Greenstone Mountain: A Step Into the Thompson Okanagan’s Winter Fantasy
Climbing high above the Kamloops region to winter’s hiding place
Geographically speaking, Greenstone Mountain Provincial Park is not far from the downtown core of Kamloops, British Columbia. A mear 20 kilometres of highway and dirt roads separate the two locations. Even so, the hidden mountaintop paradise of Greenstone presents a unique severely elevated view of the rolling hills and secret lakes of the surrounding Thompson Okanagan area.
Earlier in the afternoon, Tyrel and I had just finished loading up her baby blue Jeep Cherokee as we caught up on our year of school and adventure since we last saw each other. Taking off towards Cherry Creek, we traded pavement for dirt and potholes as we started up Greenstone Road, stopping only for resident cows grazing close to the road.
Climbing severe elevation over the last 7 kilometres of the road, we kicked the Jeep into 4x4 to tackle the final frozen hills and snow-covered turns before reaching the 1,788-metre summit, sitting high above ATV and forestry trails.
Realizing that while Tyrel and I were still somewhat distant from the lookout hut, we decided that taking the Jeep any further would be a risk we weren’t willing to take. Grabbing my Everyday Backpack and zipping up my jacket, I popped the door open and stepped into the gusting wind of the mountain’s summit and immediately regretted not changing out of my campus street attire. Even after falling hard and fast on my backside over some ice, I was determined to capture what I kept referring to Tyrel as the “dream shot.”
Reaching the forestry lookout high above the 124-hectare park, Tyrel and I were quick to move inside the shelter to warm our hands, waiting for the sun to set a little lower. After capturing a few portraits and Instagram Stories, we decided that we only had one chance to get the sunset shot we wanted.
Standing right at the edge of the mountain, I could feel the blistering wind blowing my Leash strap right off my shoulder as I took my final few shots of our trip. My hands froze up on the shutter button, but the few lasting minutes of sunlight igniting the winter clouds above and bouncing off the snow-covered rocks was too perfect of a moment to ease up on capturing.
Hours after we slowly descended the hellish icy road, I received comments and messages from friends asking if this shot was taken in Iceland, and when I had decided to leave the country. Reassuring them that I was still local, it gave me perspective as to just how diverse the Thompson Interior region is, providing a Norwegian-like fantasy just a short trek away from desert bluffs.
⚠️ A word of caution ⚠️
If you would like to tackle Greenstone Mountain Provincial Park, Tyrel and I would both recommend the utmost caution in ascending the roadway in the colder months of the year. Even with 4x4 enabled on good mud and snow tires, we struggled to peak the summit and slid dangerously close to trees and deep ditches more than a few times on our way down.
Many experienced adventurers local to the Kamloops region would also advise against tackling this venture without the proper gear.