Wine and...um...balsamroot

Trip Start May 05, 2008
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Monday, May 5, 2008

We arrived in Wine Country May 5th and went straight to Bear Creek Provincial Park, on the western shore of Lake Okanagan, just across from Kelowna.  The drive to Bear Creek gave us our first taste of the development on Lake Okanagan; Westside Road was lined with three, four, even five storey mansions clinging to the steep banks.

Bear Creek was a decent campground, it had warm(ish) showers, open fields (perfect for Frisbee golf), and all the electricity we could...um... 'borrow' from the bathroom to charge our various electronics.  It was far enough from the city and right on the lake, and full of wildlife, mostly geese, and one duck who visited us daily.  We named him Abba. 

We started training with Kyle and Wes the following day.  Between figuring out the definitions for all the data we would collect, learning to use the video camera and the Trimble (aka GPS on steroids), and trying to find a way to keep all this stuff organized, the next few days passed in a blur.   We got out on the boat for a practice run with Brent, Wes, Lora, and Jerry, and before we knew it the training was done and data collection officially began.  Our first few days were a little wet and cold, but Lora, Susan, and Dave all made the long drive out to work with us rain or...well, just rain.

We also had a chance to see lots around Kelowna.  There was a lantern festival being set up in the park and an art show going on outside the museum.  There was also a great hike just across the road from our campsite.  It brought us up one side of a steep ravine, along the edge of a narrow canyon with a great waterfall view, across Bear Creek and along the other side of the canyon.  It was an excellent opportunity to experience the very dry Ponderosa Pine/Sagebrush ecosystem, infused with colour by the white flowers of the Saskatoon bush and vivid yellow balsamroot flowers.   The hike ended at a clearing on top of the steep slope with a view of the entire city of Kelowna, Okanagan Lake disappearing into the distance on either side.

For Eric, Brendan, and I, though, the highlight was definitely the Mission Hill Winery.    They offer tours a few times daily for only $5 and it's like stepping back to a time before Walmart even existed.  The architecture was...well I don't know anything about architecture, but it looked pretty good to me.  It was designed how you would imagine a mission to be several centuries ago; a bell tower, enormous wooden doors, rolling green fields, rows of grape vines, and, of course, a dark, damp cellar with endless rows of oak wine barrels.  AND, we got to test three different wines!  All for $5!

Our time in Kelowna flew past, and before we knew it we were packing up and on our way home for the long weekend.  We never saw Abba again.
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Where I stayed
Bear Creek Provicial Park

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