Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Rocky Screech

This past Sunday we narrowed down our hike choices to Bear Creek or Crawford Trails.  After binge watching "Life Behind Bars" on Saturday evening, we were curious to see if the Crawford trails had any "sic lines" like the ones ridden by Brandon Semenuk and his crew.  For the uninitiated, Life Behind Bars is a three season web series that follows some of the highlights of top rated mountain bike freerider Brandon Semenuk and his crew (which happens to include my nephew, fondly referred to on the series as "Inty").

Crawford Trails are located in Myra Bellevue Provincial Park in East Kelowna with two entrances on Stewart Road.  We prefer the entrance at the edge of Crawford Estates, the dead end of Stewart where it stops at a rock quarry.

There's a great interactive map located here where you can click on a trail and it will show you the distance, degree of difficulty, elevation and the condition of the trail.  There are 95 trails to choose from, some better for hiking, others for mountain biking.  Whatever mode you choose, it's best to keep an eye and ear out for other users, including people on horseback and the occasional bear.

We chose the Earring trail.   We soon realized we'd done it a few times in the past so when we reached a fork, we headed up the Big Drop to the Connector and were enticed by the trail name Rock Screech, thinking it might be a good example of a challenging bike trail. We took the Easy Out and ended up back on the Earring Trail on our way back.  We pretty much just wandered around the place.  I think it's pretty hard to get lost.  I do recommend getting a map though.  The Friends of the South Slopes (FOSS) have a well marked map you can purchase from any of the cycle stores in town for a mere $10 plus tax.

 A young stand of aspen along the Earring Trail.  

It's exciting to see the trees coming back after the Okanagan Mountain Park fire devastated the mostly Ponderosa Pine forest here in 2003.


 Top of the Big Drop.  You can see evidence of the spring melt flowing down the trail.


 Here's the view from the top of Rocky Screech.


A Thoughtful suggestion by the FOSS, farther along the trail lets you know you might prefer to veer right to an easier path down the Rocky Screech trail, rather than the one straight ahead.  


 I took a short walk down the path to see where the real screeching begins.

 Here's the view from the lip of the cliff, pictured above.

I knew someone on Youtube would have a video of themselves on this trail and I've posted it below.  I'm ashamed to say I shouted "wimp!" at the screen when the dude in this video decided to walk down parts of this trail. Totally unfair of me as  I don't think I'd been keen to walk it myself, never mind bike down it.  


I guess I've been spoiled by the skill level of Semenuk and the other mountain biker's I've been watching on Behind Bars.  Check out this video of a ride in Utah with Semenuk and Cameron Zinc.  Start around the 5:25 mark.... warning, the language is a bit strong if you're a sensitive type.

These pretty little flowers dotted the landscape along the way.

 Some enterprising person did a little chainsaw carving on their way down the hill.  When hubby asked "I wonder what the Z stands for."  I said "suZan, of course."

I have no idea how long we hiked or how many kilometres we covered, but it was a nice bit of exercise on a cloudy March morning and the dogs had a great time chasing marmots and squirrels.  Tune in next week to see if we try a Sunday hike along Bear Creek, where I believe there's a waterfall.

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