On the weekend of Aug 20, 2016, Directors Patti, Pete and Garry traveled to Apex Mountain area to explore the trails that were part of one or more Jeep Jamborees in and around 2008. On highway 3 past Hedley, we took Hedley Nickel Plate Road up and over to our base camp at Nickel Plate Lake. he campground there is large enough to host at least a dozen or more trailers and an equal number of vehicles with RTTs.
From there, it’s only about 15 minutes to Apex Ski hill. On the route home, Garry later discovered French Mines, a large mine along that road that you can drive into and explore. The closest 24-hour gas station is in Penticton, 36km (45 min) away.
Our first day (Saturday) was an easy trail that began at the old Apex maintenance yard, roughly 10 minutes from our base camp. With plenty of room to pass other vehicles, it lead to a number of mines and also a very interesting (and dangerous) air hole that dropped straight down into the mine, estimate at least 80 feet below.
There are a lot of signs of mining in the area, with rocks found around the mine areas that have various metals and minerals in them.
The last half of the trail arrives on Apex Mountain, which along with some radio towers has a spectacular 360 view of the surrounding area. A few mountain tops away is Okanagan Lake, however Kelowna and Penticton are not visible though it’s possible to guess roughly where they are.
After returning to Apex, we took the second loop trail known as the Green Mountain run. It too has a good view from the peak although only to the south and west, where you can see the radio towers across the valley on Apex Mountain.
The Green Mountain run started with a very steep 30 degree climb with loose gravel, but there was a bypass we suspect. The Green Mountain peak was reached within the first 1/5th of the run, the next 1/5th of the loop was along a very windy and narrow downhill to Keremeos Creek. Unfortunately we came across 2 downed trees, one we managed to drive over and the second was pulled off the road by Garry. I broke (or lost the bolt holding on) the rear sway bar link, but other than a bunch of noise and some rubbing I just zip tied it as a temporary fix after we got back to camp. There wasn’t much to this trail, and the biggest downside was that for the most part there was no room at all for oncoming traffic to pass for many kilometers.
We met some locals including Tom Sullivan who mentioned a few lessons from the old Jeep Jamborees. We learned some valuable tips on what worked and what did not, so we can make our event the best it can be. Looking forward to our next run!