Words by Harlan Price. Photos by Dave Silver.
“It’s a funny thing … often we live in a place and don’t always see it for what it is or take advantage of the opportunities it provides.” Leanne Neighbor
Mountain Biking BC’s 7 Day Giveaway contest sent a winner and one friend on an amazing seven day trip, guided by Endless Biking and supported by BC Bike Ride, through the interior of British Columbia. School teacher Leanne Neighbor of Kamloops BC convinced the judges in 500 words that she should be the one chosen from ten finalists who were randomly selected from over 3000 entries. Leanne called up her buddy Andre, and they met the team in North Vancouver to start a tour that would take us on an epic trip that included nine trail systems, tubing down the Slocan River, swimming in alpine lakes, a freak loss of fingernails, and some stellar hosting from each region.
The places and trails we visited:
1. Penticton/Naramata: 3 Blind Mice Trail System
2. Rossland: Seven Summits Trail
3. Nelson: Powerslave
4. Revelstoke: Frisby Ridge
5. Shuswap: Rubberhead MTB Trail System
6. Salmon Arm: West Reinecker Creek Trail
7. Vernon: Cosens Creek MTB Area
8. Kamloops: Kamloops Bike Ranch
9. Whistler: Top Of The World Trail
Trying to squeeze the nine areas into seven days made our pace quick, but what we discovered was the sheer volume of trail waiting in the interior of British Columbia. The variety of trails our tires touched was mind-boggling, but trying to wrap our heads around the amount of singletrack we didn’t experience was just a huge tease. The trail hosts from each area seemed to be sharing the same joke about “how much we weren’t seeing.”
In the interior, diversity was the name of the game. We traveled through rocks of smooth granite and sharp shale, powdered each other in dust, tossed loam into the air, splashed through alpine snow patches, dropped off wooden features, launched into the air, and slayed corners everywhere we went. As an East Coast ‘merikan’ I had plenty of new trail experiences, but also the pleasure of finding tight wooded trails in Salmon Arm that were similar to home. Some trails like Frisby Ridge were flowtastic out and back alpine adventures while others were shuttle drops that had us driving up long dirt roads for quicker access. We all rode 5-6” trail bikes and they easily dispatched the buffet of trails we fed from.
Even though Leanne is a resident of the interior she hadn’t ridden in most of the places being content with her corner in Kamloops.
“Though at some point over the course of my life I have been to each of the towns or cities we visited on this trip through BC, there are many that I didn’t really know much about or were just a passing point on a road trip to another destination. Of the places we traveled to, I have only ever ridden in Salmon Arm and Kamloops (of course). I only passed through Revelstoke, though I’ve heard lots of good things about the riding there. I haven’t been to Rossland in 20 years. Nelson is another great place I keep talking about getting back to for a visit but haven’t had the chance. It was great to see a taste of what the North Shore in Vancouver has to offer besides a ferry terminal for crossing to the Island. This really is a diverse and spectacular province and I am so grateful to have been re-introduced to the wonders it has to offer.”
As a road trip it was easy to cover the 1,500km and not get bored. Roadside fruit stands, lakes with beaches and an ever changing landscape provided plenty of excuses for taking breaks. Check out the pictures from Dave Silver to increase your itch for planning an epic mountain bike trip. Take heed though. Some trails like The Seven Summits and Frisby Ridge are seasonal and you need to plan around the snow.