First, Myra Canyon
The trestle bridges are pretty as a picture, the views are stunning and the trail is just fine for touring bikes. There were occasional challenges with sand and minor fish-tailing. No biggie. The grade was almost entirely a gentle downhill – all the way to Naramata, as a matter of fact.
The dark tunnels feel a little adventurous. For a moment, I thought I was entering the Lonely Mountain from The Hobbit. No gold, wah. But then, no Smaug, either
Quite a number of people were out on bikes and legs. With a wide pannier load, it was necessary to dismount on all the bridges.
There was brief but exciting moment when I passed a boulder spray painted with “Michaela [backwards ampersand] Adam was here”. Exciting because even common, ubiquitous nasty grammar will inspire some creative cussing on my part. But nasty grammar spray painted across nature’s pretty self? WTF, Michaela and Adam?? I wish I had caught them in the act so I could scrawl “Cathrine were here” across their dumbass backs.
As evening approached, and with Myra Canyon behind me, the trail broadened into a rough dirt road. A chill was in the air and I began to search for a good tent spot for the night. With a stealth camp (unofficial and possibly not allowed), it’s important to be tucked away, invisible from the road.
Then camp for the night
I found a shrubby area and carried my bike off the road to avoid leaving tracks. As it grew darker, I began to doubt the decision to bring the ultralight summer sleeping bag. Oh I was so right.
Here is a list of everything in my clothing bag: 2 cycling jerseys, a long-sleeved cycling jacket, 1 t-shirt, 2 sleeveless tops, a rain jacket, neck gaiter, cycling shorts, yoga pants, miniskirt, long socks and a pair of shorts. Picture it all ending up on my person by morning. The shorts are on my head because I couldn’t fit them over all the other clothes.
I fricking froze to death. When I got to heaven, St. Peter said “You can’t come in here, you fool. You know by now to always pack the warmer bag. Now go back to earth; it’s light enough to break camp.”
So at 5 am, I stood outside and was immediately struck by the perfect silence. That kind of silence that’s so intense, it somehow feels heard. The high valley cliffs kept the sun at bay, but the sky was starting to tinge apricot.
First, there was one faint, sweet chirp. As the light rose, it became bolder and other species chimed in like sections of an orchestra on cue. I wonder…is it the same every day? Do they make different music on different mornings? Different seasons? I felt lucky.
But chattering teeth cut things short and I skipped breakfast to ride and warm up. As it turns out, I really didn’t warm up until I was back down the mountain. This led to a choice on my part at Chute Lake. I could choose a road that went straight down to Naramata or a continuation of the railway line (which would take three times longer). I chose the get warm fast route and possibly missed some really nice trail and views.
By the way, I think there are a lot of dead guys in Chute Lake. There were four memorial plaques on a rock face by the shore.
I have the feeling, though, that they asked to be scattered there. As the mist rose off in the morning sun, it was easy to imagine why.
Riding down the mountain was a helluva washboard and there were many spry, adorable cows lurking around many corners. It sure was nice to see them living in the woods that way.
Naramata is one of these heaven-on-earth corners of the world that is a best kept secret for a long time….then the money finds it and it gentrifies. I rode down to the beach, still unable to feel most of my toes and laid down under some bushes on the beach.
The hot sun blasted me awake and the first thing I saw were bundles of wild grapes right above my face. How did I miss that?? It’s harder to see the world as it is when I’m bothered by cold and hunger. If I was just hungry without the bothered, I probably would have seen them sooner.
Lying in the soft grass and hot sun with all the sweet grapes I can eat. It’s moments like this that remind me it doesn’t take a big income to live rich.
UP NEXT – sampling my way through the wineries, distilleries, cheese makers and orchards of one of Canada’s most perfect climates.