Going With the Flow: Low Impact and Charged Up in Lethbridge #BucketlistAB
Flow is the one word that best describes my recent trip to Lethbridge. Each of my activities was connected by it, from finding the calming flow of my thoughts at Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens to chasing the flow of the Oldman River during my mountain bike ride and trail run. The analogy seemed appropriate too, for the current of electricity that charged my car at new Peaks To Prairies high-speed charger.
My state of flow on this beautiful fall day started at Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens. Built in 1967 to recognize the cultural heritage of the large Japanese population in Lethbridge, Nikka Yuko transports visitors to an authentic landscaped garden rich with cultural and natural beauty. Grounds foreman Cody Fong told me how the art of maintaining a Japanese garden was meant to be a time for contemplation. I can tell you that just walking around the grounds put me in an incredibly relaxed and mindful state of being.
The fall colours were changing making this a great time to visit the gardens. But, don’t forget the Winter Lights Festival that Cody has already started preparing for, which will begin on the evening of Dec 7. Energy will literally be flowing through the gardens for your Zen getaway.
I headed over to Bread Milk & Honey café for lunch for a little energy boost of my own. This new eatery exudes a community spirit through the space. I had a wholesome meal and appreciated all the cups and takeout packaging was compostable. Feeling ready to take on the afternoon, I headed over to Ascent Cycles to meet with Adam Duell, owner, and Aubrey Demchuk director of BikeBridge Cycle Association.
We hopped on our bikes with Adam leading the way. In a short distance we connected to the new “Bike Boulevard.” The City of Lethbridge created this cycling corridor that flows throughout the city, connecting Henderson Lake (home of Nikka Yuko), the downtown core and the river valley trails systems. Cyclists can safely and easily now get around the city with ease to take in the beautiful low-impact outdoor activities the area offers.
Passing by heritage homes and the giant old trees that lined the boulevard, we eventually reached the Oldman River Valley. This is the true natural wonder of the city and the fall colours made it an even more beautiful sanctuary.
Aubrey had a big smile on her face as she took us on a fun, winding trail that meandered its way down a ravine to the valley bottom. At the bottom, I had that same big smile - and some beautiful photos. Adam then led us along the river and across the Whoop Up Drive Bridge to the Bull Trail Park trails on the west side of the river, with amazing – and more technical – trails that were also interconnected by pathways but still perfect for all skill levels.
The route took us to the top of the valley allowing us to see the power of the river. It also provided the perfect view of the Lethbridge High Level Bridge that crosses the entire valley. Completed in 1909, it is the largest train bridge of its kind in the world and is still used today. From a level eye view of the bridge, we hit the downhill trails flowing quickly back to the river valley, for a look back up at the towering bridge. The scale of the structure is an incredible sight to see in person. From there, we pedalled our way back up and across the bridge to reconnect to Bike Boulevard.
I was blown away with the cycling opportunities the city has to offer. It was a big surprise to experience so much ascent and descent in this prairie community. If you’re a biking enthusiast, you must bring your bike when you visit.
As much as I love mountain biking, my day wouldn’t be complete without doing one of my other passions – trail running. I hopped into my EV (a Nissan Leaf) to make my way back to the river valley, but this time to the east side. My destination was the Helen Schuler Nature Centre to meet with Dean Johnson.
Dean is the director of Lost Soul Ultra Marathon, a 100-mile (160-km) trail race that has been taking place in Lethbridge for over 20 years. As we laced up our shoes, Dean told me about the amazing experiences and community support that has been a result of the races. The conversation continued as he led me along parts of the racecourse that goes up alongside the High Level Bridge. We traversed ridges and darted down gullies as the evening light crossed the landscape. The Oldman River Valley is so full of life that it’s easy to forget about how much energy it takes to run. This landscape put us in a perfect state of flow.
My Lethbridge experience showed me that this community is all about connecting to the outdoors on our own human-powered energy. Whether you’re running, cycling or walking, you can connect with nature and truly appreciate the natural beauty here. I was in a peaceful and recharged state as I thought about my day, while my electric car recharged at the Peaks To Prairies charging terminal. I left the community with an appreciation of how easy it was to spend my day going with the flow.
When You Go
Recently, the City of Lethbridge opened a new Direct Current Fast Charger (DCFC) behind Chapters at the Park Place Mall that is a part of The Peaks to Prairies Electric Vehicle Charging Network.