Turns out, I’m a morning person. My mother never would have believed it possible considering I was one of those teenagers that had to be dragged out of bed for school and slept until noon on weekends. But somewhere along the way, I developed an appreciation for the early hours of the day. This is a bit of a problem. I work graveyard shifts, and by daybreak, I should be on my way home to bed. It doesn’t always work out that way. My intentions are good but then, you know, morning.
I like empty beaches, empty highways, the sound of birdsong and the golden light that infuses everything. Before the afternoon sun has painted the sky that pale, washed-out shade of blue, I want – to steal a line from Field of Dreams – “to squint into a sky so blue that it hurts your eyes to look at it.”
When that feeling comes over me, there’s no point in going home to bed. I’m not going to be able to sleep until I’ve had my fix of morning. Fortunately, I know just the thing – West Side Road.
Once I drop my son off at work it’s just an evil laugh, a nudge to the right, a spin through the roundabout and I’m on my way. Is it weird to have a favourite road?
The thing is, I don’t have to drive long or far. Spectacular views are all along the road, whether it’s overlooking the lake,
Lake View, West Side Road, West Kelowna
Forest and Mountain View from West Side Road, West Kelowna
or even just the road itself.
West Side Road, West Kelowna, BC
From the West Side Road, I get access to another of my favourite roads, Bear Lake Main. Bear Lake Main is a gravel road that leads up into the mountains. I have not yet found my way to Bear Lake itself or seen where the road comes out on the other side, but I will one day. There is always something to see on Bear Lake Main. This week it was the flowers. Reams and reams of Arrow-leafed Balsam Root,
Arrow-leafed Balsam Root
and bush after bush of Saskatoon Serviceberry.
I followed Bear Lake Main as far as the 15-mile marker before turning back. There is a spot up there I have in mind for a camping trip and I wanted to see if it was as pleasant as I remembered. The stream flowing through is high and turbulent, but in a month or two it will have calmed down.
Mountain stream, Bear Lake Main
There is logging up here. Logs are taken down to West Side Road and formed into booms
Log Boom, West Side Road
that are later towed across the lake to the mill, taking advantage of the fact that this is the narrowest part of the lake.
Tug pulling a boom across Okanagan Lake to the mill in Kelowna
The Sylix people used to use the narrow portion of the lake to trade with people living on the other side. This is, of course, still the traditional and unceded territory of the Sylix Okanagan people and I am grateful for the opportunity to be here.
You know what else I’m grateful for? Mornings.
Rock face along Bear Lake Main