Oh Canada Part II: Home on the Range (errrr, Lake)

I am not a water person.

My issue is not with being near or even on the water but the whole getting in part. There’s not really fear involved; my mom divulged I just never really liked getting my face wet and two subsequent nose surgeries haven’t helped my disdain for being dunked.

My old brother Pat, on the other hand, is a water/wakeboarding/kiteboarding/surfing fiend.  Every spare moment they have during Calgary’s short warm season, they are in his new state-of-the-art boat. Their favorite vacations are to Cuba and spending 1-2 weeks on the lake in British Columbia.

They’ve invited us to B.C. for years but this is the first time we have gone and had such a spectacular time I’m committed to making it happen as often as we can. If you’re not familiar with Canada’s landscape, Alberta is notorious for our gorgeous Canadian Rockies but we’re rather lacking in warm-water lakes. Enter: British Columbia. Not only do they have some gorgeous peaks (the 6-hour drive from Calgary to Vernon via Banff National Park was mind-blowing) but some of the most beautiful lakes set in the lushest of settings: the Okanogan Valley.

My memories of this area as a child were of verdant orchards and vineyards as far as the eye could see and fruit stands at every corner. And so my one requirement during our visit: we had to stop at a fruit stand. My dad delivered by pulling over at The Mother of All Fruit Lands: The Log Barn outside of Vernon. This 1912 barn not only provided a nostalgic experience with culinary traditions of Mennonite pioneers and a huge array of old-fashioned sausage, baked goodies, jams, syrups and jellies and fresh fruit but it had Dave’s Goat Walk.

Log Barn

Yes, that’s right, folks. We could buy goat feed for 25 cents and pour the corn in a cup that was attached to a pulley system that rose to the top of an archway that extended across the road. When the food reached the top, the goats could see and hear what they were doing so would race up the arch to grab their food.

It it wasn’t raining, we could have stayed there for hours.

But we dragged ourselves away and we’re so glad we did because this was our home for the next five days.

Mana Manor

Okanogan lake

Nightly s’mores roasting and campfire chats

Okanagan lake Lake is a large, deep 84-mile-long lake in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia. My kids aren’t accustomed to lake life so I anticipated they’d get bored after a few days. Never happened. In fact, they didn’t wear shoes all week and settled rather nicely into our private little beach area.

Daily fishing expeditions off the dock.

Fun on the boat watching Pat surf

Meet the Parents

Bode’s real birthday: an ice cream birthday cake

I’m having picture formatting issues to stay tuned for Part III!

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