Cy­clists take in fall colours on ride around Skaha Lake

The Daily Courier - - OUTDOORS -

The fall pa­rade of colours con­tin­ued last week­end as Con­stant Com­pan­ion Car­men led the Sher­iff and other cy­clists with the Cen­tral Okana­gan Out­doors Club for an­other great ride on what we call the Skaha Lake Loop.

We leave our ve­hi­cles at the east­ern park­ing lot of Skaha Lake Park on Skaha Lake Road in Pen­tic­ton. We then head east on Skaha Lake Road to York­ton Av­enue, then south on Main Street South to Lake­side Road, which con­fus­ingly turns into East Lake­side Road (on Google maps).

This paved as­phalt road has great views of Skaha Lake as you head to­ward Okana­gan Falls, but use cau­tion since the bike lane is nar­row and on week­ends the amount of ve­hi­cle traf­fic in­creases sig­nif­i­cantly.

When we reach Okana­gan Falls, we take Sev­enth Av­enue over to Christie Memo­rial Pro­vin­cial Park, where we re­lax with a pic­nic lunch. How­ever, the Sher­iff al­ways rec­om­mends a short de­tour south on Main Street and then High­way 97 to Tick­le­berry’s for ice cream (even when it is a cool fall day).

If you head west through the pro­vin­cial park and then Kenyon Park, the path joins the Ket­tle Val­ley Trail, the for­mer Ket­tle Val­ley Rail­way right-of-way, which takes you across a pedes­trian/cy­clist bridge and north back to Pen­tic­ton.

There are sev­eral de­tours around lake­side res­i­dences, which shows you what can hap­pen if lo­cal govern­ments don’t snap up the right-of-way be­fore it falls into pri­vate hands.

Dur­ing past cy­cling out­ings on the Skaha Lake Loop, there were more patches of thick sand on the Ket­tle Val­ley Trail, but we found the sand had thinned out with only a few ar­eas where it was a strug­gle for nar­row tires. Bushes lin­ing the trail had al­ready turned a bright red and oth­ers a beau­ti­ful yel­low colour, which no doubt will fade in the com­ing weeks.

We all must be fit af­ter a sum­mer of cy­cling. No one was tired af­ter ar­riv­ing back in Pen­tic­ton, so we headed north on the Chan­nel Park­way, and stopped for a bite and a bev­er­age at Tim Hor­tons. It was a thor­oughly en­joy­able out­ing in the South Okana­gan, highly rec­om­mended, and we hope to re­turn be­fore the snow flies.

*** In other out­doors news, Jonathan Dean Ur­ness is back.

The rugged out­doors­man who for­merly lived in Kelowna loves or­ga­niz­ing the Kelowna stop of the Van­cou­ver In­ter­na­tional Moun­tain Film Fes­ti­val’s Best of the Fest tour, which will be pre­sented at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Kelowna Com­mu­nity The­atre. Tick­ets are avail­able at most out­door stores in Kelowna, but don’t de­lay since it sells out ev­ery year.

“This year, our speaker will be the truest amaz­ing pre­sen­ter along with a much­higher-level mu­si­cal artist than the norm. And the films are fan­tas­tic,” Ur­ness said this week.

Key­note speaker Adam Camp­bell, a for­mer mem­ber of the Cana­dian na­tional triathlon and duathlon teams, will share his love for run­ning, which be­gan on the beaches of West Africa and Spain, where he spent his child­hood run­ning af­ter soc­cer balls and chas­ing waves.

“It wasn’t un­til he moved to Canada in his late teens that he be­gan run­ning com­pet­i­tively. Adam’s love for all in­di­vid­ual ath­letic chal­lenges quickly saw him jump into the multi-sport world of triathlons and duathlons, where he was renowned for his run­ning abil­ity which saw him win a na­tional duathlon ti­tle,” said Ur­ness.

How­ever, the drudgery and struc­ture of train­ing and rac­ing for triathlons caught up with him and he be­gan to seek out new chal­lenges. Af­ter run­ning the roads for a year, he jumped into his first trail race in 2007 and a new love was born. Camp­bell qual­i­fied for the Cana­dian Moun­tain Run­ning Team in his first ul­tra trail race and con­tin­ued to post the best-ever fin­ish by a Cana­dian at a Moun­tain Run­ning World Cham­pi­onship at the Jungfrau Marathon, a gru­elling, 42K up­hill run with a 1,829-me­tre el­e­va­tion gain from start to fin­ish.

As one of the world’s top ul­tra run­ners, Camp­bell’s mantra has been sim­ple: “If you’re not mov­ing, you’re dead.” This life of move­ment came to an abrupt halt on Aug. 30, 2016, when he ex­pe­ri­enced a near­fa­tal ac­ci­dent while at­tempt­ing a tra­verse through Rogers Pass.

“Grab­bing a loose rock hold, Adam tum­bled nearly 200 feet, sus­tain­ing four bro­ken ver­te­brae and crushed il­iac crest,” said Ur­ness.

“Hav­ing a body now sup­ported with ti­ta­nium rods and screws, Adam be­gan to ques­tion his ath­letic fu­ture. Ten months later, while search­ing for the ath­lete he once was, Adam found him­self at the start line of a 100-mile ul­tra race he medalled at in the pre­vi­ous year. It’s within these hun­dred miles that Adam dis­cov­ered what he was look­ing for was not to be found on the re­sults board.”

Mu­si­cal guest Noah Derk­sen was born and raised in the heart of the Cana­dian Prairies and ma­tured on the West Coast.

“Noah writes with the ground­ed­ness of harsh Man­i­toba win­ters mixed with the op­ti­mism of Bri­tish Columbia’s coast­line. A de­scribed genre of ‘con­tem­pla­tive folk,’ Noah’s in­tro­spec­tive na­ture is im­me­di­ately ap­par­ent, felt through hon­est and po­etic lyri­cism along­side es­thetic mu­si­cal ar­range­ments,” said Ur­ness.

“Ever seek­ing mo­tion and pro­gres­sion, Noah has spent the past three years hon­ing his live per­for­mance skills across Canada and in se­lect re­gions of the U.S., play­ing con­certs from B.C. to Nova Sco­tia, and Ohio to Cal­i­for­nia. In 2018 alone, Noah played at renowned venues and events such as the Na­tional Arts Cen­tre (Ot­tawa), North­west Folk­life Fes­ti­val (Seat­tle), Trout For­est Mu­sic Fes­ti­val (Ear Falls, Ont.), and the Win­nipeg Folk Fes­ti­val.”

This fall, af­ter spend­ing an­other sum­mer do­ing his an­nual tree plant­ing in B.C., Derk­sen will per­form across the con­ti­nent, from Toronto to Van­cou­ver, and then back east to Michi­gan and New York City.

Ur­ness is still select­ing films for the show (none have been seen in Kelowna be­fore), but so far he has cho­sen:

— Con­stant Mo­tion: The story of Adam Camp­bell’s life as one of the world’s top ul­tra run­ners and his re­cov­ery.

— Ephemera: A lo­cal film­maker high­lights Okana­gan climbers in the Okana­gan. When you think of ice climb­ing, the sunny Okana­gan Val­ley is prob­a­bly one of the last places you would con­sider. Ice climbs have a di­choto­mous strength and del­i­cacy, and the peo­ple who at­tempt to as­cend them are re­silient and de­ter­mined. Though the ice climb­ing is un­re­li­able, scarce and fleet­ing due to the mild win­ters in the Okana­gan, it does ex­ist. It all de­pends on how badly you want to find it.

— Cam­era Trap: The Por­cu­pine herd is one of the largest cari­bou herds in North Amer­ica, but its fu­ture is un­cer­tain. The ac­tions of the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion, cli­mate change, in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment, na­tional and in­ter­na­tional po­lit­i­cal pos­tur­ing, and a rapidly chang­ing North are all putting the herd and its home range at risk.

The Gwich’in peo­ple, who have re­lied on the herd for gen­er­a­tions, also see their fu­ture hang­ing in the bal­ance and they need the rest of the world to take no­tice.

Peter Mather, a teacher who started his ca­reer in the tiny north­ern com­mu­nity of Old Crow, de­vel­oped a pas­sion for the plight of the cari­bou there and the peo­ple whose cul­ture is tied to them. An as­pir­ing wilder­ness pho­tog­ra­pher, Mather sets out on a quest to doc­u­ment the herd, its mi­gra­tions and the role it plays in com­mu­ni­ties across the north. But he needs one epic shot — the one that will cap­ture the sig­nif­i­cance of the herd and in­spire oth­ers to pro­tect it.

— Food­less Odyssey: A long­time dream of pro moun­tain biker Matt Hunter was to bike-pack through hun­dreds of kilo­me­tres of wilder­ness on re­mote Haida Gwaii while liv­ing en­tirely off the land. The rules for the week-long jour­ney were sim­ple: carry all the sur­vival tools needed to bike, fish, hunt and camp, but ab­so­lutely no food.

— The End of Snow: Jane Ze­likova, a trop­i­cal ecol­o­gist liv­ing in the moun­tains of Wy­oming and Colorado, dreams of snow in the sum­mer and trop­i­cal forests in the dead of win­ter. But her snow-capped Four­teen­ers are chang­ing, no longer bring­ing the deep win­ter snow­pack once promised. This is a fu­ture from which she and the peo­ple of the West can’t run. What’s a wildly cu­ri­ous, ad­ven­tur­ous girl to do? Em­bark on a jour­ney into the moun­tains to find the tales of the past, present and fu­ture of snow. There will be ad­ven­ture. Friend­ships will form. She will dig holes and fall down those holes. But like any good story, the char­ac­ters she meets will help show her the way, a map for liv­ing in a world be­yond the end of snow.

* * * Mem­bers of the Kelowna Ca­noe and Kayak Club se­lected their 2019 ex­ec­u­tive at Tues­day’s an­nual gen­eral meet­ing: Sue Har­rhy, pres­i­dent; Morag Steven­son, vi­cepres­i­dent; Carol Fawcett, sec­re­tary; David Fowler, trea­surer; Carol Drury, mem­ber­ship; Sharon Gur­ney, ed­u­ca­tion; Shirley Re­gan, events; Ian Ladell, web­mas­ter; and Val­ito Russo, direc­tor at large. The li­brary po­si­tion is cur­rently va­cant.

Re­gan also an­nounced plans for the Christ­mas party: 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 8 at Mekong Restau­rant, lo­cated on Har­vey Av­enue at Gor­don Drive in Kelowna. The cost is $21 per per­son; a Pay­Pal but­ton will be avail­able on the KCKC web­site,

For those who wish to par­tic­i­pate in a gift ex­change, bring a wrapped gift in the $10 price range in the theme of Christ­mas, such as a hol­i­day or­na­ment.

* * * A sec­tion of the Mis­sion Creek Green­way will be closed next week. The Min­istry of Forests, Lands, Nat­u­ral Re­source Op­er­a­tions and Ru­ral De­vel­op­ment will re­move sed­i­ment that has built up on a gravel bar in the creek chan­nel be­tween Lakeshore Road and Gor­don Drive.

While the work is un­der­way, the Green­way trail on the south-side dike will be closed to all recre­ational users to pro­vide ac­cess for heavy equip­ment. It’s an­tic­i­pated this work will help re­duce the risk of fu­ture de­bris col­lect­ing and ice jams which could cause wa­ter to back up along this sec­tion of Mis­sion Creek.

While the south-side trail will be closed be­tween Lakeshore Road and Gor­don Drive, the north-side Green­way trail will re­main open for use.

* * * The Okana­gan Sim­ilka­meen Stew­ard­ship So­ci­ety is host­ing a com­mu­nity event at 10 a.m. Oct. 19 to plant a vi­tal and en­dan­gered ri­par­ian ecosys­tem as a wildlife habi­tat at Arion Ther­a­peu­tic Farm, 2457 Saucier Rd., in East Kelowna.

Vol­un­teers, who will plant more than 150 na­tive plants, should bring closed-toe shoes, gar­den­ing gloves and a shovel if pos­sessed. Snacks and light re­fresh­ments will be pro­vided.

“Ri­par­ian ar­eas are shore­lines, strips of land be­side streams, rivers, wet­lands, lakes and other wa­ter bod­ies. They sup­port a com­mu­nity of mois­ture-lov­ing plants that are dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent from aquatic veg­e­ta­tion and from the plants grow­ing in the drier grass­lands and open forests of the Okana­gan,” ex­plains Alyson Skin­ner, the so­ci­ety’s ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor.

“Ri­par­ian ar­eas, like the habi­tats be­ing re­stored at Arion Ther­a­peu­tic Farm (­i­on­ther­a­peu­, are an im­por­tant re­source for peo­ple and wildlife. When it comes to wa­ter qual­ity, ri­par­ian ar­eas are the last line of de­fence for wa­ter that’s run­ning off the land into our lakes and streams. Healthy ri­par­ian ar­eas will help fil­ter out pol­lu­tants and sed­i­ment from runoff. The roots from trees, un­der­brush and other lush veg­e­ta­tion help to sta­bi­lize banks, de­crease soil ero­sion, and aid in flood pro­tec­tion by slow­ing and dis­si­pat­ing high stream flows.”

Not only do peo­ple ben­e­fit from healthy ri­par­ian ar­eas, but they are also ex­tremely im­por­tant for wildlife, she said.

“In fact, these habi­tats are cru­cial to some of our species at risk like western screech owl, Lewis’s wood­pecker and the olive-sided fly­catcher. Nearly 85 per cent of all Okana­gan species are de­pen­dent on ri­par­ian habi­tats or use them reg­u­larly. They pro­vide food, shel­ter, wa­ter, nest­ing sites and im­por­tant wildlife cor­ri­dors. Forests along the edges of our wa­ter cour­ses and wa­ter bod­ies help to shade the wa­ter and keep it cooler dur­ing the hot sum­mer months. Cool, clean wa­ter is a valu­able re­source to wildlife and very im­por­tant to fish like salmon that breed in streams and rivers.”

Crisp, cool streams and beau­ti­ful, clean lakes also pro­vide hu­mans with count­less op­por­tu­ni­ties for recre­ation like bird­watch­ing and hik­ing, she said.

“Peo­ple not only like to visit lakes, creeks and rivers for recre­ation, but they also like to live near wa­ter lead­ing to de­vel­op­ment. Ur­ban de­vel­op­ment and agri­cul­ture has re­sulted in a loss of ap­prox­i­mately three-quar­ters of our ri­par­ian habi­tats.”

Fund­ing for this project has been pro­vided by the Habi­tat Con­ser­va­tion Trust Foun­da­tion and En­vi­ron­ment Canada’s Na­tional Wet­land Con­ser­va­tion Fund.

The Okana­gan Sim­ilka­meen Stew­ard­ship So­ci­ety is a lo­cal non-profit en­vi­ron­men­tal char­ity that sup­ports vol­un­tary con­ser­va­tion, stew­ard­ship and restora­tion of im­por­tant habi­tats within the Okana­gan and Sim­ilka­meen val­leys. For more in­for­ma­tion, go to os­stew­ard­

J.P. Squire, a.k.a. the Hik­ing, Bik­ing, Kayak­ing and Horse­back Rid­ing Sher­iff, is a re­tired Okana­gan Week­end re­porter and an avid out­doors en­thu­si­ast. His col­umn ap­pears ev­ery Satur­day. You can con­tact him with your out­door news at his new email ad­dress:

J.P. SQUIRE/Spe­cial to The Okana­gan Week­end

The Skaha Lake Loop in­volves a bi­cy­cle ride south on East Lake­side Road to Okana­gan Falls and back on the Ket­tle Val­ley Trail, for­merly the right-of-way for the Ket­tle Val­ley Rail­way. Bushes along the for­mer rail line are now a bril­liant red and beau­ti­ful yel­low.

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