Thursday, 30 October 2014

Okamino or My Compulsion to Walk for 30 Days

Yak Peak with Don September 2014
What's an Okamino?
  • a walk between 15 to 25 kilometers every day every day for one month
  • to do this all in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia
  • to blog about 
  • to try to diversify the paths
  • to take pictures/sketch/paint about it
My daughter suggested the name after I told her of my intentions. I jokingly called it Camino Del Carmen or Camino del Okanagan. She came up with Okamino which is brilliant.

Why am I doing this?

On a recent trip to Europe, we crossed paths with a southern part of the Camino Del Santiago just west and north of Madrid in Spain on the way back from Segovia. Was this the same Camino as the one that Dick and Sally completed last year, the one acquaintances on our street also did?  I envied both of these couples for the long distance and single mindedness of purpose. As we had just completed an extensive trip to Europe and thinking we wouldn't be returning to Spain or France any time soon,  it occurred to me that I could do an equivalent hike right here at home.

Those of you who know me well, know that I either hike/bike/ski or swim every day. I am seduced by the idea of a very long walk over a number of days. 

Walking allows you to see and reflect on the human scale. See something intriguing? Stop and look. No need to worry about the itinerary. 

Why a blog?
  • I've never done one before
  • It will make it easier to share my experience with others

Day 1 - Thursday, October 30, 2014

Walked about 17 km today, the length of Kelowna along the lake from almost the outer edge of the North end of Kelowna to the Mission.  
A very calm Okanagan Lake

My feet really hurt after a couple of hours, not being used to walking on pavement. I stopped at a coffee shop and ordered a latte.

Funky coffee shop near the Manteo Resort
I am reminded that it is fall, but the weather has been cooperative and leaves are still hanging on the cherry trees.
Lakeshore Drive cherry orchard

Public transportation will take me home at a bargain. $2 for seniors and since my hair is almost white, the drivers don't challenge. To be honest, I thought it was $2 and after that, I pay the proper amount of $2.25. I may be thrifty, but I'm not a thief.

At the bus stop, a young girls is full of joy with her stuffed seal pup. I'm certain she has no clue of the portent image she is playing with.

Flying Seal Pup
It took forever to get home, just missing the next bus by minutes. I vow to make more circular routes that take me back home or have shorter rides home.

Brandt's Creek Linear Park very near home
Day 2 - Friday, October 31st, 2014 (Halloween)

It's not a pretty day and I have to bring an umbrella.  My goal is to get to the Home Depot on the other side of Dilworth mountain and circumnavigate the mound home. It's a good climb up and fun coming down. That should be about 15 km, not bad for the second day.

Leaf imprints on the cement

The Okanagan is a special place after having lived in colder parts of Canada, Newfoundland and Ontario. Imagine, its October 31 and there are still apples and pears on some trees!

Pear tree on Dilworth mountain
The colour is faded out, the top of the mountain barely peaking out the cloud, but I'm thrilled by the action of walking, of observing of allowing myself this time. It's also early in the morning. Don leaves for work at 7:00 am, so I've got my walking shoes and am out the door by 8:00.
Dilworth mountain in the cloud
Kelowna is a strange mixture of urban and rural areas. BC is famous for its Agricultural Land Reserve or ALR instituted back when governments were progressive and forward thinking. Large tracks of land within the city's limits are zoned for agricultural use. There's been a deliberate attack on this policy by the present government. It is a real shame. Those driving through Kelowna would be shocked by the urban sprawl, big box stores and development but someone familiar with its secrets can find the hidden wild and green spaces.

Behind the big box stores

Looks dangerous to me
On highway 97, going towards my coffee shop, I spied this beauty. I can only imagine broken bones and snow up my nose.

Under the heading that I had "FORGOTTEN IT WAS HALLOWEEN" these two characters were there to remind me.
"Mom sewed it for me."

Chinese foreign exchange student ready for anything
Day 3 - Saturday, November 1, 2014
Day 1 walk impressions

I've been doing abstract and impressionistic acrylic paintings. Brilliant sunshine flashing across maple trees on my first day hit home. 

It's Saturday and Don gets to decide where we are going. He chooses to go the unauthorized way to UBCO, a road I used to bike down to go to work with the Okanagan Partnership.  Haven't been this way for years.

Up close and personal
It's the day after Book Club. We were supposed to discuss Indian Horse but mainly talked about what has been on all on our minds, Gian Ghomeshi and allegations of, well, all kinds of allegations.  We've been discussing books and all manner of things together for 14 years. Children have grown up, gotten and getting educated, married, had children of their own, established careers and businesses in far flung places - China, Los Angeles, England, Florida and every part of Canada. Sometimes, it takes most of the evening and wine to re-inform ourselves of their whereabouts.

This has nothing to do with the horses who run up to greet us, probably anticipating some treat.

Robert's Lake
"Robert Lake is the best example of an alkali playa or salt flat in the Central Okanagan. The dry and salty mud flats left after the evaporation of water is ideal habitat for waterbirds and shorebirds. Of particular interest is the American Avocet, an endangered species." In the summer, this lake just about dries right up and it looks white. In Ontario, we would call this a pond.

UBC Okanagan Campus
 An almost empty campus on Saturday.

Amazing Graffiti where no one sees it
The railroad that used to run through town is no longer functioning and there is a tremendous push to turn it into a trail system that would go from Vernon to Kelowna. I heartily support this. It's probably only a matter of time and some money thrown at it from various levels of government, but the city of Kelowna is behind it as it will make the job easier of getting a hiking/biking trail system to the University. In the meantime, artists are using the backside of some industrial buildings to make their art. 

This artist should have a job in graphic arts
 We are weaving our way home up Longhill Road. Never knew I could get eggs not too far from home.
Kelowna - rural or urban?

Missing maple leaves from Ontario
Today's hike was about 16 kms. I'm feeling stronger every day.

Day 4 - Sunday, November 2, 2014

This will turn out to be the longest walk and will challenge my feet and Don's leg. We did about 20 km, stopping once for a latte at Starbucks in Chapters.  Below, the trail follows a creek. You can't see the gated community houses on either side of the trees, but I applaud the developers for this little bit of heaven in their hell. It is a well used track. 

More of  Brandt's Creek Linear Park
 You're not hiking if you're not going uphill out west and this is the other side of Dilworth (or as we affectionately call it Dildo) mountain. As you can see, we've gotten lucky with the weather and the view of Kelowna and the valley from here is inspiring.

Kelowna as seen from Summit Road - the other side of Dilworth mountain
We made our way to the Greenway, a park and trail system that follows Mission Creek, the biggest water feeder to the lake. Many, many people walk/ride/hike the well established trail and I am grateful to the city planners who kept this green space for the public.

Cowboy Joe - probably a millionaire on the Greenway

Just missed the bus again - coffee at the Bread Company
We walked back along Lakeshore Road and missed the bus by seconds. I waved and waved at the driver, but he ignored me. The next bus, as this is Sunday, is in an hour! We have company coming for supper, and nothing prepared, but the best way to get through any crisis is to chill out, which we did.

Day 5 - Monday, November 3, 2014

Another 15 km day, and entirely new route up to Magic Estates and back through our regular hiking path on Knox Mountain. This is an enchanting walk with beautiful views of the lake and quiet areas that lull you into thinking you are not in a city.

Phenomenal colours in Magic
Years ago, there were no storage facilities.  I think these  are symptomatic of the easy and cheap availability of goods and our acceptance of making/selling/buying them as part of our economic system. In Kelowna, you often see garages stuffed to the gills like this. In the defense of the occupants of this house, it could be a son/daughter/parent moving in temporarily or any other good reason, but you see it a lot. Maybe the houses are too small or they don't have basements for all the shit they have.

A common sight 

Hiking Knox Mountain Park Trail 
I'm always amazed at what you see discarded or lost on roads and pavement. A friend who bikes a lot was making a collection of gloves he found in his travels for an art installation. I too see a lot of gloves but also socks, underwear (how does that happen?), run over sunglasses, cell phones. 

Child's shoe
The temporary sign post for Route #7 to Glenmore. No shelter here for the November rain.

Glenmore Route #7 to take me home

Day 6 -  Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Tuesday morning is HeArt Fit. According to Karen's description, this is the basis for the drop in group:  "A practice for those seeking a creative lifestyle and improved health through creative relaxation." 

My niece Marguerite Francoise once pointed out to me that most of my activities, including my painting, my pottery, my physical exercise were done solo.  HeArt fit has challenged me to break out of a constrained way of painting to paint with others. Karen is a great facilitator, which is probably why the group has been going on for nearly 7 years. As a fundraiser for the rent, we sold paintings to each other. The painting with the squares is hanging in my house. 

HeArt Fit

Late start for my hike, so it was a little shorter, but no less interesting (about 12.4 km) again keeping with my intention to not repeat a hike. Headed up the road to Wilden and Upper Canyon towards Clifton Road. 

Portview Road - Great Sky

Mountain Ash going up Clifton Road
This is the first time I see Sheerwater, a development for the top .01 percent of the population. My idea is to follow the road, but I'm dissuaded by No Trespassing signs and video camera surveillance. I'm happy to follow my instincts because I end up finding a new trail through to Paul's Tomb.

Sheerwater Look but don't touch

Trail along the lake through Sheerwater

Access to Trail
There was a lot of construction along this trail. These homes are on large pieces of land overlooking Okanagan Lake. 

Grasses overlooking Okanagan Lake, looking north
OK, this is pretty smart. It's a boat dock for the development and you access it via an elevator.  It's smart because there aren't 20 or so docks added to an already congested shoreline.

Boat dock

More of the kind of home for the top .01 percent
This is familiar territory - Paul's Tomb. It's at the far end of Knox Mountain park and is a quiet spot for a swim.  

I cheated getting home. Don picked me up on his way back from Penticton. Sweet, no bus today.

Day 7 - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

It is getting more difficult to find a different route to and from my house and there's a niggling thought I might not be up for my challenge. What I have discovered is that I've been limiting myself to a few city trails when there are so many. Some are known to me, but some are entirely new and exciting.  Walked towards High Point, another uber expensive home area and skirted the development by going towards Kathleen Lake within Knox Mountain park.  Not a long walk today: 11 km.

Kathleen Lake - Knox 
This is familiar territory, coming down the front end of Knox. The grasses and sage brush on the south slope even smell beautiful.

Sage brush - probably very old
Bay Street goes right by the lumber yard and the sawdust pile. This looks so familiar from my Blind River days growing up.

I wasn't paying much attention, so was startled to see this beautiful couple in a driveway. Someone had cut branches and piled them up in the trailer that you see on the left. They were not the least bit anxious about me. I, however, took my picture and skedaddled.

Buck and doe in driveway
This is an artificial pond along the lake shore allowing residents to have their boats at their doorsteps. I forgive them, however, because there is a robust wetland full of birds, fish and all many of locally occurring vegetation.

Day 8 - Thursday, November 6, 2014

OK, I've done a week and I'm still not disenchanted with the idea of walking for 30 days. Today, I head out to Mission Creek park, across the creek itself and head left and eventually climb the bench to the orchards. I've been using Google maps to decipher my kilometers and my routes. Trying to link roads with unknown trails is tricky on the computer, but so much fun on foot. I don't know a lot about where I'm going, so this is exploratory.

Mission Creek from the bridge at the ECCO Centre
This is what I come upon when I get onto the bench, a beautifully flat expanse of agricultural land full of orchards and vineyards. This is bunch of sinewy irrigation lines is attractive.

Many of the casual workers in the fields and orchards in the valley are Mexican. My daughter says she listens to their Spanish chatter when they're doing work. I can't help but suppose that the owner of the hat is Mexican.

Wow, who has done this? These are recent varieties, not Macs or Delicious. Such is the pressure on the orchard owners to keep up with new varieties or other crops such as grapes.

Apple trees felled
This is the equipment being used for all that destruction. All that apple wood is probably going to be burned.

Further down the bench, this is what is taking over from apples, a new grape planting.

I walked across the Harvest Golf and Country Club, fully expecting to be yelled at, but all was quiet. on top of the hill, I found these just gathered grapes for Grey Monk Winery.

I can't believe how warm and sunny it has gotten. I keep have to remind myself that it is November 6th. It is picture perfect blue sky. We won't be seeing much of that during the winter. The Okanagan valley gets valley cloud, which keeps the temperature up, but it is without sun from mid November to Februrary/March. Many people find it hard, the lack of sunshine, and so escape to the tops of mountains or go south.

Almost back to the car, which is parked by the ECCO Centre. This is a spawning channel for Kokanee salmon, a kind of landlocked western salmon.  This is my first hike where I've used my car to get to the destination. This was a long hike it felt like, but when I get home to calculate it, Google has a dispute with my feet which say, far, far, far, but Mr. Google says 14.5 km.

 Day 9 - Friday, November 7th, 2014

It continues to amaze me how many ways you can leave home.  Well, and return. This way was proposed by Don for the weekend, so I thought I'd do a reconnaissance and see for myself.  The road goes up towards Wilden, yet another development that has cropped up since we moved here in 1998. At the end of one road I pass yet another No Trespassing sign into the wilderness you see here. Surprisingly, you feel out of the city in no time with ducks in the pond and deer on the trails.

Pond near Wilden

Looking back towards Kelowna
I'm heading North towards McKinley and the Glenmore water reservoir. There doesn't appear to be much water in it for all of the households and the University it feeds. Water is of great concern in this semi-arid landscape. Off of the road is a farm with all these magical looking animals. They are mostly all child sized and it's a delightful stop. Are we all attracted to farm animals? Is it in our DNA?
I should have been a farmer
McKinley Road twists and turns around the reservoir. It is dangerous. This roadside memorial is both ugly and sad.

Roadside memorial
Glenmore road back home, hard pavement, hot sun and feet starting to hurt again.

Signage in front of Glenmore Condos
The linear park to home runes behind my neighbour's house. This is a huge weeping willow which rains leaves right into winter. 

Neighbour's house
What's that joke? What's the last thing X saw before the accident? This ghostly image of a robin on my front window attests to the fact that this bird did not see anything before the fatal accident. 
Ghostly image of a robin
Bikamino  - Saturday, November 8, 2014

I am sure that even those doing a serious pilgrimage take a day off now and then. Spending a day with my daughter is way more important than my self imposed 30 hikes. It's my hike, my rules to bend if I want, and I want.  

This is a community garden along Brandt's creek linear park. It is beside a bunch of condos and is so popular, there is a waiting list.  There are still beets, Swiss chard, kale, carrots, lettuce and other goodies in the ground. 

A very good gardener eyeing the produce
This is a platform on the Mission Creek where you can observe the Kokanee salmon coming up to spawn. 

My daughter and her new second had bike

Taking a day off from walking

Windy day on Okanagan lake
Bikamino - Sunday, November 9, 2014

Don is back from Montreal and would like to do a bike ride today instead of walking. It turns out to be much harder than we had planned as we head up Summit road. Our daughter puts us to shame, but then her legs are 27 years younger than ours (we tell ourselves). We are both ready to put our feet up after 28 or so kms.

This is Gyro Beach park.  Kelowna has done some things right, such as saving green space to play. In the summer, this park is full of young men and women in various stages of undress. 
A sea of leaves

 I have to practice doing selfies, obviously.   

The weather reports are for an arctic chill coming our way.  The following picture was taken on Abbott street, one of the most beautiful streets in Kelowna, full of older homes, some on the water, established trees and a real neighbourly feel. It also happens to be very close to the Hospital, so you can appreciate that housing here is not cheap.

We met up with our friends, Vreni and Bernard at Giobeans, a coffee shop with real continental feel. It's right across from the  Kelowna Art Gallery. Giobeans' coffee will make your heart beat faster. Vreni and Bernard ride from their house to downtown, quite a long ways. Sometimes, they hike up Knox, before going back home - just for shit and giggles. They are an amazing couple and a source of inspiration.

Day 10 - Monday, November 10, 2014

We went out for supper last night and got home late, so I hadn't decided where to walk today. I normally have figured out more options, but as I progress in this journey, I have to start thinking outside of my original hikes. Today, I took the car to the intersection of the Greenway and Spiers Road. I eventually hiked about 13.7 km by making my way up Spiers to Wallace Hill and Saucier back down Casorso and the Greenway back to my car. There wasn't much traffic and I reckon this would be a nice bike ride as there is some uphill. 
The weather is variable this time of year and it started off sunny and cool at 1 degree celcius.  You can see it in the slant of the sun and the colour it produces. 

These apples were tiny. Probably not intended for eating, but for Sun Rype and fruit roll ups.

More and more, apple orchards are becoming vineyards, a far more lucrative crop.

This popped out the ground on the edge of the road. Wish I knew if you could eat it.

The clouds are rolling in now, and it looks like snow in the hills.  This is a cherry orchard looking like a giant spider has spun a web around it.

There's snow falling in the far hills.


Not every farmer in Kelowna is a millionaire. This bull stared me down. Glad there was a fence between me and him.

Good apples, beautiful old farm building. Glad they didn't tear it down.

Can you believe these colours!  Could I do this justice in a painting?

The golfing buddies assured me I could take a picture. Hard to let go of the summer games I guess. With freezing temperatures in the forecast, these guys can't help themselves.  I used golf. That feels like a very long time ago at the Huron Pines Golf Club.

Day 11 - Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Brrr, they were right. Not only is it -2 C at 7:00 this morning, but it is uncharacteristically windy for Kelowna.  There are many ceremonies and reports of them since it is 100 years since the start of the 1st great war. 

There is no HeArt Fit this morning since the Rotary Centre for the Arts is closed, but a few of us show up hoping. Don comes along on today's Okamino. He's intrigued by the pictures and description of the new found hike I did last week and that's what we choose together.

There's nothing that spells "there's still a kid inside" like cracking a puddle of ice. I used to live almost directly in front of my primary school and you'd think I would leave at the last minute, but on cold mornings in the spring, I would be the first one out there, mainly to break the ice. 

Soul satisfying crack

The North wind is vicious along the lake as it is aligned north/south. 

Okanagan Lake

Waves at Paul's Tomb

In another week, there won't be any leaves.
 This is an interesting sculpture near the Kelowna Regional Library. Halfway between a bench and a canvass, it is full of representations of lives, living and long ago past.  I am ambivalent about it.

Day 12 - Tuesday, November 12, 2014

It is -10C this morning, so my pack is full of warm clothes, hats, gloves, mitts for my proposed hike from the Penticton Airport along the west side of Skaha Lake on the Kettle Valley Trail to Okanagan Landing.  Don works at the airport in Penticton which is about one hour's drive from Kelowna.  There is not a cloud in the sky and the sun warms up the land to a comfortable -1 or 0 C for my walk.  It ends up being about 15 km from here to Okanagan Falls.
Don at his stand up desk
 The trail starts at the north end of Skaha Lake adjoining a RV/campsite with yurts.

This is the trail leading from the campsite area.

Typical Okanagan vegetation

The trail goes through another campground about halfway. This view is looking back towards Penticton.

There is no one here today, but in the summer, it is wall to wall boats and people.

The Kettle Valley Railroad rail to trail system  is extensive throughout this part of British Columbia. Since the lines were designed for railways, the grades are slight and make for easy walking/biking.

These mule deer took me by surprise. Kind of look like statues.

This guy could barely walk, but he was having a grand time on the trail.

This is testament to how cold it was. This was a small stream flowing into the lake.

Just before getting to Okanagan Falls there is a lovely park area and this bridge connecting to it. Started to see more people the closer I got to the town.

Barb, Dave and Sharon were walking their 4 standard poodles and let me pass. They were at the Dogcity cafe and they invited me to join them. Nice people, nice chat.

Day 13 - Thursday, November 13, 2013

It is -7C at 8:30 am this morning at the south end of Wood Lake. I'm going to walk the old highway north and circumnavigate the lake or about 19.5 kms.  I've chosen to put my back to the sun for better pictures, but I'm also heading into wind. Maybe not such a smart move. There were a lot of accidents on this section of the highway, many cars ending up in the water for impossible rescues. Very tragic.

Cold cold morning

Oyama - don't you love the name?
 This is a canal between Wood Lake and Kalamalka Lake which glows a Mediterranean blue in the light. It is my favourite lake in the Okanagan.
Looking North towards Kalamalka Lake
I've reached the east side of the lake which is less developed and has far less traffic. There are lovely orchards and farms on this side.

This is another section of the abandoned railway which hopefully, will be turned into a trail system. Cudos to those who are working hard at getting this done!

I'm always drawn to stone fences because of the one built by the Samulski family around our home in Blind River. Looks like this one was well done. Charming isn't it?

This is definitely a jack of all trades kind of guy/gal. Love their can do attitude.

This is the kind of house that gets built in the Okanagan. Kind of stands in contrast to the condos/townhouses just down the road.

Day 14 - Friday, November 14, 2014

It's another frigid morning with a light snow falling. No strikingly blue skies today. This is a familiar walk up to where we used to hike to the "White Rock Tree" so named because with every hike up the hills, we would pick white rocks along the way and plant them into the bark of this old spruce tree. We had been doing this for many years, so much that the tree could no longer hold any more rocks and they started piling up around the trunk. Well, that tree no longer exists, there are houses there now. Once, after a rain storm, I found an arrowhead. I've since found more, and am always on the lookout for them.

There are many ways to hurt yourself, and this is just another. You need a bike, hopefully you have a helmet and a lot of sang froid. The kids built this a few years ago.

If you're not dissuaded by all the signage and threats the road leads towards many beautiful hikes.

Decided to go the usual route after seeing all those signs.  These are striking homes with fantastic views. Living here, you would not be able to walk to the local coffee shop down the street, because most people would have heart attacks coming back up.

This is lot 41, the one where the White Rock Tree used to reside. It was, until just recently, my destination point to visit with the view of the lake. I've had to change lots.

Going north from this part of the development I find an old road we used to hike. I'm startled by this very large male mule deer standing his ground. I made a bunch of noise, threw things at him, and thought better. I went around him and he circled back behind me. I kept an eye out with a big rock in my hand. Fat lot of good that would have done if he'd charged.

There is beauty in this random pattern formed by burrowing insects. The colour is exquisite.

I headed north and almost to McKinley Landing and then was impeded by barbed wire fencing and strong language on signs. Wish it weren't so! Then went east and found my way back towards Wilden.

I met Patrick on the trail. He is a new (5 years) resident of Wilden. He says that he and his wife hike at least three times a week, even when they go south. We had a great chat and exchanged names - he seems way more prepared than I am with his GPS that provides information on length of the hike/altitude and more importantly, his whereabouts. Maybe I should get one of those. It certainly would help to figure out how far I went today.  After three and a half hours, I'm probably close to my daily goal.

Day 15 - Saturday, November 15, 2014

Late start this morning because we had company for supper last night. Homemade egg pasta, sausages from the Mediterranean Market and a surprisingly yummy traditional Italian rice cake made by Chantal. Jim and Maureen brought delicious scallops wrapped in bacon and crab stuffed mushrooms.  Delicious!

I don't imagine that pilgrims doing the Camino would have had such wonderful food, though I could be wrong. Also, having a hot bath and sleeping in flannelette sheets in my own bed every night is probably not like the monastery-like accommodations I imagine are/were available.   

Today is another repeat of day 11 hike with the ultimate goal of voting at City Hall in Kelowna's municipal election.  

Snow crystals cling to a downy feather.  Beauty in unexpected places.

A rock wall along Clifton Road. One to be proud of.

Soldiers lined up to waiting to do their job. The blue bins at the end are for recycling - anything aluminum, plastic or paper! So so simple. At home, our garbage bin hardly ever gets filled enough to be emptied.

Oregon grape holly. It looks this way all the year long.

Heading down towards the lake.

A pavilion along one of Kelowna's creek trails near downtown.  

A new brew pub has opened near one of the most popular restaurants near the waterfront. This is a really cheeky sign, particularly here out west. We actually debated about having a beer before going to vote, or having coffee. We played it safe and had coffee.

The expanded Kelowna marina. Pretty soon, you'll be able to walk across to the other side of the lake on the pontoons. Still enough, it is pretty.

Rogers is trying hard to get us to think hockey=Rogers.

My head is way too small for this uniform.

This looks right on Don.

Somehow, I think this works too.

Don and Chantal got to vote. I didn't have ID and they couldn't vouch for me, something about  BC Municipal Act regulations. If I'd had one more piece of ID beside my Visa card (such a good piece of ID), that would have worked.  Didn't they let you use to vote in Federal Elections if someone vouched for you? With less than 30% of the population voting in municipal elections in BC, you'd think they'd make it easier somehow. (Grumble, grumble, grumble) (Smile)

Day 16 - Sunday, November 16, 2014

It's -10 C this morning and a kind of haze has settled over the valley, soon to be dissipated by the sun. I haven't told you that I mostly listen to CBC Radio when I'm hiking/walking/biking : The Current, Q and whatever else is on, White Coat, Black Art, This is That, The Debaters. I find myself chuckling or grumbling at what is being said. When I get tired of English, I tune in to Radio Canada as the content is remarkably different. 

Today is no exception, even if Don is with me. We each have our little radios as if we were in our kitchen, listening to Sunday Morning together. We still love talking to each other which is a surprise to me after all these years, but Don gets to have his share of CBC this way. Today's hike is half new to me and all new to Don. Some of it is cross country and exploratory, something we both love.

This is on the first part of our hike. You gotta to give this woman, as i'm sure it is, credit for adding some colour to a bland but functional piece of plastic.

As I continue on my journey, I've come to realize that I seek beauty, at least, what I consider beautiful.  It strikes me that this machinery is both beautiful and terrifying at the same time.

The green of Don's jacket is appropriate for here.

Magical and enchanted forest of Glenmore Highlands.

There is a little cabin we chance upon. There are solar panels and a sign nearby states that this is a fire watching facility for the Okanagan. I can see why.

After we meandered down some unknown trails, we find ourselves back at Wilden and one of its large ponds.  It's only about 30 more minutes to home.

Day 17 - Monday, November 17, 2014

This is the coldest stretch of November that I can remember here. It is usually warmer than this most winter days.  Ne tant fais pas.  It is expected to warm up later in the week.  
I had been wondering where the smokey haze was coming from, but they are burning brush pile in the mountains around the valley and with little wind, it hangs here, making asthmatics a bit crazy and stinging the eyes of those with blepharitis.  Not naming any names here. 

This is last week's impressions with paint. Looks so different as a picture.

Brought our car to Kal Tire on  Leckie Road early this morning and used that as a starting point for the hike. For these people, this is the crazy season. 

Making my way up Dilworth mountain. This is the commercial area flanking the highway and what most people see when they drive through town.My hike/walk took about three hours, maybe not as long in length as I've done, but climbing the mountain added time and extra energy.

It is steeper than it looks, but I do find a deer trail that leads me to the top.

Deer trail on the side of the mountain.

This view is taken from the top. Notice the tree growing out of the rock. Very cool.

Looking north now towards the length of Dilworth. I'm going to make my may to the peak in the distance and over the other end around the mountain.

Lucky me, I've found a trail that goes around the top of the mountain. Stopped to talk to a gentleman walking three dogs who gave me directions to Dinali street, where I know the way down.

Rounding the mountain, I'm now on the east side, looking down at Glenmore valley.

There it is, the beauty shot of the day. These were beside a grate where I suspect warm water was escaping and condensing, creating the lacy white pattern on the edge of the leaves.

Along Valley Road, the ducks have staked out in the ditch. This is the only open water around.

Layered leaves in ice add to today theme of browns, beiges and cream.

Art installation echoing this.

Day 18 - Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I've come to understand that by posting what I see, it's a little like showing out of town guests where you live. In that way, you yourself also rediscover the things that first attracted  you to the place. There must be a name to the effect. On top of that, I'm being more adventurous with my hikes because of my own loose imposition of trying to not repeat the walks. Another arctic type day at -7C this morning, but it was HeArt Fit and I had agreed to "facilitate".  Karen does a remarkable job week after week. Hats off to her!

Keith is showing me his painting of the morning. I love his spirit and enthusiasm. He says he 79!

My hike was around the Rose Valley Reservoir, starting from the south end by the dam and working clock wise back. As I started late in the day, I had no stops and did some bushwhacking on the south east side to get to my car before dark, which occurs at 4:35 or so.  

You don't often see this kind of tree in the southern interior, made all the more northern from the lack of leaves. 

This is not part of the round the lake trail. Wish I had known this as I spent too much time on it. Someone went through a lot of trouble to make it though.

You can just see the dam and a little bit of the blue of the reservoir ahead.

Finally, I've found the trail, somewhat impeded by burnt and fallen trees from a fire a few years ago. This is on the west side, just under McDougall Rim trail.

Now I've come around the north end of the lake and heading south towards the car. It is overcast, so the colours seem blue and faded out.

If I were on the real Camino Del Santiago, I would be at a coffee shop by now. This is the reservoir, looking towards north from the east side.

And there it is, the beauty shot I've been waiting for.  I get to the car with a few minutes to spare before it gets dark. My daughter strongly suggests I bring a headlamp.  She's absolutely right. It will be in my backpack tomorrow, along with extra food (jerky) and a multi-tool, all good suggestions.