Local hiker, Samantha DeSouza, shares how she began hiking Kamloops’ trails as an international student and how it differs from hiking in India.

I arrived from Mumbai, India in 2017 to study marketing at Thompson Rivers University. I have been hiking Kamloops' trails since my first day of arrival. What began as weekend adventures with friends has grown into a love for exercising in the outdoors and discovering scenic spots via the trails.

After arriving at TRU, I joined the AdventureU Club to explore the outdoors with like-minded individuals. The club is a student-run organization that offers weekday, single day or overnight activities for TRU students to be social, have fun, and get outside. From there, friendships formed providing me a community to hike and adventure with.

India’s terrain consists of lush green forests with unmarked paths, making it difficult to navigate on the trails. Sunset hikes during monsoon seasons are typically surrounded with fireflies creating a magical evening. I was surprised to find how easy it was to hike in Kamloops – trails are well marked, there are a variety of maps, and online resources, like Hike Kamloops, that provide in-depth information on local trails. The diversity of the hikes also struck me. You can hike to the top of a mountain, or access trailheads within city limits via BC Transit.

For this shoot, we hiked in Dallas-Barnhartvale Nature Park, a smaller city park located 15 minutes east of Kamloops. It winds through benchlands and silt bluffs with sweeping valley views below. We specifically took the Benchlands Trail, an easy doubletrack before it connects with the single-track Ranger Bob Trail, for a 3.6km loop to capture the sunset.

You can find me hiking Battle Bluff in the Lac du Bois Grasslands or in city parks specifically Kenna Cartwright Nature Park and Peterson Creek Nature Park. The photos you capture of the city and valleys are impeccable. Hiking allows me to live in the moment surrounded by nature and wildlife around the trails.