Enjoying the Lakes of the Okanagan in Summer
Ed and I had thought about going to Kelowna to enjoy one of several wine festivals the area is known for.
But since the kids really couldn’t participate nor Sadie, our beloved Lab, and vacation is not the same without them, we decided instead to take a tour around the amazing lakes of the Okanagan.
Echo Lake is a tree fringed lake southeast of Lumby preferred by solitude-seeking swimmers and sunbathers. We stopped to listen for the echo that gives the lake its name and were rewarded with the sounds of our voices reverberating along the coastline. The best part was when Sadie started barking at the sound of her own echo across the lake. We had to put her back in the mini van and keep moving. Poor Sadie was so confused.
Beaver Lake is just north of Kelowna. I’ve never seen such enormous and colorful rhododendrons; they were beautiful! Ed and the boys took Sadie for a walk along the beach while I ran the 10K loop. I was as excited as the dog to get out of the car and be unleashed. The sun reflecting on the lakes made them shimmer in sync with my shoes pounding the pavement. I was in trail heaven until I got lost, but even that little 1.5 mile detour was along a pretty residential road shaded by tons of trees. I followed a pair of guys running with their black standard Poodle before passing the dog and joining them. I told them I’d gotten lost and they said, “It’s impossible to get lost here”. When I told them where I got lost they said, “Oh, except for that spot, oops”. My 10K loop turned into about 8+ miles which was great for me. I could have run another loop if I’d had the time, but Ed and the boys were waiting for me when I got back.
Shushwap Lake was one of the largest lakes we have ever seen! Ed’s favorite part was jumping into incredibly warm water from the deck of a houseboat. Then, we all walked the short trail in Sunnybrae through tall trees and cliffs to enchanting Margaret Falls, where 61 m of water cascades into Reinecker Creek. We took a few hours out to witness the amazing migration cycle of the salmon, since it’s a family favorite. In Sicamous, we took the boys out on every water sport imaginable: boating, kayaking, canoeing, swimming, waterskiing, wakeboarding. Sadie and I drew the line at fishing and windsurfing, and cheered everyone on from the sandy beach.
We started with an easy short hike through a forest of Douglas-fir trees, pine and aspen. Once we got to the top, we were rewarded with spectacular views over Paul Lake and Harper Mountain, as well as a bird’s eye view of ospreys, swallows and the rare white-throated swift. There are two access points to the hike, one from parking lot and the other from the campgrounds. When we came back down, Paul Lake and its 400m of sandy beach were perfect for relaxing. We had heard about the occasional UFO sighting, and made a point to watch the sunset in the hopes of seeing a stranger from another land. All we saw were thousands of sparkling stars in the crystal clear nighttime sky; perhaps Sadie’s barking scared them all away.
Okanagan Lake has 30 beaches ranging in size and scope. Many are equipped with playgrounds, concessions and bathrooms. Kelowna sits about half way and the wondrous 5-lane William R. Bennett Bridge connects to both sides of the lake. We rented a boat and went out for a day of water skiing and wakeboarding. One time the boys decided they wanted to water ski one end of the lake to the other, but it is 68 miles long. After we told them that, I didn’t hear much more about the long distance ski idea. The ever faithful Sadie got involved by splashing around in the lake and cheering the kids on as they skied past us. A bath was needed by all when we get back to our rooms at the Accent Inns hotel; which thankfully is pet friendly.