Okanagan Camping 2
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There are books about camping in British
that are an inch thick, listing hundreds of camp sites. With so
much choices, why would you ever bother going to the same camp site
twice? The problem is not all camp sites are created equal.
Okanagan Lake campground (we
visited once two years ago
) has hot showers, is close to a city
with lots of services, wine country and some great outdoors
experiences. Because it's also cheap ($24 a night for a camp site
which can accommodate up to 4 people) the reservations fill up very
quickly. If you want to go for labour day, you really hope you
have your plans sorted out by May.
Pentiction Farmers Market
This trip followed on our trip to Wells Gray
so we didn't get an
opportunity to shop for food ahead of time. That said, why
would you want to? Pentiction has a vibrant farmers market (we
visited last camping
and on a Bed
and Breakfast Trip
) where we stocked up on much of the green
groceries we would need.
This year the market seems to be broken into two parts - a large food
section (perhaps 50 stalls) and a healthy crafts and services section
(perhaps 30 stalls). The grocery section has a lot of
overlapping vendors (perhaps 6 vendors sold tomatoes for instance) so
the prices were competitive and the presentation was polished.
Hanging out in Camp
Thankfully, none of us has yet rented a motor
have TV to watch at night. Unlike previous camping trips,
this trip we were multiply armed with iPhones so we could entertain
ourselves, but that's hardly the social camping thing to do.
Micheal brought "Unexploded Cow" from cheap ass games and got a round
going by lantern light.
Actually seeing your cards is a challenge if you only have one light
source so lots of flashlights and headlamps were needed to actually
make it playable.
I never did find out who won, but apparently it was quite close.
Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory
I've driven by the Dominion Astrophysical
Observatory a number of
times, each time thwarted by being the wrong time of the day or a
holiday day. (Turns out they are now open on holidays).
This trip we made sure we arrived at a good time to see the observatory.
The big dishes are the impressive part of the
observatory. There is a forest of telephone poles that was used
to measure very low frequency waves, but that equipment is no longer
used. There is also a solar observatory which maps the magnetic
radiation of the sun - it's small, but impressive none the less.
We got an almost two hour tour of the building including entry to some
of the labs and a lecture on radio astronomy. I was really
impressed. They showed some of the instruments they are building
(radio receivers) - apparently Canada is competitive in this
field. The big dishes are mostly used for survey work (one
project was a survey to map the in galaxy radiation so the modern
telescopes can subtract out the noise from the out of the galaxy
observations. Again, I was really impressed.
Osoyos Desert Center
On my first trip through the Okanagan, I
. The had a nice walk through the desert where we found
snakes. I had heard about the Osoyos Desert Center, but we didn't
make it. For this camping trip it was a priority to visit.
The desert center tells a pretty sad story of rare
You won't find burrowing owls here (or anywhere else near Osoyos)
because of habitat loss (and the loss of badgers that would normally
dig holes that serve as dens. You will find a rare spot of
unspoiled desert and signage explaining what you are seeing.
There was surprising variation in the plant life over
the loop of boardwalk. Prickly Pear Cactus was more common near
in the middle half and the far end had horsetail growing - a sign there
was more water. There were signs explaining how rodents help get
plants started here by burying seeds underground and then failing to
retrieve them. While walking the loop some people spotted a
desert rabbit. Sadly, I was too late to see it.
The park is quite sad because it is so badly encroached upon. One
one side of the park is an orchard and the other is bordered by an
industrial park. You really get the feeling they were a decade
too late in founding this place - it's seems too small to be a serious
reservoir of wildlife.
Trusting map books is a dangerous thing to do. Last trip I drove
up to Giants Head
just outside of Summerland. I was looking for
something similar - drive up to a nice parking lot, walk the last few
hundred meters and get a nice view. From the Map (and our
iPhones) Mount Nkwala looked just the place. I asked at the local
winery and they said they had never heard of the hike/road.
We broke out the maps and took a stab at it.
There is quite a nice aquatic area (marsh) near the
turnoff. As we drove up the gravel road, it got worse and
worse. Eventually we got to the "private land, no trespassing
signs", but pretended we didn't see them. We continued up the
hill until my Subaru couldn't go any further. We were a few
hundred meters from the top.
The view is quite impressive. You take in all of Penticton and
the Naramata bench. You can see much of Skaha Lake. If
Pentiction airport was busier, this would be a great place too look
down on the airplanes as they flew by.
Tags: Okanagan(15), market(9), peppers(6), camping(4), desert(3), game(2)
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