The open hills above Kamloops Lake have no trails and access may be limited by grazing leases, mine use, and some private property. A long traverse may be required to get to some of the hills on the south side of Kamloops Lake. We only go into the area in winter when snow covers the ground and all is quiet. We climb off trail to the tops of the hills, always doing a loop route, hunting for twisted snags and wind-shaped trees.
At several points we can get to good views of Kamloops Lake, the Dewdrop Range, and Red Plateau.
The south-facing sides of the hills are open grasslands with scattered groves of trees, mostly in gullies. When the pine beetle came through the area, we lost many ponderosa pine trees, some of which are still standing. One of the goals of the hike was to find some interesting snags to photograph in the landscape.
As we hike up to the tops of the hills, we can sometimes find wind-shaped trees. Their growth is altered if they are on the windward side of the hilltop. This gnarled dwarf tree has its own unique shape and character.