When the winter snows start to melt, ice follows, then mud, but we can choose to find some winter beach walks while conditions continue to change. The open beaches facing south clear off first and the porous sand takes away the melting water leaving us with a sandy surface to hike and walk on. There are a number of beach walks in the Kamloops area, but the best is probably the long one that parallels the river trail heading out to Tranquille.
Park at the end of Aviation Way, then take left turns to stay close to the beach. This is an area where eagles can be seen all year.
Along the trail there are yellow-twig willows and red-ossier dogwoods providing some winter colour.
A trail through the woods leads to an old vehicle dump next to a flood channel, where dozens of old cars rust in the shrub growth.
There is a 1 km long beach at the west end of this route where the shoreline stretches toward Cooney Bay and Kamloops Lake.
Following a route through the dogwood, we stop for a tea break at a last beach before the estuary.
The river is at its lowest at this time and the ripples in the sand above and below water show the inexorable flow of the river toward the ocean.
Pools and channels form at the edge of the estuary. Even on the first day of February, aquatic insects were hatching in the still pools.The route back follows the bare sand flanked by red-ossier dogwood and cottonwoods with Mts. Paul and Peter in the background.
The north-facing snowy bluffs across the river flank the view to the south.
The last leg of the return route joins the Rivers Trail with the eagles keeping close watch in the trees above.
Winter beach walks are a good alternative while the hills dry out. Mission Flats Park will be next. Wait for a sunny day and go out to explore the sandy “trails” next to our rivers.