Author Archives: Clayton Kessler

About Clayton Kessler
In addition to TracksAndTrails, I am proprietor of First Page Solutions, the home of Kelowna's Digital Marketing Agency. It is the base for my team and I to build secure websites with responsive mobile design and help entrepreneurs reach top Search Engine Rankings through SEO. I live in Kelowna, let me buy you a cup of coffee and show you what I do. Just send me a text that says, "lets beat the competition on Google" to 1 (250) 470 - 8704

Trekking in Nepal

Trekking in Nepal

Trekking in Nepal is adventure tourism. Nature in Nepal allows you to renew and relive yourself. Meet generous and friendly people while trekking in Nepal. Nepal offers numerous walking excursions to snowy peaks, foot hills, valleys and mountain areas. Typical trekking and hiking in Nepal includes unique spectacular trekking trips to hard climbing in the Himalayas and offers adventure trekking and an Everest Base Camp Trek  that is most rewarding. Trekking is important and highlights to tours in the Himalayas with ecological features nurturing a variety of flora and scenery. Many visitors trek to different part of Nepal every year to experience its rustic charm, nature and culture. Most treks are between 1000 to 5185m in altitude, though some popular parts reach over 5648 meters. Trekking is not climbing, you can enjoy walking holidays in Nepal and trekking tours inNepal that are arranged for travelers.

Trekking is probably the best way to experience the marvelous nature and rich culture. This beautiful land is often referred to as the travelers paradise. You will love Nepal. There are many trekking routes and locations in Nepal where travelers can seek their delights. Popular locations for Nepal Treks are following. Everest Base Camp Trek, Kalapatthar trekking and other very exciting trek locations in the Mount Everest region. It gives trekkers spectacular scenery in the majestic Himalayas of Nepal and a golden opportunity to fulfill a dream.

Travelling Camper's need your help!

I Have a favour to ask of you. I have some friends from overseas who are camping their way around the world.

They are keen to spend time in England, Scotland, Australia, the U.S. and Canada with a view to immigration.

Given the current unrest in the world today and the financial downturn they are somewhat worried about

camping in ‘public’ camping sites. They have asked me if I know where they could go in safety and where the accommodation (and meals) might be affordable.

I hope you don’t think it’s rude of me, but I have taken the liberty of giving them your name and address in the hope that you can find a spot for them at or near your place for a night or two. I hope you don’t mind.

They are traveling in a couple of Mercedes and will be bringing their own camping gear.

I have attached a picture to help in identification if, or when, they show.

Thank you in anticipation of your co-operation and hospitality

traveler needs your help to find a safe camping area

Travelling by Motorhome and Boondocking / Camping in BC

Boondocking in BC? Travelling by motorhome and want to spend your vacation time but camp for free in BC? Well let us get the discussion started! Boondocking refers to parking at Walmart parking lots and other large paved areas where travelers can stay without being bothered. Well if you were driving a motorhome and knew that a free campsite was near by, wouldn’t you go a little farther to enjoy nature while camping for free as well? If the answer for you is yes, then lets find FSR or Forest Recreation Sites that British Columbia Forestry department has created and let folks know what they are like by posting a note below.

In addition to camping at forest service sites, I often see motorhomes camping on crown land like on the side of the road up Bear Creek Main FSR near Kelowna and Bear Creek Provincial Park Campground. I am sure there are many Crown Land places right near large urban centers that folks in a motorhome could spend a night at and at the same time I am sure that many travelers are simply not aware that they can park their motorhome for free and enjoy nature a lot more than at your typical boondocking site in the city.

boondocking or nature

Boondocking in the city or in nature?

As for family and friends – your first free camping destination in your motorhome, is right in my driveway!

TracksAndTrailss $100 MEC contest winner announced.

Find the latest TracksAndTrails Free Draw Here

Congratulations to user Darkest1 or being selected as the winner of the $100 MEC Gift Certificate winner (of course I’ll give him a cash option). After trying to get all the entries in a hat, I gave up – too time conusuming in a busy schedule. So I used this random number picking service ( ) and keyed in a range of numbers to represent the 490 comments plus 3 entries for each article posted by several outdoorsmen and women, hit the “generate a number” button to have number 439 get picked which was a comment made by Darkest1 on this post:

Keep commenting, new contest on NOW!

It pays to comment on, Darkest1 had dozens of comments and of the 494 comments created, he had the best chance of winning. Next winner will be selected from comments made in August and the draw will be a $25 gift certificate from your favourite outdoor store (you can select it) or cash (via cheque or paypal). Hiking Question - Help! "Black Canyon"

I enjoy the seasonal display of snow crawling to lower and lower mountain elevations.  Sometimes I allow the dampness and cool temperatures to dissuade me from taking a hike but whenever I have questions about hiking trails sent in from hearty visitors, I become enthusiastic enough to step up to get out and enjoy a brisk hike.  (possibly at a lower elevation though)

For now I just need help in confirming information on a possible  hiking / biking trail.

First the question, then my thoughts and finnally below some supportive info from Cyclepath and the Regional District of Central Okanagan.

Question: Hello.
Do you happen to know where the trailhead begins for Black Canyon Trail on the Westside? I found some info that said it was off Sandberg Road, but I started there and ended up on the Smith Creek Holy Pail MBike trail.

They show the Black Canyon Trail on the right side (the other side of the ravine from Glen Canyon Trail at the end of the Powers Creek section.
So, if you hiked to the end of the flume trail and then crossed over the creek and started somewhere around there that is Black Canyon Trail.
Also, it states under the Westbank Parks that the trail starts from Sandberg Rd. which seems like the right area, but I couldn’t find the trailhead.
Thanks for any info you can find
Do you have any info on the Black Canyon trail? Would appreciate any info you can give me.

Clayton’s note; After some initial research I have found that Black Canyon Dog Park exists at Sandberg Road and a Regional District “undeveloped park” called Black Canyon Park exists there.

Here is the description from the Regional District;

Black Canyon Park Open Space


Smith Creek/Summerside


Frontage on Both Sides of Sandberg Drive


From Westbank Town Ctr., north on Elliot Rd., right on Shetler Dr., left on Sandberg Drive.


1.50 hectares 3.71 acres

Hours of Operation:

Dawn to Dusk, this park is not yet open to the public


  • Trails

Inquiries to:

Westside Parks & Recreation Department
Tel: 868-5204

  Cyclepath biking trail information on the Holy Pail is pasted below. 

Please post a comment if you know this area.  (this is an area that I have not explored)

6) Smith Creek (The Holy Pail)
Smith Creek is an area of Westbank with a great loop located off Old Okanagan Highway.  This loop is one of the few that offer a great meandering single track climb instead of a fi re road accent. The trail snakes its way up the mountain on smooth, fl owing single-track with tight technical turns. Towards the
top of the climb the trail gets steeper and a little more diffi cult to climb, but by this point you are nearly up.
Once at the top drop your saddle and drop in. The trail is loose in mid summer so watch your speed. On the
decent you will be rewarded with small, fl owing jumps and technical rocky roll-downs. The trail is very technical
in places but most intermediate to advanced riders will fi nd it very ridable and super fun. Part way down
the decent is a great cliff line with a beautiful view of the canyon below and mountain ridge across from it. This entire loop takes about two hours to ride and most likely a little longer for intermediate riders. One of the areas best cross country rides by far.
Trail maps for the area are available at all the local bike shops in Kelowna and Westbank. Just ask for the “Trails of the Westside” map. Free Draw - Draw date is August 31 at 5 PM

Enter to Win $25 now by commenting on any article on (see menu on the left) or the following:

Currently, based on the first two weeks of August, your chances are 1 in 20! Enter now, Enter often. Every comment could pay you $25!

Draw Date is August 31 2010 at 5PM. I will contact the winner by posting here as well as by email. If the winner has not responded by posting here within a few days or so, then we’ll pick a new winner!

Our last contest winner was Darkest1 – He won a $100 Cash or MEC Gift Certificate and selected the Outdoor Equipment Gift Certificate.

Contest Draw Past and Present  – see details here.

TracksAndTrails August Comment winner Draw is complete - keep commenting for the September Draw!

I used this random number picking service ( ) and keyed in a range of numbers to represent the 31 comments that were made and hit the “generate a number” button to have number 23 become the lucky winner. It was a comment made by Devi Baral on August 14 from Nepal.

All winners must be confirmed by email.

Keep commenting, new contest on NOW!

Tracks And Trails

Tracks And Trails  has Trail Head pictures, maps and other information that Rangers have explored or have found out how to explore. is a website that first started to just cover Kelowna hiking trails.  That soon expanded to other trails of the Okanagan and as visitors began to increase into the thousands per month, the founder – Clayton Kessler – decided that more than just his own experiences could be shared and now other Canadian hikers adn campers can register by using contact page and have their hiking pictures and information  posted on the hiking blog.  Any individual hiking site promotional material is allowed and encouraged!

The Tracks portion of the name refers to Rail Road Tracks that have been converted to hiking trails as well as the joy of finding animal tracks in the wilderness and the determining of which animal they belong to.  A favourite outdoor activity of any child is to learn about animal tracks, specially when they lead to the animal in question so that it may be viewed in its natural habitat.

The Trails portion of the name “” is obvious.   Trails are all over Canada – from the Trans Canaada Trail that runs from coast to coast or the trail in city, regional and provincial parks and all throughout any piece of crown land with a vista or natural wonder of some sort!

Wherever your trail leads, fall may be one of the best times of the year to enjoy a Track or Trail and we who bring our experiences and information at hope you travel safe this fall and remind you to not forget your bear spray and tell someone which tracks and trails you are hiking on or looking for.

Tomahawk - the ultimate backpacking and fire making tool.

Tomahawk!  I was not considering a tomahawk as I went shopping for a light weight hatchet.  After talking to the helpful sales guy at House of Knives in Kelowna and holding the 24 ounce Fusion Tactical Tomahawk by SOG in my hand, I knew it was the perfect backpacking solution.

Tomahawk - Backpacking equipment

With a longer handle – 15.75″, side hammer, sharp excavation tool and nylon sheath, I will be looking forward to my next campout.

The last person to file a federal homested in U.S.A.

Duane A. Ose
osemtnak @

I am the last person to file a federal homested in U.S.A.
The lake minchumina land settlement area ” Alaska. I did it the old fashioned – way by walking into the land area to choose the land I wanted. To get a feel for what was best. It took my son and I 15 days to hike 57 miles through some of the ruggest untamed land in the interiour of Alaska. Spent another 15 days for a plane to fly us into Fairbanks . I staked new land got a paten, 1’st time owner I was the last to file just to carry the red lantern. You may see an interview of my wife and I on On the road by Jason Davis program date feb. 21-2010

My web site is In it you will see a section of my son and I hike thoose many miles of wilderness. With full packs and being very carfull as there would be no help, save for red flares for passing air traffic twice a week. Flares were used due to a bug (Jardia ) at day 30.A hello copter came the next day as the plane was on wheels and had a schedull to keep But the plane reported the flare. Thank God….. Never been lost just a bit confussed for a few days. Several close encounters with Grizz. twice I naturly new I was about to die, so I was about to fight to the death and both times the grizz’s backed off. Guess I was the meenest…. Cabela’s the only place to shop for any out door needs…

I grew up on a farm in Minnesota & explored the river vally when ever I could…Moved to Alaska to find new land to make my last stand… I’d travel into space if I could – to a new world. Alaska will have to do. I could write a book and will some day. A documentry is being worked on now by a co. in MN. 5-7 hour thing. I have been interview for all the parts . And My filmming is being converted to TV Viewing . the good parts. (VHS) Hike was July 4th 1985. Bear encounters 3 that could have been fatal. Many others not so scary. see web. We live here , Wrights air service. Fairbanks knows us. Very expensive flight. Nearest road is 105 miles. Lon & Lat in web. Was a scout master & Army leader.ETC:
Do your home work and think on this one…

Telemark Trails near Westbank...Bugs and Bears!

To enjoy a fantastic piece of nature you may want to check out the Telemark Trails in Winter or Summer. To get there just travel through Westbank if you are heading south from Kelowna and take the Glenrosa Road exit off highway 97 S. Stay on Glenrosa until you see the large parking lot and signage on your left.

Telemark Trails Parking Lot near Westbank BC

I wanted to complete the several km’s of the telemark trails to experience the views from the Panoramic Ridge trail. I was almost near the vista on Panoramic Ridge when I notice a large black bear crossing the trail in front of me about 30 meters up. As I gripped my Bear Spray a little tighter and removed the lock, I quietly told my wife (who just saw a black bear run away from her on the Mission Creek Trail the day before as she went on her morning walk) to turn around as there is a bear ahead. Well, she stops and takes a closer look and two cubs coming out of a den like natural structure and acts as if she wants to stay for a closer look. hmmmm. At this point I wonder if the Sow Mommy with children even knows that we are there since the she is upwind of us, so I quickly guide my wife away as we walk quickly back down toward the parking lot. We saw the Mom and cubs just above this trail sign:

Swan Lake RV Resort in Vernon BC


Swan Lake RV Resort

With 183 total RV Sites and 60 Sites available for rental Swan Lake RV Resort is a nice way to set up camp in Veron. With accommodations for RV’s up to 45′, 30/50 amp service, back-ins, pull thrus, full hookups, restrooms, showers, Wi-Fi, cable TV, laundry, RV storage, store, clubhouse, handicap accessible, heated pool, hot tub, fitness center, horseshoes, nature watching, canoeing, boating, fishing, picnic tables, you will not be lacking in any comforts of home!

Guests pay for rental of RV Sites, Laundry, Wi-Fi, Ice and Goods purchased.

Different types of Campsites Available.

Located on Swan Lake in Vernon BC just off Hwy 97. There are RV Sites for rent that you back into and some pull-thru sites available and a small access to the lake where you could put a canoe or kayak into the lake.

Swan Lake RV Resort


8000 Highland Road
British Columbia
V1B 3W5




Survival Training

Bow Making Class

The Primitive Archer is our premier bow making course and is an important part of our Master Hunter Program. This course will teach the beginner student how to create a bow from scratch with primitive materials and limited tools. The student will not only learn primitive methodologies but you will also incorporate some more modern tools such as custom draw knives and other useful tools that can be utilized to create beautiful bows on your own. Mike Yancey is our instructor for the course and is one of the most renowned bow makers in this part of the country and is responsible for thousands of self bows in his lifetime. Mike not only understands how to make bows from scratch with nothing but your survival knife but he also makes custom works of art for archers all over the world. So you will not only learn effective survival info but also get some info on how to make more elaborate bows once you have mastered the more basic skills.

Our instructor Mike has taken large and small game including: turkey, coyote, bobcat, mule deer, whitetail deer, elk, antelope, wild hog, javelina, caribou, black bear, and almost all types of small game ! He has decades hunting experience with the primitive bows all over North America, Cananda, and Alaska. If your interested in learning more about Mike’s background then visit our Instructor’s Page for details.

The course will take place over 4 days and you will construct at least one complete self bow from start to scratch and if there is time left then you will begin construction of another. Many students easily create two long bows for themselves within the class period. Students will have the option of choosing from two different types of woods: Osage Orange ($100)and Hickory Staves ($50) and staves will not be included in the cost of the course. You will purchase those on site from Mike at the course so bring cash for purchase. But if properly cared for and constructed you may get a lifetime’s use out of your creation. All students are guaranteed to complete at least one complete bow!

Click Here for more info

Survival Fire Lighting tips and... what is better - a saw or hatchet?

Thanks to Phil for excellent comments on my last fire lighting post.  The fire building tips are too good to leave in comments so I pasted them below.  Feel free to answer his question at the end of this post.

Just to add to the SAR experience, is that this fire lighting exercise was done at night in the dark using our headlamps. Useful good burning wood is somewhat a challenge to find at night if you are not sure what to look for, you can be fooled and when that wood goes onto the fire it quickly starts to have a hard time staying lit and then you scramble to find more.

Another tip is to collect more wood than you think you will need then triple that, being careful not to damage the environment. I collected my wood and kindling in a large plastic bag so keeping it together was easier to pack around while gathering and if it starts to rain it stays dry. Nothing more depressing is gathering good dry wood then having it rained on. I started my fire with one match and a cotton ball soaked in wax, they are water proof, lite weight and once lit they a very hard to put out in case the wind comes up.

At the end of the day you really have to get outside and practice in the elements to get a real sense of it. Many people can get a fire going but having it stay lit , cooking and boiling water on it for an extended period of time is not as easy as it sounds. Try going out and doing that after it has rained for 2 days or longer or in the snow.

The last tip I have is what tools seem to work best, well this may start a debate but that’s healthy.  I have saws, knives, axe, hatchet.  For me, since I have to be willing to pack my supplies on my back for extended periods of time my choice was a lite weight hatchet and my sturdy knife. I packed my saw for a whole year and it did not even come out to use so out it goes. I was able to build shelter, fire and everything I required with just the 2, even though I had more.

Thats my 2 bits worth