Day 6 - Creston and Nelson, BC

September 11, 2009

Mmmmmm…..  Beer…..

First place we hit today, the Columbia Brewery!  Every ride deserves a nice, cold beer as a reward at the end and the Columbia Brewery is where the official beer of Cumberland, BC comes from.  Yup, you guessed it, Lucky Lager!  However the brewery’s real claim to fame is being the birthplace of Kokanee beer.

We chose the first tour of the day which started at 9:35am.  The tour started off in a room where the beer is first brewed.  There were several large vats with glass windows that allowed us to peer inside and watch the ingredients in a giant mix master.  Our tour guide was pretty sure they were brewing Alexander Keith’s as one was fermenting at a very high heat and is a completely different cooking method than the rest of the beers they brew.  She then took us down to an area where small, medium, and large vats of beer are aged.  The largest vats hold over 10,000 cases of beer and a person would have to drink 12 beer a day for 89 years to be able to drink an entire vat to themselves.  Incredible…  For some reason I kept having flashbacks of Bob and Doug McKenzie…

After marveling over the sheer size of the vats, it was time to head over to the bottling plant.  Our first stop here was where the cans are filled and sorted.  Not much was happening as it appeared they had stopped the line for a bit so we continued on to the bottling area.  The first thing you see when you step through the door is hundreds of beer bottles moving down a conveyor belt but the most disturbing part of the tour was yet to come…  A little to the left of where the beer was being bottled was the reject area.  Here we watched in horror as beer that was either mislabelled or in a bottle only half full was dumped down a drain.  Heartbreaking sight.  However the bottles were then put back into production and refilled so that helped to take a bit of the hurt away.  And people from BC deserve a big high five.  We have a 98% return rate on beer bottles.  Yay BC!

This was the end of the tour.  Now it was down to the pub area where we got to sample a free glass of Kokanee, look at the Kokanee swag that was available for sale, and head outside where we could get photos with a big, bronze statue of the Kokanee Sasquatch.

Now that the tour was done it was time to head to Nelson.  We had a choice of two routes, we could go around the Kootenay Lake or we could go across it.  Of course we chose to go across it! It was a drive of over an hour to get to the ferry and the ferry crossing itself was 35 mins.  Ainsworth Hot Springs is 15 mins north of the ferry terminal so we decided to make a quick stop there before heading down to Nelson.  Definitely worth the stop.

Once we hit Nelson, we stuck to our tried and true formula of hitting a local bike shop.  This time it was The Sacred Ride where we talked to the owner, Jeff Grosch. One thing he told us stuck in my mind, everything in Nelson is steep.  He wasn’t kidding!  Even the residential streets in Nelson are steep!  However he did his best to find a ride that was suitable for our XC Specialized bikes.  We ended up in the Mountain Station area and we had several trails to choose from.  Halfway up the climb (did I mention everything in Nelson is steep??) we ran into some locals who saw that we had a trail map and were trying to decide where to go.  They decided to be our tour guides and dropped us off at a route called Espresso and gave us options of connecting trails.  Espresso reminded me a lot of the trails in Cumberland, BC, where I do most of my riding.  Fast, flowy, fun.

From Espresso we had a choice of 9 Point Cowbell or Bone Shaker.  Bone Shaker got its name from all the roots on the trail and it ran parallel to 9 Point Cowbell so we chose the latter thinking it would be a smoother ride (and it was also recommended by our local guides).  It started off as a beautiful ride but then got steep fast.  If this was a blue rated trail, I don’t think I’d want to see a black unless I had a DH bike.  Like most trails in this area, it connected to an old railway bed which took us back to the parking lot.

Would I ride Nelson again?  Absolutely!  But next time I’m bringing a DH bike too.

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One Response to Day 6 - Creston and Nelson, BC

  1. John
    September 11, 2010 at 9:18 am

    hey, nice blog…really like it and added to bookmarks. keep up with good work