City views from McDougall Rim

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McDougall Rim is the prominent mountain to the west that can be seen from pretty much anywhere in Kelowna. It's gentle slope rises up to 1400m and is home to Hayman Lake which is actually more of a swamp. Below McDougall Rim is Rosevalley Resevoir which is a popluar hiking and biking destination. This is a sweet hike with spectacular views starting just after the 2km mark. It's a well used single track trail that climbs quite conistantly. It's not terribly steep but is long if you go to the top. There's no potible water and it's bear country so be prepared.

Hiking access to McDougall Rim starts off of Bentley Rd. in West Kelowna above Bylands Nursery. After a couple of kilometres of private road you come to an obvious parking lot at the cattleguard. Mutliple atv/4x4 trails head up the hill to your right (north). If you stay right you'll find a well groomed hiking trail that winds its way up but it is much shorter to head straight up and you will eventually bump into the main hiking trail. 

 

On this particular trip I took my drone and my Kessler Second Shooter and Pocket Dolly camera slider to shoot some timelapses. I opted for a hammock rather than the tent to save space and weight all though I was still maxed out at 70lbs. With all the prominent views towards the east and clear skies I wasn't in a huge rush to catch sunset but was hoping to get as high as I could before dark. After a hot, grunt of a hike I came to my usual camp spot at 2.3 km (image below from a previous trip). There were no suitable trees for the hammock so I pushed on to the next viewpoint.

Another 30 minutes of mud puddle avoidance and mosquitos clouds I rounded the final corner to find two large trucks and a bonfire. Certainly a more civilized approach than I took. After generously sharing some ciders with me (I only brought a small flask of whiskey) we discovered that these delightful rednecks and I had crossed paths twice in the previous few weeks. Once they stopped to say hi when eating lunch on a back country ski trip at Big White (post season) and on another occassion they had seen my tent at the top of Boucherie on a early morning hike. Weird. Makes me think we should be friends. 

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Drone flying above Peachland

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 My latest piece of video production equipment is a drone which is also known as a UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) or a UAS (Unmanned Aerial System). To fly a drone commercially requires much more behind-the-scenes than you might think. Especially if it weighs more than a kilogram. You need to have training which includes safety protocals, aviation weather knowledge, knowledge of Transport Canada aviation regulations, Restricted Operators License - Aeronautical for a radio and more. You need a medical form from a doctor, a visual observer to be with you to help maintain security of the operation area and watch for hazards including other aircraft. You need to apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) from Transport Canada which (at this point in time) requires an application for every commercial flight. These applications take as many as 22 business days to get approved. You must have maintenance procedures in place and documented as well as a current flight log. It's a lot of work but the opportunities and footage that can be obtained are pretty cool. 

 The places I can train and recreationally fly my drone in Kelowna are very limited. Most of Kelowna falls within Class D airspace as seen in the picture above so when learning to fly a drone I needed to venture off into the boonies. The Regional District of The Central Okanagan's Parks and all of the City of Kelowna's and West Kelowna's parks are no fly zones without permission. 

 As of late I've been getting out as much as possible to practice flying and train the visual observers I'll be working with. In the opening shot of the video below I'm using an advanced feature involving waypoints. I can pre-fly the route and set waypoints with camera direction and hazards in mind. Upon completion the controller uploads the waypoints to the drone and it flies the route perfectly smoothly then hovers at the end of the route. Pretty cool.

Some more info for those interested:

Airspace viewer, Transport Canada knowledge requirements for UAS, Transport Canada Drone Safety for recreational users

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Dilworth Summit

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This was my first venture out with my daughter this year. My daughter, her friend and myself spent the night on top of the peak of Dilworth Mountain. It’s super easy walking access on a windy paved road that climbs steeply up to the radio towers.

 Because my daughter brought her friend I stayed in a hammock nearby which has a built in mosquito net and the kids took the tent. It was the first ever time camping for the young lady accompanying us and she was very excited.

 

 When you are on top of a mountain and you have nothing to do it forces you to take a step back and appreciate the beuty that surrounds you. the beuty can come in many different forms and especially when it's pointed out to you by a nine year old.

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First Hike of the Season up Mount Boucherie

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I love to be outdoors. Now that ski season has ended I try to get out in the local Okanagan hills as much as possible. This usually involves hiking with far too much gear up one of our local mountains and spending the night.  As often as not I'm by myself which suits me just fine. There's something very peaceful about being away from all the h...
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