Pinnacle Lake Hike – Updated July 2022

Pinnacle Lake Hike – Updated July 2022

Introduction to the Pinnacle Lake Trail

Majestic snow capped alpine peaks surround you like a nest surrounds her baby chicks, tumbling falls of glacier fed streams and the pristine Monashee wilderness is the reward for those who brave the Pinnacle Lake hike. It is not a walk in the park. The ancient tree roots, petrified wood, rocks and boulders hewn by millennia

Pinnacle Lake Hike Trail composed of the anatomy of the forest and hewn from the very tree roots.

Pinnacle Lake Hike Trail composed of the anatomy of the forest and hewn from the very tree roots.

of rushing water and the decomposing lengths of broken trees along with any water streaming through the valley bottom are not part of the trail, they are the trail. A hiking trail built by pioneers and the pioneering, complete with zero amenities is Pinnacle Lake Trail and hike. Do the provincial parks of British Columbia bring you to the limit of your recreational abilities? Then don’t come here.

GPS co-ordinates and Trail Map

Level of Hiking Difficulty

While many experienced hikers will call this an easy trail because experienced hikers complete it in an afternoon or less, the hiking level is rated as difficult because of the above trail characteristics. The trail has a difficult elevation gain of 1400 metres and most of that gain is in a short section located at the end of the trail.

Potential Dangers

The Monashee Mountains are considered grizzly habitat. Hikers should understand the difference between black bears and grizzlies and what precautions to take. The trail is slippery in many sections with sudden drop offs in other sections. Trees fell from lightning or strong winds may block the trail and detours may be required to navigate deadfall. Stretches of the trail run adjacent to a rushing stream and in the weeks of high water could wash small pets or children over rumbling falls if due care and attention are not afforded. The lure of the scramble from the lake to vistas that await the adventure above Pinnacle Lake will result in death if the dangers of such activities are not clearly understood. Always tell someone where you are going and your expected date and time of return when embarking on adventure in the untamed backcountry of BC.

Clayton Kessler walking on the shores of Pinnacle Laek.

Directions to Pinnacle Lake

The GPS route is attached to this tracksandtrails post but the general area is East of Vernon, BC and just beyond the official eastern border of the Okanagan region, located in the Monashee mountain area of the Kootenays. There is a Pinnacle Lake BC Forest Recreation Site but that ‘rec site’ is located in the Okanagan region off the Coquihalla highway and is near Pennask lake, many miles away from the Pinnacle Lake Trail. Pinnacle Lake Hike Trailhead is located at the end of a rough forest service road which is found by following Highway 6 East of Vernon and then heading north along a major forest service road and taking a number of decreasing smaller forest service roads that lead to the trailhead. The adventure begins with identifying the correct FSR branch to take and / or exploring with your vehicle more than you expect as you make a mistake and double back to get on track. Make sure you fill up your fuel at Frank’s General Store in Cherryville if you haven’t completed your research and, become confident in the lay of the land. Researching with topographic and satellite layered maps may help your orienteering.

Pinnacle Lake Hike Description

Hiking Bridge

You probably won’t see the two Colorado travellers having breakfast on top of their backcountry bus with every detailAn adventurer mini home. engineered for off the grid adventure, like I did upon my arrival, but you will see the end of the road and a parking area. If you’re on a multi-day adventure, you may want to protect your vehicle from rodents, A typical parking area for any recreation site or trail head in BC.they like to munch on automobile Hiking trail sign.wiring. Scanning the parking area for Pinnacle Lake Trailhead, you’ll see old log footings used for a bridge required for past logging operations. Walking to the area of the bridge, you will realize the need to cross a creek and come to the conclusion walking through it is required. However, if you learned to be aware of your surroundings, you would have completed a quick walk-about of the immediate area and discovered a typical hiking bridge which allows adventures to cross the creek. It is a log rail to walk on while you hold a rope that’s fixed above the log to hold on to as you cross. In the very least, one would think that at least 1 of the 10 brilliant hikers in your group would have simply looked to downstream and realized a bridge was available. Not this day, we all crossed bare foot and upon our return, the first one back found it and aided others in the discovery.A typical hiking bridge made of a single log across a creek with a rope tied above for hikers to grip as they balance and walk across the creek.

Cedar Grove

A gentle incline leads to a natural meadow.

This was my favourite picture of the entire hike. Enzo weighs about 7 pounds and had no problem in showing the other big dogs that little dogs hike too!

The tall sentinel like cedar is in the center background of this picture. It is more interesting when you are close. 🙂

After the creek crossing, the hike continues on a gentle incline and takes you through a small meadow. Depending on the weather and time of year you hike, the next portion of the trail is green and lush with numerous muddy areas. However, in most of the wet areas you’ll find a way to cross without getting wet. It would be wise to bring an extra pair of socks with you, just in case. Entering this stage of the hike, it would be sad if you do not pause and consider the beauty of a small grove of ancient cedar trees. The first one is only the remains of a giant cedar that was hit by lightning many years ago. The base of this tree would have been rotten, as many large cedar trees are, and now, completely burned out, it provides for a great photo opportunity.An ancient cedar grove of only 6 cedar trees.

As you pass through the cedar Grove and the series of muddy and wet slippery areas, you will notice lovely green plants and if you grab one, it will be uncomfortable. Be sure to watch out for stinging nettle and any poison ivy. Fun fact, poison ivy is not actually poison! (Google it) After the wet areas you will begin a gentle incline But you’re not out of the wet areas yet. The trail descends a little as you skip down  through a few more slippery sections and and then finally climbs up out of the wet area. However, there’s still another decent sized creek to cross. This creek crossing is marked with a piece of ribbon and an incredible massive sized boulder about the size of a tractor trailer. Well, the problem is, The trail continues past this marking because everybody seems to pass it first and then come back and find the proper place to cross. So if this happens to you, just remember, ‘Oh, big rock cross here’! The rock is actually a very cool part of the trail. I love it. You’ll see why as you discover it.

A very large boulder marks a turn in the trail and the creek crossing.

Waterfall!

This is going to hurt. My neck still needs physiotherapy. My first shot of the waterfall was from a little openings in the surrounding branches. If your talking or looking down to ensure safe footing, it’s easy to miss. The roar grew loud as we hiked closer to the rushing water. Everyone was ahead of me and for some reason, no-one took the little side trail that led to a photo opportunity! Maybe the attention of the group was on the multiple ribbons hanging down for the next 150 metres, strung to dangerous branches, turns in the trail and other obstacles and maybe they focused on the obvious dangers of the trail rather than the side trail to the left. Upon my return to the main trail, it was time to increase my speed and catch the group, now out of sight and earshot. I tapped my outback hat down, gripped my hiking stick, pushed off with the right foot, bent my head down and quickly skimmed over the trail. THUD! (my head hitting a deadfall tree of 1 metre diameter at just the wrong height over the trail) Crack, crack, crackle! (likely the bones and vertebrae in my neck compressing) The area was clearly marked with ribbons that I noticed as I entered the section of trail but yet again, I clearly was not obeying the ancient TracksAndTrails proverb, “Be aware of your surroundings.”Even though this stretch of trail had many ribbons to alert of dangers, I still made a hiking mistake.

The audio at the end of this 10 second video tells a story in one word. Bug. It was taken at the photo opp mentioned above.

 

 

Up, up up way up!

Now the fun begins. Most of the elevation gain happens here. The trail is rough, hewn from the roots of surrounding trees. The anatomy of the forest is the stairway to Pinnacle Lake.
About midway up this section a steep sharp turn reveals yet another well used side trail. It takes you to the edge of the cascading water and provides a great place to fill a canteen, as I did. The rocks here can be treacherous due to the body busting fall that awaits the one who forgets to be aware of their surroundings.

Finding a place to fill a water bottle on the steep hike up to Pinnacle Lake near Nakusp, Vernon and Kelowna BC.

The Straight Stretch

I don’t know which makes you forget the weary legs and heavy feet more; the disappearing water as it cascades out of sight and the mountains afar suddenly wrapping around you like a summer silk quilt or the fact that, you are now walking on flat land again. Regardless, there was not a peep from any hiker of how daunting that last bit of trail was!

The final stretch of the 4 km hike.

The end.

What do you expect, more? Why are still reading? This is it, the lake is right there, you just can’t see it yet. Of course there is a lake with a Monashee mountain view that squeezes you tight like a big bear hug. Weird, I know, but that’s the way this particular mountain destination made me feel. The absolute vastness of the spectacular alpine mountains being so deceptively close, they make the little camp, with the tiny little fire seem at trails end, ahhh, just right.

Join a hike. I hike in the Okanagan, contact me via the contact page to see if we can meet up for our next hike.

Take highway 6 east from Vernon
through Lumby until you drive about

1 km past the Gold Pan Cafe and turn left at the first Forest Service Road – GPS point below

Zoom into the rock face at the end of Pinnacle Lake in the Monashees

Zoom into the rock face at the end of Pinnacle Lake in the Monashees

View of Pinnacle Lake taken from the East End.

View of Pinnacle Lake taken from the East End.

Hiking back to the Trail Head from Pinnacle Lake

Camp for Free in B.C.

Camp for Free in B.C.

Free Camping In BC – please post your experience below!

View campgrounds near you and Free Camping campsites in the campround directory.

Over 1100 British Columbia Recreation Sites have been created throughout B.C. These campsites, many of which are free campsites are located near great hiking and fishing areas. Several hundreds Forest Recreation sites, now simply called “Recreation Sites”, and 200 trails are managed through service contracts or partnership agreements.

The Agreements are administrated through the BC provincial government division – RSTBC (Recreation Sites and Trails B.C.) in partnership with recreation groups, First Nations, forest companies, regional districts, private organizations and other entities. Of course, many TracksAndTrails.ca visitors and other groups volunteer their time and services to help maintain recreation sites, trails and facilities across British Columbia.

There are three types of recreation sites:

  1. Managed with fees,
  2. Managed without fees, and (Free)
  3. User maintained. (Free)

At Canada/s Campground Directory, (TracksAndTrails.ca) by visiting the home and allowing your geo location to be used when asked, all the Recreation campsites we have listed, will show on the resulting map on any screen. The results will show Free and Managed recreation sites, Provincial Parks, National Parks and my some of my own crown land places to camp for free.

Get the most updated information on Recreation sites and Provincial parks by visiting the official website  link that I have listed on each individual profile page for the campground that can be viewed after clicking the icon that represents it on the Campground Directory map at TracksAndTrails.ca.

Camp for Free on Crown Land.
Crown Land – administered by each province

Camping in Canada on Crown Land is always free.
(Yes this is True…Free Camping – one reason why I love Canada!)

When camping on Crown Land your power source is always close – just plug into the nearest current bush :-)…or just get one of those nifty solar panels that you can plug into!

The way to camp on crown land is to drive to a place you can safely park at. A good area to park is usually on some logging road. Try not to park on highways as your car may get damaged and more importantly could actually be a danger to other motorists. Once you have found a parking area just backpack to a vista or nice secret fishing hole and enjoy the great outdoors. …and bears…and cougars…bugs…etc (Don’t forget the toilet paper. Oh …and always flush!)

Wonders await in Blue Hawk Mine (abandoned and dangerous)

This Blue Hawk Mine post has been updated with new directions and video: May 2022
Best little adventure close to Kelowna!

A low elevation hike, bike or car ride that is fun and interesting as well as easy to get to when all of the hills are still covered in snow is Blue Hawk Mine on Blue Grouse Mountain.

Blue Hawk mine is located on the East slope of Blue Grouse Mountain on the West side of Okanagan Lake. The mine shaft is approximately 90 metres long. It’s now inactive, but at one time 5 metric tonnes of ore was mined yielding 560 grams of silver and 156 grams of gold.

If you want to check out the mine make sure you bring a good flashlight. You may also need some good waterproof shoes or boots. There’s normally quite a bit of water pooled at the entrance. The rest of the mine is relatively dry. The mine contains many undisturbed geological formations.

Here is a link to Blue Hawk details Wikipedia.  Directions are below.

Blue Hawk Mine Directions;

From Westside Road take Bear Lake Main Road AKA Lambly Creek Road (Across the road from Traders Cover Park.)
Just past the timber yard, and the 7km marker turn right onto the road leading to the motocross lower pits. There are signs posted.
From here, follow this map:

Instruction for you!

Backcountry Emergency Hut TEST!

 

Okay, we’re out here in the Okanagan on the back side of Big White Mountain and come across an emergency Hut. Sometimes people get lost around Big White so we thought, “let’s do a mock scenario and pretend we are lost, cold, and let’s see what happens. Here is Daryl. So here we are and we’re going to go in and see if they’re prepared for fire lighting. Is there enough material in there to help someone survive. As I was walking up to the door here, I noticed, before I stepped on the porch, some other types of visitors were here too. I’m guessing these pokey little hairs show that we have had a porcupine visit here.

Yeah, here I’m going to zoom in right. Oh! That’s why you don’t want to get poked by a porcupine. Hmmm, so if you get cut you can do some stitching with those. Just use a porcupine needle. All right, let’s go start a fire and get warmed up!

So the first thing we’ve got to do when we are freezing cold, we must find the stove and some matches or something to light a fire. Candles? It’s nice of them to leave the lighter nice and handy so that we could actually see it as we enter. We have paper there, okay, and it’s in a plastic bag I presume so that uh they hope it doesn’t get wet.
Is there anything living in the stove there like rats or anything?

So let’s take a look here and I’ll pause the video while we get set up for the fire, or do you want to just get set up now and see if we can light that baby [Music]

Yeah we don’t want to use all the fire lighting material.

You have all of our fire wood and everything!

We’re just going to see if we can get a flame going first though.

Great!

Another dead BiC lighter! No way, why would they leave a dead BIC lighter? It’s gotta work I’m freezing cold man! Make it work!

Well, good thing Big Buck is on the scene! Oh Big Buck carries TracksAndTrails.ca [QUICK-FIRE] ferrocerium rod striker!

I never leave home without a stick or two of fatwood in my pocket!

So, you’re telling me that QUICK-FIRE is
going to light those sticks on fire [Laughter]

Yeah, we take our striker and our fatwood and we’re just gonna fluff a little bit. Just like in the other video’s.

Nice quick and easy.

Make a little pile, I’ll put that right here on top of that paper. No way!

I’m gonna take our ferrocene rod and QUICK-FIRE striker.

you can smell the Fir or Pine. Holy!

There we go.

Paper burning yet? HaHa, the paper’s not even lit yet. It is starting tp go now. Fatwood is ruling the day! And you could also split that fat wood up into smaller sticks to  help

get a little longer burn if that flame isn’t going to burn
long enough. Like yeah you have firewood here but if you wanted to? Oh, when when you buy the the QUICK-FIRE ferro rod and kit

we’re considering Two Fire Sticks with it,
one for fluffing and one for feathering nice  starting material

so that way you’re not losing out on your fluff stick. That one will last for hundreds of fires.

Your Fatwood feathering stick there will get you there, your fire will be going, guaranteed, your fire will be going in extreme conditions. Thanks Daryl!

Fire

Fire

My friends Norm Sawyer and Jami Rogers co-authored ‘Thoughts From a Friend‘. A book with a lot of wisdom and great poetry. When I saw the poem Fire, it made me think of all the campfires that I have enjoyed with friends, I had to share it . The book can be purchased at Norm Sawyers website and they both gave me permission to share it here:

a campfire

Fire

Captured by flames, my eyes entranced, crickets serenade for one last dance. Good night, warm summer evening, good night.
Stars twinkle out their cosmic names, some I will remember,
glowing above the swaying pines, the moon is but a sliver.
The caress of pine enchantment carries my mind to reminisce,
smoke swirling through my hair,
Knees hugged tight into my chest. Dancing sparks, I feel your friendship. Passion as the torch of blue,
twirling flames of love as one,
Your abiding fire – truth.
Ashen heaps of desolation,
disregard and lamentations-
once brightly blazed, now lost in mournful endings.

The fleeting promise of fitful embers- smoldering, coaxing, glaring red, their final farewell – luminous and tender, breathing life back into the dead. Steady my heart, while memories creep like smoke that spirals thick and deep. And wistful yearnings grow to be
the hopeful flame that sighs in me. Goodbye sweet summer nights, goodbye.

by  Jami Rogers