This weekend we welcomed my Mum and Dad into town on vacation. Just in time for my Dad's birthday! As a birthday treat (for him, and belated gifts for Chris and I!) we were treated to a floatplane tour. We headed off in our little Cessna 180 to tour the Okanagan from the air.
We took off in the middle of Lake Okanagan, just offshore of the Grand Hotel in the downtown Kelowna waterfront. There was a regatta taking place that day so we did a little dodging of sailboats to find ourselves a clear run for take-off! You can see the Grand Hotel right in the middle of the picture (the high rise buildings) and to the left of the photo is the edge of Knox mountain.
We headed south down over the lake, passing West Kelowna and Mount Boucherie, then Peachland, Summerland and Naramata. Naramata is probably one of the most well know wine areas in the region - a beautiful little bench above the southern end of Lake Okanagan - Naramata 'village' is on the point in the photo above and you can see all the vineyards covering the surrounding land.
We did a quick aireal pass over Penticton to gain some height before heading off over the mountains to the East. Penticton is nestled between Lake Okanagan to the north (on the right in the pic) and Skaha Lake to the south. There's a channel linking the lakes which is super popular to tube for a few hours in the summer! The gap in the hills in the middle of the photo is Green Mountain Road - infamous for great, great road biking!
As we headed back north to Kelowna we passed over the Myra Canyon provincial park. We love this place and have done a few hikes, bike rides and a trail run here!. The highlight of the park is the Myra Canyon trestles. The bridges linked the Kettle Valley Railway and were engineered by McCulloch. Back in the Okanagan Mountain fire of 2003 12 of 18 wooden trestles were destroyed by fire but over the last decade a restoration society has rebuilt them and the old rail bed is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
We cut across the main commercial area of Kelowna before our little detour up to the north. This looks over the main Highway 97 and the 'big box stores' area. Off in the top right you can see the bridge over the lake, linking Kelowna with the Southern Okanagan Valley.
And this was the reason for our little detour to the north - up to Lake Country and a quick flyover of the house (fourth from the right!)
I truly do appreciate this beautiful region and every day I'm thankful for living here! This is our 'local' Lake Country / Okanagan Centre lakeshore just a couple of minutes from our house. The big hill to the left is Spion Kop which is jam packed with hiking and dirt biking trails and which we access on foot (or bike!) right from our front door. Our favourite winery is Gray Monk and is the red roofed building near the right edge of the photo, halfway up the hill!
All too soon we were heading back into Kelowna and flying over the Tolko lumber mill (they float the logs in the water to eek out the sap before processing) before landing out on the water in front of the Grand Hotel.
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