Posted by: sunnyharvy | May 26, 2015

O Canada!

O Canada! Where pines and maples grow,
Great prairies spread and lordly rivers flow!
How dear to us thy broad domain,
From East to Western sea!

Except for a few inconveniences dealing with connectivity (why can’t both countries use the same systems to access the internet and cellular networks?!?), we are always happy to be in Canada. Traveling just feels easier here. People seem more friendly, helpful, and less fearful than Americans. The scenery is spectacular, the plentiful campgrounds well managed, and food markets are well stocked with fresh, healthful options. Plus, sani-dumps are readily available… often at no cost. What more could a pair of vagabonds want, right?

We were surprised we had to surrender a dozen eggs and package of organic chicken breasts at our otherwise uneventful border crossing at Oroville/Osoyoos. Although there is nothing mentioned about this anywhere online, our border attendant said it was due to the recent Avian flu scare. I had to deposit our good in a huge freezer that was full of similar products she said would be “buried deep.” What a waste!

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Osoyoos Lake – just a few miles past the border in Canada.

Our drive through the Okanogan (US) and Okanagan (Canada) Valley was very pleasant. The primarily agriculture region has been focused primarily on fruit orchards for decades, with a recent shift in focus to vineyards and wine. Fruit stands were abundant, but unfortunately closed since nothing is in season yet. The region is also known for its dry, sunny climate, and lakeshore communities. The economy is retirement and commercial-recreation based, with outdoor activities such as boating and watersports, snow skiing and hiking.

Our first night in Canada was spent with Boondockers Welcome hosts Eileen and Ken in Osoyoos, BC… thank you! We had a nice, albeit brief, visit and appreciated their warm welcome on the occasion of their 42nd anniversary.

Before beginning our journey north in earnest, we drove a few miles west to view Spotted Lake, one of the area’s most provocative tourist attractions.

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Known as Kliluk to the natives of the Okanagan Valley, the lake is a sacred and culturally significant site. The therapeutic quality of the waters has been known for thousands of years. Indians used the mud and waters of the lake to heal aches and ailments. Supposedly, two warring tribes once signed a truce allowing both parties to tend to their wounded in the Spotted Lake.

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The lake is comprised of many different and highly concentrated minerals. Most of the lake water evaporates during the summer leaving the minerals behind. These minerals crystallize and large spots begin to appear. The colors will vary as each spot will change as the mineral composition changes.

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We took a hike at Vasquez Lake. This view is from a bird watching blind.

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We spent a pleasant overnight and morning stroll along Okanagan Lake in Peachland.

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Our next outing of note was found at the end of a 5 mile dirt road near Kelowna to bike the Myra Canyon section of what once was the Kettle Valley Railway. This 12 km (each way) stretch, now a designated National Historic Site,  includes 18 trestles and two tunnels!

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Ready for action! Al feels comfortable riding again thanks to our new full face helmets.

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Evidence of the tragic 2003 wildfire that destroyed most of the historic trestles can still be seen. A concerted restoration effort followed, and with the help of disaster relief funding and an army of committed volunteers, the final trestle was restored in 2008. An almost unbelievable feat in our estimation. There is no fee to ride the trail, but we were happy to make a cash donation to support their efforts.

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 One of the tallest wooden trestles.

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S-shape trestle shown below.

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Almost can’t imagine a train fitting through some of the rock walled sections.

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A truly great ride – much of which we had all to ourselves.

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Responses

  1. love that final photo!!

  2. Obviously, you’ve spaced out the west coast and great of Newfoundland when you are remembering Canadian grocery stores. Great looking bike trails Cheryl

    Sent from my iPad f >


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