By Badal Shrestha & Ronald Neto
On the 31st of October 2019, a group of 9 participants, including the organizers, met around 8:00am at the Gear Bay parking lot where waivers were handed to them to be read and signed before the activity. After we received the waivers from the participants, we load up the bus with the mountain bikes and trail building tools. Everybody seemed excited despite the chilly morning, so we got into the bus around 8:30am and we quickly gave them instructions on what was going to happen.
We arrived at the Simpcw First Nation around 10:30am, and we unloaded the bus. Tom Eustache met us and talked to us about the community and the development that is happening. He also told us about how Mountain Bike has been benefiting the community and the kids and how important that is to build a future different than what happened in the past. We walked around to learn about the mountain and some projects he has planned, and we started to do some maintenance work on a trail called The Fish Hole.
Around 12:30pm we stopped the work to have lunch. We had some turkey breast and cheese wraps with fruits and juice. Everybody seemed to enjoy their lunch which made us, the organizers, really happy.
After lunch and some talk, we headed back to the trail where we were working before and continued to work on it for about 2 hours
Logan and Tia working on the trail
Arjun and Badal having a nice time
Around 3:00pm we finished the maintenance job and got ready to ride the mountain bikes. Some of the participants preferred to stay back and just walk around the trails or sit down, relax and bond with other participants. Tom lead the mountain biker’s group to an easy trail to warm it up and check on their skill level. Nelson, who were our first aider and experienced biker, tried some other trails that are more difficult and had a great time.
Around 4:15pm our bus came to pick us up. After loading the bikes and the tools, we all thanked Tom for his teachings and time with us and headed towards Kamloops around 4:30pm. We reached the Gear Bay Parking Lot after 1 hour and 10 minutes drive; everybody seemed tired but content with the activity and the time spent on nature. This experience is just a small taste of the course ADVG 4130 – Adventure Studies Field Trip, which spread reconciliation between students and First Nations through trail building and mountain biking. For sure, an experience that everyone should go through to open their minds and understand the history of the First Nations in Canada.