British Columbia is home to a 600 km system of abandoned railway beds.. this is heaven for anyone looking for a gentle but adventurous spin. We cycled the Myra Canyon section, located just off McCulloch Road in Kelowna, BC (aptly named after Andrew McCulloch, who began construction of the railway system in 1910). The Kettle Valley Railway was built to access silver ore but due to costs, closed in the early 1960′s.
The Myra Canyon section boasts 16 wooden trestles, 2 steel bridges and 2 tunnels.. all in just over 8 km. The elevation grade is a mere 2.2% so it is a gentle but visually stunning stretch to hike or bike.
As my wheels spun under me, I made my way anxiously to the first trestle bridge.. it was impossible to look down on that first one. With a prayer and eyes focussed straight ahead, I ventured on with trepidation, but after trestle upon trestle, I began to relax and enjoy the elevation. Notwithstanding.. I became overly confident, completely distracted by the scenery, and managed to go “off-the-rails” near the end. Luckily, I landed uneventfully on my side with only minor scrapes and a few not-to-be-mentioned cuss-words.
If you’re in the area.. you shouldn’t miss this! You can even drive to the top and rent bikes from Myra Canyon Rental all summer long.. just would book ahead to avoid disappointment as these bikes go fast.
Saddle worn and spinning-tsk of spokes
Wheels and chain chart the parallel lines
Of steel horse and carriages hurtling by,
Long since stilled and gravelled over.
Wind chugs past pounding foot pedals,
While traversing curved bridged trestles
Lure their crossing, elevations stagger
With creosote smote daggers of fear.
Rumble of creek beds tumble beneath
Railbeds silenced by rolling tires and
Trudging boots toward paths-end, lofty
Creaking timber ghost-towns’ sentinels.
Barreling blind beneath stone walled caves,
Darkness traces coal-burnt engine’s steam
Lining these tunnels that stand rugged
And time’s test for this traveler’s memory.
Tranquil turns follow precarious scaffold trail
Until impending storm wind-forced cover
Seeks sturdy wooden spanning beams
And an end in June Spring’s Station.
Barbara Bamber, July 2012
You can see the vast tracts of burnt trees here..
When tired and famished after a long day’s expedition, improvisation of a loved recipe can be a quick solution. You may have tried my Roasted Asparagus Tart.. as well, Nature’s Fare Markets had luscious heirloom tomatoes on offer. Of course, I was delighted to see they also carry the tiny Buffalo Mozzarella Pearls (used in this Lasagna Bites recipe)!