Mixed bags of goodies … Kelowna.
I decided to take a week off work and wanted to go somewhere in B.C. My criteria was that there should be a nice hostel in the city – that was it and that was how I ended up in Kelowna, the 3rd largest town in B.C. and 393km away from Vancouver.
I booked my Greyhound from Vancouver to Kelowna, there wasn’t much option, you either take a plane, rent a car, or take a Greyhound (and there’s really no other bus options either).
Greyhound wanted me to arrive an hour before departure but that means I had to be there at 5:30 A.M.! Unfortunately, Sunday transit is not very convenient and the first bus that comes my way is at 5:18 AM. Luckily, they don’t seem too strict on this 1 hour policy (In fact, you can cut the line to pick up your ticket if you’re within 30 minutes of departure.)
The bus looks really old, so much that I thought it resembled a school bus but it had air conditioning, plastic individual seating, plugs, and free Wifi that works .. most of the time.
We started boarding 30 minutes before departure and this begins the 5.5 hour trip to Kelowna… Along the way, we stopped in Chilliwck, Hope, Merritt, and West Kelowna. I bought a pasta salad at Merritt. The view was quite nice, especially in Hope, and then somewhere after Merritt, the grass turned a little yellow and the trees were a bit shorter.
At 12:30 P.M., I finally arrived in Kelowna! I had to take the bus back to my hostel, which the greyhound had passed some 20 minutes ago … I was at the bus station and I was looking to make sure I had enough change for the bus, and this lady at the bus stop actually gave me a bus ticket! She said she had a monthly pass and didn’t need it! That was such a nice gesture!!!
On the bus, I was really surprised to hear a mixture of Korean and Mandarin! I thought there wasn’t going to be a lot of minorities, but as I look around, there were many from East and South Asians on the bus! At that point, I remembered I was on a bus that just came from University of British Columbia – Okanagan branch.
My plan was to hike Knox Mountain and bike the Myra Canyon. I half hoped that my hostel was able to assist me with my tour plans like how to get to Myra Canyon or other places that they can recommend me but they weren’t very friendly. Next was Tourism Kelowna, which wasn’t too helpful either, they do make some recommendations around the city but for more specific information, they asked me to phone the company… I wanted to do biking so I phoned two companies and even went to the office, only to find voice messages and closed doors.
Frustrated, I just marched on to Knox Mountain, which was located on the Northwest side of the city, and hoped to reorganize my thoughts on what to do for tomorrow.
There is a #2 bus that goes there but it is fairly infrequent and I just walked from Water Street and then straight up Ellis Street. The walk was about 20 minutes and it was through an industrial area on one side and residential on the other. There was also a park along the way with some really giant mushrooms. There was a grocery store just before the entrance to grab some water or food.
Finally, I was on Knox Mountain. There are hiking paths as well as paths for cars. There were also many people who came here with their bikes to do some mountain biking. The path begins with the Apex Trail, which leads you to the lower Crown lookout points. I didn’t do much research so I thought that was it, but then I saw a lot of people who continued walking up the mountain. Finally saw the trail map.
Atop the Apex Trail at the Crown Lookout! It was quite impressive already for me. There are lots of parking for those who are driving.
The mountain itself is some 310 hectares large and in the morning, you can see animals and even the occasional Grizzly bears. More from the Crown Lookout: I think the Crown Lookout is a bit better than the upper lookout 😉
According to wiki, Knox Mountain was named after a rancher who committed arson to some neighbour’s hay and had to go to jail. While in jail, the land he owned on Knox Mountain was sold.
I wanted to check out Tom’s Tomb, which is a path that goes downwards instead of up. It goes along Lake Okanagan, giving a nice view along the way. A local who was walking along the trail had also started talking to me (awkward Chinese girl taking photos of just the scenery or with stuffy gets this type of attention).
At Paul’s Tomb. Actually, I didn’t see Paul’s Tomb nor the secret beach or the picnic tables because the person I was walking with was eager to complete the more challenging route and he keeps saying there is nothing to see here. I tried to tell him he can go without me so I can explore some more, though maybe he was being polite … The water was gorgeous though!
… and so in my jeans, diet coke, and no sunscreen or sunglasses, I went and did the intermediate Ogopogo Trail. It composes of a lot of stairs and some sloping accents. The person said he can run up and down within 10 minutes … well =.=”. Luckily for me, there were some benches halfway up.
I couldn’t didnt take a photo, but there was one part here where I think it was a rogue trail .. some people literally carved a route up a very steep hillside … I thought I was going to be on my hands and knees
The road flattens between the end of the Ogopogo Trail and towards the Upper lookout point … there was just one other ‘rest stop’ which has a restroom!
Finally, we made it to the upper lookout point. It was a good exercise, a little rushed but got some nice photos of the waters and other surroundings. Definitely the best place to see Kelowna’s birds eye view .. and it is all free!
Ok time to go down … Next up: Waterfront!