Makin' Trails

This week’s Secret Okanagan Spot in the SOS series is Lions Gardens, located on the west end of Okanagan Falls’ long Skaha Lake beach. The 1.2-hectare park has a trailhead for the South Spur of the former Kettle Valley Railway which heads north to Penticton following the Skaha Lake shoreline but it also has many benches and a large pond for quiet reflection, above.

To cap off bizarre spring and summer weather for outdoor recreation, September arrived two weeks early.

Above-normal temperatures in the 30s were replaced by sub-normal 20s but Okanagan wildfire smoke remained the constant.

Last weekend, the Sheriff joined other members of the Central Okanagan Outdoors Club for the beautiful lakeside Skaha Lake Loop – Penticton’s Eastside Road and McLean Creek Road to Okanagan Falls. And then, the South Spur of the former Kettle Valley Railway back to Penticton.

Cycle leader Deiter threw in Old Airport Road as a small sidetrip rather than returning to the Okanagan Lake parking lot by the SS Sicamous via the river channel.

The Central Okanagan had smoky conditions but thankfully the South Okanagan was much clearer. And it was clear why this was one of the Sheriff’s favourite South Okanagan routes.

On Wednesday, the Sheriff and Constant Companion Carmen joined the Pleasure on Wheels Facebook group for another South Okanagan favourite – Penticton to Naramata’s Little Tunnel and extending this scenic uphill ride for another four kilometres to the Glenfir Loop parking lot on the new and improved section of Kettle Valley Rail Trail. The wildfire smoke wasn’t quite as good as last weekend. Two South Okanagan favourites in one week despite the variable smoke conditions.

On Thursday, we returned to Armstrong’s backroads for another rural loop around to Farmstrong Cider Co. for lunch.

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In other outdoor recreation news, a 600-metre section of Mission Creek Greenway Regional Park in Kelowna is now open after in-stream bank repairs and reconstruction, ecological restoration, new boardwalks and rip rap placement near Cedars Bridge.

The stretch between the Cedars and Smoothing Stones bridges, upstream from the Hollywood Road parking lot and trail entrance was closed for the second phase of flood-related repairs.

It’s anticipated this portion of the recreational trail will close again for a few days next month to wrap up work near the boardwalk.

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Telemark Nordic Club’s 2021-22 season passes are now available.

“It has been a crazy summer in the Okanagan with the heat, smoke/fires and a resurging COVID,” said general manager Mike Edwards. “We hope you are looking forward to a nice, calm, snowy winter as much as we are at Telemark.”

Season pass, membership and program registrations are now available on the Zone 4 registration page: bit.ly/3mFqqcu. A season pass early-bird discount is available until Oct 31.

For more season pass info, go to the season pass webpage: telemarknordic.com/annual-memberships/

“A season pass is a great value,” added Edwards. “An adult pass is paid off in only 11 visits and you will have the flexibility to come to Telemark whenever you want for any amount of time. Additionally, with a season pass you are automatically a club member and can participate in one of our many programs.

“New this year is a 10 per cent discount on selected items at local XC ski retailer Kelowna Cycle and a 25 per cent discount on rentals at Telemark for all season passholders. There will also be weekly early-bird draws with a total prize value of over $1,100 generously provided by our sponsor partners Kelowna Cycle and Fresh Air Experience. More details to come.”

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The Mount Law wildfire which started on Aug. 15 near the visitor centre on the Coquihalla Connector came close to Telemark Nordic Club just to the south and east of the Panorama ski trail, said general manager Mike Edwards. The fire threatened a good portion of the Glenrosa neighbourhood.

“Thanks to more favourable weather conditions and the hard work of BC Wildfire crews and local fire departments, the fire is mainly under control now and no longer a threat to Telemark or most others in the area. Thanks to all the amazing workers who helped keep the fire under control. It sounds like some people in the area below Telemark on the roads off of Glenrosa Road have had some fire damage to their homes. Our sympathies go out to our Glenrosa neighbours who lost property.”

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Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre and Silver Star Mountain Resort are looking for volunteers for a Point to Party event on April 2-3, 2022 as part of the Sovereign 2 Silver Star Full and Half Marathon.

You can help host this ski party as a volunteer, as a skiing participant, or both. Contact chief of volunteers Pat van Mullem at: xcskierpat@yahoo.com to learn more.

“SLNC and Silver Star have partnered to create this Point to Party. The fun starts in the SLNC stadium, travels along Sovereign’s beautiful trails and then skiers will head over to Silver Star via Lars Taylor,” said Sovereign GM Troy Hudson.

“Experience the scenic upper trails of Silver Star and then enjoy the downhill ride to the Village festival finish. This inaugural XC ski event is promising to be an awesome weekend but we cannot do it without our volunteers. We have a terrific start filling the volunteer ranks but there are many spots yet to be filled. Please consider coming out to help us create an unforgettable XC experience.”

J.P. Squire, aka the Hiking, Biking, Kayaking and Horseback Riding Sheriff is a retired journalist.

Email: jp.squire@telus.net