A favorite quote:

Make play a high priority in your life for if you die tomorrow no one can play for you, but someone can and will do your work for you!!!" Ken Beebe (Dr. Play)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

How many ecological zones can a person drive through in one day?

Lots, lots is the answer.
From Christina Lake to Harrison Hot Springs there are the ever present up and downs of the mountains, however add in some very significant eco-region changes and you have south and southwestern BC. Christina Lake is not-quite arid Boreal forest and that gives way almost immediately to a very desert like Grand forks. The North facing slopes are all very forested, yet the South facing slopes are all grassland with spotty areas of ponderosa pine. There is a mountain pass to go over to get to the towns of greenwood, midway and Rock Creek. This was quite a pretty valley drive with few highlights, but plenty of scenery.
From Rock Creek we drive straight up initially, finding our first true switchback high above the Kettle River valley. We then keep climbing. I know this seems to be a recurring theme of this trip, however the climbs and dives seem to get more and more extreme the closer we get to the coast. I understand now why Vancouver and Victoria are such popular retirement communities. It's because no one wants to drive back across the mountains.
Anyway, we drive up and up and up, all the while the trees are really starting to give way to more grasses and open spaces even at elevation, giving us a taste of what is to come in Osoyoos. What it didn't prepare us for is the road down into Osoyoos. 650m down a series of switchbacks in 18km. you can see the valley during the entire descent so it is really hard to keep and eye on the road, our fellow travellers and the 20km/h switchbacks. Once down in Osoyoos it is ripe with the smell of burning brakes from all the minivans carrying way to big of trailers down that hill. good times.
We stopped for a takeout subway lunch in Osoyoos and enjoyed the relative calmness of the downtown core. The lake is so weird as the desert starts right at the edge of the water. It just isn't normal looking.
From Osoyoos, we head up the bloody hill again! We see a really cool spot called spotted lake, it is spotted from all the minerals pushing out of the hills. It's pretty neat.
After spotted lake, we are in for another treat, a very leisurely drive into the Similkameen River Valley.

Irrigated lush in the bottom of the valley and high mountain desert everywhere else. There are a few wineries here, but none that I had heard of (i am not a connoisseur, so there are many I never heard of) Traci and I say we should stop and get a case of wine, however Andrew is finally asleep and we would only be buying a case to say we bought one at a winery.

The Drive from here to Princeton is very uneventful, as more and more Long weekend Monday travellers join us on the road, we slow considerably, but since we are still on holidays we just relax and enjoy the scenery.

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