KVR Day 10 – Nelson to Gray Creek

Mostly downhill cruise on creamy trail to Nelson, backtracked to caffeinate at Oso Negro. Onwards across and along beautiful Kootenay Lake with a stop at Kokanee Cr prov park for lunch and a swim. Mix of fresh and grooved/shitty pavement to the Balfour ferry before a hefty climb up and back down to Grey Creek.

More 🚲!: We’d been told the Great Northern rail trail has been beautifully maintained and graveled for about 20km into Nelson – it was so nice! We climbed a bit to the summit of the trail then it was a long downhill to Nelson. We biked past a really nice lake (Cottonwood Lake) with picnic area and docks to jump off but it was 7:30am and we had coffee and chocolate croissants on our minds. As we descended into Nelson at early-o-clock on a Thursday we started to pass a LOT of people out recreating! Walking, running, cycling, mountain biking… early active folks then Nelson-ers! We asked someone where to go for coffee and they said Oso Negro – a local roaster that supplies coffee to cafes all through the region. We had excellent coffee and treats (Axel was delighted with fruit salad), then rode to the grocery store for a resupply, across the bridge over Kootenay Lake and highway rode the North side towards Balfour and the Kootenay Lake ferry. There was road construction and grooved, semi-deconstructed highway with a horrible shoulder which wasn’t very fun to ride on. We stopped at Kokanee Creek Prov Park and took over a shady picnic table for lunch, a break and then had a swim in beautiful Kootenay Lake in one of it’s many white sand beaches. Nelson and Kootenay Lake really impressed us – we’ll be back!

A hot afternoon ride to Balfour then onto the longest free ferry in the world! It’s 10km and dropped us at Kootenay Bay, where we were met with a very steep climb up and over just to drop all the way back down to Crawford Bay. The views of Kootenay Lake all day were stunning. We caught the Gray Creek store before closing for a cold end-of-day drink (1L of chocolate milk, yes I did). 200m down the road we checked into the Gray Creek campground, which offered cyclists $20/night camping on the front lawn/playground, which was awesome as Axel had a blast walk-“riding” a little trike across the lawn, going on the swing, playing in the sand pit and just doing non-stop laps all evening. We took advantage of showers and laundry here, too – second time of the trip! We were surprised how much cleaner Axel’s clothes got…we didn’t think it was possible at this point!

Distance: 76.87 km, Elevation Gain: 607m, Moving Time: 7h 0m

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