Okanagan Bushwacking

My son and I decided on thursday to check out Deep Lake which is lost in the forest’s of Mount Atkinson – east of Okanagan Mountain Park. After work on Friday, Aug. 1 2008 we left. We knew the hike in to Deep Lake would be tough as the closest logging road or trail came only within 1.5 km of the lake. So after downloading the lake co-ordinates into the GPS from Google Earth and driving to the closest point as per the GPS reading, we started to Bushwack in to the lake at roughly 7:30 PM.

With headlamps on we soon came to a major blow down area, pulled ourselves over it one tree at a time and then were tramping through the forest. Each step seemed to be met with more small blowdown but soon we came to an old cutblock that gave us an easy trail and much needed rest for .5 km’s. On the other side of the cutblock we entered the forest and once again were met with many small trees that were close together and criss crossed with fallen trees. One major assistance to our trek was the game trails. While we did not see any wild game along the way this trip, (except for a lot of deer the next morning) the area we were in is very evident of a ton of wild life. Many game trails criss cross as the amimals head toward Deep Lake.

As we closed in to the lake at around 11PM we were happy to find that someone had made a trail wide enough for an ATV to get near the lake. We figure the trail probably connects with the cutblock at some point and probably could have saved ourselves a lot of work if we found it sooner. The trail ended at the creek that runs out of Deep Lake at about 300 metres downstream. We camped at this spot and the next morning carried onto explore around Deep Lake. After exploring the lake (if you come here in the spring make sure you stay on the West side of the lake as the lower section is swampy) we continued up toward Mount Atkinson summit but gave up about half way there since we had to walk with our backpacks through a mess of small trees that can be described as a giant playing pick-up-sticks and we were not able to step over one without moving another. We started the morning exploration adventure at about 6AM and reached our car near James Creek Falls at 10 AM.

I figured there would be some trails coming down from the summit of Mt. Atkinson since a few roads from Naramata come close to the top but I did not cross any except lots of game trails. If you go bushwacking in British Columbia just remember that your hiking time will be much slower than when walking on hiking trails. Also, if you go backpacking with no trails be sure to study topographical maps. The easiest way to do that is to download Google Earth.

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