Photo: Ronda Ashworth
I came to Okanagan Landing on holiday in 1980-and never left. Valentine’s Day 2015 marked 30 years in our home that overlooks the top of the magnificent Okanagan Lake.
One hundred years ago, Okanagan Landing was so called because of the dock or “landing” that was used by sternwheelers and other boats travelling from the northern shore of Vernon, along the beaches in Kelowna to the southern stop at Penticton. The route covered approximately 135 kilometres. The Canadian Pacific Railway ran from Sicamous to Vernon (to a spot that is known today as Paddlewheel Park Beach), where passengers and cargo were transferred to the sternwheelers for the ride to the Kettle Valley Railway located at the southern end of the lake.
Okanagan Lake provides many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. There are parks for family picnics on the beach, boat launches and playgrounds to keep the young ones occupied.
Sailing is a popular activity here-seeing all the boats out on the water at the same time is a beautiful sight.
In years past, the Okanagan Landing volunteer fire department put on a Halloween fireworks display on the beach, which was magical to see with the lake reflecting the lights and a huge bonfire to help stay warm.
In summer, they’ve hosted a regatta with cardboard boat races, pancake breakfasts and games for all ages. They have given a lot to the community they serve.
Of course, you can’t talk about Okanagan Lake without mentioning the lake’s monster, Ogopogo. So far, I have not spotted him, but maybe next year!
Birds abound here, including ospreys, eagles, hawks, ringnecked pheasants, magpies and hummingbirds. At night, owls emit a soft and enchanting sound. You may even be lucky enough to spot a great blue heron near the lake. I once saw one hunting; it held still in one position for a remarkable length of time with outstretched neck and then pounced on its prey, gulping it whole.
If you are fortunate enough, you may also spot baby California quails in spring-they look like cute little Ping-Pong balls darting along the trails.
Another common bird is the woodpecker; we’ve patched many holes in the workshop and play house in our backyard as a result of their pecking. We even had to put metal on our chimney so they would stop waking us early in the morning.
We often have deer walking through our yard on the way from the lake to the pasture behind our house. I don’t care to share my flowers with them, but I have to admit that when the young ones venture into our yard, I enjoy their visits.
Some nights, the coyotes sound so close they could be in our yard, which proved to be the case when my husband Greg set up his game camera on a tree. We were able to see a coyote gazing at our sliding deck doors and raccoons travelling up and down the path to our walnut tree. Bears have been spotted in the area from time to time but I have not seen them up close, thankfully.
I feel blessed to live in this beautiful land-especially Okanagan Landing-a wonderful part of our Canada.