Shuswap (British Columbia)
Time: 6 hours
Distance: 12 km (return)
Elevation Gain: 320 m
How To Get There: Turn East in down town Enderby (follow signs to Mable Lake), cross the Shuswap River Bridge onto Mable Lake Road. Continue for 2 km down Mable Lake Road (across the river) and take a lefthand turn onto Brash Allen Road heading north. At 1.4 km Brash Allen road forks - stay right and continue down the unpaved road for 1.6 km until you reach the parking lot in the field southwest side of the road intersection. The trail starts at the road intersection and heads east up the gravel path to the base of the trail.
This was a hike I had been looking forward to ever since Kim and I had tried it back in 2013. Back then, we had attempted to climb the cliffs later in the day and were forced to turn back around when we started to lose light.
I was a little sore because we started the day out by going horseback riding. Originally, the plan had been to go and do this hike the next day, but the weather forecast wasn't very good, so we decided to try to knock it out right after horseback riding. The weather was nice and the air was a bit hazy from all of the fires that surrounded the area, but it was still perfect conditions for a hike up the cliffs. Along the way, Kim spotted a snake, but I was in such a rush to reach the top that I missed it!
The first 2.5 kms of the trail were already familiar from hiking it the first time. It starts by snaking through a dense forest, gradually gaining elevation until you come to the first of the switchbacks where the elevation starts to pick up a bit. We traveled at a moderate pace, slowing down a bit more once we reached a long part of the trail that headed south. The trail eventually switched back north and up to the first rocky lookout and I fondly remembered the last time we had been there. Kim and I argued over whether this was where we had stopped last time but I was certain that we had made it a little further.
Sure enough, as we walked back into the forested part of the trail, I was right (haha Kim!). The trail gets a bit hard to see at this part before it starts to ascend into switch backs again. Kim and I had guessed that we had almost been to the top the last time we had done this hike. We weren't even close to being right! Turns out we were only about halfway! The switchbacks went on for quite a while through a heavily forested area until you suddenly pop up at the top of the cliff to a grassy, slightly treed area. This was not the highest point of the cliffs though so we carried on until we were right on the cliff face.
It was a beautiful and scary view! It's a sheer drop down so it made me a little nervous (I have a small case of vertigo). We continued on, often debating whether we had gone far enough.
Finally, we stopped at one of the highest points of the cliff and began hungrily eating our food. We were starving! Then after that, we started to take a lot of pictures (we earned it, it was a hard hike!).
The views really were amazing. I threw my nectarine pit down the cliff face and it was almost eerie watching it make the long drop. After watching some vultures circle the area for a while, we finally began to head back home. We could see some clouds coming in to the north so we wanted to get back to our campsite. The hike back down was mostly uneventful except for when we got about 1 km from the end of the trail. Both of us heard a very loud rustlign in the bushes (it sounded like a large animal, maybe a deer or a bear?). Both Kim and I took out our bear spray just in case and started talking loudly to alert whatever it was of our presence. Luckily, we never got a good look at it as it quickly scurried away.