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Posts tagged ‘Okanagan Lake’

Lots to do with the grandkids

August 18, 2011

In Penticton, there really is lots to do with the grandkids!  My 10-year-old grandson came out to visit from Alberta for a few days, and we had such a great time.

The first day, we mini-golfed, swam, and played in two parks.  The only thing that “cost” was the mini-golf, and hubby won a free pass which he passed on to our grandson.  A couple of days later, the little guy and his granny on his dad’s side used the free pass to go mini-golfing – and won another free pass.  So it turns out that one of the great things about activities with the grandkids in Penticton is that the few things that “cost” are actually almost free too 🙂

There’s another great thing about Penticton activities with the grandkids – you can park the car (or even just walk from home) and find a wide variety of activities all within a 10 to 15 minute walking distance of each other.  We started at Loco Landing where we played mini-golf, fed the ducks and goldfish, and Chinnie (grandpa) and the little guy had a wonderful time shooting cannonballs.  The young ‘un made some new friends, too.

Then a short walk to Okanagan Beach, for fun in the waves, sliding into the water with huge splashes, making sand castles, watching the parasailers and sail-boarders and waterskiiers – and backpack snacks on the sand.  And making new friends.

Across the street to Lakawanna Park for fun in the water park, and more excitement on the huge adventure playground.  And of course, more new friends.

Then a short two or three blocks on to the adventure playground at Queen’s Elementary School, watching activities of children taking part in the Penticton Rec summer day camp program, meeting still more new friends, and finally a picnic lunch while perched high atop the monkey bars!

Then back to the  car, parked in the lovely shady free parking lot behind Lakawanna Park – cool even on a warm sunny South Okanagan summer day!

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Summer fun at Okanagan Beach

August 07 – 08, 2011

After a very, very, very long cool spring which stretched half-way through Penticton’s normal summer season, summer has truly arrived, with lots of blue, sunny skies and thermometers registering in the low 30s C on a consistent basis.

And of course that means that the unusually quiet lonely beaches have suddenly become the center of Penticton summer fun.  The waterfowl may be a little surprised by the sudden influx of humans, but it certainly hasn’t scared them off.  Ducks and seagulls mingle cheerfully with tourists and locals, sailing overhead as the human folks sail on the waves, swimming, sailboarding, waterskiing, sliding down the always popular slides to splash into the water, and floating on all manner of air-filled devices.  Young and old demonstrated their architectural skills, building great sand-castle creations together.

At the shoreline, families play together in the sand and waves.  One of the great things about Penticton’s beaches is the family focus, with members of all ages from newborns to honored great-grandparents almost all sharing in the happiness and community together.   Almost all.

On the day these snapshots were taken, one young family came to the beach.  The parents, unfortunately, ensconced themselves on towels on the sand, and ordered the children to go play in the water while the parents laid back, closed their eyes, and soaked up the sun.  The eldest child, perhaps 8 or 9 years old, was placed in charge of the youngest of perhaps a year in age.  She was told to stand at the foot of the slide, chest-deep in the water, to catch the baby as he came down.  As the little one flew off the end of the slide, his little feet stretched out in front of him bowled over his young sister, and both went under the water.  One of the parents, observing this incident from their comfortable spot on the sand, started hollering at the little girl to take better care of the baby.  Both children were spluttering and choking on the water, and thrashing about trying to get safely to shore, but other than shouting at them angrily, the parents did not move to help.

Along came an older man, obviously a grandfather, already playing with his own children and grandchildren in the water and on the slide.  He gently scooped up the two little folks, brought them to the edge of the water, and sat down with them in the shallow shore waters.  Quickly the other siblings joined their brother and sister, and his own grandchildren ran over too.  In moments, the whole group was laughing and playing safely together with this grandpa.  He played with them all for a good half hour, and then it was time to take his own family home.  The parents of the little ones whom he had rescued were, sadly, still laying stretched out in the sun ignoring their children.  As this grandpa got up to leave, the little ones he had just adopted stretched out their arms to him and said, “Grandpa, do you really have to go?  Can’t you stay and play with us longer?”  He replied that he really did have to go, but that he hoped he’d see them again another day.  As he left the beach with his own children and grandchildren, he stopped to tell the parents they’d need to watch their children now.  They just glared at him.

Fortunately, such parents are an exception on Penticton’s beaches.  Even more fortunately, caring community members like the grandfather are not an exception.  What a great place we have for families to vacation or live.

spring is sprunging

April 4, 2011

Looking northward up Okanagan Lake, one might seriously question this post’s assertion that “spring is sprunging!”  After all, the skies are thick with gray clouds, and it appears certain that snow is falling on the upper reaches of the mountainsides.  Few folks are out and about; a single lonely soul sits gazing into the distance, on benches that will be filled with sun-worshipers not too long from now.  A xeriscape park downtown likewise is empty, though bright artwork on a wall, reflective of Penticton’s active arts community, encourages pedestrians to come and sit awhile.  Beaches are barren of the summer crowds, and popular waterside restaurants are only piles of chairs and tables forlornly awaiting busier, warmer days.  Even a usually busy carwash sits empty and alone, as dark skies threaten spring rains.

But other signs suggest strongly that “spring is sprunging” indeed.  Daffodils, crocuses, and other spring flowers have suddenly bloomed in all their brilliant, colorful beauty.  Workmen and machinery are out in parks and on roadways, working hard to prepare for summer activities and traffic.  Fruit trees have recently been pruned to ensure excellent summer crops, and piles of yard clippings and garbage at street curbs witness to the fact that many citizens are busily spring cleaning.  Penticton and Ellis Creeks are finally clear of ice, and the water rushes downstream merrily as snowpacks on upper reaches are melting away.    And an absolutely sure sign of spring: rhubard is growing!

Building and rebuilding is another sure sign of spring.  The Pine Lodge, a low-income housing facility, unfortunately burned in early February, on one of the coldest days of winter, leaving 18 residents homeless.  Fortunately, the Penticton community quickly worked together to find temporary housing, clothing, and other necessities, and already, the burned building has been torn down and is in the preparatory stages of rebuilding to meet this important need.

If that isn’t enough, there are bits of wry humor here and there to put some spring spirit into what otherwise might be a gloomy day.  Local political commentary brightens up a storefront, as a “dummy” wears prison stripes and is accompanied by a “Penticton: a place to stay forever” sign:  a tongue-in-cheek reference to current local discussion on whether we want our community to be the location of a new provincial penitentiary.  On the beach front, two signs jostle for attention, a bit ironically:  “Environmental Riparian Area: Keep Out” right next to “Jet Ski Rentals.”  An empty bird perch just outside the picture suggests the latter use may be winning out.  And finally,  Santa and his reindeer are still clinging to at least one rooftop, apparently dreaming of at least one more snowfall in the 2011 winter season.

Penticton landscape

March 31, 2011

These snapshots were taken from highway #97 just south of Penticton at about 6 in the afternoon on March 31.  Skaha Lake is in the foreground, the city of Penticton, and Okanagan Lake on the far side of the city.  Truly a beautiful city and “a place to live forever.”

(Be sure to click on the individual pictures to see them nearly full-screen size).

beautiful Okanagan Lake

January 17, 2011

In summer, this beautiful Okanagan Lake beachfront is covered with sun-worshippers every day, the water filled with adults and children alike splashing and swimming, and zipping down the slides that are placed in the water each sunny season.  Out beyond the white marker buoys (you will definitely want to click on the pictures to see the detail; click on the “back arrow” at the top left of your screen to return to the post), motor-boats, water-skiiers, canoes and kayaks, wake-boarders, and all manner of other summer water activities curve criss-crossing wakes across the water’s surface.

But on this mid-January day, with unusually clear skies and calm surface, the lake sits still, with only a flock of local over-wintering ducks and the ubiquitous sea gulls gliding slowly over the surface – at least until a rude photographer dares to creep too close, and with a sudden squawking and flapping, the whole group splashes up from the water and sails overhead in great arcs, finally descending again and landing smoothly a safe distance away.

The water itself is so clear today that every grain of sand beneath its surface along the shoreline can be seen distinctly.  In fact, it is difficult to see where the water begins, it is so clear.  A scattering of washed-up plant life at various levels along the shoreline replaces the summer covering of beach towels, floaties, and tanned bodies.  It also reminds us that not every winter day is this placid; occasionally, winds blow up or down the lake with fury, whipping up huge waves and sometimes even taking out large trees near the shore line.  But today the world is still, and the footprints of the ducks are clearly outlined in the sand at the water’s edge.

At the east end of the beach, the Penticton Peach sits closed up and deserted, and tourists looking for entertainment are more likely out of town at Apex Ski Resort, or having fun in the Casino in the hotel just beyond the Peach.  At the west end of the beach, the old steamship SS Sicamous sits tall and stately, remembering, keeping watch over the beach that at one time was the southern terminous of its trips up and down the 135 kilometers of Okanagan Lake, connecting the many communities, large and small, that dotted her shorelines in earlier days.

(Take a look at this slide show of the SS Sicamous, a lively tourist and historical destination in the warm months each year).

snowy early winter morning

January 11, 2011

South Okanagan countryside

February 20, 2010