This is the first of a set of 3 blogs concerning my 2017 riding of the Kettle Valley. The good intentions were to hub and spoke out of Penticton and complete three rides: 1) Osoyoos North to Penticton; 2) Skaha Lake 3) Chute Lake to Penticton.
These rides were based on the trail guide: Cycling the Kettle Valley Railway, by Dan Langford. Generally a well written and descriptive book, in this section alas it failed miserably. Not to put too fine of a point on it but there is NOT a contiguous trail North from Osoyoos to Penticton. The trail guide is not the only source that suggests that there is such a route, the provincial maps also clearly show such a trail. Certainly poking around north Osoyoos failed to yield much evidence. However, if you don’t mind a bit of highway riding and some flat and boring trails, you can get North to Penticton.
Note: this is a potential source of future reference, Trails BC.
North of the 49th
We started our ride at the border crossing just south of Osoyoos. Still in Canadian territory, the ride went north along Highwya 97 to Osoyoos town limits. From the park in the town, a trail winds it way North until private land and signs indicating no trespassing stop you at this point. Apparently the land on which this spur of the railway was sold in the 1970’s and there is no longer a legitmate public access route. As well, there is some hostility amongst landowners against a trail being created due to concerns of vandalism, etc.
Back to Highway 97
From the end of the trail, we re-climbed out of the valley to highway 97. While the road is ‘okay’ (reasonable shoulder, moderate to heavy traffic), it certainly is not ideal. In the end we cut east again along Road 22. Mentioned a few times, this road was also ‘okay’. It had its share of undulations and the hill climbs gave a moderate cardio work out. The alternative was to ride along the river/irrigation canal that runs from Skaha Lake to the North and Osoyoos Lake to the south.
Road 22 to Oliver
Road 22 eventually descends into the town of Oliver where we had a spot of lunch in the park. From there, the trail along the river continues on until it intersects Highway 97. Once again, the maps suggest that it continues west of the highway but we could find no sign of the trail. Instead the route was along highway 97 to Okanagan Falls. From here there is an excellent trail on the west side of Skaha lake that will take you into south Penticton. Along this route I had the following black bear experience:
On a remote section a black bear Cub popped onto the trail. The problem with a bear club 100m ahead of you is where is it’s the mother. Fortunately she popped up beside the cub. She took a look at me and decided I was not worth the bother and ambled off to the other side of the trail with cub on tow. At this point, 15 seconds later I was glad I was uninteresting… Alas no photo but at least I got to tell the tale!
It might be interesting to go back and try to find a route from Osoyoos to Penticton… okay, not fantastically high on the priority list of trips to do in the time remaining here on earth, but if circumstandes allow for it, interesting nevertheless.