Canada ’08: Ellison Provincial Park, Vernon
Ellison Provincial Park, Vernon, Okanagan Lake
It’s Monday so it must be a trip up to Vernon on Highway 97 to meet old friends and their two teenage sons. The friends are on a camping vacation at beautiful Ellison Provincial Park on the north-east shores of the huge Okanagen Lake. We have taken the drive to Vernon on several occasions in the past, normally to head through to the lovely Silver Star ski resort for a little winter fun. Today though we pass up the pleasant highway past roadside fruit stands and people inspecting boats and huge camper vans at dealerships.
Notable to the right of the highway is one of the most stunning bodies of water in the whole of Canada, Kalamalka Lake. The lake is famed for it’s multi-coloured appearance which can vary from a deep cyan to vivid indigo in different areas at the same time. What more – in spite of many proffered theories nobody really knows why.
Kanamalka Lake’s name is taken from a Native chief who once lived upon the lake’s southern shores. The beaches of the lake rejoice in some wonderfully evocative names such as Jade Bay Beach, Kekuli Bay Beach, Juniper Bay Beach, and Kaloya Regional Park Beach.
It’s all too late in the afternoon as we reach the camp site and are greeted warmly by our old friends. Boy it’s good to see them again. The cold box is raided immediately for a can of beer and we settle down to catch up on the last six or seven years. Our friends have certainly discovered a picturesque site to settle for a few days.
Ellison Provincial Park boasts two gorgeous small sheltered coves by the waters of the lake. One is slightly shingly the other bay is sandy, both are deserving of a visitor’s time. The lake is bordered by rocky, forested headlands of Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir which often drop dramatically to the water’s edge. To the west lay the Monashee Mountains. Although there are several kilometers of hiking trails, our main focus is on heading to the beach and straight into the relatively arm waters of Okanagan Lake
On the beach
In truth I spent most of the rest of the afternoon enjoying the freedom that swimming in a huge and deep lake can offer. Many were diving and jumping from the nearby rocks with some abandon. Great fun. A high point was when an enormous Bald Eagle flew over our heads towards it’s nest at the far corner of the bay. Never have I seen such a huge bird as the alternatively named American Eagle. It’s wingspan up above us almost appeared to eclipse the sun…
Of course it was becoming near time for another Canadian tradition of a few steaks on the grill for a little alfresco eating. It’s rare (no pun intended) to come across anything better than a good old Alberta steak and this occasion was no different. Corn cobs, baked ‘taters and that juicy Alberta beef down us, we settled by the campfire which the lads had prepared to drink a few smoky beers and reminisce on old times.
No comments yet.