Canadian Camping and a reminder to waterproof your tent!

As he unpacks his tent pulls out the instructions on top of the Aberdeen Plateau, where we are setting up camp for the night and reads, “Before using tent, use waterproof applicant to seal seams” ahhhhh! Lucky for Lonnie, it never rained enough to pool the water in his tent.

I never realized that I had to waterproof a new tent until my family and I went camping at Bear Lake a few years ago. Luckily our friends brought towels.  It took most of them to soak up the pool of water that was covering one third of the tent floor. The seams on the bottom of the tent leaked the worst.  All the rain drained down the tent side of the tent and right through the little holes that are made in the seam when the sides and bottom of the tent are sewed together.

I picked up a little bottle of waterproof gunk that you dab onto the seams.  Since I used the waterproofing product,  it hasn’t rained on our family camping expeditions so I am not sure if it worked or not. ….I hope we never find out.

Enjoy your camping this long weekend and don’t forget to waterproof your tents. If you purchase more expensive tents, they may be waterproofed already. Prio to the tnet purchase would be a good time to read the label or ask one of your local outdoor store reps like Don at AG Outdoor Superstore.

Alamo, Sandon, Cody and the Galena Trail in the valley of the Ghosts!

My family and I were awarded with some fantastic discoveries while on short vacation to the Kootenays in early July. After driving over the Monashees, dodging the deer on the road, taking the Needles Ferry (free ferry ride), stopping for a visit at Nakusp and finally getting a room at the Inn in New Denver we found the Galena Trail and Alamo, a ghost town that you cannot get to by motorized vehicle.

Upon taking the short drive from New Denver to Three Forks (which was also a boom town but nothing remains now), we discovered a small parking area just to the right as you turn towards Sandon, BC. This parking area is for those who want to begin a hike along the Galena Trail. I highly recommend it. Here is an exert from the Galena Trail brochure “Explore the 13-km trail from Roseberry to Three Forks. The Nakusp and Slocan (N&S) Railway is no more, yet the smoke from the wood-fired boilers and the howl of the steam whistle still linger in the air.” The brochure also mentions a few hazards:

  • Rock Slides
  • Steep drop-offs
  • Devil’s Club (sharp thorns)
  • Bridges
  • Cable Car

Yes, that is correct – a cable car! We had just hiked a short 1km or so from the Trail Head and found Alamo with ruins to explore and then went just a few feet further and discovered an awesome surprise when we tried the self propelled cable car – one at a time – to propell us back and forth across Carpenter Creek!

That was cool, but the Alamo ruins are great as no “touristy” stuff is done – having said that it is quite dangerous as walls of several buildings look like they are ready to collapse if you look at them the wrong way! If you step in the right spot you may even be able to take a rusty spike home for a souvenier as it will be stuck directly in your unsuspecting foot. 🙁

I wish we had time to follow the Galena Trail on to New Denver and Roseberry but it was already late and we had to get back to the room. The next day we discovered Sandon and Cody BC…but that will be in another post. 🙂

Ghost Towns of British Columbia

Wow – I still have not uploaded the recent pictures from the High Rim Trail near Kalamalka lake and my last camping trip at MacDonald Creek near Nakusp but I will as soon as I get back from visiting Ghost Towns in the Kootenays!  I am off to Kaslo and Sandon right now but if you have any questions about the High Rim Trail or other hiking trails email me from the contact page at www.tracksandtrails.ca and I will get back to you after the weekend!

Now, go take a hike eh!

British Columbia Hiking in Big White Ski Area?

Recently a tracksandtrails.ca visitor emailed the following question. If you can add to the information please post your information in the comments section below.

Question: Staying at Big White from June 5-10. Do you have suggestions on some good hikes in that area or down highway 33 etc? We are both in decent shape, but don’t have a GPS. We will take trail marking tape with us however. Also, is there a place to access the Kettle Valley Trestles from that end? Do we need to worry about bears or coyotes?

Clayton’s Answer:

I have not hiked Big White myself in the off season but I am told that from the village you can take a trail that loops around the summit and comes back to the village. I am sure that the administration will have more details on that. I will continue to look for someone who has hiked the area in the summertime and give you an update if I can verify any hiking information.

Down highway 33 there is a plethora of summertime hiking and exploration possibilities. One hike that you may find out about is the Okanagan High Rim Trail. It is a hike that is 50 km long and crosses Highway 33 before you get to Big White.  The trail is being worked on.

If you drive a little farther along Hwy 33 past BW (coming from Kelowna) you will see a sign for Idabel Lake Resort, Nordic Ski Trails, and McColluch Lake Road on your right. This road takes you to some very nice lakes if you like fishing or boating and Idabel and McColluch (McColluch is spelled several ways, McCollough, McCulluch, and is also called Hydraulic Lake) may have canoe/boat rentals etc. If you keep driving past McCollough Lake you can reach the old KVR bed (Kettle Valley Railway) and drive upon it until you get to the trestles.

To get to the other end of Myra Canyon you can drive towards Idabel Lake but keep going and head towards Chute Lake which is also located on the Trestles. From that point you would drive towards Myra Canyon and see the trestles from that side. This would be an all day excursion. But worth it. You would very likely see lots of deer in the area. From Chute lake you could take the trestles down to a good road that will take you to Okanagan Mountain Park (VERY AWESOME HIKING) and then to Naramata (VERY AWESOME orchard and WINE country absolutely beautiful area).

Now if you keep going just a little further down highway 33 you will come to Kettle River Provincial Park and Recreation Area http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/kettle.html

Also in this same direction you can explore old mines and even come accros a working ranch that has a lot of gold mining history along with a chance to pan some gold!

If you are staying at or around Big White in the Summer I suggest researching some of the above recreation ideas and sending me an email to help target some specific areas etc.

Bears and Coyotes? No do not “worry” about bears and coyotes but be aware of safety measures. Coyotes are no problem whatsoever. You will here them barking and howling at night just about anywhere in BC and they are kind of scary when you can not see them but can hear them howling and barking real close. But all they are trying to do is lure out your dog or pet….

Bears on the other hand you should be cautious of . In this area all that you will come across is Black Bears. I have come across many. They have almost always ran very quickly away in the opposite direction. You should never run though. If you are going in a remote area it is good to go with a few people but if that is not possible just rember a few safety rules. Make noise as you go. This way you will not surprise them. Pay attention to the direction of the wind – If you are walking with the wind the bears will smell you long before they see or hear you. (Actually Bears have quite bad vision) If you do come across a bear slowly back away get as big as you can to show a large adversary. As far as going up a tree….if it is a small black bear – I have seen them run up a tree with hardly slowing down. Quite remarkable actually! I never worry about bears but I do have Bear Spray (same as pepper spray or dog spray) and I always make noise (I am a real bad singer) when going upwind. A couple years ago I took a small group of teenage boys out to Hayman Lake and we had one bear making noise several times throughout the night so we kept a fire watch (wild animals do not like fire) but in the morning another bear showed up so we gathered our gear together and hiked out. When they hang around like that it is time to give them some respect. haha

Mount Revelstoke National Park in the Selkirks

With spring here it is time to think about penciling in some backpacking vacation time into the Calendar. Soon I will have my schedule posted here so individuals can email me the dates in which they may be able to join us on. I made an inquiry about Mount Revelstoke hiking and camping by emailed one of the national park employees for the area and he kindly emailed back with the following;

Eva Lake is great place to take a group camping on Mount Revelstoke. There are about five tentpads, a small cabin, an outhouse and a bearpole. There’s a paved road to the top of the mountain so you can start hiking in the meadows. Since you start hiking at the top of the mountain, you have already gained most of your elevation. The hike to the lake is relatively easy for fit hikers (it would be a good hike to take people who haven’t done a lot of hiking). If you are hiking at a relaxed pace, making a few stops, the hike may take about 3-3.5 hours (it’s about 2 hours at a steady pace). The best time to hike the Eva Lake trail is mid-August -September. With the big snowfall we’re getting this winter the snow may not be off the trail till August.

The wild flowers at the top of Mount Revelstoke are phenomenal — they would certainly be a highlight for those interested in that type of thing. The mountain flowers are at their peak about mid-August.

If you are staying more than a night, you could take your group on a day hike up to Jade Pass (probably about 1.5 hours from Eva Lake — some may find it steep if they aren’t fit — 360m elevation gain). Jade Pass overlooks the Jade Lakes on the other side of the pass — there is a trail down to the upper Jade Lake (maybe an hour — 335m down). There are tentpads by the upper Jade Lake as well. Unless your hiking group is very fit you probably wouldn’t take them down to Jade Lake (as you have to hike up again), but the pass is a nice destination — a nice panoramic view. Depending on how fast the snow melts you possibly may encounter steep snow patches toward the Jade Lakes Pass.

In the summer you can get updated trail reports at the Parks office in Revelstoke (250-837-7500). Also they can tell you what the Park fees are. You can also request information pamphlets that they will send to you.

If you Google Eva Lake, Jade Lake, or Miller Lake, you will find some pictures. I noticed someone has posted some vacation pictures of the areas I’ve described. Miller Lake is near Eva Lake and is another nice destination — the trail up to Jade Pass overlooks Miller Lake.

Mount Revelstoke and Glacier National Parks of Canada together represent the Columbia Mountains Natural Region within Canada’s system of national parks. The Columbia Mountain ranges (Purcells, Selkirks, Cariboos, Monashees) form the first tall mountain barrier east of the Coast Mountains. They are geologically and climatically distinct from the Canadian Rockies, found east of Glacier National Park. Mount Revelstoke National Park lies entirely within the Selkirk Range of the Columbia Mountains.