Category Archives: Tracks And Trails Blog

Unique posts written on Hiking, Camping, Backpacking and Trekking by TracksAndTrails.ca outdoor authors including Clayton Kessler: Kelowna, BC Canada.

Reserve BC Provincial Park Campsites...carefully!

British Columbia Provincial Park Campsites can be reserved but a caution for online reservations can be taken from my experience.

When reserving a Provincial Park Campsite one can reserve a site up to 90 days in advance.  In May, my family and I along with 3 other families decided on reserving a few sites at Texas Creek Provincial Park for July 2nd through July 4th.  I registered first and then called the other families and told them to register right away as therre were only 3 sites left.  So they did, in the registration process, they (luckily for us) a section pops up that allows you to write any special requests.  In that section each of our friends wrote that they wanted to have a site close to the Kessler’s.

Campsite Reservation Guide

Campsite Reservation Guide

After completing my reservation and paying with a credit card, I checked back on the Discover Camping website where the reservations are made and each time I logged in a message said “Pending”.  To me pending meant that someone was looking for a site and just needed to confirm via email that I was good to go.  After a few more days, I checked back again and found that my reservation did not exist and my credit card was not charged! I called the toll free number, they were informative but I don’t think they lived in Canada and did not get any satisfaction so I emailed.

Texas Creek Provincial Park lies on the shores of Christina Lake in Gladsonte Provincial Park.

Texas Creek Provincial Park lies on the shores of Christina Lake in Gladsonte Provincial Park.

Here is the email reply from Discover Camping,

Hi Clayton,

You will have to talk to the campground operator in regards of you joining your friends site. BC Parks party size is 8 people on 1 site 4 ad 16 and older and 4 children 15 and younger. It is up to the Operators discrestion whether or not you can stay on one site with your friends. They may tell you yes, you can stay on your friends sites  and charge you for extra people or you may be told to do a first come first serve site if one is available for you.

Jenn
Email Correspondence
Discover Camping

Well with that in hand plus the knowledge that many Provincial Parks have campsite overflow, I decided to just wing it and show up as planned.  All of out friends got to the campsite first.  When we got there the park manager had no problem in setting us up on two of the other campsites. (Due to the siz of my family and guest two sites were needed to fullfill site limitations.) Nick, the manager at the Texas Point Campground, and the rest of the staff were awesome in taking care of all of our needs.  It may have helped our situation when our friends mentioned that they were looking to have a campsite next to the Kessler’s. 🙂

It was even more surprising when the sign on Hgwy 3 said the campground had no vacancy.

Recording Outdoor GPS Tracks from your camping and fishing trips.

When you enjoy the wilderness, open your smart phone GPS (Global Positioning System), take pictures and have them geotagged so you can upload and share your adventures. Then not only will your friends be able to see your pictures but also exactly where the picture was! For example, I found a few awesome crown land camping locations last weekend and now I can show on TracksAndTrails where they are.

gps track

Unfortunately I have an old BlackBerry smartphone. I took pictures and the pictures are geotagged. My old BB Curve was one of the few models that had a GPS but for me to share them, I have to upload the track and pictures to gpsed.com where you can see the pictures and exactly where they are. Those pictures didn’t come through though when I converted the track to kML, uploaded the track to Google maps and inserted into my WordPress website.

So I think I will upload the TracksAndTrails.ca to gpsies.com now and try to get the code from that site as I think it will work in WordPress and show the pictures on the map as popups….this problem will be fixed when I get a new phone. The Android phones and actually all new smart phones have a real GPS chip in them. When I got my blackberry it was the only smartphone that had a GPS that worked off of satellite’s, all the other phone gps’s worked off of cell phone towers – now all the smart phones have gps’s so a track can be made way out in the bush even when one is away from cell phone towers and have no cell phone reception.

GPS is a space-based satellite navigation system. The GPS project was developed in 1973. Sharing your outdoor information gets easier and easier with new technology!

Real life scenario of Ham Radio in action!

An Orchard City Ameteur Radio Club member sent me this real life scenario that shows how helpful a radio can be when it comes to survival in the backcountry.

I recall one time,, when in trouble in the backwoods, he had another ham that he contacted on the Silver Star repeater, phone me, and ask me to monitor 146,82 until their problem was resolved, and keep his parents advised as to progress by  phone. One of those times, I actually went to where he was, stuck in a mud hole in his “new” 4×4, sunk up to his headlights, and took a chain with me and pulled him out! Funny thing was, when I got there, he was sitting on the seat with one foot on the dashboard, as he had recently broken his ankle, and since there was water on the floor of his truck, he didn’t want to get his cast wet! I still tease him about that!

Read this - do it, save your life Backpacker!

Each year we lose fellow backpackers and outdoors men and women to mishaps in the wilderness. These folks will always be remembered by loved ones and friends as the adventurers that they were.  They will be respected for reaching for heights, going the distance and giving it their all!

My oldest son has backpacked for several years now and has walked more miles in the backcountry, climbed more peaks and traversed more alpine ridges than I have.  (He nearly died rolling down a 140 metre – snow to scree – 45 degree angle slope on his return trip from sumiting Mount Siwhe. One of several pre trip activities that he does very well is getting terrain maps for the area he is hiking in. Recently he shared a link with me that anyone hiking or backpacking in Canada should probably be visiting.

http://geogratis.gc.ca/geogratis/search?lang=en

On his last trip to summit Mount Severide, a crew of French Backpackers who seemed to be avid hikers did not have maps for the area. They thought their destination was about 20 km away when they met my son but he informed them that it was much much closer. Can you imagine how lost they could have been? Jesse was done with his maps so he gave them his.

image of a typical topography map

Rail Trail Map - Vernon to Kelowna

The Rail Trail quick stats:

  • 49.9 km in length
  • max grade of 1.3 percent
  • 24 km of lakeshore along Kalmalka, Wood and Duck Lake
  • Connects Kelowna, Winfield, Oyama, Vernon and Coldstream
  • Safe access to UBCO
  • 23 Parks within 500m
  • 22 points of interest within 500m
  • Green Transport Corridors
  • More Rail Trail Information, images, resources, studies and reports
Rail Trail to connect six Okanagan Communities

Rail Trail will connect six Okanagan communities if approved by government.

Price Compare tool for Outdoor Equipment and Gear

Price Compare Outdoor Equipment and Clothing with our tool on the right side bar. Scroll down and enter the Outdoor gear item in the box. It is located to the right, you may need to scroll down. Compare prices for any outdoor item or clothing article in dozens of outdoor stores. This tool will search over 100 000 Outdoor Equipment items. Clothing, Footwear,tents, backpacks, knives, hatchets, food, and much more! Just type in a general term or exact product name to search and start saving now!

Palm Springs hikes - Premier Winter Hiking Destinations...and Dream Homes!

It is my pleasure to introduce an adventurous hiker who has began a quest to hike the 140 hikes listed in a hiking book by Phillip Ferranti titled “140 Great Hikes in and near Palm Springs”. Negin Shams hope is to share the beautiful hiking trails in one of the premier winter hiking destinations, in the United States,with anyone out there who likes to hike!

When Negin is not hiking Dream Hikes of the desert she and her sister, Niloo are winning awards as they close sales on Dream Homes in the Palm Springs area. They specialize in the La Quinta, Palm Springs, Indio, Indian Wells, Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage areas. Founded in 1988, The Shams Group Real Estate Brokerage is one of the premier boutique real estate firms in the greater Palm Springs area. Niloo and Negin Shams, fraternal twins, had a vision to set new standards in marketing, technology and service when they started their real estate business. Enjoy the interview…

How and where were you introduced to the outdoors?
I was born in Iran and grew up in Mallorca Spain so my outdoor experiences were skiing, sailing and windsurfing until I moved to the Desert 20 years ago. That is when I started hiking trails.

What has been your favourite outdoor recreations area?
I recently went to Jacksonhole Wyoming and did some trails there. It was absolutely beautiful…one of the most beautiful areas I have ever seen! We were able to visit the Rockefeller Jr visitor center that paid homage to nature and conservation. The building was spectacular. I also really enjoyed hiking in Moab in Utah. The red rock was amazing. The trail we hiked was not too strenous so we got to really see the surrounding rock formations.

Have you ever been lost in the wilderness? If so please describe this adventure and any lessons learned.
Never been lost.

Can you share any unique encounters with wild animals?
On one of our very early morning hikes in Rancho Mirage, my sister and I came face to face with a Big Horn sheep. Wow, I had no idea their heads were so large and the horns so intimidating. The sheep was perched on a cliff, looking down at the city lights. I imagined this magnificent animal wondering what happened to his natural world as he knew it. We stood there staring at eachother, and my sister and I decided to just turn around and go back down the trail!!

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?
Never done either but looking forward to my first experience. I will keep you posted.

What is your favourite outdoor hiking gear store?
REI

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

Okanagan Highlands Trail gets huge upgrade

The Central Okanagan Naturalists’ Club in Kelowna will benefit from $132,173 in funding which will create jobs and revitalize the Okanagan Highlands Trail Upgrades.

As well, the Kelowna Snowmobile Club will receive $110,000 in funding to help create jobs and revitalize the trails for the Okanagan Highlands Snowmobile Trails.

“Our government is pleased to provide $242,173 to the Central Okanagan Naturalist’s Club and the Kelowna Snowmobile Club in support of the development and upgrading of recreational trails across our country,” said Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan.

“Through this initiative, our Government and the National Trails Coalition (NTC) are working together to create jobs, stimulate the economy and improve Canada’s stock of trail infrastructure for the present and for our future,” he said in a statement.

The project is being supported through the federal government’s $25 million investment in recreational trails, part of the Canada Economic Action Plan.

The investment will be matched by the trails coalition and their provincial, territorial, municipal or private funding partners.

A first federal payment of

via Kelowna Capital News – Two grants allotted to outdoor clubs .

Okanagan High Rim Trail Association

High Rim Trail Logo

Contact the High Rim Trail Association and find out how to get your High Rim Trail Bumper Sticker.

Extra Extra, Read All About It! The Okanagan High Rim Trail Association has been born! A group of hard working enthusiastic outdoors men and women have been keeping the High Rim Trail open for years now. Having an official incorporated non-profit organization allows them to lobby for funds to  provide a safe working environment and fulfill many more requirements to complete the onerous task of clearing and marking the trail every year.

Learn more about the High Rim Trail Association and join the efforts that are providing this unique recreation corridor from Kelowna to Kalmalka Lake.

Northover Ridge in Kananaskis

I found interesting information on Northover Ridge from a couple of websites. I am hoping to complete the backpacking trip sometime and am adding Northover Ridge information as I find it.  View part one of this Best Hike in Canada series.

Here is the best free description about the Northover Ridge Backpacking trip. http://snow.prohosting.com/bennettw/hikes/northover_ridge/northover_ridge.htm

The following two images are from the above url.

Mount Northover

From http://www.geocaching.com/seek/cache_details.aspx?guid=d33b6763-45d8-4609-953f-3aa200fa8c9d we have this excerpt:

This Regular cache is located at the Northern extent to Northover ridge on the Defender Mountain Mount Northover Col.

On bivouac.com:
Club group dayhikes the Northover Ridge route, finishing two hours after sunset.

When the guidebooks use words like “operatic vistas,” “affords an ecstatic sense of exploration,” and “sustained high-elevation route” (Copeland and Copeland), or “magnificent” and “best . . . trip in K-country” (Daffern) along with “thrill ride,” “alarmingly steep,” “shoulder-width and outer space airy,” (Copeland and Copeland), “scree slopes poised above cliffs,” “tightrope of scree and shattered rock,” “slopes plunging over 1200 m,” and “vertigo-inducing” (Daffern), you know you want to go there, but you’re not sure you should. Northover Ridge is for experienced and self-confident hikers…

Here is a quote from one of the guided trip itineraries at the Canadian Rockies Hiking website.

“Day 2: Kananaskis Lakes – Three Isle Lake
We will pick you up after breakfast, deal with last minute gear issues and food packing then drive to the trailhead (1hour) along the spectacular Smith-Dorrien highway to the south of Canmore. The trail leads us first around the Upper Kananaskis Lake then into the forests following the Kananaskis River. After reaching the Forks, we continue to hike up the Three Isle headwall to camp for the night at Three Isle Lake (2175m.). Distance 10km. Elevation gain 300m.

On Northover Ridge

Day 3: Day hike to Northover Ridge
We are never far from treeline now and the scenery begins to expand exponentially as we rapidly gain height above the Lake carrying only light packs. From Northover Ridge (2800m.) and west into the Royal Group and beyond. Distance 10km. Elevation gain 600m, loss 600m.

Day 4: Three Isle – Turbine Canyon
Today is pass crossing day and the most challenging we face! After breakfast we make our way to the Continental Divide at South Kananaskis Pass (2306m) and cross into British Columbia. Passing Beatty Lake we contour into Leroy Creek on rough trails to re-cross the continental divide at North Kananaskis Pass (2368m) where we can stop to enjoy the views surrounding Maude Lake. Another 2km and we arrive at Turbine Canyon. Distance 14.2km. Elevation gain 730m., loss 650m.

Day 5: Turbine Canyon – Forks Campground
Turbine Canyon Camp (2200m) sits on a bench near treeline above the confluence of Maude Brook and the Upper Kananaskis River, it is named after the impressive and narrow canyon just downstream from the campsite. The views are tremendous and it’s also a great place to do a side trip. After a leisurely morning spent exploring this fascinating area we hike across the meadows to Lawson Lake and then it’s all downhill as we descend to the Upper Kananaskis River valley bottom and Forks campground. Distance 7.8km. Elevation loss 400m.”

Northover Ridge pictures here.

Mount Northover is located on the border of Alberta and British Columbia on the Continental Divide. It was named in 1917 after Northover, Lieutenant A.W.[1][2]

Mount Northover located at 50°34′57″N115°00′58″W

Here is an excerpt from http://waputik.tripod.com/gdt_meadow.htm#NOR

At an elevation of 2,591 m (8,500′) on the Continental Divide, the unnamed col provides a clear view of the next objective, the col (grid ref. 242054) just west of the summit of Mt. Northover. The trail is well-defined, but even when it is snow-covered, the route is obvious. Northover col (2,804 m (9,200′) is the start of the highest maintained hiking trail in the Canadian Rockies, and for the next 2.5 km the route is right on the divide. To begin, head left from the col and scramble up a short scree slope to find the first cairn on the ridge. The ridge is comfortably wide at the beginning, but it gradually narrows as you approach the high point. The drop-off to the Palliser valley is quite precipitous, but I wouldn’t rate any part of the route as exposed. However, there are one or two points where one must be cautious; it would be easy to lose one’s footing due to the strong winds that often sweep the ridge.

The high point, at 2,845 m (9,332′), offers spectacular views in all directions, especially of the Royal Group, Mt. Joffre, Three Isle Lake and Mt. Sir Douglas. This picture from the guide was taken from near the summit, looking back to Mt. Northover (centre-left skyline) and the glaciated north face of Mt. Joffre (right skyline). There are some excellent pictures of the Northover Ridge trip onBennett Wong’s site.

Here is another Northover Ridge intinerary and very good warnings etc from a calgary backpacking club:
Northover Ridge is described as the best hike in Kananaskis! The trip will be just over 32 km (20 mi) long with an elevation gain of ~1180 m (3871 ft). This trip will be technically difficult and extremely strenuous – NOT FOR BEGINNERS!!! There have been fatalities on this route and I don’t want to add to the statistics. Be sure to read the COMPLETE event description CAREFULLY before signing up. I would also urge you to look at Illustrated Hikes of the Canadian Rockies to see if this event is appropriate for your ability and fitness level.
Read the full itinerary here:http://www.calgaryoutdoorclub.com/events/details.asp?eventid=10376

Naming Geograpahic Features in BC

Hiking throughout the Okanagan and other interesting places in British Columbia, I have come across a number of unique geographical features that have not been named on any map that I am aware of and these spots have not been mentioned in local hiking anals etc. I have always thought it would be helpful to name unique geographic features so and to have them shown on hiking maps and official terrain maps so others could also find the points of interest and so the spots could be referred to in missing person searches etc. Please read the following British Columbian official notes on how to get a place named if you know of places that should be named and give input via the comments on place I would like to submit to have named.

I have two features that I would like to have named.

  1. Hayman PointHayman Point
  2. Trapline

Art Water Falls

HOW TO PROPOSE A GEOGRAPHICAL NAME

Proposals should be submitted in writing directly to the Geographical Names Office of the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations, and must include the following information:

    • precise delineation of the feature to be named on a photocopy of a 1:50 000 or similarly detailed map
    • a valid reason for naming the particular feature at this time
    • the significance or meaning of the proposed name
    • itemization of all research undertaken, including a list of local sources contacted, copies of correspondence received from local authorities and experts, and reference materials examined to ascertain that the feature doesn’t already have another local or historic name (note that the absence of a label on published maps does not guarantee that the feature is unnamed).

If the proposed name refers to the appearance of the feature (eg.Turtles Head Point), a photograph or sketch demonstrating the appearance would be appreciated; if applicable, please identify the time of day, season or aspect when the namesake markings, outlines or resemblances are particularly noteworthy.

If proposing that a well-established local name be made official, photocopies of documents, maps or correspondence containing or showing prior use of the name should be included; information about the earliest use and likely provenance of the name is of particular interest.

A commemorative name proposal must also include the following information:

    • a statement of the proponent’s relationship to the person(s) to be commemorated;
    • objective evidence that the proposed name is acceptable beyond a single or special interest group;
    • a brief biography of the person(s) to be commemorated, including a description of their association with the area where the feature is located, and an explanation of their unique contributions that tend to single them out for commemoration in this fashion.

Proposals must be signed and include a complete return address and the optional inclusion of a daytime phone number or email address.
Geographical Names Office

GeoBC: Base and Parcel Mapping Section
Ministry of Natural Resource Operations
PO BOX 9355 STN PROV GOVT
VICTORIA, BC V8W 9M2
(250) 952-6572
BC Geographical Names Information System:
http://archive.ilmb.gov.bc.ca/bcnames/
Policy revised January 2000
Ministry name changed October 2010

For Complete information on proposing geographical names in British Columbia

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.

Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations - Part 7

Challenges

1. Operational funding for maintaining recreation sites and trails and the Spirit of 2010 Trail.

Free CampingDraft Treasury Board submissions have been prepared requesting an uplift to the 2011/12 base budget of:

• $4.0M to keep recreation sites and trails open, safe for public use and

protect the Province’s investment; and

• $0.450M to maintain and operate the Sprit of 2010 Trail

2. Trails Strategy for BC

A Cabinet decision to endorse the draft Trails Strategy for BC is necessary for the Province to apply a proactive, collaborative and multi-jurisdictional approach to planning, developing and managing a world-renowned trail network in British Columbia.

3. Workload Stress

Free CampingRecreation Sites and Trails staff identified stress due to excessive workload and limited resources as very high in the last three employee engagement surveys. Key areas are:

• Staff capacity to represent the interests of public recreation and participate in managing public recreation on Crown lands outside recreation sites and trails. For example, Callaghan Valley, Blue Mountain, Chilliwack, Tabor Mountain, Valemount/Blue River, Englishman Creek, Catamount Glacier, and Bear Creek.

• Staff capacity to process in a in a timely manner (land status clearance, referrals, including First Nations) the increasing number of recreation site and trail proposals submitted by user groups who have secured dollars from various funding sources and are ready to begin work immediately.

• Staff understanding of First Nations consultation requirements for managing recreation sites and trails as well as the capacity to fully engage with First Nations and establish relationships.