Discovering a Turtle Sanctuary and Reaching Majestic Heights…

Hubby and I had never been to Kelowna’s Wilden area before, so on a comfortably cool and sunny Sunday Funday in June we took our grandpuppy, Daisy, to check it out. Not certain where to go, we happened across the Hidden Lake trail. What an unexpected delight!

1 Hidden Lake 3 Hidden Lake

The trail follows Hidden Lake to Still Pond.

6 Still Pond 7 Still Pond

Look close. A log absolutely covered with turtles!

3a Still Pond 4 Still Pond

In fact, turtles were sunning themselves on every available log and rock. I’ve never seen so many turtles in one place.

5 Still Pond 5a Still Pond

We took a path up from Still Pond, hoping for a viewpoint, but it led back into the community.

8 Still Pond

Besides the turtles, the two ponds are teeming with feathered friends.

Yellow headed blackbird

2 Hidden Lake

American Coot and babies

9 Hidden Lake

This colourful guy is a Ruddy Duck

9a Still Pond

As we were leaving Hidden Lake, I spotted another log, loaded with even more turtles. Wow!

10 Hidden Lake

Back at the car, Daisy lapped up a refreshing drink of water.

11 Thirsty Daisy

We then investigated another trail, eventually ending up above Blair Pond.

12 Blair Pond

The steep path didn’t bother Hubby (or Daisy) but I had to carefully pick my way down.

13 Wilden 14 Wilden

We’d set out in search of stellar views, and instead found some enchanting ones. The stellar views came a week later…

On the last Sunday Funday in June, we tackled Okanagan Mountain. Boulder Trail started out easy enough, with plenty of beautiful vistas.

15. Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park 16. Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park 17. Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

 

Soon, the trail became both steep and eroded.

18 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

Okanagan Mountain Park stretches along the east side of Okanagan Lake, between Naramata and Kelowna. In 2003, a ferocious wildfire roared through the park, leaving utter devastation in its path, destroying 238 homes in Kelowna, along with twelve historic trestles in Myra Canyon. Thirteen years later, the aftermath of that brutal fire still remains.

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20 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain ParkAfter climbing a short distance, we descended into the Deeper Creek ravine.

21 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park 22 Bridge over Deeper Creek, Okanagan Mountain Park

Deeper Creek was actually not very deep.

23 Deeper Creek, Okanagan Mountain Park 24 Deeper Creek, Okanagan Mountain Park

The most challenging section of Boulder Trail ascends the ravine on the other side of Deeper Creek. We climbed straight up for half a kilometre. The entire time, I kept thinking about negotiating my way back down again. Yikes!

25 Steep trail bordering ravine, Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

A scenic spot to catch our breath and have a snack.

26 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park 27 Stopping for lunch, Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

The incredible views kept getting better.

28 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

More stark evidence of the ‘03 wildfire.

29. Burnt trees from 2003 fire, Okanagan Mountain Park 30 Burnt trees from 2003 fire, Okanagan Mountain Park

Slow but sure signs of regrowth.

31 Seedling amongst burnt trees from 2003 fire, Okanagan Mountain Park

As we hiked by a house-sized boulder, I mused that if our adventurous middle son was here, he’d want to climb that rock to see what he could see. Moments later, we were scaling that massive beast and this is what we saw!

33 Okanagan Lake from Okanagan Mountain Park

The trail grew steep again as we cleared the junction with CN Trail and neared the viewpoint.

34 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

Almost there!

35 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

Best seats in the house for lunch.

37 Lunch at Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park 38 Lunch at Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park

Heading down to marvel at the panoramic lake views.

39 Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park

Looking northwest, Gellatly area and Mount Boucherie on the left, Knox Mountain and city of Kelowna on the right.

40 Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park

West Kelowna (Westbank)

41 Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park

Southwest, toward Peachland

41a Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park

Soaking it all in and feeling quite accomplished.

42 Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park

Didn’t feel quite as accomplished as I hunted for the rock I’d set my poles and bag on.

43 Looking for my trekking poles, Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park

Found them!

44 Found my trekking poles, Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park

Back down, we went.

45 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

Descending the steep trail bordering Deeper Creek ravine was as difficult as I’d feared. I fell a time or two, luckily escaping with only a few scrapes and bruises. Without my surefooted hubby’s helping hand, I might’ve been in worse trouble, especially when a tumble off the path could result in a fall down a deep ravine. Note to self: buy footwear with more aggressive tread.

46 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

At approximately seven kilometres, round-trip, and an elevation sharply rising 300 metres, Boulder Trail was a challenging, exhilarating hike, and I’m so glad I experienced it.

That hike may have been the pinnacle of our Sunday Fundays, but there are plenty more to come…

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