John Harvey Photo

Penticton Long WeekendGo to Slide Show

A long weekend in BC's wine country


Arriving At Night
Helen's job gives her odd Friday's and Mondays off which makes forming long weekend really easy.  Just after the July long weekend, Helen had one such weekend and we decided to book a weekend in a Bed and Breakfast in the Okanagan.  The original plan was Nuramata (it came recommended) but we quickly found the places in our price range (read: less than $200 a night) booked up so we went to Penticton nearby.  Turns out we couldn't be happier with the place we got.


Okanagan Mountain Park

Cool - so you are in the Okanagan - now what?  There is an obvious answer (I'll get to the later), but lets start with some less obvious things to do. 

Fireweed Under Burned Trees
On our first day (after breakfast) we went for a drive up to Okanagan Mountain Park.  I remember a few years ago there was a big fire near Kelowna (some houses burned) - turns out it was Okanagan Mount Park that burned (most of the park).  
Burned Forrest
The road up is a bit rough but no trees were down.  We were the only car in the parking lot.  It seems like most trees were burned dead but some trees did actually survive and have new growth on them.  Fireweed is a big winner - filling in much of the open space. 

Self HealRed Columbine
There is a lot of hiking available in the park (several multi day trips) but we didn't have that kind of time.  We picked a shorter hike out to a viewpoint.
YarrowButterfly On Ground


Kettle Valley Railway
 
If you drive up to the Okanagon Mountain Park, you pass one of vehicle entrances to the Kettle Valley Railway.  This really surprised me - I thought the KVR was a bike/walking only trail but sure enough you could drive down the line, potentially for km.  We stopped at one of the tunnels and took a few photos.

  KVRTunnel

Butterfly On Brown Eyed SusanBrown Eye Up CloseGreat Mullein

Scarlet Gilia
One of the amazing things about wildlife is how different it is based on the local climate and geography.  Even through we were only a few km from Okanagan Mountain, the plants were completely different. 

Showy Daisy
 
 
Penticton Farmers Market

Swiss Chard
Saturday morning in Penticton there is a farmers market.  A few blocks of the main street are blocked off and you can buy local products.   I'm a big fan of markets so we went as soon as we were done our breakfast at the B&B.  A few things surprised me.  First - this market is busy - many vendors (especially food) sold out in the first hours.  Second, some vendors spend a lot of energy on "marketing" - handsome presentation of their goods - and are rewarded for it.  Finally, I was surprised there weren't people selling wine.   Turns out the selling of wine in Vineyards is covered as a special exception - even though they are local farmers, wineries can't sell in this kind of venue.


Baby BeetsGarlicVinegar

 
Brent Mountain

After our Farmers Market trip, we decided to do a more substantial hike.  We dropped into the Tourist information center in Pentiction and they had a very helpful brochure covering the local hiking trails.  Brent Mountain is a little out of town (toward the Apex Alpine Ski area), but even the drive over was interesting. 

Heart Shaped ArnicaJacobs LadderSmall Flowered Penstemon

Subalpine ButtercupSubalpine Daisy

Flowers

We figured this hike was about 5km each way.  You really know when you hit the alpine - the trees getting really small and the views open up.   Once we were into meadows we saw Ground Squirrel colonies were all over the mountain top.

Ground Squirrels On The LookoutTrail Up Into The Alpine

And without much warning, you get to the top.  At the very top of the mountain taking advantage of the 360° view is a no longer used forest fire watch.  The view here goes on and - the horizon is pretty much flat (not spiky mountains like the coast) but the view is still dramatic.

View From Fire Lookout

Helen Stretching Her Gastrocnemius
We walked back to the car.  All day we saw only one other person (a postman on his day off).  Considering how nice the hike was (better than the hikes immediately around Vancouver) I was quite surprised we didn't see more people.  Tired, we made it back to the B&B and enjoyed dinner on the patio.


Wine Tours

Rows Of Lavendar
Assuming you have water, this area is really good at growing stuff.  Fruit was the big bread winner for this area until they figured out that the higher end varietals of grapes will survive the cold winters here.  Wine production ramped up and now this area is known for it's wine production. 

Lavendar FarmCalifornia Quail
Grape production now dominates the agriculture in the Okanagan area.  Our B&B hosts own a number of farm fields (and three wineries) and they are in the process of converting even more of their fields to grapes.

Hillsides Covered In Vines

Inniskillin KegHester Creek Door
Visiting Wineries is quite a bit of fun.  While a well supplied BC Liquor store has most of the wine you can find in valley and thanks to our liquor laws, the wineries aren't any cheaper, dedicating a few hours or a few days to tasting allows you to discover wines you like and refine your palette.

Burrowing Owl Building

A great weekend even with all of the driving.  I've been asked when the best time to go to the Okanagan is.  Some of the wineries had already sold out by the time we arrived (early July).  That said, Okanagan fruit (Peaches, cherries, apricots) were just coming ripe when we arrived - mid to late July and there would be a large supply.  Your call - just book your accommodation early.
 


Showy Daisy
Species: Erigeron speciosus (Showy Daisy, aspen fleabane)
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Swiss Chard
Location: Go To...
Tags: market, Okanagan, produce
Rows Of Lavendar
Altitude: 379m (1243 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: farm, flower
Red Columbine
Species: Aquilegia formosa (Red Columbine, Western Columbine)
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Burrowing Owl Building
Tags: Okanagan, wine
KVRTunnel
Altitude: 672m (2204 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: panorama
Lavendar Farm
Altitude: 376m (1233 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: farm, flower
Hester Creek Door
Tags: door, Okanagan, wine
Yarrow
Species: Achillea millefolium (yarrow)
Tags: flower
Subalpine Daisy
Species: Erigeron peregrinus (Subalpine Fleabane, Subalpine Daisy)
Tags: flower
Trail Up Into The Alpine
Species: Phyllodoce empetriformis (Pink Mountain-Heather)
Tags: alpine, hiking, trail
Burned Forrest
Species: Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)
Tags: forest, Okanagan
Helen Stretching Her Gastrocnemius
Person: Helen
Location: Go To...
Tags: hiking, Okanagan
Flowers
Location: Go To...
Tags: panorama
Brown Eye Up Close
Species: Gaillardia aristata (common gaillardia, brown eyed susan)
Tags: flower, macro
Great Mullein
Species: Verbascum thapsus (great mullein)
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Scarlet Gilia
Species: Ipomopsis aggregata (scarlet gilia)
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Self Heal
Species: Prunella vulgaris (common selfheal)
Tags: flower
California Quail
Species: Callipepla californica (California Quail)
Tags: bird, Okanagan
Garlic
Tags: market, produce
Arriving At Night
Tags: long exposure, Okanagan
Baby Beets
Tags: market, Okanagan, produce
Inniskillin Keg
Tags: Okanagan, wine
Jacobs Ladder
Species: Polemonium pulcherrimum (Jacob's-ladder)
Tags: flower, shallow depth of field
Butterfly On Brown Eyed Susan
Species: Gaillardia aristata (common gaillardia, brown eyed susan), Phyciodes cocyta (Northern Crescent)
Tags: flower, insect, Okanagan
Vinegar
Tags: market, Okanagan, wine
Butterfly On Ground
Species: Speyeria mormonia (Mormon Fritillary)
Tags: insect
Fireweed Under Burned Trees
Species: Chamerion angustifolium (fireweed)
Tags: forest
Ground Squirrels On The Lookout
Species: Spermophilus columbianus (Columbian ground squirrel)
Tags: alpine, BC fauna
Hillsides Covered In Vines
Altitude: 310m (1017 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Okanagan, panorama, wine
View From Fire Lookout
Altitude: 2210m (7250 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: hiking, panorama, summit
Subalpine Buttercup
Species: Ranunculus eschscholtzii (Subalpine Buttercup)
Tags: alpine, flower
Small Flowered Penstemon
Species: Penstemon procerus (littleflower penstemon)
Tags: flower
Heart Shaped Arnica
Species: Arnica cordifolia (Heart Shaped Arnica)
Tags: flower
Tags: flower(15), Okanagan(12), shallow depth of field(5), wine(5), market(4), panorama(4)
People: Helen(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > John's Overnight Page > Penticton Long Weekend

I don't konw you but I love your photos. I am also amazed at the plant life everywhere I go. It is lovely to see people appriciate the litle things. thanks
Willow Edwards
Saturday, June 2nd, 2007 at 00:23:06

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Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 01:12:53 Edit
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