The Fraser River is once again accessible from the River Valley Trail in Williams Lake. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

The Fraser River is once again accessible from the River Valley Trail in Williams Lake. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

COLUMN: Fraser River access appreciated in Williams Lake

Now that the River Valley has re-opened one can bike, hike or walk there

On Sunday morning, Aug. 13, I decided it was time for me to check out the River Valley Trail.

The city re-opened it fully on Aug. 8 after it had been closed for three years to repair extensive flood damage in the area.

I’d walked the first half of the trail two times when it reopened but was excited to finally see the whole thing.

The mom in me was also thinking because of the $7.6 million dollar repair cost, I’d better get out there and enjoy those tax dollars.

From my house to the river is a 21- kilometre ride, which was a bit ambitious for me.

In the last two years the longest ride I had done was probably 12 km in one stretch, riding to work and doing errands now and then.

Anyone who has cycled the 11 km river valley trail to the river knows it’s easier riding in than out.

There’s a bit of a decline toward the river in some sections which are the opposite when riding out.

It took me 10 minutes longer to cycle back, something I hope to improve on next time.

I noticed as I rode there are still remnants of the flooding along the way.

Large trees are down on the ground in some places and the flooding definitely widened some of the open areas near the water.

Several marmots and squirrels scurried away as they noticed me approaching and the sound of different birds accompanied me as I rode.

Up until I reached the river I only saw one other person, a jogger who passed me going the opposite way. I was very impressed.

At the river there was a couple, who had also cycled in, sitting on a bench looking out and chatting.

They had a small cooler and it looked like they’d brought a picnic.

Making my way along the rocks to the river, I took a few photographs and then sat down to enjoy the scenery.

I once heard a philosopher suggest if each person could visit an ocean, a lake, a river, or a creek for 30 minutes a day, there would be a decrease in the amount of mental health issues in our modern world.

Whether he was right or not I don’t know, but I do know I was glad I’d made the effort.

When I arrived home I was exhausted but after I ate something and relaxed for a bit, I felt refreshed and was ready for the rest of the day.

Hopefully I will do it again a few times before the snow flies.

READ MORE: Final stretch of Williams Lake River Valley to reopen for use after 2020 floods

READ MORE: VIDEO: Access to Williams Lake River Valley still restricted due to ongoing construction

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