Andrew McCulloch grave

This week’s Secret Okanagan Spot is the result of a wide-ranging search in Lakeview Cemetery at 775 Lower Bench Rd. in Penticton. The gravestones for Andrew McCulloch, his wife, Annie, and sister, Mildred, are unpretentious considering McCulloch was the chief engineer for the Kettle Valley Railway. Appropriately, the Kettle Valley Rail Trail is located nearby on the west side of the cemetery.

The premature arrival of fall weather and the return of smoky skies to the Okanagan meant a search for sunshine on the West Coast. So the Sheriff and Constant Companion Carmen spent two weeks of intense outdoor recreation at what we hoped wouldn’t be the Wet Coast, first on the Sunshine Coast and then on Vancouver Island.

There’s nothing like local knowledge and we used two resources: long-time buddies Suzanne and Gerd who have lived in Powell River since the end of June, and the tourist information centre in Powell River.

Our buddies took us to a series of trails, some of them we would only do once because of the numerous protruding roots.

The tourist info centre had many paper maps of local trails.

One of our personal highlights was the smooth, wide Willingdon Beach Trail (part of the Millenium Park Trails) which starts at Willingdon Beach on Highway 101, next to our campsite. It is lined with historic logging equipment with descriptions on its uses.

The other highlight was discovered almost by accident. While the others hiked from Haywire Bay Regional Park on Powell Lake to Inland Lake Provincial Park (part of the Sunshine Coast Trail), the Sheriff decided to cycle the Inland Lake Loop. The washboard gravel road was a challenge.

When the Sheriff returned and opened the door to the camper, a glass bottle of butter chicken sauce had fallen from an upper cupboard. It smashed on the camper table, spreading bright orange sauce on the table, three cushions, wooden walls, both carpets and all the cycling gear piled at the doorway. Three hours of hiking was followed by three hours of cleanup.

The Sheriff and CCC returned to Inland Lake the next day — the camper still smelling like butter chicken sauce — and did the loop around the lake: wide and smooth gravel surface, two incredible boardwalks on pilings and multiple lake views — all constructed by volunteers 20 years ago. It was so enjoyable we did the loop in both directions.

Next week: Vancouver Island trails in the Parksville area.

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This week’s Secret Okanagan Spot series is the gravesite of Andrew McCulloch, located in Lakeview Cemetery at 775 Lower Bench Rd. in Penticton.

The gravestones for McCulloch, his wife, Annie, and sister, Mildred, are simple and unpretentious considering McCulloch was the chief engineer and later superintendent of operations for the Kettle Valley Railway, forever dubbed McCulloch’s Wonder.

The Kettle Valley Rail Trail is on the west side of the cemetery so you have to climb up the hill to section D, about 20 metres south of the main entrance and five metres west of a fire hydrant on Lower Bench Road, not easy as we discovered.

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The arrival of chilly weather coincides with this weekend’s ski swaps.

The Ogopogo Zone of the Canadian Ski Patrol will hold Swap 2021 at the Kelowna Curling Club, 551 Recreation Ave., today and Sunday.

Last-minute consignments will be accepted 8-10 a.m. today with the sale going 9 a.m.-5 p.m. today and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sunday

(30% off red-tagged items on Sunday).

Payout and pickup are 1-4 p.m. on Sunday.

In the South Okanagan, the 2021 Canadian Ski Patrol’s Winter Extreme Ski and Board Swap is at the Penticton Curling Club. Apex Zone Ski Patrol has stipulated no hockey equipment, tuques, gloves, goggles, helmets or “straight” skis will be accepted. Sales are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. today with pickup 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Sunday.

Apex Mountain Resort will be selling 2021-22 season passes.

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The BC Wildfire Service says the 83,342-hectare White Rock Lake Wildfire is now classified as held but an area restriction is in effect until Oct. 15 so hunting and recreation are prohibited.

You can find details and a map on the BC Wildfire Service website.

Hazards within the area include ash pits, falling trees and rocks, unstable slopes and burnt-over roads. Conservation officers are patrolling and issuing fines to anyone found accessing the area.

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Kal Tire is once again stepping up to sponsor cross-country skiing youth programs in B.C.

For several years, Kal Tire has generously supported XC by funding ski playgrounds, adventure trails, coaching development, program equipment and video contests.

Last year, Telemark Nordic Club in West Kelowna received $1,500 towards Track Attack program equipment and in 2019, $2,800 towards its terrain park.

As a part of its support, Kal Tire is offering an exclusive coupon for a $100 discount on a set of new winter tires or all-weather tires.

This year, the five XC clubs that redeem the most coupons at their local Kal shop (on a per-member basis) will win $1,500, $1,000, $750, $500 and $250. In addition, Kal Tire will provide a free set of tires to the top club, valued up to $2,000. The coupon is valid until Sept. 30.

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