Summer is my absolute favourite time of year in Canada; the weather in BC is consistently good and the lakes fairly warm. There are so many choices for outdoor adventure during the summer it can be difficult to choose which to prioritise.
a second chance
Moving to Penticton last year at the very start of June, we only managed to fit in a few trips over the summer while we were settling in – a canoe camping trip in Okanagan Lake Mountain Park, a three-day hiking trip to Cathedral Lakes, and a short overnight paddle on Christina Lake. This year, planning for the summer started early and we hope to get a lot more adventuring in.
Here in Penticton, the warm summer season seems to stretch from April to September, though many places in the backcountry are not fully open for hiking and camping until late June or even July due to the elevation. So for most of the spring, we will be staying fairly close to home until the snow fully melts. It’s not too bad of a compromise anyway since the temperatures in town have already reached 30c for a few days. Perfect for a spot of paddling, sunbathing by the lake, fishing and wine tasting.
In between visits from both sides of our families, we hope to squeeze in another canoe camping trip on Okanagan Lake. Leaving this time from just north of Naramata, the aim is to reach a campsite from which we can hike into Okanagan Mountain Park itself.
Our major paddling trip on the horizon is the 116km Bowron Lakes canoe circuit near Quesnel, BC. I’ve been wanting to do this trip for years; we originally had it planned for September 2014 at the end of our five-month road trip around BC and the Yukon. An eight-day adventure, we are all booked up to start in August with our friends Carly and Joe who are currently living on Vancouver Island.
Trails, tracks and routes
One area I can’t wait to explore this year is Manning Provincial Park. An approximate two-hour drive from Penticton, Manning Park is home to some excellent hiking, from short day hikes to epic multi-day adventures. For one thing, the end (or start, but the majority of thru-hikers finish here) of the magnificent 4260km Pacific Crest Trail is in Manning Park. On our to-do list this summer is the 30km return hike to Frosty Mountain and hopefully a trip over the border to Hozomeen campground on Ross Lake.
Thinking of the US, our easy access to the border opens up a whole other world (or country I guess) of hiking trails. The Pacific Northwest Trail, another long-distance pathway, crosses through the tiny border town of Oroville just south of Osoyoos. Between this and the Pacific Crest Trail, heading below the border offers plenty more day or overnight hiking opportunities.
A bit of everything
Another trip we have wanted to do for a long time is the multi-day paddle and hike adventure to see Della Falls (Canada’s highest) on Vancouver Island. It’s an approx 20km paddle from Scout Beach Rec Site across Great Central Lake to the Della Falls trailhead. From there, a 30km return hike goes to the base of the falls.
The plan is to hopefully combine this with a trip to Vancouver to pick up my Permanent Residency Card sometime in June. We had wanted to do this way back in the spring of 2014, but trying the hike portion at that time of the year was always going to be a gamble with snow levels and sadly for us, the snow had arrived super late that particular spring.
Aside from the trips away from town, we will also be enjoying the company of plenty of friends and family this summer again. The thing about living in the Okanagan is that everyone wants to visit you….but for very good reason!
Jean Robert’s father has already spent two weeks here making the most of the record-breaking spring temperatures (there’s still snow in his New Brunswick hometown). I’m looking forward to showing people the beaches, lake swimming, wineries, breweries, KVR trail and tubing on the Channel….all the stuff I do all summer anyway!