Summer in the Kootenays is not to be missed! It is a spectacular region that comprises the southeastern portion of British Columbia, Canada. Its name is taken from the Ktunaxa (or Kootenai) First Nation people that were the original habitants of this fine land. More precisely, a smaller area within the Kootenays, the region around Nelson (8 hours east of Vancouver), including the Slocan Valley and around Kaslo is stunning, and particularly unique with its open, progressive, bohemian, naturalistic feel.
I felt drawn to this area, and headed here in search for life outside of the city. There is a stellar energy and vibe easily felt in these parts. Needless to say, this is where I spent most of my time this summer. I volunteered on organic farms, helped with some natural building projects, took in the local arts scene, photographed and jammed for free to music festivals where I volunteered my time.
The area sits amidst the Selkirk and Purcell Mountains, majestic and inviting mountains that offer endless mesmerizing views. Lakes and rivers of clear glacier waters are abundant. The activities that a summer in the Kootenays provides is plentiful – hiking, biking, swimming, river tubing, camping, lots of local festivals, photography, and more.
There are countless swimming holes that will take your breath away. I was lucky to have found a few gems in my short time roaming the area. There are also heaps of small music/art festivals and cultural events going on around the area. Nelson Artwalk, Starbelly Festival, Unity Festival, Kaslo Jazz Festival, and Nelson Marketfest are just to name a few endearing options.
There are also a plethora of groovy yet charming historical small towns to explore that are dotted around this area, including Slocan, Winlaw, New Denver, Kaslo, and Nelson. Nelson is by far the mecca out of all them with 10 000 people, the others are quaint, endearing hamlets only consisting around 1 000 people usually but summer being an exception when the numbers rise. Each village is unique and hold its own feel as well as view, as all of them have an impressive setting upon a lake or a river.
Driving the 3 hour ‘scenic loop’ from Nelson to Slocan to Kaslo to Nelson should not be missed. Driving up the Slocan Valley on Hwy 6 to New Denver, offers mind blowing scenery that literally took my breath away; I felt my heart singing to me. Then continue east on Hwy 31a to Kaslo and the jaw dropping vistas will persevere. Even better, if time permits, take a few days and camp and explore on the way.
Summer in the Kootenays is a must-do! It is a special place that has a certain way about it, that can only be truly felt by experiencing it for yourself….similar with everything in life.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone’s else life.
Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living the results of other people’s thinking.
Don’t let the noise of others’ opinion drown out your own inner voice.
And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” -Steve Jobs