By Andrea Arnold, Associate Editor/ Reporter

Over the last two years, summers specifically, I have been unable to go on long holidays that take me away from the valley. This was very different from the types of holiday’s I’m accustomed to. I have had to embrace a different mentality when it comes to the definition of vacation. Quality over quantity. I started looking for opportunities to get away from work and responsibilities, even if it was just for a day here and there. I have discovered there are so many exciting and affordable things available to us within a few hours of home. Each of the admission-costing eventsI have attended have not cost over $20 per person.

We are incredibly lucky to have countless hiking opportunities at our fingertips. Teare, Belle, and McKirdy are mountains I have hiked recently. Kinney Lake is another great day trip, and I am awaiting the re-opening of the trail. 

I have kayaked in Horseshoe Lake, Purden, Kinbasket, and LaSalle. I have not made it to Cranberry Marsh but have heard that is a good option too. 

The Valemount Rodeo has been put on hold for a few years, but when/if it returns, it is a fun family excursion. This year I checked out the Mud Bogs at the end of July.

Earlier in the summer, I attended both Pioneer Days in McBride and Valemountain Days. 

A few weeks ago, I made the trek to the Vanderhoof Airshow for the first time, and just this past week wandered the Forman Farms Sunflower farm just outside Prince George. I am not going to make it to the PGARA Speedway for their hit to pass weekend, but that is for sure on my list of next summer excursions.

My sister and I have gone camping at one of the many campgrounds within a stone’s throw of Prince George. There are countless bodies of water suitable for swimming in the area as well. 

Heading east we have access to more lakes and hiking trails around the Jasper area, and if one goes as far as Edson, a stretch of the McLeod River looks like it was made to float down.

Even the Columbia Icefields fall within the three hour radius. Parker Ridge and Wilcox are two great hikes that could be done in a day trip.

There are so many other options within the three hours radius, and I look forward to checking them out as well.

Although vacations are often looked at as something that needs to be several days long, lots of planning required and lots of money spent, I have learned that a spontaneous day away can provide as much rest and relaxation. Possibly even more.