PROVENANCE WEB MAGAZINE Spring - Summer 1997, Vol.2 No.2

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Two to Four Day Trips

On The Range and In the Valley

The Okanagan: by Joanne Osborn

Do you long for dazzling periwinkle blue skies that never seem to end, turquoise waters in lakes that are bath water warm, the overpowering scent of pine trees, or orchards laden with succulent fruit? How about the site of an honest to goodness cowboy? Then a trip to the Okanagan is just the destination for you.

panoarama view

The Okanagan is situated 400 km east of Vancouver in south central British Columbia. It's warm climate 2,000 hours of sunshine per year on average) and fertile land make it one of the richest agricultural areas in Canada. Its three major cities, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton, rest on the spectacular shores of the 120 km. Okanagan Lake. Whether you are on your way to the Canadian Rockies or looking for an outdoor getaway, the Okanagan is a great place to visit.

How to Get There

You can reach the Okanagan by car, air or bus (see the Okanagan Similkameen Tourist Association for travel details). The quickest route from Vancouver by car is via the Coquihalla (Route #5) and the Okanagan Connector (Route #97). On average, this drive takes about five hours.


horse surveying valley

A must stop on the way to the Okanagan is the Douglas Lake Ranch (about a half hour drive outside of Merritt on the Coquihalla highway). The Ranch is ranked the largest working cattle company in Canada and is guaranteed to be one of the highlights of your trip. You can take a tour of the Ranch's day to day operations, take a trail ride through the surrounding rolling hills and flower laden meadows, or relax on the secluded lake for some of the best fishing in British Columbia. For those who wish to stay on the Ranch, there are a variety of accommodations from luxurious lakefront cottages to roughing it ranch style in canvas wall tents. All activities on the Ranch must be reserved ahead of time (Douglas Lake, British Columbia, Canada V0E 1S0, 1-800-663-4838 or (250)350-3344, Web Site: ).


From Douglas Lake Ranch, you can reach the Okanagan in about 2 1/2 hours via the Okanagan Connector (#97). Once in the Okanagan, treat yourself to a visit to one of the many fruit stands which dot the valley. Fruit harvesting begins in June with strawberries and continues throughout the summer with cherries, peaches, pears, apples, and grapes.

There are over 100 agricultural tours to take advantage of while in the Okanagan from horse drawn tours of the Kelowna Land and Orchard Co. in Kelowna to self guided walking tours of the Davison's family orchard in Vernon. Many of the local farms have small markets of produce, country baking and handicrafts. For the best cinnamon buns in B.C. be sure to stop by Friesen's Country Time Gardens in Vernon.


If wine tasting is your passion, the Okanagan offers over 30 wineries to tour. Many of these wineries have won international competitions and are as well known as those from California and Australia. You can visit individual wineries or tantalize your taste buds with a guided Okanagan Wine Tour throughout the valley (for further information 1-800-667-9898).


From bathing in the warm lakes to horseback riding, the Okanagan offers a variety of outdoor adventures.. If you enjoy cycling, Skedaddle Tours organizes a variety of cycling tours including day trips through the valley's orchards and farmlands. If you enjoy horseback riding, Silver Star Mountain offers trail rides through its spectacular Alpine setting. For those who prefer hiking, a variety of parks and mountains provide easy to advanced hikes. Kalamalka Provincial Park offers a great place for an easy hike with a stunning view of the interior grasslands and Kalamalka Lake, one of the areas best swimming lakes.


There are a variety of luxurious hotels to stay in while visiting the Okanagan, but to get the full country getaway, treat yourself to one of the many bed and breakfasts scattered throughout the Okanagan. Many of these are located on farms and offer everything from farm tours to trail rides. (Vernon reservations 1-800-665-0795).

For More Information:

Okanagan/Similkameen Tourist Association

1332 Water Street

Kelowna, B.C. Canada

V1Y 9P4


Fax: (250)-861-7493




Wilderness Adventure: The Cariboo Chilcotin

By - Teresa Murphy

If you grew up learning the about knights of the range and the call of the canyon from Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour, and still yearn to wander through the awe-inspiring wild west with its fascinating history, untamed rivers, and lakes where you're the only person around, the Cariboo and Chilcotin is where you should head.

Getting There

Driving will offer you an unparalleled adventure. It will let you sleep under the light of the western stars and give you the opportunity to be that mysterious rider.

Head north from Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway 99. If you leave early you can stop for lattes in Whistler at one of the myriad upscale restaurants. If you decide to stay the night, bargain on rates at one of the many luxury hotels. It's off season for skiers.

Continue North to Pemberton, a rustic little town. From there take the Duffey Lake Road. You're headed for the Tyax Mountain Lake Resort in Gold Bridge, 130 miles north of Vancouver in the Chilcotin Mountain Range. Here you'll be treated to an enormous log lodge with a 30 foot high, stone dining room fireplace, and a number of log chalets, all set at the edge of Tyaughton Lake, in the remote wilderness. It will take you about 5 hours to drive here. Tyax Mountain Lake Resort, Tyaughton Lake Road, Gold Bridge, B.C. V0K 1P0. Ph: 604-238-2221. Get explicit instructions on driving. Note: BC Rail at 604-984-5246 provides daily service to Lillooet, where Lodge staff will pick you up.

The next day, drive back to Highway 99. Turn north on Highway 97 and head for Clinton. Stop here and have a look at the Museum, which was originally built as a school in 1892, from handmade bricks.

Continue north to 70 Mile House along Highway 97. Turn onto North Bonaparte Road. You're headed for the Flying U Guest Ranch, a 25,000 acre working ranch, complete with real cowboys and cattle. $125 per day ($90 for children 6-12 years; free for children under 5 years) will get you accommodation in your own rustic log cabin, three home cooked meals per day served in a 140 year old building, and horseback riding from 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. There is also swimming, canoeing, and some fishing. The Frenlin's have owned the ranch since 1980, and are well known for their hospitality. Of all the ranches in the Cariboo, the Flying U is considered one of the best. Don't miss this chance to experience life much like it was 100 years ago in a wild west setting.

Box 69, 70 Mile House, BC V0K 2K0. 250-456-7717.

BC Rail at 604-984-5246 provides train service to 70 Mile House each Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday. You can arrange for someone from the Ranch to pick you up.

From here it's just 38 miles along Highway 97 to the Hills Health Ranch, which won the prestigious 1993 International Specialty Spa of the Year award.

The Hills offers all the creature comforts from gourmet spa cuisine to a fitness centre with a staff kinesiologist, to massage and beauty treatments, all in the heart of a wonderful natural setting. This is where my wired up friends go for their twice yearly "meltdown." And from horseback riding to hiking, to fitness classes, you too can get in shape, both mentally and physically in a stress free, encouraging, ranch air, environment. 108 Mile Ranch, B.C. V0K 2Z0. 604-791-5225. BC Rail at 604-984-5246 provides service to 108 Mile each Sunday, Wednesday and Friday. You can arrange for someone from the Hills to come and pick you up.

Continue along Highway 97. At Williams Lake turn left onto Highway 20. You're heading west, through Riske Creek, Hanceville, and Alexis Creek, to Tatla Lake. Here, fill up your gas tank. You're going to head south for a two hour drive on a well graded gravel road to the Chilko Lake Resort. You'll pass through some of the province's most dramatic scenery, from pristine lakes, to dense forest in this area known as the Chilcotin.

Chilko Lake

The Chilko Lake Resort sits at the mouth of the Chilko River, on Chilko Lake, an 84 km (52 mile) long lake, acclaimed for its vivid blue water. It is surrounded by the rugged snow covered peaks of the Coast Mountain Range, and is in Ts'yl-os Provincial Park, which was created by the provincial government, the Nemiah Indian Band, and the people of Chilcotin, to protect the area.

Even by British Columbian standards this area is as wild a wilderness as you get. If you stay a while, you'll catch glimpses of wildlife, including Grizzly bears. If you revel in a sense of solitude, this is the place to visit.

Resort building

The Chilko Lake Resort offers accommodation in a beautiful log lodge, or in cabins, some new, and some original log buildings. All are comfortably appointed. Activities include horseback riding, fishing, wildlife photography, fishing, canoeing, white water rafting, listening to the mournful calls of coyotes at night while sitting under star filled skies, and eating - the place has a chef that would rival any of those in Vancouver's finest restaurants.

Overnight wilderness pack trips can be arranged. While we were there, Boysie William, a local Nemiah Indian, was our pack guide - and we did see a grizzly bear! If you don't want to drive, you can take a 55 minute flight to the Resort's own airstrip. 1-800-667-8773. German spoken.


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