I had a plan. I had no money, so I didn’t want to use too much gas. It was hot, so I didn’t want to do a whole lot of walking. It was early, so starting my morning at the beach sounded like a great idea. I had to drop Santana off at work, so Rotary Beach in West Kelowna would be my starting point. From there, I would make a stop at Glenn Canyon, and from there, head out to the newly re-opened Hardy Falls in Peachland.
That was the plan. That was the plan I laid out for Santana, anyway. But once I was at the beach in West Kelowna, I started having different ideas.
While looking at the map a few weeks ago, I noticed a place called Peachland Lake. Peachland is a small town on the shores of the Okanagan Lake. Who knew they had a lake of their own? I checked the map again. From where I was, it was only 39 km to the lake, although, for some reason, the map feature said it would take an hour and a half to get there. There was a small warning flashing at the top of the screen.
“May involve gravel roads.”
Well, that wasn’t much of a warning. I don’t mind gravel roads. And hey, no time like the present!
It started out auspiciously enough. The directions led me to the Brenda Mine road – the same road I took to get to Silver Lake. But instead of turning off, this time I continued on the nicely paved road. I had marked the location on the map, but every time I stopped, or backed up for another look at something, Siri would tell me I had arrived, and I would have to reload the location. That worked fine until I got high enough in the hills that there was no more cell service. After that I had to hold the map in one hand and watch for the turnoff while driving. Eventually, I found the turnoff which, incidentally, was quite well marked. That’s when things started to get a little sketchy.
Does that Look Like Gravel to You?
The road could be called gravel, I suppose, but really, it was rock. It was a narrow rock road with deep ruts and sharp stones. It required my full attention to avoid obstacles in my way. Again, as is my habit apparently, I considered turning back, and each time I thought that I must be close. The tires on the minivan are in good shape, but they are narrow and don’t inspire a great deal of confidence. Do I even have a spare? If so, where was it? If not, what the %&*^ was I doing up here?
Colony of Mushrooms Growing under a Dead Stick
There were places that trees had come down across the road and someone had cut them away. There was a strong wind blowing. What would I do if a tree came down and I couldn’t get out? I don’t carry a chainsaw. I pulled over to the side of the road, took out my phone and wrote the following message to Santana.
“I changed my plan and decided to go to Peachland Lake. If I don’t make it out, send the search party this way.”
I pressed send.
Yeah. No cell service. I forgot.
By now the road was too narrow to turn around. But through the trees, I could see water. Might as well go see the lake. I came to a fork in the road. I chose the right-hand path. I came to a fast-moving stream.
Mountain Stream headed to Peachland Lake
The road over it was not even a road at this point. It was like someone had taken a culvert and piled rocks on top of it. Holding my breath, I drove over it. And then I was there. The shores of the lake were more of the same – rock – but at least it was wide enough to turn around. I took out my beach blanket and settled on the smoothest spot I could find. It was quite lovely.
Peachland Lake and the Rocks they Built the Road With
The wind was creating waves on the lake, and the Western Tiger Swallowtail I was watching sought shelter on the ground.
Western Tiger Swallowtail
Using my big lens as binoculars, I looked over the shores of the lake. There were people camping to my left. I watched as the wind picked up a tent and it was barely rescued before landing in the lake. I imagine it wasn’t easy pounding pegs into a rocky surface.
It was a relief to know there were other humans in the area. It was less likely I would die if I became stranded. I was comfortable enough with the idea that I ate the slice of banana bread I’d brought with me. No need to hold on to it.
After my picnic, I decided to leave. I was less troubled by the drive out. Because it was uphill for much of the way, I didn’t have to focus so much on controlling my speed over the rough surface. I was able to relax a bit and enjoy the drive, even stopping now and then to take some pictures.
Mountain Meadow and More Rocks They Built the Road With
I learned a fair bit from my journey. Number one is to find out if I have a spare. Number two is to make sure to inform someone if I change my plan before I leave cell phone range. But I learned something else as well. When I got home, I looked it up. It turns out that had I gone left instead of right when I reached that fork in the road, I would have ended up at a campground with tables and toilets and everything.
But where’s the fun in that?
View from Brenda Mine Road