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Archive for the ‘South Okanagan’ Category

Green Okanagan Summer

This summer of 2016 is the greenest Okanagan summer I have ever seen … and I’ve lived in the Okanagan, or visited it in the summer, for most of my 61 years. The weather has been pleasant, but it hasn’t had the usual Okanagan heat. Oh yes, it did start off with a hot spell, mid to high 30s Celcius, in early May, and folks were predicting a long dry summer, drought, and probably wildfires.

But ever since then, we’ve had mostly pleasant mid-20s days, with summer showers often enough to keep the hillsides green–hillsides that are normally brown by early June. Now we are into August and they are just starting to brown. Every so often we have a few days in the low 30s, but even then, they’ve often been accompanied by thunderstorms with downpours just strong enough to prevent any major fires from lightning strikes. Most summers here in Penticton we’re under strict water regulations by early July, but this summer we’ve hardly needed to water our lawns and gardens.

What’s really amazing is the changes in the natural vegetation. Trees and bushes have sprung up. creating green oases where normally one night find thin, scraggly vegetation. The oxbows are coated in thick algae in any places–so thick that the usual ducks, turtles, and other wildlife have moved away. Even in more open water in the oxbows, there is far more floating vegetation than usual, and the bulrushes are tall and thick. The branches of berry bushes are hanging low, with heavy and very early crops such as I’ve not seen here before. The deer and bears are going to be plenty fat before winter comes.Even tree trunks have unusual growth of moss.

Gardens are amazing, too. Everywhere you look, there are amazing tall, thick-stemmed sunflowers. The fruit crops gave been thick and heavy-laden–and far earlier than usual. Despite very little watering, compared to normal summers, strawberries and vegetables are amazing. Along fence lines, flowers and crops are escaping their bounds.

What do you think? Is this just an unusual summer, or is this part of climate change? The thing is, the past few summers have been drier and drier, and the Okanagan has experienced some pretty devastating wildfires … yet now we’ve had a summer that, while pleasant, has definitely not reflected our semi-desert reputation!

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Twin Lakes November Afternoon Drive

Not far from Penticton is the “Twin Lakes” area, which includes the site of the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory. These South Okanagan back-roads are the perfect place for a pleasant afternoon drive from Penticton.  These photos were taken November 16. Enjoy!

Keremeos Columns

This Penticton Pedestrian has wandered a bit past the environs of Penticton for today’s feature.  A half hour drive south-west of Penticton brings you to the small community of Keremeos, famous as the “fruit stand capital” of BC.  Towering above Keremeos is the “Keremeos Columns Provincial Park,” the site of some of the world’s most spectacular basalt columns, and certainly the site of amazing views in every direction, especially through the lower Similkameen River valley that winds its way through the communities of Keremeos and Cawston.

The trail that leads to the columns is almost as great an adventure as the columns themselves!  If you have a hardy 4 wheel drive or ATV you may want to drive up close to the columns; if not, a long, rigorous hike is your option (be sure to wear good hiking shoes and take lots of drinking water!).  It’s a long, steep, winding trail through the dry sage country of the South Okanagan-Similkameen, ending in mountain top meadows and forests.  The spectacular views are difficult to describe in words – this is definitely a case where “a picture says 10,000 words” – so without more ado, here are some photos snapped on June 7, 2014.

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And by the way, a special thanks to Patricia (you’ll find her in one of these photos!) who bravely drove her 4×4 up and down this wild and woolly trail – and patiently let me keeping jumping out to snap photos 🙂

Skaha Lake from Kaleden and OK Falls areas

December 9, 2011

We woke up to a beautiful early winter morning, and couldn’t resist taking a drive from Penticton, around Skaha Lake through Kaleden and Okanagan Falls.  No snow, but thick frost coated shaded areas, and early morning haze created some beautiful scenes.  Enjoy!

country roads

April 10, 2010

Our friend, D, came by yesterday afternoon, and invited us (hubby and me) out for a nice spring drive along the Shingle Creek Road from Penticton to Summerland.  It’s the “back way,” over a occasionally used dirt road through Penticton Indian Reserve.  Beautiful country.  Fields of buttercups everywhere.  Huge scattered Ponderosa pines – with almost no sign at all of pine-beetle infestation, hurrah!

I got some great shots of an old log cabin, roof gone, and full of young trees growing inside and poking vigorously out the top and through the old window and door openings.  A great addition to my collection of photos of old cabins.

We saw a little cemetery way out in the middle of nowhere, when at one point we came to a fork in the road and had to “guess” which way to go.  We apparently made the wrong choice, because after a while the dirt road became a narrow rutted road, and eventually a set of parallel tracks fading out across a wide meadow.

But it was well worth the side-trip, because we got to see the little cemetery way out there.  On the map was marked a community in the general area, called “Shingle Creek,” but other than a couple scattered sets of ranch buildings a fair distance apart, we didn’t see any sign of a town site.  Still, the little graveyard bore witness to the fact that at some point, folks who had chosen to live in this area were indeed a community.

When we got back to town, we went for Chinese food at a restaurant called “King’s Garden.”  A new start for a restaurant that for a long time had been well regarded, but then went downhill (after the previous owner passed away, so I’ve been told), and eventually closed down for awhile.  But now, here it is open again, and seems to be living up to its former good reputation.  I was thinking that the new owners might be a little overly brave to maintain the old name, since it really had gone through a very rough spot – but considering the friendly service and good food, and the number of customers, perhaps it was a good decision after all!

South Okanagan countryside

February 20, 2010

Skaha winter scenes

December 10, 2009