Posts by Dr. Benjamin Stevens

Green, Grey, and Prickly All Over: Pincushion Summit with Dr. Adventure

I am quite a fortunate lad. You see, I have a wife who drags me out of bed at ungodly hours of the morning every weekend. In and of itself, this might seem like a sadistic version of “lucky” to you. However, were it not for said wife and her slightly psychotic pack of runners who convene before the rooster rises, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to explore many nooks and crannies of the Okanagan. The best part? I get to do it during the hours of the day when the silence has yet to be broken.  Prohibitive as it may be to less-rested folk, I am especially grateful on the days when I find that my unknown adventure leads to a reward greatly exceeding the early morning anguish. My venture to Pincushion Summit was one of those ventures.

Nestled in the back of a neighbourhood, just beyond the Ponderosa Golf & Country Club, lies the trail head. To get there, take 1st Ave from Highway 97 in Peachland, and quickly turn left on to Ponderosa Drive. Follow it all the way to the end and voila, we have an adventure in the making.

Now I must warn you, if your lungs are prone to burning from a couple flights of stairs, you may want to take this one slow. At times, this hike seems like more of a climb. Pincushion Mountain is not for the faint of heart. You really have to monitor your footing on this little trek since there are some teeth-like protuberances and some gravel that really make you dance with the wrong traction.

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Lavington Lovin’: Crown Land Trails with Dr. Adventure

Greetings, Okanaganites! It’s time again to get off your tushy and really seek some understanding of our license-plate friendly geological descriptor: Beautiful British Columbia (“The Best Place on Earth” works too, but that was for a limited run during the Olympics).  So, if you’re wanting to really appreciate why such apt narcissistic remarks belong on our vehicles, then follow me. It’s time for another Adventure with the Doctor…

Sometimes the pursuit of adventure means that you have to get a little dirty…and that’s exactly the way I like it. So, on a sunny Sunday morning in the beautiful A-OK, Dr Adventure (yours truly) and his clan (consisting of giggly wife and slobbery dog) took off on yet another exploration of the stunning place we now call home. Where would the trail take us this time? Well, we lost the trail before we even got out of the car. Oooooh…so exciting. Where would we create the trail, then? In the pure white snow still sitting among the trees outside of Lavington. That’s where.

If you drive about 15 minutes east along Highway 6 out of Vernon, you’ll come to School Road in Lavington. You can’t miss it if you keep an eye out for the Road House.  Take School Road south and you’re on your way. Whether via map, GPS, or intuition, you need to navigate your way onto Bluenose Road, which eventually becomes Aberdeen Lake Road. Once you pass Reets Road on the right, then the real adventure begins.

You’re now on Crown Land, which is government lingo for “adventure waiting to happen”. Since 94% of British Columbia is Crown Land, that means you and I have some exploring to do. Once you pass the sign that reads ABERDEEN FSR (for Forest Service Road), you’re free to check out all the nooks and crannies that the wilderness has to offer. There are many different side roads and trails that will cart you off into the wilderness to become one with the outdoors. However, if you keep on Aberdeen FSR road for quite a while, you’ll make it into the land of lakes. Depending on exactly what road you choose to head down, you could run into Aberdeen Lake, Haddo Lake, Curtis Lake, Nicklen Lake, the Jerry Lakes, Lily Pad Lake, Ricki Lake etc (okay, no one actually named a part of our beautiful province after a washed-up daytime talk-show host…I lied. You get the point).


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“Fit For A King” The Renaissance of Real Food

I came across this, and thought you might find it interesting. A holistic nutritionist and a rock ‘n’ roller join forces to prepare meals “Fit For A King” using only a vintage Vespa, real food, and a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon. Together, they’ll change the country in just 13 episodes.

The first season of Fit For A King is currently in production, being filmed entirely in the Okanagan Valley.

In each episode, hosts James Blonde, and Lisa Kilgour, leave their “home” at picturesque God’s Mountain Estate, in search of an outdoor adventure nearby, featuring and exploring the beautiful surroundings the Okanagan has to offer.

With over 100 wineries in the region, Fit For A King will feature a selected winery for each episode, meeting with vintners to choose an exquisite, locally sourced wine.

“The show will visit organic, holistic and free-range farms and markets – all within the valley – in search of real, whole food, with which we will prepare delicious, nutritious meals,” adds Trance Blackman, the show’s co-producer, co-creator, and photographer.

Fit For A King will not only entertain you – with the most beautiful vistas, outdoor adventures, and interesting guests – but also educate, motivate, and inspire you to return to a simple, enriched, healthy lifestyle.

“We’ve set out to film and capture the wineries, outdoor activities, and the natural beauty of the Okanagan, in the most complimentary way.  We’re presenting our back garden to the world. Additionally, our goal for the show is to be distributed to over 90 countries,” says Blonde, show creator and producer.

The producers feel that the general public want to change – need to change, but are confused about the plethora of information out there. They feel it’s too expensive or complicated to eat well and cook real food. With this show, the producers aim to dispel the myths, clear up the confusion, and demonstrate how easy it can be to live a lifestyle Fit For A King.

Find out more about the show at fitforaking.co

All Hail the Hike! Scenic Canyon with Dr. Adventure

Who’s ready for a little bit of adventure?! I know I am, or I wouldn’t have recently packed it all up and moved here from California. The Okanagan is jam packed with adventurous people, intriguing nooks and crannies, and weather to suite most expeditions. So, Kelownafornians, here is the first tasting of many upcoming Okanagan adventures with yours truly. Not only are these adventures going to help you see a little bit more of your back yard, but they have this convenient little side effect called “health”. I implore you to get out there and make the most beautiful place on earth your very own. Since I am a Doctor, which is derived directly from the word “teacher”, I’ll even show you how…

Not only is this an article about hiking, it is about a lovely jaunt which happened to occur during a miniature hail-storm.  Also, hiking is a praise-worthy equalizer of interests in outdoor activities (hence the double entendre of a title). It’s pretty hard not to enjoy a fine stroll through a wooded area now and then. So, on a Sunday morning in the middle of March, the wife and I took off on our first ever Okanagan hike: Scenic Canyon Regional Park.

Aside from hearing all about the outdoor lifestyle and fantastic adventures that are a part of the Okanagan décor, we really knew very little of where to go for our first hike. Scenic Canyon was a perfect place for a mellow introduction to our impending exploration of BC’s great interior.

The park entrance, just beyond Gallagher’s Canyon Golf Resort, is easily accessible and the trailhead is clearly marked beside an information kiosk. We soon found ourselves mucking through the park on the way to some great views. There is a nice bit of variety in the park. Some steep hills and mellow spans, some dense trees and canopied forests, and even a flowing creek.

The trails themselves are made up of gravel, dirt, sand, or a mix. This makes it nice and easy on the tootsies (and those of your canine friends too). Although Amanda and I did some amusing dances in an attempt to regain lost footing on some icy pathways, I am sure that there will be no rinks in sight once you set foot in the little wonderland.
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15th Annual Neil Edgeworth Banked Slalom

Photo compliments of Jeff Willard (http://www.jeffwillard.ca/)

I have been snowboarding for well over a decade. However, now that people call me Doctor, I feel some pressure to throw in the towel on my snowboarding career, in light of safer and more “mature” adventures, like jogging or tennis. But alas, strapping in and shredding the gnar still holds dear to me. In fact, I recently put the nail in the “growing up” coffin, resolving to a life of snow-piracy. What caused this resolute polarization, you ask? The 15th Annual Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom.

Photo compliments of Jeff Willard (http://www.jeffwillard.ca/)

Over 250 powder hounds, groomer looters, and park rats descend upon Big White every year for this extravagant jamboree.  A competition like this really makes a guy feel good about being a snowboarder; this race is less about winning and more about being part of something big. You can’t help but feel it in the crisp mountain air. The electric throng which inhabits the launch tent takes it upon themselves to get riders fired up as they hurl their bodies down the winding course. As riders come flying through, barely on the verge of control, a conglomerate of supportive boarders, two-plankers, and observers waits near the end of the gully. They are cheering for every single rider that comes through, friend or foe. Even untimely bails and jarring crashes are met with a sense of comradery, as if the crowd is declaring “we’ve been there too, dude”. The environment really can’t get much better, even for someone new to the Okanagan, such as me.

Photo compliments of Jeff Willard (http://www.jeffwillard.ca/)

All racers are split into age/gender categories, as well as snow-skate, adaptive, and pro. While one category of racers competes, the rest of the party explores the rest of the winter wonderland that is Big White. Riders from all walks of life, from Olympic Gold medalists to local hobbyists, have their turn to feed off of the exhilarating energy that flows through the snow-maniacal brethren/sisterhood.

Photo compliments of Jeff Willard (http://www.jeffwillard.ca/)

Riders continue pumping out runs for two jam-packed days. Once all is said and done, there is a huge buffet dinner, awards ceremony, and prize giveaway to cap it all off. This year’s post-race celebration was so packed that yours truly couldn’t even find a seat in the Loose Moose Café. Although the ceremonies go on for hours, it flies by pretty quick, as your friends and family are all joining in the buzz and likely even getting some loot in the give-away.

Photo compliments of Benjamin Stevens (www.valeohealthclinic.com)

If you’re from the Okanagan or in need of a reason to come visit in the winter, consider coming to “compete” in the Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom. It’s a solid weekend adventure filled with more positive energy than a Richard Simmons video (albeit, with a slightly less flamboyant guise). See you there next year. For more pictures and info on the event, check out the Big White Facebook page.