In the 4 years we’ve lived in the Okanagan we have done very little hiking here. And most of the hikes we’ve been on can only be charitably described as extended walks in the park. Today we decided to do something different and drove to the Big White ski hill, just over an hour away from our home. There are several trails on the mountain, and from what we learned from a resident there, more to come in the future. The one thing about it being a ski hill, is that most of the trails are straight up and down, and our elevation recording showed it.
Over a 6.3 mile hike we climbed and dropped just over 1800 feet each way, most of it in the first hour and last half hour of the hike. Big White is the highest mountain in the Okanagan, and tops out at 7600 feet. That is much higher than we see in Arizona where the highest we’ve been is 5057’ but much lower than Colorado, or other parts of BC for that matter.
The ski hill has 15 lifts, and we passed under or around most of them during our time on the mountain. We were quite surprised at the amount of development there. According to their website there are 3 hotels, 25 Condo and Townhouse Complexes, and 250 individual homes. Over the course of a season they welcome 600,000 skiers to the slopes.
Sylvia was trying out her new backpack today. She has always wondered how she would handle the weight on her shoulders, but she and the pack performed great. Now I won’t have to be her Sherpa, and she can carry her own lunch and jackets.
While the flowers on the hillside were certainly no comparison to what we found in Colorado, there were some thick patches of Lupins, Paintbrush and several other flowers to catch our attention.
Just before we reached the summit we ran into some snow patches. Sylvia wasn’t inclined to show off her Snow Angel routine here, as she likely would have slid all the way down the hill.
At the very top of the mountain there was a pile of rocks likely placed there by hikers. I added one to the pile for us.
The view from the top was spectacular.
We didn’t see all the trails on the mountain, but covered almost 75% of them. The one we decided to skip was supposedly just a walk down a service road. It turned out that the trail we eventually chose to come down the hill was just a rough service road itself. We finished the hike in a little over 4 hours, and have vowed to find other decent hikes close to home. Hopefully they won’t all be straight up and down.