Where the locals hike.
In Vancouver the locals grab a coffee and walk the Seawall on a daily basis, in Kelowna it’s Knox Mountain. It’s rated moderate to difficult but if the number of people I met on the trail are any indication it’s a weekly if not daily tradition for the people of Kelowna. I’m certainly up for a challenge and since I’ve not been back to try my hand at the Grouse Grind after my knee made me bail out 2 years ago I’ll look at Knox Mountain as a training hike. Best of all Knox Mountain is located right in Kelowna so it’s easy to access and close to Hotels, coffee shops, and Lake Okanagan for a post hike swim if you are so inclined. 30 Days Of Summer is about to get some exercise in Kelowna, wish me luck.
To get to Knox Mountain is very easy, all you do is drive down Ellis Street in Kelowna until you hit the end where you will be able to park your car at “basecamp”. For those not into hiking but who want the views you get from the hike you can drive up the mountain as well and park at the mid point or at the very top. I’m parking at the base and going to Hike up to the top.
Like every good park there is a map of the park with all the trails laid out right at the start. After checking it over I decide the hike I want is the Apex Trail. Any away I go!
As you can see it’s an absolutely gorgeous day in Kelowna. In fact it’s about 1pm when I start my hike and the temperature is in the low 30’s. It’s hot is what I’m saying. After about 100 feet I start to question my sanity in tackling this hike in mid day and stupid me, with no water. Tip #1 pack some bottled water with you. The trail is well laid out and easy to walk except it is quite steep and within a mere minutes I was sweating bullets.
Lucky for me all along the trail are education stops with some signage about the trail, native plants or general local knowledge. I’d like to say I stopped for the education but in honesty I stopped at each one to catch my breath! Stopping often though gave me a chance to really appreciate the local flora and fauna. Kelowna is part of a dessert climate and you can see some plants here you can’t find in the Lower Mainland.
With all the work and the heavy breathing I think it’s time for me to look back at how far I’ve come so far. WOW the view back towards Kelowna and of Lake Okanagan is breathtaking and I’m not even half way to the first lookout spot.
I continue on higher and start to enter an area with more trees and a bit more shade. The last stretch of this first part of the trail has steps which tell me I’m getting close to the lookout point.
I’ve done it, I’ve reached the top. Well actually I’ve reached the first look out point or the midway parking lot if I’d have chosen to drive.the view is amazing. It was worth sweating off 2 gallons of water.
Here I make a big decision, it’s time to turn back. I came un prepared for this hike and this weather. I’ll come back another day better prepared but I think it’s good to know when to bow out as hiking should be fun not dangerous. On my way down I was passed a few times by groups of other hikers, one young hiker was actually running down the trail! YOUTH!
Next time I attempt Knox Mountain it will be in the morning when it’s cooler and I will pack some water and snacks with me for energy. I have no regrets though but I’ve only had a taste of what Knox Mountain offers and when I come back to Kelowna I want more.
Summerhill Pyramid Winery, located for more than 20 years in the Lakeshore district in Kelowna, BC, is Canada’s premier certified organic winery, BC’s first Demeter certified biodynamic vineyard, Canada’s foremost producer of sparkling wine, and now Canada’s first producer of uncooked Kosher wine. Winemaker Eric von Krosigk oversees the portfolio of BC VQA wines that suit every occasion and has earned the winery the ‘Canadian Wine Producer of the Year’ award at the International Wine & Spirits Competition in London, England. The winery, owned by the Cipes family, is also home to the Sunset Organic Bistro, serving food grown and raised by local organic producers, including Summerhill’s own on-site permaculture-style vegetable garden. The mission of the entire Summerhill team is to produce exceptionally good-tasting wines organically, support local organic food growers, and provide unforgettable experiences for all guests.