This evening, I was out for a walk along the lakeshore and over to the canal between Lakes Okanagan and Skaha with our friend and gracious host Jon - Di said she just wanted a rest - and we saw two fantastic birds. The first was an osprey, which graced us but briefly. Jon has, on a number of of occasions while running alongside the canal, seen these fantastic birds picking trout from the water. Hopefully we'll be lucky enough to catch that before we go. The other beautiful bird we got a good long look at was a magnificent Great Blue Heron that was perched, motionless, on the bank of the canal for ages waiting for an opportunity to snatch a fish from the water. Sorry there's no photo, but here are a few that will give an impression of the Penticton's waterfront:
Okanagan Lake shore
Statues of children playing
The SICAMOUS was a paddle steamer that plied the waters of Okanagan Lake.
Of course the main reason that we are here is not to look at the lake but to climb at Skaha Bluffs and visit with our friend Jon.
We first met Jon when he came to visit us in Hobart in April 1998. We had a mutual climbing friend that gave Jon our contact details and he decided to look us up when he was on a climbing trip to Australia. It turns out that we had quite a lot in common and have seen each other a number of times in both Australia and Canada. One of the things that we have in common is a deep love for the environment and the minutiae that is contained within the environment. Here is a photo of Jon getting right into the Skaha Bluffs:
The weather has been uncharacteristically patchy for summer in the Okanagan, but we have managed to get out to the crags for four days so far.
Here's a photo of the general environment of The Bluffs, looking down towards Skaha Lake:
... and the trail to one of the cliffs we climbed at yesterday:
Sometimes I think Di would be happy just taking pictures. And there's lots to enjoy in terms of flowers at the moment:
Besides looking at flowers we have actually done a bit of climbing:
Di, belayed by Jon, on a route called "The Raven and the Bear"
Doug doing an easy climb called "Father's Day"
... and Di looking as elegant as ever.
Our friend Jon has started using special belay glasses when he's belaying people on sport climbs:
They save getting a sore neck and seem to be becoming more popular here. We've seen a number of people wearing them.
We are ever on the lookout for wildlife to photograph. Never staying still very long, so far the birds here have been rather elusive, but we have seen lots of chipmunks - which try to pinch our lunch just about every day:
This little guy got close but not close enough!
In her wanderings Di came across something that we have not seen before but we think might have been a BABY chipmunk:
It was only between about 5 and 7 centimetres long and we can't think of anything else it might have been. You can just see it's rear end poking out behind the branch of the small shrub it was scrambling up.
I saw a coyote that was but is no longer:
... while Di was taking a picture of a Rattlesnake ...
... but don't worry: she wasn't as close as it looks!
Apart from the Rattlers, in places the ground is strewn with pine cones ...
... and the woodland is redolent with the scent of the trees from which they have dropped ... sorry, I can't get that on the blog just yet! ;-)
In more open areas but close to the pines are many of these gorgeous little beauties ...
... which have the surprising name of Bitteroot.
Finally, the gorgeous blooms below are just starting to come out on the Mock Orange. While they are lovely, what is most remarkable is their delicious scent.
P.S.: It's now a day later and the Great Blue Heron was there again!