Osoyoos – Friday 24 June
The name Osoyoos rolls around your mouth and slips off the tongue like a Hershey’s toffee. It’s the southernmost town in Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. It borders Washington State at Oroville so part of the lake is in US territory. I wonder if the fish know if they are Canadian or American?
To get here we travelled through the Coast Mountains. For the first part of our journey, the wet weather meant a lot of the mountain range was covered in mist. However, as the skies cleared the scenery came into sharp focus. The mountain range is huge and is part of the American Cordillera (chain of mountain ranges.) Mind you, like the States, everything here is huge- especially the cars! We were hoping to spot a bear on the way, except when I had to have a bathroom stop, but weren’t so lucky. A couple of others who travelled down earlier came across one in the middle of the road. They got out of the car to photograph it…exactly what you shouldn’t do!
Osoyoos – soo yoos means the narrowing of the waters in the local Okanagan language and describes the land spit that divides the lake almost in two. The ‘O’ was added by the settlers so the name was in harmony with the other places in the region starting with ‘O’ (ref: Wikipedia). It is a resort town on the edge of the lake and surrounded by hills and mountains. It’s supposed to be summer now but the temperature at the moment is a bit cool.
To get our bearings and a feel for the place we decided to hire bikes and go exploring. We had to bike about 8kms on the highway which
was a bit nerve-racking, especially when the RV’s on steroids (they are called 5th wheels here and are massive), came roaring past. The shoulder of the road is quite substantial and the upside was that the speeding trucks gave us good drafting.
Apparently, they have a 19 km tolerance on speed on the roads. No wonder we were being passed constantly on the way down. Ian obviously wasn’t driving like a Nana after all!
We cycled south along Okanagan river for several kilometres and then turned back and spent some time cycling around the lake and surrounding area. I was mindful of rattle snakes but pleased to hear that the local hospital does keep some anti-venom. The message was clear, look before you sit down.
This is a wine and fruit growing region, much like our Central Otago and Nelson. It is weird to find blueberries and cherries so cheap at this time of year. Off to Crowsnest Vineyard for dinner.