Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hiking the Mission Creek Greenway, Kelowna BC

This week we have been hiking each day on the Mission Creek Greenway trail... which follows Mission Creek from the Okanagan Lake inland for about 18 km.  Click here for full page map.

The Mission Creek Greenway is one of the most successful community funded projects in Kelowna's history... raising over $700,000 in a six month campaign. Plus landowners have donated over 41 acres valued at more than $800,000.

Yesterday was a perfect day for a hike... not too hot and clear blue sky. We were told that this part of the creek was a good place to look for gold.

Sure enough, a little further down the trail I heard the sound of rocks being moved around in the water... and there was a guy with his pan and a shovel, having fun looking for gold. Look at all the gold in the water! Picture is not altered.

A lady saw me carrying a clear plastic bag of rocks and she said she collects rocks every day she hikes too. If you look really, really, really close you might see a tiny fleck of gold in the deepest recessed part of the rock on top, right of centre.

The trail is well marked with posts every half of a kilometre... and there are lots of benches to stop and rest overlooking the creek.

Occasionally there are picnic tables.  Isn't this a wonderful spot to enjoy a picnic?

We saw several bushes of Elderberry. They looked so good I had to try one... but it was very tart.

Hence I was not nearly so brave when I saw these clusters of other berries.

The environment changed when we crossed Hollywood Road South and went into Phase Two of this trail system.

Where the fist section today was very dry... this section was much wetter and there was a large mass of Forget-Me-Nots.

These Fleabanes added a spot of colour to the day.

We came upon a stagnant pond... a perfect environment for algae and frogs.

We crossed two substantial bridges like this one... which is called the Friends Bridge.

Most of the time the trail is built well above the creek bed... but here the access to the water is gentle... and the creek volume is very low.

This section of the trail was the most beautiful of the entire trail.  Here the tree canopy provides filtered shade... and the lush trees are so abundant. You can hear the lapping water and birds singing.

This is the first cedar tree we have seen along the trial. The path thru these parts is truly a joy to walk.

This is called the Cedars Bridge... obviously because of it's proximity to the grove of cedar trees.

A number of boardwalks... deluxe boardwalks with handrails... make the hike most enjoyable and ensure that we are always safe and dry when walking thru the boggy, wet areas.

These snowberries look delicious... but I was satisfied to just get this picture of them.

We were warned by other hikers that they had seen a bear.  A little further down the trail I took this photo of bear scat. That was as close as we got to the bear.  Looks like this bear was enjoying fresh elderberries... they have pits a little smaller than a cherry.

As we returned to the parking lot this huge marbleized boulder had a plaque affixed that told us Phase Two of the Mission Creek Greenway Project was funded by the Canada British Columbia Infrastructure Program.

The washrooms on the right centre are a generous size... and there is lots of room for parking.

Today we planned to hike the last section to the end... furthest from the lake. But there was so much smoke in the air from the Washington fires we did our 10,000 steps in Orchard Park Mall.

"If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk." -Raymond Inmon

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Hiking the Myra Canyon Trestles

There are many reasons that this hike is rated the Number One hike in the Kelowna area.

So lace up your shoes and come with Shirley and me on a most pleasant photo hike. This giant marble rock was at the trail head at the Myra entrance... and if you know us, you know we love beautiful rocks.

I was amazed at the size of these old rose hips.

This Indian Paintbrush is the first specimen we've noticed this season.

The devastating Okanagan fire of 2003 burned thru this park and destroyed most of the trestles. A small benefit was that with foliage burned off these trees it opened up the view of the valley and city below.

This park has excellent signage explaining many interesting details along the way... like we are now about 3000 feet above the City of Kelowna.

While I was busy taking this close up shot of Kelowna and the Grand hotel, which is likely 30 km away...

this little chipmunk must have smelt the nuts that I had in my pocket. I thought he was going to climb up my leg... and then he went over to Shirley and begged her for a handout.

We could see Trestle 18 well before we got to it.

Park benches were plentiful along the trail.  Notice how each bench had trestle legs... pretty cute.

With broken cloud our sunshine was hit and miss most of the morning... but it was a perfect day for doing the hike. A good rain overnight washed the forest fire smoke away and the air was fresh and clean.

An old railroad bed becomes an ideal hiking and biking trail... it is wide and close to level most of the way.  We saw many families with children enjoying the trail.

Originally the engineers planned to make a tunnel here... but the rock was so fractured they ended up cutting it all out.

This was the only trestle with a trail around. So I took the trail to get a side shot of Shirley passing by and the cross bridging.

There are many signboards here with all the story of the rescue of the trestles and their initial conversion from rails to trails... and how they got it recognized as a National Historic Site.

Then after the 2003 fire destroyed 14 of the 18 trestles, there was the costly reconstruction, financed by both the provincial and federal governments.

It is easy to see how carefully they restored the trestles using lots of bolts, washers and screws. There was no compromise in the quality of the work done... mostly with volunteers.

Over a distance of 12 kilometres they had to rebuild 14 of the 18 trestles.

Observation niche in the middle of some of the longer trestles.

Amazingly these souvenier poles near the railroad survived the 2003 fire. They carried telegraph wire attached to glass insulators. 

At the second kilometre marker there was a length of rail with a small plaque. Rails were classified by weight per yard (3 feet). The original tracks on the Kettle Valley Railway were 75 lb. rails. As heavier loads became more common they upgraded the thickness to 100 lb. rails.

Looking back we can see four trestles.

And then we came to our first tunnel.

This family on bikes travelled along about the same pace as we hiked...

Looking back at the tunnel we just passed thru this family stopped, spread out a blanket and enjoyed a picnic lunch.

I talked to them as they loaded up to come back and asked if they came here often. They said they lived in Vernon and have been coming here about once a year.

And that is why this place is the Number One outdoor activity in Kelowna. People who come here love to return again and again.

At Kilometre 4 there is bonus for those who get this far... a toilet! Not many of those out here.

We went to Kilometre 5 before turning around to go back.

Fireweed is one of the first weeds to grow after a fire... and there was a lot of it in this last kilometre we walked.

Shirley spotted this Salmonberry bush...

And we each had a little taste.  Wonderful!

There were a few other weeds in bloom... like this Russian Thistle.

We even saw a few Oxeye Daisies.

As we returned to where we started one of the first flowers I shot today called me to take another... I just love the softness of this Indian Paintbrush.

"The only thing better than a great walk is a great walk in a famous place." -Sherwin Goerlitz