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Home » Adventures » British Columbia » Okanagan Mountain » To Good’s Creek

Wednesday — Down to the Lakeshore

When You Wake Up It’s a New Morning

Route I Hiked This Day

Route I Hiked This Day

The heavenly disturbance from the prior evening had cleared, leaving behind a very calm morning. As I gazed from my tent, the water of Baker Lake was completely still. A perfect sheet of glass resided there, with not the smallest ripple disturbing its perfection.

I again lacked any motivation or outside stimuli for an early start, so a lazy morning had me once more leaving camp well after the sun popped above the mountains. But what did that matter in the backcountry?

On my way from Baker Lake back to the main trail, I somehow managed to lose the well marked path. A little luck, a map reading attempt, and a undisclosed amount of bushwhacking eventually brought me back on course.

Fredrick Creek Trail

On the west side of the mountain, the trail’s composition changed. Until now, a single, well worn path wandered through the forest, but here the track widened among the sparse trees, and the obvious tread of footsteps disappeared. Orange blazes still kept me easily on course traversing this side of the mountain, but it was my responsibility to find a route between them.

During much of the descent on Fredrick Creek Trail, the march of vehicles hurrying along the highway on the other side of Okanagan Lake came into view. Their motors’ roar occasionally echoed across the lake, disturbing the peace. I am unfortunately also in the rat race when not on vacation, but that decision comes into question when gazing upon the madness from the outside (oh yeah, because backpacks, traveling, and food cost money). Society kept busily hurrying forward as I inched along the mountainside. For all the traffic in the distance though, Okanagan Mountain was completely void. I had not encountered another person since leaving the Ironman awards dinner two days prior.

My progress down Fredrick Creek Trail was slow, but my SPI did not matter (especially since there was not even a schedule). The way was not physically demanding, but the steep, rocky descent made each foot placement measured and methodical, keeping my attention fully focused on the terrain. At least I was not traveling in the other vertical direction and having additionally to fight gravity.

It Tastes Like Burning

The massive burned forests

The massive burned forests

For most of the past two days I had been hiking though burned trees. In 2003 Okanagan Mountain suffered a severe fire, consuming almost the entire park. The trails that once wandered through luscious forest now ran amongst charred tree trunks. With all the foliage destroyed, views from the ground extended much further, but the openness also took away from the wilderness experience. Ample sun and scorched wood occupied the backcountry, but not much green. Mother Nature had just begun the process of rebuilding, with only small pines and shrubs popping from the rocky mountainside. Many more trips around the sun would elapse before the hillsides would be restored.

Park management had proactively cut down many of the dead trees throughout the park, presumably for safety so they do not fall on visitors (as I would later nearly learn first hand). The trails had also been cleared of debris at least once since the conflagration, but many new falls since then obstructed the path. I quickly became adept at scrambling over and under fallen trees, while trying to not become covered in soot.

Wild Horse Canyon

Turning into Wild Horse Canyon, the route became a noticeably worn trail again, rather than markers indicating a general direction to follow. The grade through the canyon was not as extreme either, which made forward motion easier and faster.

Since I had not scheduled any epic days in Okanagan Mountain — not sure how my legs would respond after Ironman Canada— my hiking was unhurried and relaxed. I stopped whenever I fancied and tried to enjoy the surroundings as much as possible. This intensity was a nice change from most of my vacations, since they usually include hiking major miles kilometers each day (more miles kilometers = more fun, right?). This day though, was merely an afternoon stroll.

Good’s Creek

Shoreline near Good’s Creek

Shoreline near Good’s Creek

The last junction to Good’s Creek was close laterally to the shoreline, but still very high above the water’s surface. I tried not to think about how many feet meters the trail would have to descend in such a short distance, but the realities of geometry soon settled in. The inevitable toe-jamming downhill to the rocky beach on Okanagan Lake was quite the doozy. Climbing out the next morning would be even more fun.

At camp along the lakeshore, I skipped swimming two days in a row, but did soak my feet in the refreshing liquid while relishing the small waves audibly lapping against the shore.

Although I was still alone, many people aboard powerboats had skipped out of work Wednesday afternoon and played on the lake. A variety of craft roared by all afternoon as I kept peace in my primitive accommodations.