I laughed when I first cracked the cover of Exploring Tumbler Ridge. Charles Helm, family practitioner and unofficial cheerleader for his Northern British Columbia community, had inserted a personal greeting for me written on a sheet from his medical prescription pad.
The book, written by Helm, is a fitting prescription for anyone itching to experience Tumbler Ridge. He provides a thorough overview of the area’s geological and human history, and explains how the community survived when the coal industry it depended on temporarily collapsed. He discusses the dinosaur fossil discoveries that have brought a level of fame to Tumbler Ridge in recent years, and other topics of local interest—the eagle migration and the impact of the mountain pine beetle, among others.
“The Tumbler Ridge area has yet to give up all of its secrets,” Helm writes, “and the purpose of this book is not to provide directions to every interesting feature.”
Yet the section I find most valuable provides an excellent, detailed overview of nearly 50 hiking trails in the area. It includes maps and difficulty ratings, as well as estimates for distance, time, and elevation.
I’ve already dog-eared a few pages. Who knows, a summer hiking trip to Tumbler Ridge might be—sorry, I can’t help myself—just what the docter ordered.
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