For many, summer is an opportunity to travel, explore and create memories abroad, but this year is anything but typical.
Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, most British Columbians will have to enjoy summer close to home. The good news is Penticton residents couldn’t have picked a better city to be confined to.
The city boasts an enviable number of recreational activities and adventure opportunities.
Adventure just around the corner
Local recreation businesses, such as Hoodoo Adventures, are gearing up to provide fun-seekers with plenty of unforgettable experiences — with COVID-19 precautions in place, of course.
Hoodoo offers different adventures, from rock-climbing, paddleboarding, kayaking, mountain biking, and more.
Want to see your hometown in a whole new light? Embark on one of Hoodoo’s private “adventure in your bubble” tours and discover the natural beauty Penticton has to offer. The recreation company is offering tours for groups of four to six at a reduced rate to encourage social distancing. Smaller groups are still welcome to book a tour if they feel comfortable with other people being present.
“We’re really trying to focus on creating memories with loved ones and friends,” said owner of Hoodoo Adventures Lyndie Hill.
Hoodoo isn’t the only option in town for rock climbing enthusiasts. Eskala Mountain Sports is the place to go for intermediate and experienced rock-climbers.
Eskala has got all the gear you need to start climbing on your own. Not to mention their extensive stock of high-quality hiking gear, camping equipment, and outdoor apparel. Head down to their location at 101-136 Front Street to speak with staff and prepare for your rock climbing adventure.
Owner Claudia Reyes said she couldn’t be more excited to be once again serving the community.
Reopening after the pandemic has been a bit of a challenge because many people are unsure of her store’s status. However, the store is so small that customers needn’t worry about large crowds; only one person is allowed in at a time. Cleaning procedures are also frequent and extensive.
Reyes, a rock-climber herself, recommends experienced climbers head to Skaha Bluffs. However, she strongly suggests inexperienced climbers find an experienced climbing partner to show them the ropes.
If you’re looking for a more relaxed, scenic experience, renting a paddleboard or booking a lesson with Sun N’ Sup in Naramata could give you that much needed, close-to-home weekend relaxation.
(Sun N’ Sup photo)
According to owner Eileen Meehan, the experience can be habit-forming.
She said clients often purchase their boards after just a handful of lessons or rental sessions.
Before officially opening for the summer season, Meehan was selling boards by appointment only to fun-seeking customers. “All of a sudden the sun came out and people wanted something to do so I was selling paddleboards,” said Meehan.
Despite fewer people renting, Meehan said paddleboard sales are “way up.” The company also just recently began selling clothing once again, after apparel sales were put on hold due to the pandemic.
Despite everything that has happened leading up to summer 2020, Meehan thinks Penticton will still be able to have its fair share of fun in the summer months.
She advises inexperienced paddlers to always take a lesson first to learn the correct techniques and how to be prepared for the unpredictable conditions of Okanagan Lake. Sun N’ Sup is currently offering two-hour lessons for $30.
Meehan recommends that all paddlers always check the wind and weather forecast before heading out on the water.
Cycling of all kinds
Rock-climbing and paddle boarding are just two of the many activities Pentictonites have at their disposal. Biking in many forms is a hugely popular activity, with many local businesses able to help get you on your way.
To pick up a new ride, get yours tuned, get local trail knowledge or rent a bike, head to either Freedom Bike Shop or Bike Barn, located in Penticton’s downtown core.
Both offer bike tuning, and rentals, with Bike Barn renting road bikes, and Freedom renting mountain bikes, road, electric, comfort and more.
For those new to the sport, head up the Kettle Valley Rail Trail, a gravel trail leading to the Little Tunnel.
If it’s single-track mountain biking you’re looking to pursue, head up Campbell Mountain for a mixed variety of beginner to moderate difficulty trails.
“Campbell mountain is great for that,” said Geoff Prowse, co-owner at Bike Barn. “And if you’re looking for something a little more extreme, then the three blind mice trail area… it is absolutely amazing. It’s world-renowned as being an amazing mountain bike destination.”
Due to all the recent precipitation, Prowse said trail conditions are great.
Both bike shops service bikes and patrons are asked to call ahead of time to make an appointment.
Here are a few tips from Mountain Biking BC to help keep you and other cyclists stay safe during the COVID 19 pandemic.
- Stay local and avoid crowded parks and trails
- Plan to ride during less busy times
- Don’t linger and avoid gathering in groups
- Bike solo or only with members of your household
- Keep at least 2 metres (6 feet) from others when not riding
- Allow at least 10 metres (30 feet) of space when following another rider and provide at least 2 metres (6 feet) of space when passing another rider
- When taking breaks, move well off the trail
- Practice low-risk riding
- Wash or sanitize hands after touching communal surfaces like gates or garbage bins
- Stay home if you are feeling sick, especially if you are coughing or experiencing a fever
- Stay informed and respect trail closures when posted
With so many exciting recreation options and summer fast approaching it would be a shame to not take advantage of the endless opportunities for adventure in our own backyards. However while enjoying the outdoors, remember to stay close to home and follow the latest health recommendations.
When the time is right, we can welcome visitors back. For right now, let’s keep supporting our local businesses by being an explorer in our own backyards. Show your support by tagging #lovelocalpenticton #visitpenticton when you stop by our featured locations. Stay tuned for more features on local businesses in collaboration with Visit Penticton. For updates, visit Visitpenticton.com.