People of the Wild is a blog series profiling residents of BC who have one thing in common: their love of the BC wild. This week we’re featuring Bruno Long, a professional adventure photographer who resides in Revelstoke in the heart of the Columbia mountain range. Originally from Canada’s east coast, Bruno relocated to the mountains to pursue an energetic lifestyle with a commitment to adventure.
Why do you live in BC?
I’m a professional adventure photographer based out of Revelstoke, BC. I grew up on the east coast in New Brunswick and during university I moved to Jasper National Park for about seven years. Once I finished school, I ended up moving to Revelstoke and I’ve been living in BC for just over a decade now. My photography is based on skiing, mountain biking, and self powered adventures for the most part.
What is it about BC that makes you proud to call it home?
Growing up on the east coast, well, New Brunswick is a pretty small place, and there aren’t too many mountains. It’s really small and you could probably fit many New Brunswicks in the province of BC. And that’s what I really do love about BC is it’s just so vast and wild and there’s such a different array of landscapes and rivers and peoples and cities that are spread out everywhere. We have such a large space to live and adventure in that you could live ten lifetimes in BC and still not see half of what you could see. There’s just so much stuff you can do. I really love living in Revelstoke and I spend a lot of time here but over the years you learn that there’s so much more in BC and you just want to see as much of it as you can.
Living here in Revelstoke, we’re stuck right here in the middle of the mountains, but then not even an hour west and I’m in the Okanagan or I’m in the Shuswap area. You go south and you can go down to the Nelson, Kootenay area. I can go to the coast in six hours. It’s not that far really, but everything is so different in all these little towns that you can just get anything you want. You can get big mountains, vineyards, beautiful lakes and rivers, and the coastline. There’s so much. It is vast but you can still access all those places quite easily. And on a whim you can just decide that you want to go somewhere and within a couple hours you’re in a totally different environment that allows you to do all sorts of different adventures.
How does BC’s wilderness and nature inspire you?
Growing up on the east coast, my family didn’t do a lot of outdoors stuff, and so once I moved out west, I kind of always feel like I’m trying to make up for lost time. Living in a place like Revelstoke there’s all these places around you that because it is so different, you can be in Revelstoke one day and the Okanagan the next, and the environment is so different that you get inspired by all these different forest types. And it gets warmer in the Okanagan and you can go swimming, you can go hiking, and we have national parks so close by. You can see so many different parts of wilderness and nature. If you aren’t inspired by those places then there’s something wrong. You’re doing it wrong if you’re not getting inspired just by walking out for a five or ten minute hike. There’s so much to see and do here and there’s so much access for us that we’re really lucky to have that right outside our door. If you can’t be inspired that way, I don’t know why you’re living in the mountains or why you’re living in BC.
Describe your perfect day in BC.
In the summertime, getting out early before it gets too hot and heading out for an early trail run or hike, and then being able to do a bunch of different activities. So a perfect day for me is getting out early, doing a run, coming home, and getting out again for a big bike ride or maybe a swim in one of the lakes. And then if you’re swimming in the afternoon, maybe going mountain biking or hiking later in the day. And it’s so beautiful in the summertime just hanging out outside with your friends in the backyard with a barbeque. Or going out camping at night. We’re so lucky that we can do so many different activities in BC that a perfect day for me is jamming as many of those activities into one day as you can, and being spent at the end of your day where you go to bed and as soon as your head hits the pillow you’re out cold. If you can have one of those days, those are pretty nice.
What is a place or experience that you’d suggest a new visitor to BC not miss this summer?
For me personally, I spend a lot of time in the summer and winter because I live so close to Glacier National Park, living here in Revelstoke, and I worked in the park for a long time as a trail crew worker so going up to Rogers Pass in Glacier National Park. A lot of people drive through the pass because it’s really busy, or they might just stop at the summit and maybe go and look at the visitor’s centre. But I really think people should spend a little bit more time up there and go for a backcountry hike there. There’s so much great hiking in that area and it’s such a vast playground for hiking and mountaineering. Being someone who has spent a lot of time there, you don’t see that many people in those places and I really think that once people get off the beaten path a little bit all the trails are really close. Going to those places it’s just a different, a special place in the mountains It’s really something that people shouldn’t miss if they have a chance.
I know every time I drive through Rogers Pass still, 10 years in the making, I’m still staring at all these mountains because they’re just amazing. I’m sure that everyone else is doing the same thing when they drive through there, but I feel like they should also get out there and experience them for themselves. Some of the hiking trails there take you to some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been.
What would you say is BC’s best-kept secret?
Well you don’t want to give away all your secrets. I spend a lot of time mountain biking here and one of BC’s least best-kept secrets is the Frisby Ridge mountain bike trail that we have in Revelstoke. It’s become quite a popular trail. It’s really close to town and it’s kind of an every person’s trail. But what I find people don’t know about as much is there’s another trail called Keystone Standard Basin Trail. If you’re a hardcore adventure mountain biker you probably know about it but I think that it’s a little more off the beaten path as far as driving there. It’s quite a ways out of Revelstoke and then you have to drive up a logging road. Most vehicles can get up there anyway but it’s just in the past 5 years that the alpine mountain biking has just exploded. Keystone Standard Basin is one of those places that the basin that you ride your bike through and where it takes you is just a really special place. It’s a massive basin with wildflowers everywhere, waterfalls, glaciated peaks all around you. You can go up there sometimes in the week and there’s nobody there because everyone is going to the closer trails and the easier trails that are closer to Revelstoke and a little bit more popular. Once you ride this trail all the way out, it’s about 11km to this old cabin and the real secret there is to continue past the cabin, There’s another 8km of trail that goes back into Standard Basin which is a rarely visited area. There used to be an old trail that went into there but the trail is kind of overgrown in places and then you get into these open fields and there’s hardly any trail but you can see where your destination is. It’s just a place that really doesn’t see enough visitors. If it did it would become less of a kept secret but it’s the kind of thing where a lot of people even if they do go and ride that trail they get to the cabin and that’s as far as they go. There’s so much more to that trail then just going to the cabin and back.
Any last words of advice for someone thinking of visiting BC?
For people in general, it’s not just about visiting BC as far as visiting places in general, but I think when you’re in BC the best piece of advice I can give people, and it’s something I’ve slowly learned through my years of travelling and adventuring is to really be open to just about anything. If you’re visiting somewhere, you might not visit there again or it might not happen for a long time. I’m lucky that part of my work is I get to have these adventures and to visit around BC but for a lot of people that’s their vacation or they put aside special time to do these adventures. I really think you need to take advantage of that time that you have and really be open to things. You can have a plan, you can set up whatever you want and try to do things that you’re interested in but there’s also these times where things just come up and you need to be open to doing those kind of things because you might not ever get the chance to do them again. And we have a really short time, relatively speaking our lives are pretty short, and you don’t have that much time to go do this. You might get the chance to go hike some trail, you might think it’s too hard for you but you should try at least. If you’re scared about going to the ski hill and learning how to ski, or if you want to go bungee jumping anything like that. Anything that you might not want to do but you kind of want to but you’re not really sure, you have to be open to letting yourself go and to be ready for those experiences. We should be focused on adventuring and getting as much of those experiences in our lives as we can.
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