With the daylight hours shrinking so rapidly and the snow line getting lower on the hillside, getting out for a full day takes a bit more planning. This is where the local community trails starts to take over. As we close our front door behind us we set out on foot to Middleton Mountain Park and Hiking Trails. Middleton Mountain is a bald bump of sun bleached grass that straddles the boarder between Vernon and Coldstream. There are limited entrances and all of which start with a discouraging set of stairs or steep trail to the top. I know what your thinking, sounds rather drab and why would I want to take on that? The answer to this question reveals itself when you are at the top.
We entered the park at the Mt. Bulman Pl. trailhead. The paving stone walking path quickly opens up to McKergow Meadows Natural Area. This low lying area known as mud lake is home to numerous bird and salamanders and it is very common to spot mule deers wandering through the long grass or cattails.
Walking east now we strolled upwards and crossed over Mt. Ida drive and climb the newly constructed stairs. This route was shut down over the summer and the area was completely rebuilt to handle the incline and popularity more adequately. The more and more stairs and switch backs you climb the better the view gets. After only really 10 minutes or so you will reach the top and the vistas will wipe away the memories of the climb. From here you have a breathtaking view of Kalamalka Lake to the south, Swan Lake to the North and the city spread out between the two. There is even a couple park benches that let you relax and enjoy.
This is the point now where we let Bexley and Lidija out of the packs and free to roam. We do have to keep a close eye on them though for if you venture not far off the well groomed path you will find yourself traipsing through prickly pear cacti.
Walking south now on Bluebird trail you change perspective as you start to overlook the Coldstream Valley and Kalamalka Provincial Park on the opposite side. The trail now winds up, down and around leaving you with astounding views of the Lavington valley and the snow capped Monashee Mountains further east. There are various trails throughout the area, everything is very well signed and nothing is really long enough to have you lost or exhausted. We took a steep descent from the plateau and popped back out among the houses on Mt. Tanner Pl. The littles ladies did very well on their own but by now wanted back in the packs to rest their mini legs. This ended up being very short lived as we soon passed a play ground and they couldn’t get out of the bags fast enough. A further 15 minute walk had us back on our door step where it all began.
Us as a family have been up to this park on a fairly regular basis as the proximity makes it overly convenient. We have walked all of the trails (not really that many), sat on all the benches (half a dozen maybe) and will most likely be back again next week. The 360 degree views always has us smiling no matter which trail we choose. Dogs are welcome, nothing is really long enough for mountain bikers and my only advisory is water. During the summer months when the sun is in full swing be sure to wear your sun screen, have a hat with you and bring water. You may only be gone for a short while but it sure is roasting up there and you have no place to hide.
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