Out and About at Sparkling Hill

In between all the other activities we enjoyed at Sparkling Hill Resort, I found time to be out and about exploring the trail network in the area. The map available in each guest room shows 8 trails covering a total of 12.5 km (7.5 miles). They are named for wildlife in the area (e.g. Falcon Point Trail, Deer Trail, Bobcat Trail), for some of the landscape features (e.g. Okanagan Lake Lookout, Predator Heights) and even for the golf course (Birdie Lake). Some of the trails are interconnected (either directly or via narrow, switchbacked trails through the mixed forest) and some are accessed via sidewalks and paved pathways through the Predator Ridge Golf Resort Community. Some of the hiking trails are paved and the balance are hard packed.

Urban-PolingI was out on the trail network three times: for about 2 hours in the middle of the day, another hour late in the afternoon and about 90 minutes very early in the morning. Each time, I borrowed a set of Urban Poles from the spa (at no charge). They have several sets of poles that are used in their guided hike classes. There were no guided hike classes scheduled when we were at the resort, otherwise I would have joined one of those to make sure my urban poling technique is entirely correct! I spotted more than one set of coyote tracks in the fresh snow, and since I didn’t bring any bear spray along in my carry on-only luggage, I was glad for a set of poles – just in case!

I addition to the coyote tracks, deer tracks were prevalent and I spotted at least 4 different does during my perambulations, white tail I think. I also watched a Steller’s Jay for several minutes, heard a crow making some of those interesting human-like sounds they are capable of making and saw other animal tracks such as squirrels and maybe even a long-tailed weasel or two.

There’s a handful of geocaches hidden along the trail system here. I only walked past one of them and it was a straightforward find. One thing about regular-sized geocache containers is that you can usually find them, even in fresh snow.

Over and above the wildlife and geocaching, the landscape is the feature attraction. The trail map is marked with several scenic lookouts and I made it to 5 or 6 of them. Taken together, I covered a little more than 5 km of the 12.5 km trail network. It’s fairly hilly: my FitBit recorded the equivalent of 102 flights of stairs one day and another 42 flights during my morning walk. The sometimes steep gradients combined with snow and ice made for slippery stretches – another reason I was thankful to have borrowed a set of urban poles! Here’s some of what I saw:

And as I wrote earlier this month, in addition to grand landscapes I like to photograph more intimate details of naturescapes, like these:

Next visit, I’d like to cover the Predator Heights Loop, Longspoon Loop and Okanagan Lake Lookout Loop and then I’ll be able to say I’ve done them all. If you’ve been out on the trails in this area, what’s your favourite?

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