Whether you are a tourist looking for an amazing view from a comfortable hike, or a Penticton-area resident looking for a pleasant stay-cation activity, be sure to check out Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park. Okay, I know what you might be thinking – “I’m not a climber! I’d never manage those cliffs!” But wait! That’s what I thought, too, until a friend, Cabrini Babakaiff, offered to take me hiking through the woods above the bluffs at the end of May. What a great time we had! As the slideshow will demonstrate, these hillsides just southeast of Penticton, overlooking Skaha Lake, provide an excellent selection of the natural flora and fauna of the beautiful South Okanagan, as well as great views of the Skaha Lake area. The trails are well-maintained, and yet create very little human impact. There are a variety of trails to choose from, from ones that meander over gently-sloping meadows, to ones like those shown in this slideshow that offer a bit more exercise, and of course, for those who like a challenge, the bluffs attract climbers from all over. In fact, as we walked through the parking lot, we noticed that at least 80% of the licence plates were from out of province, representing Washington State, Alberta and Saskatchewan on this particular afternoon.
Cabrini Babakaiff is also the author of the new memoir, Curve Balls: Rolling With the Punches, which is quickly proving to be a bestseller here; you can pick it up at Hooked on Books in downtown Penticton. It includes stories and photos of cliff climbing in various locations, including on the Skaha Bluffs (page 209). Cabrini and her husband, Frank, traveled to many world locations, but they always were happy to return home to the Penticton area, where they could enjoy all their favorite outdoor sports and activities. In his review of the book, Steve King writes, “Curve Balls is a fitting tribute to Frank and Cabrini’s union and a treasured legacy of a life well-loved and well-lived…. It speaks loudly to life’s possibilities and is a remarkably inspiring gift for us all.” I highly recommend this wonderful memoir. Whether you visit Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park and then read the book, or vice versa, your life will be enriched. Thanks, Cabrini, for a wonderful hike, and an inspiring read.