Canada ’08: Echo Lake, Cherryville
Many years ago in the Okanagan region of British Columbia, Canada, workers and settlers were sought to provide vitality and prosperity to the valley. Someone at that time envisaged the notion of giving many of
the area’s pleasant towns and villages attractive place names to attract people from other parts of the country. Examples are such as Summerland and Peachland – both offer an enduring image of idyllic destinations with the accent on nature’s beauty. Another such place was the quaintly named Cherryville and it’s to this area we were drawn on two occasions during the past week. Specifically to visit friends at a camp site situated in Echo Lake Provincial Park.
Cherryville was originally a gold mining camp way back in the 1860s’ and was at that time populated by a hundred people, many of them Chinese miners. The area got it’s name from the wild Choke Cherries that grew along the banks of the local creek. Overshadowed by the spectacular Monashee Mountains, Echo Lake gains it’s name from the echo provided across the water from standing in the foothills of these mighty hills.
Driving north from Kelowna and past the now familiar Kalamalka Lake, we hit the small city of Vernon and turned right to the small community of Lumby before heading off down a gravel road which saw our little Mitsubishi skittering about the unmade surface, churning up a dust storm to match the one created by the pick-up truck being tenuously steered in front of us.
Heading straight to the camp site office to pay our $3 day ticket, we joined our friends who were enjoying some improving weather by their trailer surrounded by fir trees and a collection of small squirrels and chipmunks dancing around between some happy campers.
It’s been longer than I can remember since I’ve been in a canoe so a decision was made to put that right straight away. Our friend’s boys rented themselves a paddle boat and my partner and I a two-man canoe and eventually we hit the waters of the beautiful green lake. It’s easy this canoeing business isn’t it? Well I thought so until trying to regain the boat after a break sitting on a jetty when said jetty and canoe parted company with me in the middle. I’d a couple of boo-boo’s and a bit of water in the canoe but carried on manfully whilst bailing out with a bottle. In all seriousness it was wonderful getting out on the lake. We saw Canada’s national bird, the Loon, perform its fishing skills, diving under for long periods and evading our camera lens and had a thoroughly pleasant paddle around the lake for a couple of hours before returning to our friends and an early evening sail with our neighbour’s radio controlled boats.
The camp site was a haven for wildlife. The lady managing the site, not only hade green fingers as the attractive flowers everywhere would testify, but also a fair hand at attracting some lovely birdlife to this haven of nature shrouded in huge pine trees. Stella Jay’s had made a home here and their striking blue plumage seemed to be everywhere around as they danced on fences and generally performed for us. Is there a cuter bird than the tiny humming bird? I’m not sure there is. I’m always delighted to see those tiny creatures when I get the opportunity and here was one. Meanwhile a squirrel or two daringly jumped into our neighbours tin of nuts on a table to provide entertainment.
Is the evening the best time of all on a camp site? It has to have a case as our host prepared thick steaks and salad before we retired to the fireside with our beers, toasted marshmallows and to tell a few yarns. Does life get much better? A one and a half hour journey back to Kelowna saw us home safe and sound with a few memories. The sort of recollections you just know you’re going to keep by you for many years.
I’m always excited by visits to these sorts of places in Canada. They provide such wonder and such awesome views and also essentially bring one down to earth and put life into perspective. My hope is to visit one or two other similar places on this lengthy stay in BC. Canada.
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