• CarolKinnee

Sand and smoke—it's summer in the Okanagan




"It looks like the apocalypse," my daughter mutters as we stroll the beach at #BearCreekCampground in #Kelowna.


I nod. She's got that right. It's August, and our view of #OkanaganLake is non-existent. No matter where we go, Kelowna is surrounded by fires. The province of BC is wrapped in a blanket of heavy smoke. The sun—when we see it—is a brilliant ball of red among shifting clouds of beige. The acrid scent of burning forests fill our nose. Welcome to the sunny Okanagan. It's blue sky up there somewhere but the smoke has cooled the air to around 18 degrees Celsius. I should have packed my woollies.


We wander on, stopping occasionally to watch my daughter's three-year-old search for Sammy Snake. Sammy the baby snake, is the newest character in the library of bedtime stories my daughter creates every night. Sammy the baby snake, is an adventurer "boldly going where no snake has gone before"—like the crew of Star Trek minus the Enterprise. Right now, our little munchkin is all about Sammy. She spends our evening walks using her "power" light to search the shadows. Sammy is lurking out there somewhere. Personally, I hope she doesn't find him. This is rattle snake country.


The trail leads us to the water’s edge, and we look across the lake towards Kelowna. We know it's out there. We camp at Bear Creek every summer, and the view never changes.


Kelowna is out there somewhere

"It's like the scene in Pirates of the Caribbean,” I say. "The one where the fleet of ships materializes out of the fog. One second you're staring at sea and mist, the next a ship is looming in front of you." But this is a lake, not the ocean, so the lack of visibility is doubly creepy. Eerier, is the fact the lake is empty of boats. This is a big lake with heavy boat traffic. I guess it isn't much fun water-skiing blind.



Part of our trip plans includes checking out wedding venues. Wherever we go we’re told, “Go on-line and check out our view of the lake.” We drive past a multi-million-dollar lake front property perched on the water's edge. It’s for sale. Is it because the owner has had enough of wildfires? They're becoming a yearly event. Is it global warming, a coming ice age? Has some nefarious underground group taken control of the weather? Maybe I should step away from #MatthewReilly books and find some beach-ier reads. Something light that won't make me look for dastardly doings around every corner.


Today, we're going to check out vineyards, find the beach and eat. Camping is about eating. On the plus side, it's also about getting up and getting out. It’s the perfect 52 Over 50 combination. Some of the smoke has lifted and we now know that there really is a city across the lake. If I go for a float on my air mattress, I no longer take the risk of being surprised by an armada of pirate ships. It will be harder to sneak up on me. The lifting of the smoke will be good news for all those ski boat owners gnashing their teeth over the sight of their parked boats.


So here's to sun, sand, and shore. Grab some shade, sip something tall and icy, and enjoy the last two weeks of summer. The leaves are starting to change. Fall is just around the corner.


#52Over50-getting up and getting out. What's your adventure?

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