I’m no daring adventurer. “Danger” is not my middle name. In fact, walking up a short staircase can trigger my paralyzing fear of heights.
But while visiting the beautiful little city of Penticton, in B.C.’s Okanagan region recently, I just had to confront my fear in the name of fun. Just above the quiet little city, towers Skaha Bluffs, a very popular and world renowned rock climbing area, and a scenic one at that.
Three parallel canyons contain some very intimidating sheer rock climbing walls, with frightening names like The Fortress and Doctor’s Wall. I’ve never done any rock climbing or repelling down rock cliffs, but I soon found myself donning a helmet and strapping into a harness, ready to “walk” down a very steep 40 foot rock wall.
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A good rule of thumb while doing this is not to look down. Repeat ... don’t look down, especially if you’re afraid of heights. Admittedly, my heart was beating like a drum as I slowly worked my way down the rock face. Fear hit when I glanced down to see ant-sized people.
Thankfully, in about two minutes if was all over and I was on the ground, standing upright again.
Skaha Bluffs is just one jewel in the under-rated Penticton area, which is nestled between Skaha and Okanagan Lakes.
Perhaps the most famous local pastime in the summer months is the inner tube canal ride which runs between the two lakes. This isn’t rocket science. You basically grab a tube, jump on, and then lazily float from Okanagan lake to Skaha lake via the canal.
On any given warm day, hundreds partake in this relaxing pastime, making the odd mid water collisions inevitable. Still, it’s almost a right of passage for out of towners. With desert-like heat in the summer, and little rain or snow in the winter, Penticton has to be considered a holiday spot in B.C.