Monday, September 2, 2013

Okanagan Mountain

This looked like an awesome loop. And most of it was...but close to eight miles at the end is severely overgrown and very slow (read scratchy) going. The 1.4km access road is a bit bumpy, with a little scraping, but OK in a normal car.

The climb up Mountain Goat trail from the south parking lot is nice and steep; moderately technical and feels very "alpine" with a lot of exposed granite.

Looking south toward Okanagan Lake and Penticton at sunrise; about 15 minutes below Divide Lake.
From Divide Lake the descent road heading north is fast and like any old dirt road. The CN/Boulder trail heading into Wild Horse Canyon has some overgrown areas, but generally is in good shape.
CN/Boulder trail on the north side of the mountain; Peachland across the lake. 
Wild Horse Canyon has a few more overgrown areas, but it's mostly at chest/head height, and there still is a trail underneath. It's not easy going, but it isn't too difficult either.
Looking back (north) up Wild Horse Canyon. 
Coming out of Wild Horse up over a little pass I heard unmistakable crashing in the brush 20 meters to my right. A bear popped up onto a rock and just stared at me. I yelled at it quite a bit and he/she was content to just stand there and listen/watch. Not big, but not a cub. After 20 seconds I started to keep walking along the trail, while yelling, and after about 50 meters started running again. First bear since Cascade Pass last August.

Immediately after that pass where the bear was the trail opens up into a large basin (SW section of the mountain). The trail can be tough to follow in a couple spots through here and it's very slow going for the last eight or nine miles. If you're into brush hiking it might be fun, but it tired me out...if the trail could get some maintenance it would be a great loop!

My Garmin had it at 26.18 miles (not sure where the last segment went).

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