My Near Death Experience

Every summer for the last three years I have gone over to Kelowna for a long weekend. It’s a bit of a drive from Vancouver and when you factor in the ferry from the island it does take a big chunk out of your day, but the Okanagan is a beautiful area with lots to do, great weather, and a ton of deliciously amazing wine.

Last year on our trip to Kelowna we decided to do some hiking. It was a fun and active way to pass the time and hiking is something I love to do. (Or, at least it’s something I love to say I love to do. When I’m halfway up a mountain, or more likely a slightly inclined hill, and I’m sweating profusely and my entire body feels like it is being sat on by a hippo, and I am dying of thirst because I finished my entire water bottle in the first five minutes I am less enamored with the “hiking lifestyle”. But at least the clothes are cute.)

The hike started out well, even though it was quite hot. We were hiking in Canyon Falls Park and were having a really hard time finding the falls (there was supposed to be two). A well-worn dirt path let absolutely no where (that’s not true) and we couldn’t hear any water. Finally we decided to go back to the car and try one of the other hikes I had researched in my oh-so-endearing OCD manner.

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Making my way into the canyon.

And that was when Kevin noticed the rope.

It turns out the falls in the aptly named Canyon Falls Park were actually in the canyon we had been hiking around. In retrospect we probably should have realized that a lot sooner.

Not one to shy from adventure (this is also a lie) I agreed that we should test our limits with the ropes. The ropes were anchored to various trees leading down an extremely steep hill into the canyon so we took turns heading down each segment, kicking up dirt and dust clouds into the dry air with each laboured step and both being careful not to slip. The entire way down all I could think about was how awful it was going to be climbing back up. Perhaps I would be lucky enough to break an ankle and would have to be airlifted out to avoid the return trek? A gal can dream.

Finally we made it to the canyon, hands burning with rope rash and legs shaking from the constant tension. Before us was a waterfall slowly trickling down a large rock face. It really wasn’t very impressive.

We explored the area a bit, searching for the second falls and keeping an eye out for black bears. And that was when Kevin saw the second rope, this one up a separate rock face away from the falls. At this point it was either climb the rock wrenched rope or start making our way back up the hill in defeat.

Conquering the Climb

Conquering the Climb

The rock face won.

We clambered over, one at a time, until we reached another enclosure complete with a slow stream and tons of slightly misted rocks. We followed the stream jumping (stepping) from rock to rock until we reached the second falls.

This one was slightly more impressive.

We spent a good chunk of time enjoying the beauty of nature before it was finally time to head back (we had an afternoon of wine tasting to look forward to). Navigating the rocks was easier on the return trip as we knew which ones wobbled. The rock face was more intimidating when you had to climb down it, but we made it without incident.

We finally reached the dirt wall, the dry hill of doom we had to climb back up. Kevin went first, his apparent ease causing me to glare daggers at him the whole way. Things were slow going but we finally reached a rhythm that worked, stopping to take pictures (e.g. catch our breath) along the way.

And then tragedy struck.

A fierce predator came out of nowhere and caused me to lose my grip on the rope. I slid several feet cutting open my hand as I tried to catch myself and avoid rolling to the canyon. I screamed in terror, staring into my enemies fluttering eyes.

And Kevin laughed.

Dear reader, this predator that almost broke me, the fierce enemy I faced, was a butterfly.
(I really hate butterflies.)

Pretending ignorance to the terror it had caused the butterfly fluttered around my head one more time before vanishing into the dust cloud (likely plotting its next attack). My speed increased two fold in my anxiety to get to safer, butterfly-less ground and when I reached the top my hand was bloody and my heart was beating faster than a drum solo. I couldn’t get out of the canyon fast enough and I didn’t relax until we were safely in the car.

“Butterflies? Really?” Kevin asked as we drove away.

Yes, dear reader. Butterflies.

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Both waterfalls and the “Congratulations!” message we found when we reached the second falls.

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2 thoughts on “My Near Death Experience

  1. Pingback: Our Okanagan: Kelowna Adventures | The (Western) Canadian

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