Cowichan Valley Trail Map Video and GPS Starting Points

Cowichan Valley Trail Map,GPS Starting Points

N 48.65910 W 123.69797 Starting point from parking lot,South end of Kinsol Trestle.
From the Trans Canada Hwy #1 From Victoria drive north to Mill bay ,
Turn West at …read more view map at original website.

N 48.75827 W 123.79004 Starting point to Holt Creek Trestle.
Parking lot, Is about 1.3 km to the Trestle.
From Trans Canada Hwy in Duncan,Turn left on Allenby rd rd drive to …read more view map at original website.

N 48.77732 W 123.93039 Parking lot starting point for Mile 66 Trestle.
Drive up Cowichan Valley Hwy # 18 turn left at Mayo rd ,turn left on Riverbottom rd …read more view map at original website.

N 48.82177 W 124.04776 Parking lot starting point.
Starting point ,Drive to the town of Lake Cowichan from Duncan on Cowichan Valley Hwy #18
The best starting point from Lake Cowichan,Start from end of Pine st.
MILE 70.2 Trestle is…read more view map at original website.

N 48.63417 W 123.651708 Parking Lot starting point.
From Victoria,Travel on the Malahat # 1Hwy,Turn left on shawnigan lake rd,Go to the lake ,
This road changes its name to Renfrew rd ,Turn left at West Shawnigan rd turn right at
McGee Creek rd.McGee Creek Trestle is …read more view map at original website.

Cowichan Valley Trail Video

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British Columbia Hiker and Geocacher Expert – Stefan Farrow

British Columbia Hiker and Geocacher Expert – Stefan Farrow

I met Stefan Farrow five or six years back. He supplied me with a lot of pictures, video, and trail head data for the Okanagan. Having been involved with the management of a campground, teaching folks how to sail in Okanagan Lake and helping to save them when they forgot how as a Search and Rescue Volunteer, Stefan’s knowledge has been a great asset for this “outdoor” website. Stefan says that an outdoor website is a bit of an oxymoron…not sure what that makes me as the webmaster for 🙂 Getting to know Stefan a little over the past several years, I have noticed one amazing characteristic of his  is “attention to detail”. You can see what I mean if you read the 20 000 plus words that describe his adventures as a young lad embarking on the Duke of Edinburgh adventure.  Enjoy Stefan’s outdoor interview and learn one of the most important method of survival!

How and where were you introduced to the outdoors?

I would not so much say that I was introduced to the outdoors as much as I was I have always known the outdoors.  I was born into a family that owned a KOA Kampground in Salmon Arm, and almost all of my early childhood memories are of being in the forests and clearings that surrounded the wooded camping area.  After moving to Kelowna, my family continued to spend most weekends hiking and many years in boy scouts.

What has been your favourite outdoor recreations area?

Locally in the Kelowna area, my favourite place to adventure is Myra Bellevue Provincial Park in East Kelowna.  The area is excellent for mountain biking, trail riding, and hiking, with many trails and terrain of various difficulties.  The area offers some amazing views, and yet is well shaded to protect from the summer heat.  Using the trail system you access the Kettle Valley Rail Bed and extend your adventure.  Outside of the Kelowna area my favourite place is Cathedral Lake Provincial Park.

Stefan Farrow Trekking in the Cathedrals

The main area of the park is not accessible by personal vehicle, and requires that you either pay a resort contractor to shuttle you in on their private road or make the whole day trek in.  However, whichever way you choose the diversity of eco-systems to hike through and some of the most amazing views I have ever seen make it more than worth it.  The main camping and lodge area is located in a forested area around several crystal blue lakes, and you can hike from their into alpine flowers, barren alpine and even lush waterfront zones.

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

A favorite past time of mine has been geocaching.  The first cache I searched for and located was in the Bellevue Provincial Park Area.  I spent an hour or so hiking to the general area and the went the last few hundred meters with my GPS guiding the way.  After arriving at the location I spent the next hour looking for the cache with no luck.  Eventually I left figuring I would come back another day.  A week or so later, I returned but this time brought along my german shepherd for her weekly outing.  When I reached the top of the hill that the co-ordinates led to my dog was attempting to chew open the cache which she had found without prompting or effort.  Suffice it to say I continued to take her on every hunt as long as she was still able.

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

I myself have not experienced a wilderness medical emergency, however, I spent many years with Central Okanagan Search and Rescue and am a certified Wilderness Medical Responder.  There are many lessons that were learned from my experiences with SAR, however, the most important is the STOP procedure.  When something goes wrong, someone is hurt, or you find your self lost follow the acronym STOP.  S for STOP (sit down, take a breather and do NOT PANIC), T for THINK (where did you last know where you were or what do you need to survive), O for OBSERVE (are there familiar landmarks and what do you have or is around you that you can use), and P for PLAN (decide what to do and discuss it with your group or say it out loud if you are alone).  By following this principal you can help your self out of most any situation.  The next key principal when in a wilderness emergency is to break free of traditional thinking patters and begin to think in an objective oriented method.  This means that just because you have always “boiled water” a certain way before you need to forget that and say, “I need to boil this water”, now given what I have, how do I do this?  Effectively, you must turn your “auto-pilot” off and really think about how to do everything again.  This is especially true of treating injuries as you may not have a commercial splint or even some good sticks to use, and might have to use tent poles, or a ice climbers axe instead. Of course the old boy scout motto is the ultimate piece of advise – Be Prepared.

Can you share any unique encounters with wild animals?

Once while cycling the Kettle Valley Railway about a days ride south east of Merritt, I awoke one morning and upon opening the door to my tent was looking directly into the eyes of white tail deer only 2 feet away.  Neither of us moved for a good minute before the buck turned and slowly made his way of my camp.
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?

As my adventurous project for my Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (also known as the Young Canadian’s Challenge) I cycled the most the Kettle Valley Railway from Beaverdell to Osoyoos, and Penticton to Hope and Merritt over three weekends.  Without a doubt the lesson learned was that you can never, ever, in a million years think that you know what the weather will be like.  Point in case – May long weekend, and my companions and I are huddled in a highway underpass near the old toll booths hiding from the blizzard blowing past the entrances!  Once again the old adage comes back to mind; Be Prepared!!

What is your favourite outdoor website?

Isn’t the idea of an outdoor website a bit of an oxymoron?  To be honest, I gather information off of so many websites relating to outdoor adventures and equipment that I could not even begin to pick one as a favourite.  However, I suggest that everyone check out for some great safety and preparation tips.  Get you trip plan there and use it every time you go out, I do!

What is your favourite outdoor hiking gear store?

That depends on what I am looking for, but I have to admit that I do like MEC if I need very specific equipment, however, I try to support the local outdoors stores.  AG Outdoor Superstore, Venture Gear, and Outdoor Adventure Gear.

Snowshoeing and Winter Retreat near Kelowna BC

Snowshoeing and Winter Retreat near Kelowna BC

Snowshoeing on the KVR is a great introductory to snowshoeing, it’s easy, flat and not crowded. Curently there is about 6 inches of snow but up top there is over a 12 inches. I will keep you posted as more snow flies!

Snowshoeing at Osprey Lake

Snowshoeing at Osprey Lake

Snowshoeing on Osprey Lake
Snowshoeing on Osprey Lake

For a great snowshoe experience contact Osprey Lake Retreat

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Journey – Practise Journey Two Naramata to Osoyoos

Practise Journey Two: Naramata to Osoyoos for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

See Practice Journey 1- Carmi to Kelowna – and Trans Canada Trail – KVR pictures.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Journey – The final Trip

A dream soon became reality as we packed the vehicle that would deliver us to the start of our first journey and then follow us as safety vehicles. This was to become my first practise journey. Over the 2002-2003 season we made a total of three trips. For me, this entailed two practise journeys and my qualifying journey.

In mid March we headed out towards Naramata and regained the Kettle Valley Railway just below the snow level. We set off towards Penticton, stopping on the way to have lunch and later to visit the gravesite of Andrew McCulloch and his family. This man was greatly responsible for the planning and building of major portions of the Kettle Valley Railway. The Railway is often referred to as McCulloch’s Wonder. We spent the first night in Keledon and the second night in a Forestry camp south of Vaseux Lake and continued riding until we finished in Osoyoos. Much of the Kettle Valley Railway has been destroyed by farmers’ fields and in the last section and you must ride a paved bike trail for a considerable time.

What little of the rail bed still exists lies in farmers’ fields and is not accessible. The trip totalled about 100 kilometres in length and lasted three days.

Carmi to Kelowna – Practice adventure for Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Journey

A dream soon became reality as we packed the vehicle that would deliver us to the start of our first journey and then follow us as safety vehicles. This was to become my first practise journey. Over the 2002-2003 season we made a total of three trips. For me, this entailed two practise journeys and my qualifying journey.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Journey – The final Trip

Practice Journey Two: Naramata to Osoyoos

Practise Journey One: Carmi to Kelowna

A month after the dream was created we were finally finished the planning for our first trip.

We started 10 kilometres past Carmi Station on a Friday morning in October and started pedaling towards Kelowna. We spent the night in a cabin owned by Scouts Canada near the Myra Canyon area. The second day took us through Myra Canyon and to a forestry access road which we rode down and into Kelowna. The trip totalled approximately 90 kilometres and lasted two days.