Exploring British Columbia: A Road Trip in the West Kootenays

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As a wellness coach, Catherine Roscoe Barr knows about the restorative power of travel,  which allows her to reconnect with nature and loved ones while making new connections with people and places. Says Catherine,” it’s a chance to learn something new.  It’s about connecting to yourself and your partner, and about being truly present in the moment.”

A man and woman walk arm in arm across a pedestrian bridge.

Catherine and Aaron explore the trails near Nelson, BC. Photo: Rick Graham

These observations came into focus for Catherine and her husband, Aaron, on their recent visit to British Columbia’s mountainous region of the Kootenay Rockies. The couple, who celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary while on the trip, love to travel and take every opportunity to explore new places  – in fact, Catherine is also a freelance travel writer and the couple has lived in Australia, the U.S. and various parts of Canada.  A Jeep, a map and the open road is the perfect adventure for this couple, who welcome the spontaneity of road trips.  Says Catherine, “I love an adventure. I have no fear of getting lost, I think it’s exciting to see new things and choose a new route. If you have the mindset that it will be an adventure then there is no ‘lost’, there are no wrong turns – it can always be fun.”

A man and woman lay in a fold-out roof-tent on top of a yellow Jeep

Catherine and Aaron travelled in a fully-outfitted Jeep, featuring a fold-out roof-tent. Photo: Rick Graham

As urban residents (Catherine and Aaron live in Vancouver), visiting small towns and meeting new people also offered fresh perspective. “It’s great to have friendly, authentic, open conversations with people – it makes the experience more whole, and more interesting,” says Catherine, “ It’s liberating to come to a community where people are happy to share, because you know you’ll find things you couldn’t find on your own. You could show up unannounced, unknown, and they would be happy to share where to eat, where to camp, where to bike, and where to do those special things that you wouldn’t be able to do in the city.”

A city street lined with local businesses.

Catherine and Aaron’s itinerary included a stop in the town of Kaslo, pictured above. Photo: Rick Graham

Catherine and Aaron’s itinerary included some of the region’s communities like Nelson, a town known for its laid back charm and adventurous, outdoorsy citizens.  The couple stopped at the weekly farmers market in Nakusp, and visited other local producers for a taste of the region. “Visiting farmers markets for your food makes you much more connected to it, and mindful about where it came from. I know where it was grown, I know what season it’s from, and that it’s fresh and will taste amazing. It builds such a sense of community when you support farmers and local makers and artisans – it’s a much more intimate and connected experience.”

A man films a busy outdoor farmer’s market.

Catherine and Aaron visited the Nakusp Farmer’s Market. Photo: Rick Graham

They also explored the wilderness of the mountains with visits to Mount Revelstoke National Park and other protected parklands.  Catherine notes, “Nature doesn’t only make you feel good, but it actually positively affects your health – it’s one more reason to get out and experience it.” Aaron and Catherine found serenity in the mountains, and appreciated stepping away from the rigours of daily routine to see the big picture.

A man and woman explore the wilderness by bicycle.

Catherine and Aaron explored the Galena Trail by bicycle, near New Denver. Photo: Rick Graham

Watch the video of Catherine and Aaron’s trip here:

Plan your own road trip in BC’s West Kootenays on HelloBC.com.