Abbotsford: Discovering the Discovery Trail

Flooded trail

Flooded trail

On Saturday we headed to Abbotsford. Even though it’s only one hour away we had never really been there, only passing through occasionally on the way to the border. We had planned a 57km loop around Abbotsford, incorporating the Matsqui trail along the Fraser River and the Discovery Trail through town. Already after a few kilometers of cycling we encountered a problem. The trail disappeared and instead there was a big pool of water.

It turns out that with the warm temperatures we experienced recently, the snow is melting fast, and as a result many rivers are high. We managed to cross the problematic section without incident, but then arrived to an even a larger puddle, basically a small lake. Luckily there was a different path, a bit higher up and we could carry on. When we reached the park/campground, half the park seemed to have become part of the river. People were taking pictures and it seemed like they came especially for this, we on the other hand, didn’t even know about it till we got there.

The trees probably shouldn't be in the water...

The trees probably shouldn’t be in the water…

After lunch and a break we carried on, passing by blueberry fields that seemed to go on forever. Abbotsford is one of the main growing areas for blueberries in the province, and perhaps even the country. We fantasized about filling up our panniers with blueberries, if only we were there at the right season. We might have to come back to the area later this summer.

Blueberries fields forever

Blueberries fields forever

By the late afternoon things got more interesting. We knew that we needed to connect with the “Discovery Trail” but we just couldn’t locate it. We kept on going back and forth on the same road looking for it. One of the problems was that we didn’t have a good map, the other problem was that it was just very hard to find. Eventually we figured out where to go, and then just before connecting to a path through the forest, a sign welcomed us: “Bear in Area”. We still haven’t made the mental switch to summer mode, but we should really start bringing our bear spray on trips.

Forest trail

Forest trail

After the climb in the forest there was nice descent, but only one problem at the end of it. We reached the highway and that was definitely not where we wanted to be. Luckily there was a parallel road to the highway, so we took it. At the nearest gas station we asked for directions and made our way off the highway into the town. We still couldn’t find the Discovery Trail. A nice road cyclist helped us with directions again, and woohoo, we were finally on the right trail. But only for five minutes. Then it disappeared again and we picked it up a bit further down. We kept on losing and discovering the Discovery Trail, but eventually what we discovered was that there were numerous “Discovery Trails”, it was very confusing.

The Discovery Trail!

The Discovery Trail!

When we were finally close to the car, a huge dog-bear blocked the road and would not let us pass. Apparently he does not like cyclists, but eventually he let us go. We then made it back to the car, completing a 67km loop – only 10 more than planned. By this point we were literally starving and the smell of Indian food coming from basically everywhere in Abbotsford did not help. We figured that with so many Indians around we’d have no problem finding an Indian restaurant. Well, we were wrong. I think most of them just eat at home and either we were just looking in the wrong place or they hardly exist in Abbotsford. Finally we found a Mexican restaurant and we never say no to Mexican food. The place was a bit weird and they had a disco party that evening, except no one was attending the party… The good and cheap food hit the spot and we were ready for the not so long drive home.

We'll come back for those blueberries

We’ll come back for those blueberries

This entry was posted in British Columbia (and nearby), Chilliwack and Nearby, Cycling & Cycle Touring, Trip Reports. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Abbotsford: Discovering the Discovery Trail

  1. Peta Kaplan says:

    Climate change experienced first hand….flooding due to higher temperatures. A huge problem world over which is going to get worse as sea levels (and rivers) keep rising with often disastrous impact on livelihoods.

  2. Zack says:

    Love the flooded trail shot! There’s a good chance I’ll be up in your area in the fall, if it happens, I’m counting on you guys for some good type 2 fun!

    • Gili says:

      Peta, very true, we’ll be seeing more variable weather and more extreme weather.
      Zack, sounds great, let us know when you have some concrete plans. September is often very nice, but after mid October or so it gets quite rainy and dark. Until ski season arrives, a few weeks later 🙂

  3. Ruth says:

    were you able to cross the mission/abbotsford highway at a street light? How far did you need to go out of your way? Too bad this portion is confusing or difficult to figure out!? We never did find the next section of the trail and gave up! We were heading east on discovery trail.

    • Gili says:

      Hi Ruth – unfortunately the Discovery Trail is hard to find and easy to lose… It doesn’t help that it has “arms” that go in parallel and are both labelled Discovery Trail. We don’t remember it being a problem to cross the highway, it’s not that big, not sure if there was a light or not. We think we crossed it by Valley Rd, see the trail map (you’ll need to zoom in). Hopefully over time the trail and especially signage will improve. Good luck discovering the Discovery Trail next time 🙂

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