Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kelowna – The Heart of Canada’s Garden of Eden

The Okanagan Valley slices like a surgeon’s incision in a north-south direction through B.C.’s mountainous interior. Blessed by sunshine and bounteous vineyards and orchards, it’s Canada’s Garden of Eden, and a place I love to visit. This time I was drawn by the occult and mystical: the pyramid at Summerhill Winery (http://www.summerhill.bc.ca/). As Stephen Cipes, the winery’s proprietor, the creator of the pyramid and an aging happy hippy explained, “This is the world’s most accurate model of Egypt’s Great Pyramid. Due to its sacred geometry it channels energy and enhances the wines we store there.” We tasted his sparkling wine, and I could only agree.

At Father Pandosy Heritage Mission (http://www.okanaganhistoricalsociety.org/pandosy_mission.html), we strolled among old log buildings, recalling the early days of the valley, when life was much simpler.

Later along the concrete of downtown, I mounted a paddleboard, handcrafted by local artisan Derek Frechette (http://www.peregrinelongboards.com/), who also gave riding pointers to this aging duffer. I rolled along slowly and tentatively as youngsters raced past, but with a huge grin.

The accommodations at Manteo Resort (http://www.manteo.com/), right on the banks of the lake, were comfortable, and the food at its Wild Apple Restaurant ( http://www.wildapplerestaurant.com) was great. The second evening I feasted at the popular Cabana Grille.
In the morning we hiked high on Knox Mountain. The air had an intoxicating freshness, arrowleaf balsamroot flowers bloomed bright yellow among the dry grasses and Kelowna and Lake Okanagan were laid out below us like feast. Turning a corner, we unexpectedly encountered a rock cairn and then another and another. An anonymous sculptor had erected about 50 rock cairns, like Inuit Inukshuks, here on a ridge. Some loomed over two metres in height and took unusual shapes, often like dream-land creatures. They were mysterious and spiritual.

No question, Kelowna rocks!

For more information: www.tourismkelowna.com

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