We decided on a whim to head to Osoyoos, number 1 it has a cool name, number 2 it is where Canada’s desert is located, yes desert. It’s not your classic “sand dune” desert but a cold desert like they have in Russia….
It’s also the location of Canada’s warmest lake, so the plan was to stay in the park on the lake and visit the desert. However you may have noticed a theme with us in that we aren’t much for planning much further ahead than lunch, so when we arrived at the campsite we were greeted with exasperated looks of “of course we have no sites, we have been booked for months”. Then we remembered I couldn’t swim because of my stitches and headed to the desert centre. There are actually two places to visit some desert, one has a big cultural centre and a resort attached, we went to the other that is more geared to desert conservation. We took the tour and were not disappointed, some how a 1.5 km boardwalk to over an hour. Our tour guide, Andrew, was fantastic and very knowledgable, we were glad we took the tour because I think you’d miss so much without someone pointing out all the little things. Afterwards we were chatting with Andrew about our trip and I asked if he had any suggestions about where to camp for the evening, he turned out to be the right guy to ask and soon we were on our way west. We stopped at the Spotted Lake on our way out of town, it’s some sort of mineral deposits (not much information posted there) but is revered by the local First Nations for its healing properties, it’s apparently going to be developed to be more tourist friendly, which I can’t decide if that is a good or bad thing.
That night we camped at Bromley Rock Provincial Park (after a tiny detour to get mobile reception so I could call my Mommy for her birthday), it was beautiful despite the rain and we had the place to ourselves, so we BBQ’d a fantastic meal, utilizing the awning (which somebody didn’t want) to keep us dry. Eventually the rain really started to come down and we had to retreat inside to watch a movie. It’s at times like those that I am so pleased that we spent a little extra for a lot of extra comfort!
Next day we headed to Vancouver to see friends but first we had a date with the Grouse Grind. This is a trail at Grouse Mountain, just north of Vancouver, that is 2.9km with 853 m of elevation gain (2800ft). The record is 23:48, we thought it would be fun to try and that it would be a good test of our current fitness (although going in I already knew mine was at an all time low). We set off smiling and laughing, even jogging a little but then quickly wondered what the heck we had got ourselves into. There are all these stairs! All different heights and lengths, it hit me that basically we were climbing uneven stairs up the side of the mountain, through a beautiful rainforest, so that’s what I focused on. Did ok for a while, then Dan found me curled up on the side of the trail just before half way asking for a kick down the side of the mountain, I was having the worse stomach ache I’ve ever experienced it was so strange (well in hindsight not that strange but we’ll save that for another post). Dan stayed with me while I pulled myself together (actually I expelled some of myself then felt much better) and on we climbed. Eventually we made it to the top (1 hr and 11 mins) and were rewarded with absolutely no view at all (I feel like we’ve been chasing rain since leaving Ontario), we were also disappointed (ok not that disappointed) that we could only get down via the Gondola, which even though we walked up still had to pay to get down.
After that it was on to our friend Tom and Vanessa’s (and adorable family) who treated us to some tasty sushi and a hot shower we didn’t have to keep putting loonies in for.
Our second day in Vancouver was spent running errands, like getting my haircut (because I couldn’t even manage to get that done before we left), and then on to Kristy and Glen’s (and adorable family) where they treated us to some World Cup Football, pizza and wifi! We also had our first urban camping experience parked on a side street from their condo. I slept really well, it was like being back in Toronto for a night!
We just want to say thanks to both Tom & Vanessa and Kristy & Glen for their wonderful hospitality and company. Thanks guys!