This adventure was published in The Weekender, the West Kootenay News and Culture Weekly.
Betty Goes Hard on Lockhart Trail
BOBBI BARBARICH / email@example.com
“I’m sure there’s a single track in here somewhere!” shouts Natasha Lockey, owner and operator of women’s progressive action sport community, Bettygohard. We’re plowing through the bushes behind her along the abandoned, overgrown reaches of Redding Creek Forest Service Road on the eastern side of Grey Creek Pass.
We hope the road will lead us to the Baker Lake trailhead and onto the eastern edge of Lockhart Creek Provincial Park. We plan to descend the 15-kilometre Lockhart Creek Trail, vaguely described in a few online mountain bike forums I’ve read. None of the four women in our group have ever been here, but Lockey is unperturbed. At a hundred metre wide avalanche swath, she heaves her bike onto her shoulder and forges on. We all follow suit.
I met Lockey several years ago when I joined her on a snowboard retreat weekend at Red Mountain Resort. Lockey, a certified snowboard and mountain biking coach, started BGH because she wanted to create an empowering environment for women to improve their skills and meet likeminded ladies. “Girls learn differently than guys,” explains Lockey. “When I see a guy huck it, I don’t know if I can. But when I see a girl do it, I’m far more likely to try. I wanted to create a place where women could be inspired and inspire others.”
After two hours of hike-a-biking to the 2130 metre ridgeline, across creeks, talus slopes and thorn bushes, it’s time to ride. Eyeing our descent line, Lockey confides that keeping BGH going hasn’t been easy. “I think I run myself ragged, really,” she says in a swift Kiwi accent. “But I believe in Betty. I want women to meet each other and have someone to ride with. Otherwise, we’re stuck with the boys.”
With no guy in sight, Lockey leads three novice and intermediate riders down the wild, at times indiscernible, trail. We crisscross Lockhart Creek tumbling toward Kootenay Lake—which is far beyond the old growth trees between which we slip. We hug the hillside and whip past towering cedar hemlock. Bush hikes break the flow of the ride, but with 15 km to cover and the sun quickly fading, we push through thorns and thank our armor.
Far beyond my front tire, grey light breaks through blackening trees. Lockey is waiting for me at the end, sweaty, smiling and calm. Though we’d only heard rumors of Lockhart Trail before I’d asked Lockey to go, I couldn’t think of anyone I’d be willing enough to follow down a gnarly path over the backside of a mountain.
Lockey describes her group rides and retreats simply. “No expectations, no boundaries, just riding—no matter your level.” Lockhart Trail is epic indeed but with someone like Lockey blazing down it, finding women to ride with won’t be too difficult.