Cycling near Armstrong

The rolling backroads near Armstrong are lined with fields of corn, above, as well as other crops, goat and alpaca farms. There are numerous hill climbs and descents suitable for strong cyclists and those with e-bikes.

It was deja vu for outdoor adventure this week, thanks to Colleen MacDonald, author of the new guidebook, Let’s Go Biking Okanagan and Beyond.

The avid Lower Mainland cyclist launched her local sales with book signings at Mosaic Books and Cyclepath July 17-18.

While she was in Kelowna, she wanted to cycle some of the 140-plus routes in her book. Instead, on July 17, the Sheriff and Constant Companion Carmen took Colleen, her husband Ian and six of their friends on one of our favourite rides, one we haven’t done since last year.

The Grand Okanagan Triangle route involves the Okanagan Rail Trail, Mission Creek Greenway and Okanagan Lake waterfront pathways. And we added Brandt’s Creek Linear Park in the Glenmore Valley. Everyone loved the route.

After last Saturday’s book signing, MacDonald returned the favour by taking the Sheriff, Ian and eight friends on her Vistas and Vines route in East Kelowna. It closely resembles our 2019 Mother’s Day tour of six wineries with a dozen members of the Central Okanagan Outdoors Club. It wasn’t our May 2019 routine — 15 minutes of pedalling, 45 minutes at a winery — but it was enjoyable in spite of 29 C heat.

On Sunday, CCC led a Central Okanagan Outdoors Club cycle on the rail trail for two members who wanted to try out e-bikes from Pedego Oyama. They loved their rental e-bikes and even the parallel Kal Crystal Waters Trail from south of Kekuli Bay to Coldstream.

On Wednesday, we returned after a long absence to the Armstrong area with a Meetup.com group: a 44-kilometre country loop of rolling country hills, fields of corn and hay, goat and alpaca farms with lunch at Farmstrong Cidery. We did so many backcountry roads that listing all of them would be confusing. Can’t wait to go back.

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The Sheriff recently asked the local governments which own the Okanagan Rail Trail for an update on the three interpretive sites, one to be constructed by the City of Kelowna at Carney Pond near Adams Road, another underway at Ribbleworth Falls in Lake Country and the third underway in Coldstream.

“We anticipate that landscaping will begin this summer and that the (Carney Pond) viewing platform will be completed by the fall,” said Michelle Kam, one of the city’s reps on the ORT interjurisdictional development committee.

The fence around Ribbleworth Falls came down on July 9, the same day that volunteers with Friends of the Okanagan Rail Trail pulled out weeds by hand, said Karen Miller, Lake Country communications officer. Site furniture has yet to be installed and then that fence will be removed.

“They (Coldstream and Lake Country sites) will, hopefully, be completed by year-end. Work is moving forward at the KM 3.7 site (Coldstream) in the RDNO’s section soon,” said Ashley Gregerson, communications officer for the Regional District of North Okanagan.

Also on July 9, RDNO began construction of “a modest but architecturally interesting washroom building” between the Kickwillie Loop and the Westkal Road trail entrance, said Mike Fox, general manager of community services. It will have two fully-equipped universal stalls, a dog water station and a drinking fountain when completed by the end of the year.

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Reader feedback from Mike S.

“I hike with five other grandpas and we have found quite a few trails near century-old concrete flumes (in the Central Okanagan).

“There is a flume running from Hydraulic Creek that used to cross Myra Canyon road about a kilometre or two up that road.

“It then goes onto KLO Canyon and changes to a siphon which goes down the canyon and crosses KLO Creek, back up the other side of the canyon and it changes to another concrete flume. There are parts missing but the flume heads for June Springs Road. It can be reached at Field Road East and up past the water tank.

“I never see much mention of the flumes but they were a big part of making this valley a fruit-growing area in the early days. There is quite a lot of 110-year-old concrete still around.”

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There was also a question about injured deer and roadkill from Bill A:

“Travelling from Vernon to Kelowna today, we observed two dead deer on the roadside, and another on the roadside laying down but quite alive. Probably a broken leg from a car crash. Who should we call? In our case, we had no ability to deal with the hurt deer. It broke our heart to go by, unable to solve the problem, whatever the solution.”

Sgt. Jeff Hanratty for the Conservation Officer Service in Kelowna responded: “The injured deer should have been reported to our RAPP (Report All Poachers and Polluters) line and an officer would assess the deer and in most cases, would have euthanized it to prevent further suffering, assuming that the reader was correct in their assessment of a broken leg.”:

The 24 hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week reporting line is 1-877-952-7277 (RAPP), he said.

“The two dead deer should have been reported to the Ministry of Highways’ road hazard reporting line, or to the city or municipality responsible for the road where the incident occurred.”

The road hazard reporting line for the Okanagan maintenance contractor is: 1-866-222-4204 (Acciona Infrastructure Maintenance Inc.).

J.P. Squire, aka the Hiking, Biking, Kayaking and Horseback Riding Sheriff, is a retired re-porter. Email: jp.squire@telus.net