Earlier this month, we spent 6 days in the Okanagan. We were there 2 summers ago and the weather was sh*t and I hated it. I told Greg that if the weather was crappy this time round, I was never ever going back. Thankfully the weather was really nice but it was hindered though by the smoke but I wont that against you, Kelowna!!
Shuswap Lake Provincial Park
We weren't able to get a reservation Saturday or Sunday at the resort we were camping at near Kelowna so the plan was to leave on Monday morning at like 4am. However as I returned from my run Sunday morning, Greg had found a campsite somewhere near Kelowna and so we were leaving by 11am at the latest. I had a whole list of things I wanted to do that day but basically none of it got done. The smoke on the way out was pretty bad. Canmore was ridiculous but Banff wasn' t too bad. It stayed smoky on most of the drive and the worst was from Revelstoke to probably Salmon Arm and although it was definitely still pretty smoky it was nothing like we had witnessed on the drive up.
This campground is gorgeous. I would love to come back and spend a few days here because the sites are really nice and flat and you have a lot of privacy, all the roads and loops are paved which is good for running and riding bikes. They have a lake you can swim at and rent other water equipment too.
After we had dinner, we rode our bike down to the lake and played in it. The water was so warm , it was ridiculous. Never had I felt water so warm before, not even in Mexico or Hawaii. It was so smokey as you can obviously tell by the photo, but you couldn't smell it or anything. It was really weird.
Okanagan Lake Rail Trail
This was a brand new sanctioned bike trail that just opened in July. It used to be a railway for CN and was built on land that was gifted to them by the government of Canada. CN quit using the railway a long time ago and was basically just going unused or I guess used unofficially as a bike path so the government (not sure if it was Canada or BC) asked for the land and CN said sure you can have it back - for $22 million dollars. Or at least that was the story told to me. It basically runs from Vernon to Kelowna and is I think 50k in one direction. We decided to ride a portion of the trail on our way from campground #1 to our home for the next 5 days.
It did not get off to a good start though because as I was trying to put my phone back into my pocket as I was riding my bike at the same time, it slipped out of my hand and fell face first onto the rocky road that you can see behind my phone. Not how I wanted to start my trip haha. It was difficult to use but I managed. The good news was that I had this phone for 51 weeks and 3 days without breaking a screen and that sadly was a record I think. Thankfully I was able to get it fixed a couple days after we got back. I have the best guy on 17th right down the street from the 4th street Lululemon store if you ever need a screen replaced.
The trail starts out kinda boring because you have houses up on a hill to the left of you and then you have these weird pieces of land right on the water that are like owned by people. Some just had docks, some had trailers and chairs. It was a really weird thing. It felt like I was in rural US and not in Canada. Eventually though we left the houses and land parcels behind and found some real beauty. The water fall shown here was really unexpected and kinda came out of nowhere. Another cool thing we witnessed were some nectarine and peach orchards. We saw a cherry orchard too but cherry season was over so there were no cherries to be seen. We also saw another tree full of berries but no idea what they were.
This is wear we stopped for lunch. It was about 5.5km into the trail and because we finally had something to look at, the girls complained about being tired and wanting to turn back. I know it looks really smoky here and don't get me wrong because it really was, you were able to see a bit more behind them in this photo then you think. Greg would like to do this whole trail one day and I think if the weather and mother nature cooperates, it would be kinda cool.
There is a public beach right near at the parking lot and they had a water swing for the girls to play on. They were behaving and having fun with it until Penelope threw it too hard and scared Finley and then she fell into the water. It was not a fun ride to our home for the week.
We went into the Kelowna waterfront and found Ogopogo. I still have not found him in the water but one day I maintain that I will.
I love love love that they have pianos all over the place. I love little things like this. The kids really loved it but Penelope didn't want to let Finley have her turn and tried her best to ruin the moment for her.
After we explored the waterfront, we went to Paynter's Market where we picked our own peaches. You can only pick from a certain side and the peaches were not great nor did they taste that great either. Picking peaches was kinda cool but it was over in like 5 minutes. I tried to drag it out longer but it was really diffficult. Last time we were here we went cherry picking and that is far more fun even if i hate cherries haha.
Paynter's had gluten free ice cream cones which made Penelope so very happy. They were very allergen aware there.
Millions of peaches. Peaches for me.
We also picked up some fresh produce and it was very tasty and the perfect accompanment to our dinner that night.
On our last full day in Kelowna, we went to this place in Mission for lunch and it was so good. I had sweet potato fries with an amazing aoli sauce to dip them in and I had some gyoza too. This is the only photo from our lunch because my iphone battery is crap and dies all the time. Or at least it did, I just got my iphone battery replaced by apple for $35 and it is as good as new right now. I really should have had it done before we left on vacation though....lessom learned I guess.
Gelatly Bay Aquatic Park
One afternoon we headed to Gelatly Bay Aquatic Park in West Kelowna and it was pretty fabulous. It was a very small beach area and not too busy and loads of fun. Finley was definitely living her best life here by far. Everything you see is designed to be used to get yourself into the water. If you google it, you can see how amazing it would look if the entire province wasn't engulfed in forest fires. They have various diving boards, a zipline to get you into the water, various docks and they have a ladder you can use to easily climb back onto the structure to use the diving boards. It was amazing. Finley absolutely loved it.
Penelope did swim out to the smaller dock but refused to jump off of anything. This kid has almost no fear but jumping off of things is one of the few she does have. Not that I am complaining because I am not haha. She chose to lay on her poop emoji floatie and enjoy the bay that way.
Myra Canyon//Kettle Valley Rail Bike Trail
We did this bike ride the last time we were here and we really enjoyed it so it was a no brainer for us to do it again. Thankfully, there was like almost no smoke at all and we had really good views of everything.
I love the tunnels so much. Last time, the girls were terrified of them but this time around Finley had no problem going in them and Penelope was ok once she got going. This portion of the Kettle Valley Railway Trail is in Myra Canyon and has 2 tunnels and 18 tressles.
The great thing about this is that you don't have to bike it, you can hike it too. It is nice and flat and is good for wheelchairs and strollers alike. You can also rent bikes at the top of the hill as well. And you can go as far or as short as you would like to go and still be blown away at the sites you will see. trust me, it is amazing.
We made it 2 tressles further this time than we did the first time. Greg said it is about 80k from the start to get to Penticton and it is all down hill basically so maybe one day I will do that. You don't have to bike back, they have shuttles that will bring you back to the start, which is nice.
This is so spectacular. I love that we get to ride our bikes along the tressles and then stop and take in all the scenery that surrounds it. I took this same photo last time and I am still in awe everytime I look at it. It is a truly amazing place to experience. We rode our bikes along another section of the KVR last time driving to Osoyoos. It might have been in Oliver or somewhere near there, I can't remember off the top of my head at the moment.
The KVR is the longest rail trail network in BC extending from Hope to Castlegar. Once a railroad system, it is now home to nearly 400 miles of connected pathways throughout the region (thanks bcrailtrails.com). Seriously, I cannot tell you how much we enjoy this so you should really look into it if you are ever in the area. I promise you won't be disappointed.
Beaver Lake Mountain Resort
This was the only place we could get a camping reservation for the time that we were able to come and although Greg told me to look at the website before he booked, I really didn't look that hard. I will be the first to admit that I wasn't in love when we first arrived but at the end, I was pretty happy with our days spent here and would have no problem coming back again one year.
This photo was taken the first night we were there. It had been smoky in both Kelowna and Vernon and expected the same when we got to our campground but it was clear and quite beautiful. It was a little on the chilly side but overall really nice.
This campground is really geared toward families which is really fantastic because the kids made so many friends, we barely ever saw them. They collected a lot of frogs and buried a lot of frogs and let a lot of frogs go and generally had so much fun. It is not a huge campground and the sites are fairly small and not a lot of them have any privacy so you really have no choice.
They had a massive play structure that the kids spent a lot of time at. This wasn't even the whole structure - that is how big it was. The kids were up early and played until it was too dark for them to see. They also had a petting zoo that had multiple bunnies, guinea pigs (both girls so desperately want one), pigs, goats and maybe one other animal that I can't think of. The parents took turns taking a group of kids up to the petting zoo since you had to have an adult presence. The girls loved going and they had named each and every animals. Some even twice.
This was our second day here, we left and it was clear and we came back 6 hours later and it was so smoky you could hardly see. It cleared a little by evening when this was taken but I pretty much alternated between advil and benadryl to battle the headaches and constant sinus congestion.
For the most part the smoke had cleared one morning and so we rented a canoe for a couple of hours and canoed all around the lake, past the islands and even saw 2 bald eagles and a puffin. You could also rent paddle boards, paddle boats, kayaks, and motor boats. I don't think the canoes see a lot of action around here haha.
Finley insisted that she was going to do all of the paddling so she sat in the front in the comfy seat instead of me. Unfortunately this didn't last long and I had to paddle most of the way which sucked because where I was sitting was not as comortable haha.
I spent most of time laying on the beach taking turns between napping and reading this book. It is so good. Another lady was also on the beach reading this book too. I enjoyed every second of our downtime.
Since there was a province wide fire ban in effect, there were no campfires and we don't own a propane firepit, we were forced to roast our marshmallows on our camping stove. The kids thought it was great and they enjoyed the smores. The evenings cooled down quite a bit and a fire would have been so nice to have and help us keep us warm.
The beach was so peaceful early in the morning so I would walk down each day and marvel in it's beauty and peacefulness and do my morning meditations. I loved it so much. The beach is really nice and has benches, tables, umbrellas, chairs, a swinging couch and huge fire pits that would have been fantastic had they been allowed.
Another smoky afternoon spent on the beach. The beach wasn't huge but it was quite nice because each day, about half stayed at this beach and the other half went into Kelowna or Vernon. There were always lots of kids around to keep the kids busy.
This was our last night at the campground. The smoke was so bad. I was excited to go home but that didn't last too long after I saw that it was even worse in Calgary. How was that even possible?? Like I said earlier, I was apprehensive at first when we arrived but it truly was a great place to hang out for a week. The only cell service was in the first bathroom stall or directly behind the bathroom building. It was hard to get because everybody was fighting for the tiny bandwidth that was available. I didn't even bother most of the time. It has clean bathrooms, a sink in the bathroom just for washing dishes and it has a free shower too. It really was a great week disconnecting and spending time with the family. I did bring my running stuff but no runs were ran and I have zero regrets. We most likely will be back. Just hopefully not during a wild fire.
I had heard so many great things about this place and we decided to stop and check it out. Ice Cream at 10am is acceptable when you are on vacation right? I had no idea that it was more than just a ice cream store and the kids were excited to see all of the cows and goats and chickens and what not. I wish you could have seen more of the milking the cow and turning it into ice cream process but maybe one day they will do that.
The baby cows were pretty cute and this is where we were in this photo but when we went into the barn with the working dairy cows, it was pretty disgusting. They pooped constantly and the smell was something I had never ever smelled before - even at Stampede!
Greg and the girls loved thier ice cream but I didn't like it, not even a little bit. It was way too cream like which is ironic considering it is called ice cream. But I dumped mine out because even after eating theirs, all 3 were too creamed out to eat anymore. Viilage, you are still number one in my hear. Across the street was a fresh fruit market where we loaded up on peaches and nectarines. These peaches were so much more better than the ones that we picked haha.
The Last Spike
Greg was very excited to stop here and even though nobody else wanted to, it ended up being kinda cool. This was the last peice of the railway that connected the entire country. Greg said that we learned about this when we were in school but I have no memory of this at all.
Getting to hammer in the last spike. A cute little place to get out and stretch your legs and learn a little something about this great country of ours.
All in all, it was a pretty relaxing week spent in the Okanagan. The temperatures were still quite high despite being impeded by all the smoke and we were only cold at night. Or at least I was only cold at night haha. It was a great way to spend a week away from home and out of our routine.