Ridgelining in the Kootenays: Red Streak

Sometimes all one needs as a home is a mesh lined tent to keep the mosquitoes out, and a down filled sleeping bag to ward of the chill. The rest follows, as the high sunn arches eastways over the rocky mountain trench in Golden county BC. A robin’s eye view of the Columbia river affords the eyes a lofty perch, and the unfinished earthship marks the terraced slope from the borealis the vast mountain ridge. A winding switchback takes two globetrotters back on the interconnecting superways of the world, concrete ribbons to adventure, and the gain of miles on the age. The Pacific railway runs parallel, hauling grain that will soon spill off and leave fodder for black bears out of hibernation to forage. We stand in the valley, and stick out our thumb, hoping for a lapse in the quick passing traffic. A small black car, painted with floral patterns pulls over immediately, and an attractive sun toned woman steps out to rearrange the back seat and introduces herself with a fleeting smile, she says shes heading to Radium for a tree planting gig, and agrees to take us. A story passes in the 80+ kilometers of open highway, elk on one side, marmots on the other, mountain sheep blocking the road, and a destination.

Just nigh the Radium hot springs of the Kootenay National Park, the Red Streak trail will lead you out along a blazed path, with panoramic views of the ochre burnt colors of the surrounding bluffs, and the Marble canyon, spired in balsam poplars and douglas firs. The odd ungulate may be seen or even share the pedestrian forest trail.

A spicy incense lingers in from the dry mulching earth, yet snow can still be scoped on the Purcell mountain caps beyond. I had accompaniment on this trail, which allowed some pleasant conversation to pass whilst we hoofed the dirt underway. The trail is some 2.2 km long with a 2km extension back to civilization. A camping lot on higher ground resembles a nordic savannah, and offers some towering views of a boulderous river in the gorge. The route undulates and then peters down back towards Radium, a natural amphitheatre of a logging town, where the mountain sheep own the lot, and serves as a junction to at least two other intriguing trails; the Painted Pots, and the Lake of the Hanging Glacier.

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