Day 4 – Wednesday June 15th, 2011 Myra Canyon Ranch/Ruth Station to Naramata
Distance: approx. 47 km
Elevation loss: -230 metres (on the KVR above town – bigger descent to town)
Overview of the day: An overcast cool wet start did not deter us! Flat riding to Chute Lake where we stopped for lunch and to say Hi to Doreen – owner of this eclectic Lodge and campground. From there it was all downhill to Naramata – well, except for our wrong turn. We were headed to the Naramata Market and got off the trail too early – onto Chute Lake Road. Although a beautiful downhill to start, we faced a couple of extra hills getting to Naramata we didn’t expect then coasted into Naramata down Robinson Road. We stayed at Fox Ben Guesthouse. To really experience this area we really recommend a 2-3 night stay in the area. This gives you time to relax and enjoy all that these towns have to offer in terms of wine tasting (you don’t have to be a wine lover to enjoy visiting these wineries – they are beautiful and some offer lunch). We also highly recommend swimming in the cool refreshing waters of the lakes: Okanagan, Skaha or Tuc-el-Nuit (Oliver). Naramata is a lovely, quiet little village with a fabulous local market on Wednesday afternoons from 3:30-6:30 pm. Perfect for getting supplies. We picked up wine, baby salad greens, rye bread and local Poplar Grove cheese…oh yum!
There is a dramatic change in scenery from the wilderness & woods of the highlands into the vineyards and orchards of Naramata Bench.
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Trail Surface: wide and hard packed road surface with occasional soft/bumpy areas. Some big puddles especially near Chute Lake Lodge. From there the trail narrows and can be very sandy and soft especially at the beginning of the downhill sections from the Resort. It then varies to hard packed with the occasional sandy section. This is where you want those fat tires! See the section on bike rentals – it describes the kind of bike and equipment needed for the trail if you have not already read that part!
Wildlife: lots of tracks – moose tracks near Chute Lake. You will see warning signs posted for rattlesnakes as you get down past Chute Lake. They particularly enjoy sunning themselves around the rocky sections. Just watch where you step if you go off the trail. No – we didn’t see any!
Where we stayed: Naramata B&B – Fox Ben Guesthouse – it was even nicer than we expected! It is located just a couple of downhill blocks off the trail. We didn’t bike straight there as we had a booth at the Naramata Market where we were handing out information on cycling the trail.
We shuttled there after the market. If you do stay at a B&B along the trail at Naramata, just be forewarned it is a downhill ride into the town of Naramata (read uphill getting back!) Most B&B’s in the area require a 2 night stay – especially in July & August. However, this is definitely recommended!
The Outfitters tent at Myra Canyon Ranch proved to be waterproof – it drizzled and rained through the night. We woke to the pitter patter on the canvas roof and debated rolling over and going back to sleep…ah well – time to face the elements!
Funny how the sound of rain on a roof usually sounds like more than what is actually falling – stepping outside it was a mere misty drizzle.
Somewhat appeased (we are supposed to be in the dry, sunny Okanagan after all!) we headed in for Yvonne’s magnificent breakfast. Shortly after we were on our way. If you stay at the ranch, take the offer of a lift up to Ruth Station – if you biked down June Springs Road to get to the Ranch, you kno
w you won’t want to bike bike up! Easily navigated by a car or van though if you have vehicle support. Vehicle support access– 4 km from ranch uphill June Springs Road to turnaround at Ruth Station. From here Swade drove the long way round (but recommended unless you have a very good 4 WD vehicle – there was a washout just a couple of km on the trail the our van would not have navigated! To get back to the trail, your vehicle will need to get to Hwy 97 south out of Kelowna, go through Penticton on Westminster Avenue and up onto Naramata Road. It is possible to drive right up to Chute Lake Lodge. The road is paved until about the last 6 km which is steep, but fine for any sort of vehicle in dry summer weather.
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The Ride: Swade left us dressed up in our cold & wet weather gear in the rain at Ruth Station in a mere 5 degrees Celsius. Onward ho!
The trail here is more like a road, in fact vehicle access from here is allowed to Chute Lake although we saw only 1 truck and they were slow & courteous. You get some great views out over the Okanagan Lake and the trail remains mostly level throughout.
From Ruth Station: 9 Km – You may have thought you had cycled all the trestles yesterday over Myra Canyon – not so! As here you have the magnificent Bellevue Trestle. I first cycled this in the mid-90’s with friends Brenda Birrell and Josee Larose (hello my friends from Blue River!!) and before this trestle had been upgraded with planks and railings. With much (especially on my part!) trepidation, we carefully placed our feet on the railings and walked our bikes over. I recited my Spinach salad recipe to Josee which she made me do to keep my nerves under control – it worked!! Not to worry now all you heights challenged people! It is all covered with friendly planks so you don’t see down below unless you choose to look over the nice stable railings – yup – it’s a long way down!! On to Chute Lake Lodge at 26 Km for lunch.
We did the obligatory tour through the “Museum” – this is such a neat lodge – I’ve stayed here before, both in the lodge and in Cabin 8 (that’s the “luxury” rustic cabin as it comes with your own bathroom!) You can also camp at the resort.
Downhill from here – at Km 39 is the Adra Tunnel Bypass. This is the trail’s longest tunnel at 800 metres, but unfortunately it is closed. Engineers inspected it last year and deemed it suitable for repair – this would be such a magnificent addition to have back on this trail. There are some fundraising groups trying to get this going – we will post more information here as we get hold of it or if you are involved – please send us any updates!
For now there is a well marked bypass around the tunnel. There is a lot of history in this area and it includes the much visited “Rock Ovens Park”. Watch for signs along the way and if you’re not having way too much flying downhill – be sure to stop and check these out. They were ovens used by the railway workers of the early 1900’s for baking bread and are still in good shape today.
[/fusion_builder_column][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”]Now here’s the clinch – we got off the trail at Chute Lake Road by accident – we thought we were getting off at Smethurst which if you are going to Naramata Township is what you should do! The map which is posted at a little parking lot here did not give great detail about where we were – hence our error. We cycled down Chute Lake Road (gravel for the first couple of kilometers then nice newly paved) to N. Narmata Road. Robinson road takes you right down into Narmata which is on the Okanagan Lake. Otherwise! Stay on the trail – if you are staying in a B&B in this area, you will get good directions from your host on where to go.
If you are continuing on to Penticton please come back when I finally get to posting our Day 5!! Hope you are all having a fabulous summer and that this information is getting to you in fine form!
Happy Trails! From Paula & Swade
Links to related posts:
Day 1 – Midway to Beaverdell[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]