Ski and Snowshoe at Skmana Lake to your heart’s content

Nature lovers will swoon for the breathtaking views on the way to and from Skmana Lake whether you arrive via the North Shuswap’s Squilax Bridge or the bridge off Pine Street in downtown Chase.

Start your family day or valentines staycation with a hot drink and a yummy baked good either at the Inside Out Coffee House in Chase or Steamers Coffee Co in Sorrento. Then, make your way to Loakin-Bear Creek Rd for a 10 km drive up to the parking area of the recreation area maintained by the Skmana Ski and Snowshoe club.

The trails range from moderately easy to more difficult. Allow for a few hours to enjoy the 14 kms of x-c trails or the 3.5 kms of snowshoe trails taking you up, down and around with views of the mountain ranges above and the lake and wetlands below. There’s a rustic feel about it offering temporary seclusion and e

scape from the hurried and worried world not so far away.

Once you’ve explored to your heart’s content, you’ll surely be ready for a hearty bite to eat. If you’re headed back via Chase, consider the family fare at The Railside Restaurant in Chase (dine in and take out available) open Thursday to Monday from noon to 7PM. If you’re headed in the other direction, call ahead to Frankie’s Pizza in Sorrento and pick up a delicious hand tossed pizza

There’s something to be said for fresh air and scratch made meals. It warms the hearts and feeds the soul. If that’s not what family and love is about, what is?

Please follow all health protocols and check for weather conditions. Tell someone where you’re planning to go and when you’ll be back and bring the basic outdoor safety equipment. Trails use fee in effect. Always check for restaurant hours of service.


Photos Courtesy of Kirsten McDowell @kirs10mcd

Sweethearts in Sicamous

Are you and your love dreaming of the lazy days of summer, late breakfasts, visits to the beach, and multiple scoop ice cream cones?

Surely, you’re not alone. And, as it happens, you’re in luck.

While Sicamous’ typical summer buzz quiets in the winter months, their warm welcome is year round. Home to world class sledding in the hill tops, closer to shore also has plenty to offer to those seeking a more tranquil, and yes, romantic, change of pace.

Start with a hearty breakfast from the friendly folks at Joe Schmucks Roadhouse or G&G Kitchen and Tap. Afterwards head to Sicamous Public Beach, and stroll along the sandy shore taking in lovely views of Shuswap Lake. At the end of the beach, follow the trail markers and meander through the River Front Nature Park enjoying the giant cottonwood trees, bird life and calming sounds of the Eagle River. Although a modest two kilometre trail, a pair of binoculars and a healthy portion of patience will keep you awe inspired for some time.

And who made the rule you could only enjoy ice cream in summer? D. Dutchmen isn’t just a local dairy, it’s a local institution. While seasonal selection is more limited this time of year, there’s still plenty of goodness to enjoy, waffle cone or take away container, whatever suits you best.

So what could be better than a great meal, the great outdoors and a great big scoop of ice cream, all right here in the Shuswap? You can’t know if you don’t go see for yourself.

Please observe COVID protocols. Thank you for your kindness to front line service workers. If you’re heading out on any trail, be prepared and let someone know your route and destination plan.

Appetite for adventure – winter fun in Enderby and Armstrong

Ashton Creek’s very own Tundra Baird casts an enthusiast lens on the many outdoor winter activities in the Enderby and Armstrong area. The former television news videographer and now Enderby city councillor’s appetite for adventure includes a weekly hike up the Tplaqin Trail (Enderby Cliffs).

Be sure to pack your crampons come winter and grab a picnic lunch from Hungry Jacks on Main Street in Enderby. You’ll have earned yourself one of their hearty chocolate oat bars for your efforts. Right across the street is Tony Os Outfitters and Brad is the hiking boot expert you’ll need. Your feet will thank you.

Wind down at the Small Axe Road House on the banks of the Shuswap River and enjoy a hot toddy and their infamous “What the Cluck?!” burger. .

On quieter days, Baird and her family enjoy the serenity of the Thomas Hayes Ecological Park in Spallumcheen and the shorter hikes. Of course, since you’re just minutes away from Armstrong, an eggnog latte and gluten free bliss ball from The Wild Oak Cafe will hit the spot as you wander over to Monashee Outdoors for a great selection of goods and gear.

For a truly off-grid back to nature staycation, Tundra recommends the Mowat Cabin at Miska Haven Bed and Breakfast in her old stomping grounds of Ashton Creek reminding us that when we explore our own back yard, we better understand the true meaning of home.


By Louise Wallace-Richmond