Kelly Sinoski (Patrick Davies, 100 Mile Free Press photo)

Outdoor recreation a dream in the South Cariboo

Few people, wide open spaces

There’s nothing better than going for a brisk walk in the fall air, especially when there’s nobody else around.

My friend and I went out this past weekend to explore the Walker Valley. We saw a man and his dogs briefly at the trailhead but that was about it. We had the entire valley – or at least the section we chose – all to ourselves, except for the cows grazing along the way.

It was spectacularly invigorating. The sun was shining and we got adventurous, crawling over a few logs and jumping giant melting ice puddles and scrambling over frozen bumpy mud. We saw bear scat but no bruin, thankfully, and an old abandoned cabin and had lunch on a bridge over the frozen lake. Four hours later, we were enjoying a cold beer on my deck and shooting the breeze about how the roads and trails in the South Cariboo are nothing like those you find at the Coast.

We agreed, though, that’s what makes them great. Rugged, rural and real. Like the people: what you see is what you get. True grit.

It got us talking about a few rants we’ve seen and heard lately in our fair town. People complaining about how there are no streetlights or sidewalks, freaking out about cows meandering in the middle of the road, or calling on horse owners to pick up their dung on the 108 Mile trails.

I get it. After living in the city, it’s hard to reconcile life without some of those things we took for granted, like streetlights or sidewalks. Safety third – it’s important to feel safe walking home at night or taking the dog out for a run in the morning. But on the other hand, isn’t that why most of us come here? To get away from the city and get back to basics?

It’s so amazing to see the stars or the blue moon in a bright clear sky or to walk out a few metres from your door and onto a trail and not see another soul. In the city, the trails have become so crowded that officials have had to restrict people from using them or put permits to keep them away. I couldn’t bear to return to some of my favourite places like Garibaldi Provincial Park or Nairn Falls because of the crowds.

We’re so lucky to be in a part of the province where we can truly enjoy nature and breathe fresh air in our backyards and not be stuck in an endless queue of dawdlers on the trail. If I have to step around a pile of horse dung on the 108 greenway or wait for a cow to cross the road, it’s a small price to pay for this ultimate freedom. I can’t wait to see what else is out there.

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