Adventure Girl and I decided to run our own half marathon in Kal Park. From Cosens Bay parking lot, out the HRT through Bear Valley, around some trails there and back to the parking lot at 11 km, then Comin' round the mountain to Corral, a dip down Grasslands and back around to Corral to get an extra Km and then out to Sidewinder, cross over to the switchbacks by the bridge to get to Gingerly and then back to the parking lot where she shared a little bubbly and celebrated our impromptu half and 502 trail miles for the year for Adventure Girl.
Our Garmin's were reporting different final distances. Mine is 12 years old, so we decided her new Garmin was more accurate.
Last Wednesday was a beautiful day so I decided to ride the Okanagan Rail Trail (ORT) from Polson Park, in Downtown Vernon, south to Oyama and eat my packed lunch on a bench overlooking Wood Lake.
I returned much the same way except I took the Kal Crystal Waters trail, which involves a steep ascent and even steeper decent back to the ORT and returned to Polson Park. on the Kal Lake Road multi-use trail. FYI, 48.38 km is just shy of 30 miles. Starting of at 7.8 degrees C, it warmed to 17. In other places that means a 46 degrees F. start and warming to 62 degrees F. Also, because Canadian Days are longer, Americans will only spend 4 hours doing the same trip. Just seeing if you read to the bottom :)
BIG local controversy right now about parking at Ellison. If the parking lot is full and you decide to park on the road, you may get a ticket. Tuesday mid morning there were only 6 other cars parked. I rode up "You & Me" and connected to to "Blisters Sister" to the Green rated "Ridge Trail" which is a non technical uphill switchback. I rode up to the Yoga Platform at Predator Ridge. Beautiful view! Return the same way if you aren't that good at rocks and roots. I got on another connector to go back on the Blue rated "Ellison Connector" to "Typical Situation" to the parking lot.
After riding this route I decided that no one but me would do this because only about 4 of the 30 k was gravel and the paved roads were narrow and often without shoulders. That kind of stuff doesn't bug me, I just want to ride! Once again beginning at 25th Ave and 34th Street, heading west along 25th Ave, which becomes Okanagan Landing Road and then Eastside Road. At Kokanee turn left and ascend into Sunset Properties. Keep right at the forks until you are on Chinook and you see the entrance to the access road with a gate in front. The road is marked Private Property; just sayin. Lord help you if you don't have a granny gear! At the top, where the gravel turns to pavement, underneath the main Sparkling Hills building, veer right towards the roundabout. From there you can access the Predator Ridge trails which I rode down to Birdie Lake and around to Commonage Road back to Vernon stopping to look at the turtles sunning on the logs. You will end up where you began.
A few weeks ago we participated in the Dirty Feet off road race at Predator Ridge. We returned to re-run the enjoyable 5km route as well as run out to the yoga platform, for the view, and then back to the route.
You can find all the Predator Ridge Trails by going to Ribbonsofgreen.ca and click on the link for the interactive map.
The Chance by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
This text & Strava flyby video is of the 60 km route I rode last Tuesday. I began and ended in Vernon at the corner of 34th Street and 25th Avenue. I rode through Polson Park then up to Kal Lake and the Okanagan Rail Trail which I rode to Oyama and around Wood Lake before getting on the road to go around Turtle Bay and onto Pelmewash Parkway - an excellent cycling facility.
I stopped in Oyama for lunch and got back on the ORT for about 6km to the Kal/Crystal Waters Trail and into Kekuli Bay Park where the idea is to stay on the high trail to exit onto Westridge and head for the Kal Lookout. The trickiest part to explain is how to get from the lookout to the College and across the highway to the Jack Schratter Way. I stopped a few times but not for pictures and video. It took me 3 hours and 37 minutes but with friends and stopping to picnic, or swimming in the summer, or go to the pub at Turtle Bay, this could be an all day thing. Doing it the reverse way than I did gets the hard parts over first. Work up an appetite!
16.5 km Okanagan Rail Trail/Kekuli Bay Loop Ride - beginning in Vernon BC
Adventure Girl and I do this 60 minute loop to for the uphill workout and the views of the lake.
Beginning at the parking lot on Westkal Road, where there are two toilets, we rode south on the ORT about 8km to Kekuli Bay Prov. Park where we got on the pavement and rode to the park entrance and the old highway, part of the Kal/Crystal Waters trail. We rode around to the Lookout where we descended to Kickwillie and back to the car.
The dust you see in the video portions is actually dust inside the camera. The camera (DMC-ZS50) is not a dust or rain proof camera. Next time I'll know better!
I got a little behind in the video production and suddenly I had four to produce. Since three were from March, and in the snow, I decided to lump them all together into a 2 minute video. March 8 we went to the Cougar Canyon Parking lot for the first time. The trails are not well used or blazed so if you aren't familiar with the area it's a little disorienting. Perhaps this is a sign of the times but the trails were refreshingly clear of dog 'stuff.' The next day we parked at Cosens Bay, went through Bear Valley and then went up the trails towards Cougar Canyon. Same comment as previous trails. A week later, after some very warm weather, the only snow around was in the parks. As we ran counterclockwise from Red Gate we were in slush, sand, mud, snow, slush, sand and for the last part, returning to Red Gate on Comin Round the Mountain, it was loose snow. Winter is gone, spring cycling and running has already begun. Stay tuned.
Winter Carnival time in Vernon is a great reminder of how enjoyable the cold weather can be. The City has now prioritized the removal of snow from some of the most popular multi-use trails so dress yourself up and take yourself out.
The City of Vernon has created an excellent walking map brochure that identifies: Best Walking Routes, Routes with greater than 8% average slope, Paved Multi-Use, Gravel Multi-Use Path Future Multi-Use and Popular Trails. The brochure provides some safe walking tips and a polar diagram with estimated walking times. The Downtown Vernon Association also publishes a walking map with estimated times in the downtown core.
Even when paved trails are cleared of snow, ice forms quickly so you may wish to buy ice grips. There are a variety of products that attach by strap or stretch. Check with local retailers to find the right product for your weight and usage.
What winter walking article would be complete without a word about dressing in thin layers? If you aren’t familiar with the concept, the idea is to choose multiple thin layers you can remove as you warm up, or while you are sitting at a local café. When you are ready to go again, reapply the layers to maximize your comfort.
If you decide on a longer walk or hike, take water with you. Walking in the winter requires water as well. If you have a regular treat you bring on your summer hikes, check to see if they are still enjoyable when frozen! Also note, keep your phone in a warm pocket to aid battery life span. Most cell phones aren’t Canadian Tough! Depending where you are hiking, you may not have cell service so be sure to tell someone where you are going and when you will be back.
Enjoy your winter walk with friends. Download the City of Vernon Transportation department and discover how close everything really is in Vernon.