grand Forks to spend the night and the town is nestled in the mountains in the most beautiful sense of the term. We whipped up another yummy microwave concoction and then spent some time figuring out our next course if action. We will drop of the rental car in Kelowna tomorrow and then…