Vernon, Enderby Cliffs and the way to Sun Peaks

Day 6 and I square away camp at Silver Star. I head down the mountain to Vernon and stop for a quick breaky and Skype calls home… that actually takes quite a long time. Looking on the map, I head for Enderby Cliffs Provincial Park as it looks like a good spot.

Now, remember all that wine I’m transporting? I have to keep it cool, even red wine can’t stand too much temperature raise within the bottles. Fortunately, because I have cases of wine, this works in my favour, the bottles keep each other cooler than a single bottle, and I can blast them with air con, leave the windows slightly open when I leave the car, find the shady parking spots, that sort of thing. Unfortunately, at Enderby you are pretty much parking smack bang in the open. This was going to have to be a fast hike!

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Quite a nice trail up and all the rest… until, without warning, it says it’s closed half way up!! Blah!?

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This was the best view I really got.

Headed back and decided to drive to Salmon Arm for a quick tea. Then I looked at the map and spotted a few Provincial Parks nearby… why not go to them I thought?

Thing is, on the way to the closest one, I saw a nice looking road that looked like a major route on the map. Why not use that I thought?

I’m writing this on Windows Live Writer because I can’t find any WiFi, can’t insert a map like I normally would. I’ll try to remember to update this when I upload the post, but in the mean time, go to Google Maps and get the following directions:
From: Pritchard, BC, Canada
To: Sun Peaks, BC, Canada

Yeah, see that windy road? It’s unsurfaced, there are signs saying that logging trucks should call out on their radios, bumps, pot holes, stones, cattle on the loose. Yes, the Impreza is the perfect car for the job… I mean who wouldn’t attempt it with normal road going tyres, normal road going suspension, normal ride height… no, it has All Wheel Drive, clearly there is nothing it cannot do for 24km!

After pushing through some cows, including one angry looking bull, complete with horns, I went up through the switchbacks and the loose surface as the sun was going down. Have to admit, the view was great and I secretly enjoyed the drive. For some reason though, I wasn’t alone. I caught sight of dust from someone up ahead, and just caught sight of him turning down a real 4×4-necessary road marked private, wonder what that was.

Anyway, eventually I caught sight of ski hill trail markers and realised I had made it to Sun Peaks. No messing around, I found the overnight carpark and joined a few other campers and RVers, all unofficially camping.

Immediately headed to town and went round every bar, I had gotten in at about 9:10, ten minutes after most had stopped food service, but Powder Hounds were nice enough to do one last plate for me.

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That was a PHENOMINAL burger. If your wondering, that’s got all the fixings except cheese, I prefer my burgers without it! 3 pints of Granville Island Hefeweizen didn’t go a miss either! Really nice place to chill out, friendly bartenders and has a patio. (There’s a review I hope they see).

Anyway, closing time came round so I went back to the car, set up the tent in record quick time and crashed pretty quickly watching A Bridge Too Far (did you know that has Sean Connery in it?).

Will say that the netbook (a Samsung N220) has been a trooper throughout all this. I’m easily getting 5 hours of battery life, possibly more, even if I’m watching movies etc. Will be making this my travel notebook for now. Still want the Asus U36SD for my main one though!

Anyway, I’m off to explore Sun Peaks some more, I might spend all day here and just skip Kamloops. One way or another, I have to be in Lytton this evening to meet the group for White Water Rafting. Can’t wait!

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Kelowna, Vernon and Silver Star

Day 5 on the trip and I wake up in Kelowna. After hunting round and not immediately finding breakfast, I decided it was time to drive on and see what I found. Quick stop at a shopping centre (that could have been plucked right out of Vancouver for that matter)… should have bought some new shorts as the pairs I have are less than fresh now).

So I headed up to Vernon, as I was driving through I found a dive shop and thought that might be fun. But, no joy, they didn’t have any tours or info on anywhere where I could go get a couple of fun dives in, so I left for a wonder. Over lunch, I thought about heading up to Silver Star to see what was going on up there. So off I went up a great road (by the way, those of you who own automatic Imprezas… buy manual ones or use the tiptronic gear changer).

When I got there I immediately realized I should have resolved to get up here sooner, as I could have gotten a downhill mountain bike lesson and rental for the day and had a great time. Never mind, wen’t hiking instead and took a few snaps from the top:

Ahh the whole Okanagan (probably... well in fact probably not)

The Village

 

Vernon, I think...

I liked it up there so I decided to camp for the night (just $10 and includes access to hot showers, decent bogs, and right by the village with the bar open late). Got talking to a few people and had a great time!

Anyway, hitting the Northern Okanagan now, then it’s onto Lytton for the White Water Rafting trip.

Osoyoos, Penticton and the Okanagan Valley

Got more time to write now. Day 2 and onward!

After my first night at Cathedral Provincial Park, I got up, realized I couldn’t be bothered to cook breakfast on my BBQ (which had to be packed away into the car every night, bears would just think it was Christmas otherwise), and promptly drove into the next town, Keremeos, where I stopped at a Fruit Stand by the side of the road to grab some snacks.

As I was driving, I noticed the landscape was really starting to change, as I had been warned, into a drier semi-desert. As I got to Osoyoos, it really was starting to look that way… except that there were vineyards everywhere!

I chilled out in Osoyoos for a bit then went wine tasting. Wish I could remember where I took this, but this was the view:

Vineyard country!

Looking north, towards Oliver

Carried on around quite a few vineyards that day, including (but not limited to as I can’t remember every last one off the top of my head 4 days later when I write this); Oliver Twist, Quinta Ferreria, Hester Creek, Rustico (where I ordered a whole case on behalf of me and a friend). My car ended up looking a bit lush:

That will be fun to drink!

Anyway, time was getting on so I decided I needed to look for a place to sleep that night. I spotted a road that looked like it might lead to a campsite, so i decided that was as good a reason as any to drive up it. Turns out it was just a logging road, with a loose gravel/dust surface.

But the view was good.

Might be the photo that sums up the whole trip

Eventually I backtracked, I resorted to a private campsite just outside Okanagan Falls.

Day 3 and I head for Penticton… I’ve been look forward to this since my friend told me about her trip a few weeks ago. To get there though, I decided to drive a back route to see what was out there, eventually ending up at White Lake, and I spotted something in the distance…

What are those in the distance? Look like satellite dishes.

Turns out I had stumbled across the Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory. Decided to walk in, but there were rather off-putting signs around.

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Essentially, 7 radio telescopes are in an exact East-West row. 3 of them are mounted on rails to allow them to be moved (the more distant ones in this photo). It allows for great radio imaging.

A quick wonder round later, I had not been bitten by a rattlesnake, so drove on Penticton. I was kind of lost for things to do if I’m honest, was a cloudy day, so after lunch and writing that first blog post, I headed for a drive up in the hills. One more wine stop later, I had a look at the front of the car and saw just how many bugs it was picking up!

How am I supposed to get all them off?

I didn’t take any photos of this next bit. I got it into my head that Apex Mountain had an RV Park or Campground, so I drove the 31km up there through nice windy roads (great drive). When I got there I was very much mistaken, and it was getting dark. So, instead of just turning back like I should have, I took off towards Nickel Plate Provincial Park. Pay attention to that page, I didn’t. Although camping is allowed, you need a 4×4 to get there, and that was certainly the case when I saw the access road. My AWD Impreza was not going to do it, I like the suspension (which is road going) more than I wanted a free camp site.

Defeated, I drove back to Penticton and another commercial campground.

Day 4 and I woke up with one thing on my mind, going for a float down the river. So after finding breakfast, I drove all over town finding a floaty:

How else was I going to get it in the car!?

Then I realized the bus service I was going to use could have rented them to me if I had read the sign. Ah well, I had it now, so off I went for a relaxing float. If any of you do this, I tell you the route is longer than it looks, I think it was about 45 minutes of floating. Well worth it if you’re in the area!

After that I headed north, stopped for a swim at Kickininee Provincial Park. Even broke out the snorkel and mask to see what was down there (kelp forest and quite a lot of small fish, possibly a kind of wrasse). Was great!

Great view of Okanagan Lake

Anyway, I then checked out Summerland for a little while, but decided to head into Kelowna. Where, after some deliberating, I decided to check in to the Samesun that night and meet some folks. Tuesday is a bit of quiet night though, so didn’t meet as many people as I thought. However, I got a 4 bed room to myself, so all good there!

And now, I’m off to explore Kelowna!