Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Okanagan Valley

Much time has passed since my last post from our "trip the light" road trip...the landscapes, the people, the stories...I finally stopped trying to write and paint as all our time has been taken up with exploring, travelling and awe. I will pick up the thread again now that the journey home has begun.

When I last posted we had just left Kamloops and gone to the Okanagan where we stayed in a bright and light filled airbnb in Vernon five feet from Lake Okanagan. We loved this place! Although it was very hot we could eat outside under the vine covered pergola and cool off by sitting on the dock. 

Since it was so hot during the time we were there we visited a couple of beaches to cool down. A very special day was spent at Kalamalka Lake Provinicial Park which was introduced to us by my niece Nora. A short walk down to the lake opened up to a sparkling beach of crystal turquoise color. It felt like swimming in liquid emeralds, so refreshing and cool.

The next day we got there a little earlier to beat the heat and hiked up to Rattlesnake Point. The hike was not too long and the view became more beautiful with every bend.

The palette of colors within this unique landscape is full of sage brush green, red and orange hues and of course the turquoise blues and greens of the lake.


 I was particularly fond of the red pine trees growing everywhere. Large and obviously drought resistant with a strong patterned texture that made me want to keep touching them as we walked by.

At one point I looked up and there sat a bald eagle atop one of these magnificent pines. It is always an honor to cross paths with an eagle. This was the first one of many that we were to encounter on our journey and soon we came to consider the spotting of an eagle as a good omen for the day.

The next day we went out to explore some of the wineries in the region. This part of BC is well known for its orchards and vineyards.

We had an exceptional lunch at the Quail's Gate Winery and then went on to tour the famous Mission Hills Estate Winery.

Mission Hills was very impressive with its collection of sculptures and beautifully manicured grounds.

This winery also boasts an outdoor restaurant with the fifth best chef of a winery restaurant in the world! We had fun touring the extensive grounds and interesting architecture of the buildings.

We had also switched to another airbnb in Vernon and unfortunately it was a complete disappointment. We really didn't want to stay the second night that we had it booked for. Without going into the whole story, I will say that because of a fortuitous meeting with a generous and kind hearted young woman we were able to change our disappointing accommodations for a room in the Sparkling Hill Resort. This turned everything around for us. It was an incredible experience to stay in this place and use the seven different saunas and steam rooms. There was an infinity pool and whirlpool, all of which overlooked the valley and river below since the spa is situated on top of a mountain. 

The spa is owned by one of the Swarovski brothers and so the entire building is filled with the signature Swarovski crystals everywhere. This makes for a very light filled and sparkly experience.

We were tired and opted for room service to bring us a bite to eat with a bottle of our Rosé purchased from the Quail's Gate winery earlier in the day. What a surprise when our meal arrived on a white linen table that was rolled in front of the floor to ceiling windows where we ate and watched the sun go down.

Talk about Tripping the Light Fantastic! A very special and unexpected day indeed!

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