“It’s that time again. To run into the hills and valleys and not turn back until we’re beat.”
There is a lot to be said for the comforts of a home. Often I find myself thinking of my eventual settling place. One of the most exciting things I think about is not having to constantly drag my things across the country any longer. I daydream of which concert posters I’ll frame and put up, exactly which books I’ll put on the shelves, and other simple pleasures. Having a permanent place to always come back to is one of the few things I genuinely miss, especially when on the road. Even so, for now, I am not satisfied to settle. There is just so much more to see.
Leaving Golden was easier than expected. When you know you’re coming back everything is just, well, straightforward. As we pulled out of the driveway of our home and onto the #1 West it didn’t feel real. It never does that first day (the second is even stranger).
We approached a bend in the highway quickly. What was particularly significant about this bend is that in all our time in Golden we had never gone past it. We traveled east and south many times, but never more west than our home. We immediately joked, “Ready to be as far west as we’ve ever been?!”. In a few moments we were past, enjoying the trivial glory involved. If we looked back our home wouldn’t be there anymore; just another countless bend in the road. We didn’t look back.
Our first stop was the Giant Cedars Boardwalk in Mt. Revelstoke National Park. As an introduction to old growth forests, this short trek was immense, literally. While it may not reach the density of coastal forests, it was spectacular to see on the mainland.
The trip is barely thirty minutes but packs a lot in. Almost the entire way was boardwalk – something that was necessary to protect the delicate floor of the forest.
The nice thing about going in the offseason is you don’t need a park pass! We parked our car outside the closed car entrance and walked right in. This is allowed, with a simple sign stating it is your responsibility to be safe.
Some of the trees in the forest were over 500 years old. To put that into perspective, when Christopher Columbus battled the Atlantic in his first voyage to the New World (1492) some trees were seedlings. By the time of “Romeo and Juliet” (1595) many of them were already over a century old.
This area is only in existence because of moist, western Pacific air. It brings abundant rainfall as it cools over the Columbia mountains while providing substantial snow-melt in the spring. These conditions are unique to British Columbia. It is the only place in the world where temperate rain forests exist so far from a coastline.
We didn’t want to leave as we closed out the loop. It had been a great start and only a little over an hour away from Golden. But the road beckoned. We arrived in Revelstoke in fine fashion, exploring the town and eating at a pizza shop. We overnighted in the Revelstoke Mountain Resort parking lot and continued on to Canoe and Salmon Arm the next morning.
Canoe is a very small town just outside of Salmon Arm. We found their beautiful little beach park along Shuswap Lake and decided to come back later. While the beach was not full by any means, it was busy with locals enjoying the beautiful weekend weather.
Once in Salmon Arm we headed straight for the water again. The pier was something neat to see but did not hold our interest for very long. A great spot for birdwatchers, Salmon Arm was starting to reveal itself to us – a haven for retirees.
It’s rolling hills, beautiful nearby lakes, and numerous wineries, it made sense. We decided ourselves to check out a top-rated winery: Larch Hills. With a winding road that showed off views and homes, it was an adventure. We even passed a rider on horseback.
Larch Hills itself was breathtaking. The views were incredible. The woman who ended up helping us was friendly and informative, giving us a bit of insight into their hard work. After sampling some wine we bought three bottles and headed back to the beach (and sampled some more).
The next day we decided to drive to Kelowna, but not before a stop in Vernon. The drive down #97 was busy but pretty.
Planet Bee was one of those places I would be happy to stop every time I was close and spend some money. As soon as we walked in we were greeted warmly and were pointed to where you could safely watch some bees work. While they have a wide selection of honey (local and international) to sample with toothpicks, they also boasted mead! Having never tried mead before I had to buy some. It was expensive, but worth it.
Some of the honey we sampled included: Fireweed Blossom, Leatherwood Blossom, Eucalyptus Blossom, Okanagan Gold, Okanagan Wildflower, Orange, Cranberry, Raspberry, Blueberry, Blackberry Blossom and Maple. With a satisfied sweet-tooth we made our way to Kelowna, another drive with great views to keep us company.
More on Kelowna in the next post! Adios for now.