Totally Golden: Take a trip to the Blaeberry

By Keri Sculland

We are fortunate enough to have three rivers flowing through the Golden area.

In town, the lazy Columbia River meets the wild and raucous Kicking Horse. Through the Blaeberry, the Blaeberry River kicks up quite a fuss, crashing its way through canyons, creating the beautiful Thompson Falls, racing its way through the mountains.

The Blaeberry River never ceases to amaze me. Whatever type of adventure or environment I’m looking for, I can find it there. Let’s start from the top. Way, way out on the Blaeberry Forest Service Road, there’s a million camping spots. Without giving away my favourites, I can say that when I roll up to camp, my favourite thing in the world is waking up to the sound of the rippling Blaeberry River. I bring my gumboots, and walk around through the shallow runoffs, finding solitude in the middle of high ground.

Further down the river is Thompson Falls, toward town. There are two ways to get here, although I’ve never been able to find the easy route on my own. Apparently, there is a spot along the Blaeberry Forest Servie Road where you can pull over to park, and walk right to the top of the falls. But as life is never easy, and I haven’t been one to take handouts, I start from the base of the trail, nearly two hours away. The trail is drop dead gorgeous. It twists and winds its way along the banks of the Blaeberry River, eventually climbing up into the trees before taking a quick descent to the top of Thompson Falls. You hear it before you see it. You can almost feel the ground shaking beneath your feet under its force.

Back down near the base of the trail is the IOB campground. I have no idea what that stands for, and I think I have heard different variations on its name. The river is twisting around various high water spots in this area. At this time of year, the mountains are capped with snow, the air is crisp, and you definitely want mitts if you’re not hiking or running around.

This is one of my favourite spots to stop when I’m alone. The area is populated enough so I feel safe in knowing people are close enough, civilization isn’t completely lost, and the cell reception is OK most of the time. Even if there are people at the campground, there is always a quiet place to be found around here. I love to bring my guitar and stare at the changing colour of the trees and the snow on the mountains for inspiration.

Disclaimer: Always bring bear spray, be smart, aware, and protect yourself.

The Blaeberry River crosses under roads all the way from the forest service road right down to the Trans-Canada Highway. One of the best bridges to take a look over the edge and take a dip along the shores is on the Golden Donald Upper Road. This place can be a popular swimming hole in the summer, but once again, there are plenty of places to find some peace and quiet, depending on how far you want to tip toe along the water’s edge.

Pretty much everywhere you look in the Blaeberry, you’re surrounded by mountains, water, farms, and at this time of year, gorgeous fall colours on the trees. Get out of town, off the beaten path, and take in some of the beauty that is Area A.

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