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

Yufu-Dake in Oita, Japan

Yufu dake, aka  Bungo-fuji or Hakufu-dake is in the prefecture of Oita, Japan, in the north-eastern part of Kyushu, the southern main island of Japan.  The closest stop on the JR line is in Yufuin.  Take a bus or taxi from there.

The approach give you a good long look at the mountain’s twin peaks.  The false summit is on the right, the true summit on the left (as you approach).  Walk about a km or so across an open area before beginning to climb, gradually at first, through the humid forest.

After about 30 min or so, the trail opens into grassy switchbacks, but resist the urge to cut across.  Once in the crotch of the peaks, you can choose which peak to climb.  We took the true summit, and were ninja-ing our way up on chains which had been bolted to the side of the rock.   This part is not for the faint of heart.

The summit appears quickly once you reach the chains, and the top has incredible views of Yufuin and almost all the way to Beppu.  Our packs were primarily full of beer, and the Japanese people we met at the top, in their northface gear and gas stoves, were shocked that all we brought was a few beers.  By our standards, the climb was not too difficult, and we didn’t need anything that we didn’t bring.

One word of caution… it’s a long walk back into town if you miss the last bus.  trust us, we know.  and 2 sweaty, slightly drunk white guys are extremely unlikely to be picked up as hitchhikers.

There are tons of sweet, day peaks all around Japan.  This one was very close to our house, so we climbed it a few times.  Ask around for local peaks where-ever you might be.

Your Personal Travel Guide - Right Now - on OurExplorer.com 祝愉快!

Jean Liu

Through Twitter I have traveled to  Shanghai, the financial hub of China and met a very business savy travel guide, Jean Liu. Jean states that Shanghai is known for urban tourism. You will find quick urban developments, history of the past and cultural legacy. Passion for sharing the Chinese culture and heritage has led Jean to become one of the founding parners in a dynamic travel business service called OurExplorer.com. OurExplorer.com will allow a website visitor to select a guide in almost any major Asian city and embark on a sightseeing tour for as little as an hour or two or for more time if you have it. This service will be great for anyone traveling to Asia and China and if  someone has a flight layover, they will be able to get outdoors and see some sights that may not have been included in their itinerary!

The 2010 World Expo in Shanghai is almost ready for the world to visit.  Jean Liu welcome’s you to the event! If you have any questions about Shanghai, China, or OurExplorer, your welcome to contact Jean Liu. Jean’s TracksAndTrails.ca interview is below

Happy exploring! Have fun.

嗨,欢迎来到上海,中国的金融中心。我所在的这个城市以都市旅游而闻名,你可以看到快节奏的都市发展、近现代租界历史和海派文化。

我是OurExplorer.com的创始人之一,曾陪同小团体的客人在上海游览。如果你有任何关于OurExplorer,中国或上海的问题,欢迎联系我。

2010年的上海世博会正在积极准备中,欢迎届时参与盛会。

祝愉快!

How and where were you introduced to the outdoors?

By the friend who works as tour leader for hiking. In China.

What has been your favourite outdoor recreations area?

Seeing the scenery along the way.

Please share an outdoor story related to one of the above areas.

When hiking in Tiger Leap Gorge, we went down to the Jinsha River and then up to the ladder to heaven. Always along the Jinsha River, but different feeling and views when we were down close to it, or watching it from high above.

Have you ever experienced a wilderness medical emergency or been lost in the wilderness? If so please describe this adventure and any lessons learned.

We usually join outdoor activities with professional leaders, so that no extreme occasions so far.

Can you share any unique encounters with wild animals?

Fireflies? Guess they are not that wild. It was a very enjoyable encounter though. We stayed overnight in the village rooms during a hiking in Chiang Mai. There were great trees and a river running by (reminded me of the scenes in “A river runs through it”). Chatting and singing after dinner, and we saw fireflies here and there.

If not previously mentioned, have you ever completed a thru-hike or multi-day backpacking trip and what nuggets of wisdom did you glean from it?

2 day hiking in Yubeng village, in the mountains of Yunnan province, southwest of China. Amazing scenery and nice local Tibetan people. Trust and follow your team leader, as they know the place and possibly your strength and limitations.

If you are a website administrator please add your url here.
http://www.ourexplorer.com/

Your Favourite Hike or Backpacking Trip.

Is your favourite hike a short walk in the city park, a stroll in the regional park or a adventure multi-day backpacking trip?

Share your favourite hike, walk, backpacking thoughts in the comments below.

My favourite local hike is on the Mt. Hayman bluffs.  The Hayman point juts out over the Rose Valley Resevoir and gives you views that take your breath away. Literally!

Yellowjacket Creek Camping

At Yellowjacket Creek you will enjoy 10 Campsites and be able to get there with Road (Motorhome)

Facilities:Tables, Toilets

Site Description:10 unit campsite on edge of Kinbasket Reservoir

Driving Directions:Valemount Area: take Canoe East FSR 19 km south (radio-controlled road)

Woss Lake Free Camping

At Woss Lake you will enjoy 24 Campsites and be able to get there with a two wheel drive.

Facilities:Boat Launch, Tables, Toilets

Site Description:

Among the trees you can enjoy a large site with numerous campsites . Sandy beach, swimming and boat access will provide you a great opportunity to explore the rest of the lake .

Driving Directions:

From Port McNeill, travel southeast on Highway 19. Turn right at Woss and turn left at the logging camp office. Go across the bridge and travel another 1.5 km to the Woss Lake turnoff. The campsite is on the right.

Free Camping Map

 

World's Largest Cave - still being discovered!

One of the reasons I love to hike is because it seems that I always find some unique natural feature that amazes me. Could you imagine finding a cave over 6 Km long and in some places200 m high?

Cavers find an exit in 6.5 km long cave in the Jungles of Vietnam.

This world’s largest cave was first discovered in 1991 when a Vietnamese Jungle man named Ho Khanh. No one had entered it prior because the loud noise from the wind and under ground river freaked everyone out.

 

In mid April 2009, after hiking for six hours, negotiating a deep chamber and 2 underground rivers, a British – Vietnamese expedition reached the chamber of the amazing hang Son Doong cave.

For more pictures and details of the trip go to this news site.

World Reknown Okanagan Mountain Biking Trails!

Mountain bike trails seem to be everywhere I hike in the Okanagan.  I like to mountian bike but I would never take these crazy jumps and ramps that seem to be built in many hiking areas.  I admire the passion that mountain bikers have for the sport.  It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to accomplish what has been done in the Okanagan.

I was emailed this mountain biking question recently;

Q) I am interested in visiting Kelowna for the long weekend and doing some mtn biking. I really liked your website and found it very informative. What are the best maps for the area? What are the primo areas? Is it possible to ride around Okanagan Mountain Park in a day?
Any advice you can give me regarding mtn biking in Kelowna would be appreciated.

A) Thanks for visiting Tracks And Trails and emailing your question.  Being that I am not crazy enough to take the extreme single tracks and crazy ramps and jumps that are out there, I have put together a Mountain Biking Resource for the Okanagan that you can view via this link. It includes where to get trail map info as well as fourums to get up to date mtn biking  intel.

My thoughts on Primo areas are;  (Okanagan Park does not have the jumps built)

1) Gillard Forest Service Road.  Dude you just gotta be there.  This place is alive bikes! (motor and non)

2) Powers Creek! Holy Smokes – you aint seen nothing till you been here.  I think I noticed a forum (on PinkBike) that said there was a world class competition here at some point.

3) Glenmore Hills has lots to offer.  Enter the hills at many points from Clifton to the Dog park just past the Kelowna Land Fill on Glenmore Road.

4) Okanagan Mountain Park could probably be seen in a day by ….maybe Phil, or someone else who bikes 400 km just for kicks so they can enjoy the feeling of thier lungs coming alive in agony and pain!

What you want to do here is enjoy the park.  Start with a ride through Wild Horse Canyon, camp at one of the backcountry campsites, continue way up to any one of the several lakes and then loop back to Kelowna by taking the Old CN Trail or exit to the KVR along Mountain Goat Trail (you will have to carry your bike some parts) and ride down to the Kettle Valley Trestles.  Please comment here when you are complete!  I would love to hear about it.

I would have mentioned the Crawford Trail area but I have heard that mountian bikes are not allowed anymore???  Anyone care to comment.

World Class Biking Trails in Kelowna and Black Canyon trail update.

Thanks to a world class mountain biking expert – Johnny Smoke, we now have another update to the Black Canyon Trail in Glenrosa. But even more cool is Johnny’s biking video. As I have hiked around Kelowna, I have come accross many bike ramps, I think Johnny has taken them all by the looks of this video.  Check it out at his website and hire his company to take a mountain biking tour.

(no I wasn’t paid to say that but I do want to encourage him to come back to Tracks And Trails and leave more posts and hopefully more video)

Woods Lake N. Free Camping

At Woods Lake N. Free Camping you will enjoy 16 Campsites and be able to access there with a two wheel drive

Facilities:Boat Launch, Tables, Toilets

Site Description:

Two small sites of open and treed will give you a different experience. There is good fishing opportunity here, as well as good access. The last 3 hours into the lake are rough.

Driving Directions:

Follow Hwy 97 N onto Pinuis FSR, then Will Forest Service Road, then Ingram Forest Service Road onto Ingram/Wood Rd. A link to useful directions and highways in BC http://www.milebymile.com/main/Canada/British_Columbia/Canada_British_Columbia_road_map_travel_guides.html

 

 

 

 

Wood Fuel Campstove Converts Heat to USB power!

The technology to use wood heat for power has been understood and utilized for decades. Finally an innovative company has harnessed this technology to create a campstove for backpackers and a larger size stove for home use (specially in third world countries) They call it BioLite. Biolite Photo Gallery

The BioLite CampStove was named a finalist in the 2012 Innovation By Design Awards. The awards honor the year’s most inspiring, ingenious and innovative design solutions. Fast Company editors and judges from across all spectrums of business and design selected 56 finalists from more than 1,700 entries submitted by over 1,000 different companies. Winners will be announced at a gala event in New York City on October 16, 2012.

So, the real news is…BioLite Giveaway – Enter Now!

September is National Preparedness Month and we’ve chosen some of our favorite items for a unique Preparedness Pack – a perfect addition to any emergency kit. Enter to win a Osprey Bag full of goods from Mophie, Alite, Life Factory, Goal Zero, and of course, BioLite.  3 lucky winners will be announced on October 11th.

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Wonders await in Blue Hawk Mine (abandoned and dangerous)

 

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.

If you geocache, you will find a cache there as well.

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.
When you reach the parking lot turn right and go up the hill.
Keep on the same road the rest of the way but there is one turn that goes north to Terrace Mountain, it looks like a main road but don’t take it.

When you see the swamp on your right;

Continue for 0.9km past it and keep straight at the old cabin and continue for 0.5km into the clearcut area.

Keep straight at the intersection (there is now a small trail sign that says Blue Grouse and points at the road going to the top of Blue Grouse I presume.  Continue for 0.2km past the clearcut area

When you see a small road to the right that is quite steep, park and hike for a few meters,

the Blue Hawk mine is on your left going into the hillside.

Track from GPS:
Blue Hawk Mine GPS Track

Wolf Man - a bare foot hiker

How and where were you introduced to the outdoors?

I grew up on a farm in Niagara-on-the-lake and spent most of my time outdoors. My grandfather was a World War II vet and believed that young people needed to learn about the outdoors and how to survive.

What has been your favourite hiking trail or outdoor area?

I love the desolation of the mountains. I spent Halloween in the Adirondack Mountains near Mt. Marcy last year and it was spectacular. There is a certain awe that I feel in the presence of mountains that makes you feel very spiritual and close to nature.

Please share an outdoor story related to one of the above areas.

I spent June and July of 2009 hiking the entire Bruce trail barefoot from Niagara to Tobermory. In Boyne Valley there is a place called Murphy’s Pinnacle. I arrived there late one evening and made the short trip to the summit. Although being only 500m tall, it was so beautiful and moving. I sat there and watched the sun set with my dog.

Have you ever been lost in the wilderness? If so please describe this adventure and any lessons learned.

I have learned good directions and have never been lost for more than an hour or so in wilderness. It’s surprising how when you step off trail to camp or relax how quickly the trail disappears into the woods and is difficult to find. Always use landmarks or temporary marking tape to not get lost.

Can you share any unique encounters with wild animals?

During my Bruce Trail Hike, I awoke to hear a noise outside my tent. I gently unzipped the tent to find a huge buck staring at me. He breathed out and I saw the mist from his nose. It was a mind blowingly beautiful reminder of the wild place I was visiting.

If not previously mentioned, have you ever completed a thru-hike or multi-day backpacking trip and what nuggets of wisdom did you glean from it?

I’ve spent most of my life in the outdoors. Each year I spend most of my free time in the wilderness. I’ve hiked through Algonquin park, Killarney park, and Frontenac park as well as travelled through the United States and walked barefoot on the Salt Flats of Utah, and the floor of Death Valley. From all those trips I’ve learned how beautiful Canada and the United States really is. I also learned that shoes are not as necessary as people may belive if you are tough enough to handle it. I’ve also learned that if nothing goes wrong, it’s not an adventure

What is your favourite outdoor website?

backpacker.com

What is your favourite outdoor hiking gear store?

I always love military surplus stores, gears designed for our troops who are often called professional campers and of course Mountain Equipment Co-Op

If you are a website administrator please add your url here.

http://www.wolfmaan.com

Winter Camping Equipment List

Winter Camping Equpment List

Clothing

  • snow boots plus a backup if needed
  • wool socks X 3
  • polypropyline socks X 2 or extra wool ones
  • long underwear (polyproopylene preferred)
  • fleece or wool pants (no blue jeans)
  • wind / water /snow proof pants
  • underwear as needed
  • light shirt
  • wool or fleece seqtshirt
  • toque (wool or fleece)
  • wool or fleece sweater
  • winter jacket
  • gaiters (recommended)
  • gloves or mitts 2 pair good quality

Equipment

  • tent with fly (as a backup for the shelter you will build)
  • rope (something you can cut if needed) plus rope or string to be used with various items
  • shovel (aluminum is best)
  • cold rated sleeping bag
  • sleeping pad (a must)
  • liner for sleeping bag if not cold rated bag (fleece or wool blanket)
  • knife, fork and spoon
  • cooking utensils, stove and fuel
  • water
  • flashlight with good batteries
  • candles and lighter
  • bak

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