Trail Co-Founder Arnold Trewhitt
Arnold said the area has changed a lot over the last century. He mentioned walking the hill sides when he was a younger man, following the trails the trappers, who took to the forest to make a buck during the great depression, had blazed. Arnold remembers hunting pheasant along what is now the Okanagan Rail Trail on the way home from school during the great depression, and how meat was so hard to come by in those days. When I asked Arnold what has changed the most over the last 95 years in Lake Country, he said people, cars…and laws. It almost sounded like an understatement.
Tom Beggs who was also one of the original founders and came back from Victoria to spend three days every summer with Arnold to clear as much of the trail as they could. Arnold remembers Tom being as fast with an axe as Arnold was with a chainsaw. On one occasion they were stalked by a young cougar on the trail. Arnold recalls running at the cougar with the axe, expecting it to run away, but was unnerved when it just crouched down and watched him close the distance. The cougar seemed to leave them alone after throwing some rocks toward it. Arnold is witty and still pretty quick on his feet these days, and you wouldn’t want to come at him; even if you were a cougar.
Arnold is humble about what he has accomplished, and simply states that he enjoyed the work. Just about his whole family has taken an interest in the trail, spending time both enjoying and maintaining the asset, with a particular fondness for the section “Nan’s Path” between Beaver Lake and Oyama Lake. Arnold says you need to snowshoe the trail to use it to its full potential.
The Okanagan High Rim Trail Association is excited to keep up what other locals started almost 30 years ago. This summer and fall we are tackling the section “Cardiac Hill” at the Philpott Road trailhead which was damaged from the forest fire and subsequent logging in the area. If you are interested in volunteering, please consider registering and subscribing at HighRimTrail.ca.