Penticton in the Okanagan

A day in the life of two Jeepers and the wines of the Okanagan

GPS Coordinates are 49.49417178992437, -119.6032469150574.
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Smokey Air over Okanagan Valley On our journey to Whistler, the Okanagan was the last stop. The obvious reason is the abundance of vineyards, the other is the lake and the climate. An open water swim is always on top of our list. This year was different. Smoke from the wild fires made it hard to breathe, we even noticed the smokey smell at times. On a normal sunny day, we would see the vineyards across the lake. This time it was just a blurry shade above the waterline. Extended hikes and exercises were not recommended, which was a good reason for us to take it real easy. The four tasks we had to tackle in order were:

  • Maple and Peach Liqueur
  • Grocery shopping
  • Two or three vineyards
  • Maybe a local brewery
    The first day progressed differently than we expected.

    All in one day
    Intersection Milepost 208 Merlot Most vineyards don't open until 11 or after. We were in no rush to leave the Okanagan Lake Provincial Park North Campground to get our groceries and wine.
    First stop was the BC VQA Wine Info Centre in Penticton, just beside the Cascades Casino. We get to this establishment later. The Wine Information Centre has all the maps, booklets, trinkets and the knowledgeable staff to answer any questions. They also carry an enormous selection of wine. We asked "What is YOUR favourite Merlot?". We walked out with a bottle of Intersection Merlot. The winery is in Oliver and we would not have found this wine, it was not on our travel route. The wine was exactly as they promised, you can read about it on the next page.

    Tasting at Maple Leaf Spirits The next stop was Maple Leaf Spirits. We had to re-stock our liqueurs and a visit to the distillery is always educational. Jorg and Anette share amazing information about their trade and local happenings.
    We were in luck, the Peach Liqueur was available. It was sold out last year. The second bottle was the classic Maple Liqueur. This is our favourite addition to the afternoon coffee back home. We like it pure.
    Liqueur and wine are not the only liquids we were looking for, so we asked about local breweries. Jorg referred us to the Bad Tattoo Brewery.

    We left the Bench which is possibly the densest area of vineyards we ever found. The Bench and Naramata are on the east shore of the Okanagan Lake, just north of Penticton.

    Cascades Casino Our next stop was grocery shopping. We ran out of drinking water, therefore shopping was high on the priority list. We already spent two hours on the road, and a pit stop was imminent. We are not very familiar with Penticton and the only place that came to mind was the Cascades Casino. It was also close to our current location. We considered it rude to use the washroom without at least feeding a one-armed-bandit. We won almost enough to treat us for lunch.

    Los Muertos Cerveza Negra dark lager Next stop was the Bad Tattoo brewery and restaurant that has outdoor seating. The beer choice is challenging, do I choose the best label on the can or my favourite beer? Well, it happened that they were one and the same. I asked for a dark beer and I got the "Los Muertos Cerveza Negra", which is a dark lager. The label on the can is a stunning piece of art. Ursula does not like beer and she was the designated driver.
    For lunch, Ursula had the Chicken Caesar with Blackened Garlic and I had the Spanakopizza. A culinary delight. The food and beer were so good, we returned two days later for a BCBLT with Helmut's maple bacon and a Russian Roulette pizza where one slice was 'enhanced' with the hottest sauce ever created. The question was which slice. To wash down the hot sauce, I had a Sol Vida Cerveza Clara. The lighter, brighter cousin of the beer two days ago.

    We were just finishing our pizza, when a couple sat down beside our table. They asked about our travel and the Jeep. Yes they own a Jeep as well. Ever since we got a Jeep, we met many interesting people. We talked about Jeeps, wine and travels. We found out they own Basil & Mint in Kelowna. It just so happens that Kelowna is now on our route back to Ontario Smile

    Even so the grocery shopping was on top of our list, it was the last thing we did. On the way back to the campground, we stopped at Nesters in Summerland. It was past four in the afternoon and time for a coffee. We bought a strudel to enhance our Nescafe GOLD Instant Coffee at the camper. Nothing comes to mind that would match the amazing lunch, so a simple instant coffee was just fine.

    Jungle Cruise The whole day was out of control already, why not close it with a movie. The local movie theatre was showing Jungle Cruise with Emily Blunt aka Pants and Dwayne Johnson aka Skippy. The puns Skippy uses are "so bad they're hilarious".

    The day we conquered the Giant
    Giant's Head entrance The Giant's Head Mountain can be tackled by foot, or when the gate is open, by car. There are a few parking spots at the bottom of the trail. The road to the top was closed due to the dry weather which caused an extreme fire hazard.

    Red trail up Several trails lead up to the top. The Grind Trail is steep at times and rated difficult. The Friendly Giant Trail rating is moderate and the paved road is for cars and bikes. The road winds up the mountain and is not very steep, but more than double in length. The trails cross the raod at several places. We picked sections from all three of the trails.

    Scenery on the way up

    On the way down Summerland surrounds the Giant's Head Mountain. No matter where you enjoy the view, there is always part of the town right down below. The noise from the traffic carries up to the mountain top but doesn't take away from the beauty of the hike.

    The Skaha Bluffs
    Grapes from a vineyard On the way back from our wine tour, we had to visit the Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park. There is a big parking lot, and our guess was that most of the parked cars belong to Rock Climbers. A spiderweb of trails for hiking and horseback riding also connect the climbing walls.

    Skaha Bluffs Skaha Bluffs

    Several sport climbing routes are within a short hike from the parking lot. A sport climbing route is a 'vertical trail' on the rock wall with permanently fixed bolts and anchors drilled into the rock.

    Rock Climbing in the Skaha Bluffs Provincial Park

    First published on September 07, 2021 Contact Us  Help