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Published: November 14th 2014
Enderby cliffs from the baseWOW!
We are going to hike to the top.
You may not believe this…. but…. this blog has nothing to do with the on-going saga of Dianne’s job! It is actually a TRAVEL blog! To most Canadians it isn't as exotic as the stories in the China blog but it has been an interesting time in the interior of BC. Kelowna and the Myra Canyon Trestle
We had heard about the Myra Canyon Trestle from a variety of sources. When our niece and her family came through our area they raved about it so we decided we had to pay a visit as it is practically in our backyard.
The Myra Canyon was one of the great hurdles in building the Kettle Valley Railway, the all-Canadian solution to transportation woes in the late 1800s. While the trains stopped running in the 1960s, the track bed in many places has been turned into a hiking and biking trail. And the “trestle” should actually be “trestles” as in the 12 kilometre section we hiked has 18 trestles, some huge and some comparatively small.
Many of these basically wooden trestles were destroyed or badly damaged in the huge fires around Kelowna in 2003. Fortunately, they have
View of Kelowna area
from the Myra Canyon trail. Note the effects of the 2003 fires are still visible.
been restored and the hike between Myra and Ruth stations makes a great day trip. Camping
Anyone who knows me knows what a great camper I am. Not. Dianne has been trying for years to get me to repeat our one kayak camping trip. Well, I succumbed this fall. OK. So it wasn't kayak camping. And it didn't actually involve a tent. But it was out of the house and did involve cooking over a camp stove.
This is the Okanagan so the summer weather is fantastic. We were on Pender for most of the summer and the beginning of the school year is always busy but Dianne managed to pry herself out of the school long enough to go on an overnight “camp out” down Lake Okanagan near Summerland. As our tent was still on Pender (whew!), we threw our specially designed foam pieces into the back of Big Red and headed off early Saturday morning. We knew all the camp sites that could be reserved were reserved but figured one of the first-come-first-served sites would be available. Wrong. Not to be deterred, Dianne chatted up the attendants and, sure enough, we found a spot
This was supposed to be a tunnel but the ground was so unstable they had to clear away everything. Quite a job.
that would be coming available about 11:00. What to do in the meantime? What any good camper would do: drove into Summerland and found a place to buy cappuccinos!
The canopy we bought for just this purpose served as great on-the-road sleeping quarters. Sliding, screened and tinted windows worked well and we had a great night’s sleep. The single burner camp stove we had bought for kayak camping worked well too. A very pleasant one-night stand.
Of course, the lake was lovely and the hiking in the area was great. Lots of fruit stands still in business. Summerland and the Kettle Valley Railway
Having had such great success with a one night trip, Dianne decided we should go for two nights just before the end of September. As school was back in, the crowds should be down. Well, the school strike was still on, the weather was still beautiful, you couldn't reserve spots any more so when we got to the two sites we were interested in, they we both full up. It’s later on a Friday evening so what does a person do? It’s too late for cappuccinos! The previous trip we had spotted what
We're going over there
In case you can't see what Dianne is pointing at, I added an additional pointer to the trestle on the other side of the canyon.
looked like picnic sites near the boat ramp. We had seen people camping there (we thought illegally) but it turned out it wasavailable for camping, just not particularly convenient to the parking area so unsuitable for RV type camping.
The pictures enclosed in this blog entry show the neatness of our camp site. Because we were the first ones to arrive we got the choice of sites. The only fly in the ointment was using the truck on Saturday to do our sight-seeing. A latecomer grabbed our choice parking spot while we were away ,-(
Having discovered the Kettle Valley Railway the previous trip, we were keen on visiting the last remaining active stretch of the KVR. Just outside Summerland is the old KVR station where the KVR Society runs an old steam engine on a 10 mile stretch of track leading down towards the lake. A large crowd was on board on a very beautiful day. There was even a film crew from China filming a Chinese singer singing a song about the KVR (we think; it was in Chinese)
The trip itself was very pleasant; some very interesting scenery including a large cliff overlooking the
Trestle up close.
This is one of the bigger examples.
tracks. It became even more interesting that afternoon as we followed a tortuous one lane road up to the top of the cliff so we could look back down and see the afternoon version of the train trip we had taken that morning. Luckily we only passed one vehicle coming down as we were going up and it was at one of the few places where two vehicles could pass.
Dianne is not noted for being a great passenger in these cases; especially when there is a steep drop off on the passenger side. We had a very pleasant stop at the top of the cliff, watched the train wind its way around the “mountain” and then started back down. Or at least I did. Dianne walked “so she could take pictures”.
Back home to buy more fruit and sit around the camp stove playing games followed by a second night in our luxury accommodations.
This camping isn't too bad. Enderby Cliffs
The Okanagan valley is full off beautiful lakes but it also has some fascinating geological features. On our various trips to Alberta we have often driven by the sign to the Enderby Cliffs.
Hard to imagine a steam engine going through these tunnels. Must have been quite something between the noise and the smoke.
Dianne had read about them and we were a bit put off by the references to steep sections with rough loose terrain and lots of switchbacks on the 7 km hike up to the top. Several people commented that, with decent footwear, the trip wasn't that bad. So one day we decided to go for it.
Well, it was all it was advertised to be. They say the cliff towers 1,200 metres over the valley floor and they aren't kidding. The views from the top were wonderful and well worth the effort it took to get there! We were amazed at the number of people making the hike. All sizes and ages. A couple of lunatics even ran up and down the trails. One popular activity at the summit, especially by young people, was to lie down at the cliff edge with one’s head over the edge and take a selfie with one’s cell phone. Not for the faint of heart. The trip down was as hard as the trip up. My legs really felt the effects of this hike. It was sure nice to finally reach the outhouses! Thanksgiving
We did the usual pilgrimage to the
Series of smaller trestles.
Something to see from the other side.
Island for Thanksgiving. I went to Pender a few weeks early to do some clean-up and go to Victoria for an eye appointment. Dianne flew to Victoria on Friday evening. Unfortunately, a late flight from Kelowna meant a missed connection in Vancouver. She was finally able to catch the last flight to Victoria; it left Vancouver just before midnight!
My sister, Jane (and Chris) has often hosted this family gathering for us but this year they were having kitchen renovations so we invited everyone to Pender. And they all came! Fourteen people with only three queen sized beds. Interesting but it was only for one night. The first night (a practice run?) we only had 10. But my two sisters and their husbands swelled the crowd to 18 for dinner. Now that was a lot of fun.
It was tough getting up at 5:45 on Monday to catch a 7:00 am ferry to head back to Vernon but the family time made it all worthwhile. What next?
Because Remembrance Day was a Tuesday we couldn't make our usual Alberta trip that weekend so see Dianne’s Dad. Dianne decided to take an extra day and we are
The Big One
Some were made of steel but they were still damaged in the fires.
heading there this upcoming weekend, just in time for the first blizzard of the season to hit Alberta. But at least we are flying so the travel part shouldn't be too bad.
And there is Christmas to look forward to. And our Cuba trip is all booked for Spring Break. And there is the May trip to Alberta. And then the big pack begins as we plan for Dianne retirement move back to Pender. What is all that laughter?
So… To Be Continued…
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