The season for outdoor escape at hand

Spring has finally arrived; let's get out there and soak up the sun

On Monday evening, I sat on my front porch with a beer, a book and my doggy companion. The sun was shining on me, I was NOT wearing a sweater, and boy, did that beer taste good. A beer in its natural environment is a beautiful thing, isn’t it?

It’s been a long winter. Not a particular cold or snowy winter, but a long one. Our first snow was in the first week of October, and we all remember the snow last Sunday. That’s seven months of the white stuff, or the threat of the white stuff.

But, touch wood, we have come out the other side now. We have five glorious months of sun to look forward to.

It’s not planting time yet — there is still snow on Baker Mountain, after all. And it’s not really hiking season yet — there is a heck of a lot of snow on Fisher Peak.

That’s no excuse to stay indoors though, as I was reminded yesterday morning when I saw a series of inspiring graphic images by Brazilian artist Felipe Luchi.

Commissioned by Go Outside Magazine (what a fantastic name for a publication!), Luchi created artworks that depict tools of a desk jockey as jailhouses, with teeny little people perfecting an escape.

There’s a computer mouse with a man breaking through a brick wall and running for freedom. There’s an alarm clock with an orange-jumpsuited prisoner running from a rope trailing from a window. There’s an iPhone with a tunnel burrowed underneath it.

I’m certainly not condoning prison escape, but the images are strong metaphors for appreciating the open air we have access to any time we wish, especially at this time of the year when it feels like we’ve been trapped in our homes for months.

It may not be time to climb a mountain, plant a vegetable garden or swim in a lake, but there is plenty to do out there in the playground of the East Kootenay we call home.

North Star Rails to Trails is in splendid shape, and a walk or bike ride along its 25 kilometre path from Cranbrook to Kimberley is a lovely experience.

Trails BC is working on linking together a series of trails between Cranbrook and Wardner, including the popular Isadore Canyon trail. Soon cyclists will be able to ride from Kimberley to Wardner uninterrupted.

That’s a great way for cyclists to get in shape for the Kootenay Rockies Gran Fondo, which will be held this fall around Cranbrook and Kimberley. Registration is now open for the September 8 event, where cyclists ride 50, 100 or 150 kilometres in a friendly ride.

The Spring Honda Fun Run is coming up next month, a great chance for runners or walkers to get out into the fresh air and exercise together on a five-kilometre or 10-kilometre route.

It’s on the same day as the Kootenay Children’s Festival, the long-running free fair held each year at Mount Baker Secondary School on what always seems to be a glorious sunny day. Last year, the festival marked my first sun tan of the season, a fond memory indeed.

And most of the golf courses around the East Kootenay are in the process of opening for the season. Now that really is a beer in its natural environment!

Whatever your interests, there’s something to do outside this spring. So get out of the house and soak up the sun while it lasts!