For most of the summer a couple of friends had been telling me about this amazing place called Little White. Located just south of Kelowna (somewhat close to Big White Resort) it offered a true rock slab alpine experience right in our back yard and was fully rideable on a mountain bike.
My friend Mark showed me a picture he took on his iPhone and said that there was the opportunity to freeride numerous rock slabs. I was completely sold, I knew I had to get up there to ride my bike but there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity to make some photographs. Summer turned into fall and soon some early snow hit the upper elevations shutting down any opportunity to explore Little White. October came and some warmer weather melted most of the snow up high. Finally after a week of solid valley cloud in the Okanagan (real serious lack of sunshine and Vitamin D) we decided that we had to get out from under the oppressive clouds and explore Little White before the snow returned permanently for the Winter. October 25th was our day.
We started with an early truck shuttle up about a thousand feet to the Kettle Valley Railway just above the low lying layer of thick Okanagan cloud. From there we dodged various hunters in full Cameo to pedal (and sometimes hike-a-bike) for another 20 kilometres up an old telegraph cutline to the summit of Little White all the while enjoying the crisp air and glorious sunshine that the rest of the valley was missing.
10.5 hours, 52 kilometres later with 5000 vertical feet climbed and 6000 feet descended, we were back at the truck with an amazing experience and a couple of CF cards under our belts. We explored an alpine lake, which my friend Jason decided was too perfect not to skinny dip in, even though the temperature was just above 0˙Celsius. We had lunch on top of the world and then proceeded to session brilliant granite slabs of rock before finally descending down to enjoy the sunset above the valley clouds. We lost Jason’s key fob for his truck and had to race the receding light through a 1000 foot deep layer of thick cloud to beat the darkness back to his truck before the locksmith arrived.
For me the day was about a physical challenge and adventure with friends, but the chance to add a creative component to the mix in the form of photography made it all the more rewarding. I guess that if you love two things and get to combine them then you can expect your day to be twice as good? What I do know is that this type of photographic adventure is something that I want a lot more of.