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Cathedral Road TripGo to Slide Show

Go stand on a mountain for Canada Day


If you look at my pay check now you will see some 40 days of vacation that I haven't taken.   It's summer, beautiful, and not to be missed.  I wanted to do something for the Canada long weekend so I devised a little road trip.    My goal was to go hiking in Cathedral Provincial Park on Canada day, but being 4 hours from Vancouver (in good traffic), I had to go at least a day before.

Manning Park
I left Wednesday around lunch time (after picking up some last minute supplies) and drove out to one of my favorite parks - Manning.  Manning is about 2.5 hours east of Vancouver (often much longer because of bad traffic).  I got a camp site at Lighting Lakes (they have warm showers) and found out that I could only reserve Wednesday night - every other night of the weekend had been booked. 

Manning Vista

White Pasqueflower
My favorite part of Manning is the meadows you can drive up to.  The meadows aren't truly alpine - you're not actually above the tree line - but it's close enough to be cool.


Whole Glacier Lily
I was right at the end of Glacier Lily season - they aren't as thick as other places, but they were still fairly common.  They are quite a delicate plant that loves to blow in the wind so you they can be a pain to capture on film.
Yellow Glacier Lily

I've been up enough times that I've seen most of what you see up there, but there are always new ways to see such beautiful things.    As far as I can tell, there are really two challenges in photography - first, capturing the wonderment of what you see the first time and second, learning to see past what you have seen before to find new wonders.  These lead to the third challenge - trying to get past that nagging sense of plagiarism - if not of others, then of ones self.

Spreading PhloxField Of Hellebore
  Road Side Lupine
Columbian LilyTwo Tiger Lilies
So I was quite surprised to find that the ride down was actually quite photogenic.  The road side is unique in a few ways - it has open light and disturbed soil (read ditches) - but also totally accessible.  But again, that nagging sense of following in your own foot steps (and doing it poorly) comes back to haunt you.  Consider for a moment the Tiger Lilies - the first time I took a snap of this plant, I probably took the best picture of a tiger lily I ever will.  Every future picture will be at best second.



Ah - but it gets worse.  Consider for a moment the plight of the Cascade Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel.  This little squirrel lives on the hand outs at a pull out at the top of a hill.  He is so well trained, he runs up once, makes an assessment of your generosity, and then scurries away if you aren't bearing gifts.  I've snapped before and like the Tiger Lily, I'm not showing any improvement. 

Red ColumbineCascade Golden Mantled

Mule Deer Eating Road
Could it get any worse?  Surprisingly yes.  Turns out a good part of photography is opportunity.  The last time I came down from Manning I saw a Blue Grouse - a rare sighting that was lots of fun (and I really wished I could change film speed like I can on my digital).  This time?  How about a Mule Deer - that's pretty common, especially for BC Parks. 


So we have lousy copy plagiarism, and lack of opportunities.  Could anything else go wrong?  Undoubthly yes.  Mix in use of wiz bang technology (any want to make Panorama's?  The software for that is pretty good now - I'm using Hugin on my Mac and happy for it.   Anything else?  I looked at the back of my car when I got out at the end of the day and noticed my insurance had expired two days before - and I won't be going through any towns large enough to have an insurance agent for a few more.  Cool.

Lightning Lake Pano

On the plus side, they do have warm showers.

Kermeos Area

Road To Cathedral
It's now Thursday - the great unwashed hordes of Vancouver are about to descend on everything that isn't Vancouver.  I checked out of my pad and booted it up the highway to Cathedral Park and securing a fine camping spot.   We are now in a distinctly different weather zone than the coast - it's warmer, drier and the plants have changed.

Canola FieldCamp In Cathedral

I had a few ideas of today.  First, I drove into Osoyoos and got my insurance extended.  I checked out spotted lake - a salt lake just outside of town - unlike last fall, the water levels were quite high and there with the lighting, I couldn't find a compelling image.  Next on the list was the drive up to Mount Kobau.  At one point the government considered putting telescopes up here.  It went south - literally - Canada's telescope dollars go to places like Hawaii and Chile.  Oh well, at least we got a nice road to nearly alpine.

 View From Mountain Top

My expectations weren't high coming up here, but I did discover a few things.  First, the plants are definitly different.  While there are some similar plants (paintbrush was common as was lupin), there were a number of new plants.

Scarlet GiliaBitter RootBest Picnic Table Ever

 

Welcome to Cathedral
Cathedral Provincial Park has two real options to get in - you either hike up - 7 to 9 miles up several thousand feet, or take a truck up to the Lodge.  Apparently, most people take the truck.  The truck takes about an hour to go up and an hour to go down and only runs at very specific times - check the web site.  They have a day hiking trip package - 8am at the gates for up, 6pm down - first and up and last down for the day.   Throw in lunch and it's $90.

I was really hoping for a large crowd going up so that I could join some party - the idea of hiking through the mountains by myself didn't strike me as particularly brilliant.  Turns out I was the only person going day hiking on Friday.  Oh well.  On the truck ride up we talked about routes - the plan was to go up by Glacier Lake and hike the ridge to see the sights.  Once we arrived I set out pretty much immediately, hoping to make the best of the day.  Very quickly I found myself ascending and realizing the air at 7,000 feet is noticeably thinner.  Thankfully after only 45 minutes I was rewarded with what would be a day of beautiful sights.
 
Hill Above Lake

Walking Beside Glacier Lake
In other BC hikes, this one vista would be worth a days hike.  Here it was just an access route to something much greater.  I continued up the path as it went around the lake and up the slope to the ridge.  Hiking up the slope really makes you question your ability to ascend - it's a lot of loose rock and it's steep - you don't make great time.  Soon enough you crest the ridge and discover you are pretty much standing on the moon.


The views are fantastic - 360° without a tree in sight to limit the view or impede the wind.  It's starting to get cold up here - even though I was working hard for much of the day, the fleece and goretex jacket were rarely unzipped.  My toque came out a few times.  You really are in a rare place.

Mountains From The Moonscape
 
Ridge Shot 1Marmot Over Lady Slipper
And just as you get used to walking on the moon, you are reminded you are in some animals home.  A marmot (common in Manning) popped up to watch me walk by.   You turn the corner on the ridge and are suddenly treated to an entirely new valley to view.  This is such the way to travel.

Lady Slipper Lake

 But there milestones when you are hiking up here.  The first is a feature called the Devil's Woodpile.

Devils Wood Pile
  In classic BC Parks fashion, it's labeled with a a large brown painted sign.  Much of the rock around here looks like columnar basalt that just didn't make the standards for shape or robustness.  In one small part of the ridge there is a winning section - a long section of rock that is distinctly columnar and bends over.  Columnar basalt is one of my favorite geological phenomenons - weather it's in a waterfall in Japan or in Kayaking off some some small Island in Mid BC.  Somehow the prospect of a 1000 foot fall here hindered me from getting a strong composition - perhaps I should come back at sunset.
 


Cairns Up Here
The next feature on the List is Stone City.   Most of the ridge so far had been good sized rocks cover in thin soil.  Stone city was rock covered in a layer of extremely course sand.  The transition is fairly sudden - you feel like you are in a cut scene from the Lord of the Rings film.

Welcome To Stone City

And again I was surprised by wildlife.  I've seen Ptarmigan's on mountains before, but this is both higher and hard to believe any bird could find enough food to live let alone find a mate to keep the species going - and yet both must be true.

Walking AwayPtarmigan

And that View doesn't stop.  Past stony city you can see into the next valley and the new row of mountains.  I believe this is looking South enough to see the US. 

Looking Across Valley To Cliffs

More milestones - first Smokey the Bear.  Smokey the Bear is a rock on top of a cliff that has a pretty good resemblance to Smokey the bear.  The view point has a 200 foot drop in front of it and the wind is pushing hard to send you over it.  Lovely.  Next is the giant Cleft.  There are two trails to it - the first goes high and you end up at the top of a gut turning drop.  The second follows around and stops at the bottom of the cleft.   Yup, big hole in a rock.  Good place for lunch.

Smokey The BearGiant CleftMe At Cleft

After lunch I walked back to where I came by Glacier Lake.  I was a little disappointed to see no other humans up here and was further disappointed when I saw four mountain goats go running when I was well over a km away from them.  What can you do?

Quiniscoe Mountain
I was back on the the ridge where Glacier Trail comes up at about 1:30 - lots of time to keep going.  My Next challenge was Quiniscoe mountain.  The Ascent is relatively gentle and in less than an hour you are surveying yet another beautiful view.  From here you can see down over both Glacier Lake as well as Quniscoe lake and you can see the lodge that opened up this park.

View From Quiniscoe Peak

Top Of Quiniscoe MtSome Cinquefoil
The wind is always your friend up here - always with you.   Even though this place is cold and covered in snow for much of the year, plant fight to make there existence known.  You get used to seeing so many beautiful flowers.


After soaking in the view, I started down the ridge to the next pass.   Off the ridge there is a thick moraine of snow that has been built up by the wind and has resisted melting.  Unlike the Glacier Lake Valley, Quiniscoe's ridge hasn't yet melted a good walk way through the snow.  I wound up descending a snow ridge to the last 10 feet - basically a straight drop off.  I really wish I had brought an ice axe and maybe a friend to go first.  A bit of excitement and I was back on solid ground.

Hanging Valley Over Quiniscoe LakeAlpine Trail

Squirel In Grass
Coming out of the alpine is bitter sweet.  Trees return, familiar plans grow larger.  I saw a curious Columbian ground squirrel scold me for coming by and walked along the stream from the snow as it got larger and larger.  Eventually I was back to the lodge and on a truck back to the valley floor.

Waterfall

A little pricey for a hike, but in my opinion, well worth the price of admission.

South Okanagan
The next morning I got up and drove through Osoyoss and Olivier to meet up with Sean and Catherine.  They were camping at Inkaneep Provincial Park. 

Camp Site At Inkameep


Nk'mip Desert & Heritage Centre
We dropped in to the tourist center in Osoyoos to find out what was happening today.  Our goal was to walk on Sand Dunes, but there isn't anything like that close by.  (Apparently, up a lake on native land there are sand dunes.  It's generally not open to the public).   The Nk'mip Desert & Heritage Center had a snake demonstration on so we decided to go check it out. 

Prickly Pear CactusWavy-Leaved ThistleLittle Purple Flower

The center has a 2km very well document hiking trail and we had some time to before the snake show.  Turns out you don't need to go to the snake show to see snakes - we ran into two.  First, just after a bridge we were directed to a small rattle snake curled up.  Second, further out, we found a much more lively Gopher Snake camouflaged in the brush.  We chased him for a while and eventually he came out and strolled through the legs of my tripod.  I was quite impressed.

Rattle SnakeBull Snake In The GrassAnother Purple Flower

The Center isn't just about wildlife - there is also a demonstration of traditional native house and signs describing native lifestyle.

Sean And Catherine In UndergroundWalking Around Sage Brush


Lunch on the lake, hiking in hills, visiting a winery or two, a swim in Penticton and dropping by the Dominion Radio telescopes, there is lots to do in the South Okanagon.

Walking Above Tin HornBrown Eyed SusanCanadas Radio Telescopes

But ultimately we returned to camp for dinner, a nice campfire and sleep. 
 
Sean Fanning FlamesSean Adding Wood


The next morning I drove back to Vancouver and a long, well deserved bath.


Ptarmigan
Species: Lagopus leucurus (White-Tailed Ptarmigan)
Tags: BC fauna, bird
White Pasqueflower
Species: Pulsatilla occidentalis (White Pasqueflower)
Tags: flower
Waterfall
Tags: waterfall
Red Columbine
Species: Aquilegia formosa (Red Columbine, Western Columbine)
Tags: flower
Sean And Catherine In Underground
Person: Sean, Catherine
Top Of Quiniscoe Mt
Altitude: 2553m (8375 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: camera gear, summit
Sean Fanning Flames
Person: Sean
Tags: fire, long exposure, Okanagan
Walking Away
Species: Lagopus leucurus (White-Tailed Ptarmigan)
Tags: alpine, bird
Road To Cathedral
Tags: road trip
Wavy-Leaved Thistle
Species: Cirsium undulatum (wavy-leaf thistle)
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Mule Deer Eating Road
Species: Odocoileus hemionus (Mule Deer)
Tags: BC fauna, deer, road
Mountains From The Moonscape
Altitude: 2445m (8021 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: panorama, summit, vista
Walking Around Sage Brush
Person: Sean, Catherine
Tags: desert, Okanagan
View From Quiniscoe Peak
Altitude: 2551m (8369 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: panorama, summit, vista
Lady Slipper Lake
Tags: lake, vista
Field Of Hellebore
Species: Veratrum viride (Green False Hellebore, Indian Hellebore)
Tags: field, meadow
Columbian Lily
Species: Lilium columbianum (Columbian lily)
Tags: flower
Sean Adding Wood
Person: Sean
Tags: fire
Walking Beside Glacier Lake
Tags: lake, mountain
Marmot Over Lady Slipper
Species: Marmota caligata (Hoary Marmot)
Tags: BC fauna
Best Picnic Table Ever
Altitude: 1872m (6141 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: vista
Two Tiger Lilies
Species: Lilium columbianum (Columbian lily)
Tags: flower
Looking Across Valley To Cliffs
Tags: panorama, vista
Smokey The Bear
Altitude: 2595m (8513 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: alpine, hiking
Ridge Shot 1
Species: Marmota caligata (Hoary Marmot)
Tags: BC fauna
Camp Site At Inkameep
Tags: camping, tent
Some Cinquefoil
Species: Potentilla villosa (villous cinquefoil)
Tags: alpine, flower
Hanging Valley Over Quiniscoe Lake
Tags: vista
Me At Cleft
Person: John
Altitude: 2504m (8215 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: rock
View From Mountain Top
Tags: panorama, vista
Road Side Lupine
Species: Lupinus arcticus (Arctic Lupine)
Tags: flower
Whole Glacier Lily
Species: Erythronium grandiflorum (Yellow Glacier Lily)
Tags: flower
Scarlet Gilia
Species: Ipomopsis aggregata (scarlet gilia)
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Another Purple Flower
Species: Calochortus macrocarpus (sagebrush mariposa lily)
Tags: desert, flower
Manning Vista
Altitude: 1987m (6519 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: alpine, meadow, panorama
Little Purple Flower
Species: Calochortus macrocarpus (sagebrush mariposa lily)
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Walking Above Tin Horn
Person: Sean, Catherine
Tags: hiking, Okanagan, vista
Lightning Lake Pano
Altitude: 1256m (4120 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: lake, panorama
Canadas Radio Telescopes
Tags: Okanagan, telescope
Rattle Snake
Species: Crotalus viridis (Western Rattlesnake)
Altitude: 331m (1085 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: BC fauna, Okanagan
Spreading Phlox
Species: Phlox diffusa (Spreading Phlox)
Tags: flower
Squirel In Grass
Species: Spermophilus columbianus (Columbian ground squirrel)
Canola Field
Tags: field
Cascade Golden Mantled
Species: Spermophilus saturatus (Cascade Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel)
Tags: BC fauna
Bitter Root
Species: Lewisia rediviva (bitter root)
Tags: alpine, flower
Devils Wood Pile
Tags: columnar basalt
Camp In Cathedral
Altitude: 929m (3047 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: camping, tent
Giant Cleft
Alpine Trail
Tags: alpine, trail
Cairns Up Here
Altitude: 2582m (8471 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: alpine, cairn, rock
Yellow Glacier Lily
Species: Erythronium grandiflorum (Yellow Glacier Lily)
Tags: flower
Welcome To Stone City
Altitude: 2585m (8480 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: alpine, cairn, hiking
Prickly Pear Cactus
Species: Opuntia fragilis (brittle prickly pear)
Tags: cactus, Okanagan
Bull Snake In The Grass
Species: Pituophis catenifer (Bullsnake, Gopher Snake)
Tags: BC fauna, Okanagan
Hill Above Lake
Tags: field, hiking, lake, mountain, panorama
Brown Eyed Susan
Species: Gaillardia aristata (common gaillardia, brown eyed susan)
Tags: flower, Okanagan
Tags: flower(15), alpine(8), Okanagan(8), vista(8), BC fauna(7), panorama(7)
People: Sean(5), Catherine(3), John(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > John's Overnight Page > Cathedral Road Trip
From: John Harvey Photo > John Harvey Photo - Camping > Okanagan Camping > Cathedral Road Trip
From: John Harvey Photo > Blogs for 2013 to 2005 > Okanagan Camping 2 > Okanagan Camping > Cathedral Road Trip
From: John Harvey Photo > John Harvey Photo - Camping > Okanagan Camping 2 > Okanagan Camping > Cathedral Road Trip
From: John Harvey Photo > Okanagan Camping 2 > Okanagan Camping > Cathedral Road Trip

Thank you for the lovely photo journey to Cathedral Park. My Mother and I created wonderful memories when hiking the area Autumn 2003. We especially enjoyed walking through the most spectacular larch forest I have seen.
Susan
Saturday, March 13th, 2010 at 13:10:27

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