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Introducing Morning Mountain’s newest mountain biking trail

Bikers welcome the newest addition to trails in Blewett: Upper Bottoms extends from Bottoms Up to the top of Giveout Forest Service Rd.
Craig Hollinger (top) rides over one of the several wooden bridges constructed on the new trail called Upper Bottoms

Mountain bikers rejoice! The newest trail extending from Bottoms Up to the top of Giveout Creek Forest Service Rd. is officially open — and the riders know it. Cyclists have been heading to Morning Mountain in Blewett with a new zest to check out the intermediate biking trail which opened last week.

The much-anticipated up track is called Upper Bottoms and is actually an extension further up the mountain from Bottoms Up. Now the total climb from the parking lot base of Morning Mountain is roughly seven kilometres with a gain of 1,700 feet (518 m) in elevation.

Joel McBurney laid out the line (and Bottoms Up too) and ran the trail building crew for the approximately 4.5 km trail which tops out on Giveout Creek Forest Service Rd., just short of the 9 km marker. He has been building trails for 20 years and has spent the last 12 as a paid trail builder through the Nelson Cycling Club.

“It is a smooth climber,” said McBurney, “giving riders access to the existing trails up there. [It] also happens to make a fine easy descent option for the less gnarly crowd.”

The intermediate trail is climbable, albeit a cardio builder.  Creative wooden decks, bridges and log benches add charm and pleasant places to rest along the shaded trail.

Upper Bottoms continues up through the cedar and hemlock forest, eventually reaching the heights of replanted cut blocks. Along the way there is a chance to enjoy the exotic-looking bear grass currently in bloom alongside the vast numbers of white thimble berry blossoms. Views of distant mountain peaks in Valhalla and Kokanee Glacier parks and Baldface Lodge’s cat skiing terrain can be seen from the trail top.

McBurney says the up track has been adopted as part of the Trans Canada Trail route with the goal of connecting it to Cottonwood Lake and the rail trail.

There is more happening up there too.

Approximately three-quarters of the way along Upper Bottoms, two benches are perched at the junction of yet another soon-to-be complete machine-built intermediate to advanced downhill trail which is still a work in progress. Nearby is a crossroads with popular downhill trail Placenta Descenta. If it’s anything like last year’s debut of downhill trail Lefty, it promises not to disappoint.

A work in progress. The entrance to the yet to be complete intermediate-advanced downhill trail. Trail builder and designer Rick Schnieder said he expects the unnamed trail to be ready by the end of July or August. Once they crew has completed construction, the trail will need some rain and time for the trail dirt to set up. Photos by Eric Ridington.

Rick Schneider was the chief trail designer and principal machine operator of Lefty. Schneider and crew are at work on a new machine-built downhill in the flavour of Lefty that will tie in from high above.

In addition to the local cycling club, McBurney credited Recreation Sites and Trails BC, the Regional District of Central Kootenay,  and Trans Canada Trail for their support, along with independent support from a number of small local businesses and volunteers.

The Morning Mountain recreation area will see additional improvements this summer with the regional district’s recent approval of $30,000 to further development of the base area. The picnic area will soon have running water for a bike wash station and watering station for an improved picnic area and ice rink.

On Thursday, the regional district committed an additional $25,000 to the Nelson Cycling Club for trail construction.