Posts from Enderby

Why You May Not Survive the Mystic Trail at Mabel Lake

If you ever find your way up to Mabel Lake (via Lumby or Enderby) you’ll drive off paved roads into the forest and are likely to find a quiet, out-of-the-way lake with no cell reception. If this sounds like the beginning of every horror movie you’ve ever seen, congratulations you’ve seen through our preamble.

In classic horror cliché, we arrived Saturday with fresh food and cold beer to an already in-progress birthday party. Adventures kept pretty close to the campsite that initial day due to the fact that we were a big crowd and it’s fundamentally impossible to motivate our group to much more than a 1km ‘hike.’ The sun was hot and the sand was hotter, it was about all you could do to stay conscious all day. Exploring required more effort than we would muster smoldering under a scorching summer sun. Temperatures in the shade were reaching 32º+ and borderline uncomfortably frosty dips were important to help revitalize at much needed intervals throughout the day.

Pictured Here

Pictured here: comfortable shade and not-at-all the gateway to someone’s harrowing descent into madness.

Come Sunday, most members of our group made their way back to civilization and only the 3 of us remained; myself, Mitch & Katy. I had mentioned trails or waterfalls I thought I recalled from my youth that were nearby. Back in the day, my parents and I would go camping often. Of the many destinations we visited, Sugar and Mabel Lake were pretty regular. I guess the proximity to our house in Lavington made them pretty ideal for a quick trip away from home and, perhaps more importantly, an equally quick trip back at the end of a sun-baked weekend. We were already on the hunt for firewood that day so we thought we’d kill two birds with one stone, find the campsite host, and ask about any notable landmarks. After all, there is no way this could end with us being chased through the woods by the Blair Witch.

Maybe using the word "kill" was just asking for trouble.

Maybe using the word “kill” was just asking for trouble.

Upon meeting our host, she directed us a short trip up the road. She mentioned Cascade Falls (a place we couldn’t find to save our lives) and, at 15 1/2 forestry kilometer, The Mystic Trail. A ‘magical’ little path whose name is missing about two adjectives and three exclamation points. The campsite host’s description of “a cute little area where someone carved some neat things into the hill” really undersold the horror of what we were about to encounter.

"Oh good. This isn't foreboding."

“Oh good. This isn’t foreboding.”

The trail is adjacent to a haunted bridge and marked by a staggeringly-large amount of shoes nailed to a tree that locals have taken to calling the shoe tree. We won’t speculate why and assume any reason for this name is surely lost to time. Looking back, I suppose it’s my own fault that “neat things” didn’t immediately infer that they would be unspeakably nightmarish things. Maybe I was expecting stick-man drawings on rocks, or GRAD2013, or even Robbie + Julie 4Ever in a heart. Definitely something over-emphasizing the permanence of youth.

Hindsight

Here “someone carved some neat things” like this spinal column, unpleasantly twisted into the guise of the Ogopogo’s evil twin.

Naturally hindsight is 20/20, or it would have been if our eyes weren’t plucked straight from their sockets while tempting the curse of the Mystic Trail that we absolutely didn’t just make up.

I want to believe this place is only unintentionally terrifying and probably meant to evoke feelings of whimsy in adults and children alike. Makes sense. Everyone knows little boys and girls enjoy mutilated skulls and trash dolls displayed in gruesome manners meant to mock death in many creative ways.

I See You

Even with warm, summery Instagram filters, this is only barely passable as the least paralyzing piece of art present.

Now, there’s nothing saying any of these bones or parts are from humans. For example, we escaped alive and slept through the night with only a few mosquito bites to show for it. Had this mockery of the human death experience been made of actual persons we’re pretty sure only one of us would have escaped alive. I’m half-Mexican and Mitch is the big, white guy, sooo clearly the survivor would have been Katy.

"Hey. Haunt here often?"

Especially after I literally taunted the “artwork.”

Jokes aside, it was a pretty sweet little tour and quick way to beat the heat. Just don’t spend the night inside the tiny, abandoned cabin or pee on any of the dolls and you’ll probably make it out unscathed.

That or you'll find yourself buried in this patch of Skull Daisies. Which were exactly as petrifying as you'd expect.

That or you’ll find yourself in this patch of Skull Daisies, which are exactly what you’d think they were if you were expecting them to be lots of tiny bird skulls.

Thanks to Katy (@ktken on Instagram) for snapping pictures while my iPhone cowered in the vehicle.

Windborn Western Canadian Tour

Local musician Windborn is acoustic alternative music driven by powerful vocals, unique guitar licks and hand percussion. Windborn is Jeff Pike’s solo acoustic project but he is often joined by a hand percussionist for live performances. The best description given to Windborn after a concert was, “jazz metal that you would listen to by a fire”. This may not be the most accurate description of Windborn’s music but it does go to show how broad a spectrum the music of Windborn seems to reach.

Jeff has been writing, recording and performing music since 1998. In 2007 Jeff decided to start focusing on more of a solo approach making his music under the name of Windborn. After playing over 500 concerts from coffee shops to pubs, music venues and festivals, Jeff feels like he’s ready to embark on a Western Canadian Tour. Starting Friday, you can catch four dates in the Okanagan if you’ve got the time.

  • Friday Jan 6. Enderby, BC. Cliffs Cafe
  • Saturday Jan 7. Kelowna, BC. The Bike Shop Cafe
  • Monday Jan 9. Vernon, BC. The Talkin Donkey
  • Tuesday Jan 10. Revelstoke, BC. Benoit’s Wine Bar

Find the Facebook Event here. Check windborn.ca for more details on gigs.

Awesome Hikes – Enderby Cliffs

The Okanagan is full of great day hikes but one of the most spectacular is the Enderby Cliffs hike. The Enderby valley started off as a giant lava bed until glaciers came along 20,000 years ago. Massive glaciers carved out the valley and left a 500m cliff band with a spectacular view for those who make the grunt up to the top.  From the 180 degree viewpoint, one can see as far south as Okanagan Lake and Vernon and as far north as Salmon Arm and Shuwsap Lake.

The hike starts off as a leisurely stroll through dense forest and then quickly starts to head upwards, switching back and forth up the mountain side. It starts to open up as you gain elevation and once you reach the lower cliff bands, the grade decreases and the trail opens up to great views and grassy meadows where wildflowers abound. From here it’s a final jaunt to the rocky precipice that marks the high point. On a sunny day, the cliff top makes a great lunch spot. Be sure to look straight up as well, as  birds frequently ride the updrafts from the cliff-face.

Total hike time is approximately 4-6 hours. Although this hike is good for families, be sure to keep children and pets on a short leash, especially near the upper cliff areas . It’s also not a bad idea to bring along some bug repellent as mosquitoes can be surprisingly persistent on the lower potion of the trail. Upgrades were done to the trail in 2010 to tame some of the steeper areas that previously had ropes strung up the hillside. While the hike is no ‘walk in the park’, we observed a fellow in his 70s walking down from the top on our most recent outing. While people have been making the trek to the top for quite some time, the area has only been a park since 2001.

To reach the trailhead, head north from Vernon until you get to Mable Lake Rd (traffic lights) in Enderby. Head west (right) on Road for 2km until Brash Allen Road. Turn left and head 3km until you reach the parking lot.

You can even make a weekend out of it by adding a day of  floating down the Enderby River, watching a couple of movies at  the Starlight Drive-in and then camping at one of the campgrounds along the river.

More information on this hike can be found at BC Parks

View of the cliffs on the way up

The view from the top. Careful of the drop-off!

Wandering path along the ridge

Wildflowers in June

Grim Hymn and the Horrors

I have had the opportunity to both work with and attend events with this Vernon based band on numerous occasions throughout the past year. This three piece rock-a-billy band mixes some solid ‘50’s undertones with modern punk rock giving them a sound that can be enjoyed by people of all ages. Their stage presence leaves people talking about them for weeks afterwards, from guitarist Brett Horrors obvious love of what he is doing to choreographed moments such as guitar solos standing on top of Bassist/singer Julian’s Bass. Lyrics fit the name with songs like “The house on haunted hill” and their rendition of The Temptations “My Girl”, cleverly changed to “My Ghoul” they keep things in a theme of old time zombie/horror flicks. Catch them August 27th at the Haney Heritage Village Antique car show in Salmon Arm.

Find More on Grim Hymn and the Horrors

Grim Hymn and the Horrors in Salmon Arm

Grim Hymn and the Horrors at The Cliffs Cafe Enderby