I hate driving the Coquihalla (Hwy 5) from Vancouver to either Kamloops or Kelowna. I hate the changeable, sometimes hazardous, weather conditions and the thundering semis all around me. (Furthermore I always want to avoid the risk of snow in early spring and, sure enough, there was slush on the Connector the day I traveled and none on the more southerly route.)
So, I choose to go the long way into the Okanagan, following the fur traders' routes; so many of the present highways in the province follow the brigade routes of the mid-1800s. Often they are the most picturesque ways to travel and this one only takes about an hour and a bit longer to drive than the Coq.
Driving up last Saturday morning, I followed Hwy 3 from Hope to Manning Park and Princeton. No traffic along here in April. Weather varied from fog, heavy showers to sunshine, conditions the HBC surveyors must have suffered too (they did not pursue this brigade route). Manning Park Lodge where I like to breakfast was closed, as I expected, but with its recent sale should open before Victoria Day.
|The Similkameen River near Keremeos|
As always the stretch from Princeton, through Hedley, to Keremeos was gorgeous: rugged mountains, the rushing Similkameen River, and a wide, fertile valley where the road travels. I'm certain the fur traders loved this stretch for its water and fodder for horses. It's very photogenic and, on the way home, I plan to spend some time in Hedley where you can take a fascinating tour of the mine high above and eat at a good resto. (More later.) I've decided to divide the return journey in two, staying the night in Princeton so I can enjoy Hedley without rushing.
© Photos by Pharos 2013
I'm staying at the Manteo Beach Resort, thanks to exchanging one of our timeshares. My two-bedroomed unit is big, clean, and on the lakeshore. While not in the heart of Kelowna, it it lies south of the city in a quiet residential neighbourhood, which is close to everything and quiet. Since I was last here, there is a new and excellent Save-on-Foods one kilometre away, farmers' markets, and several vineyards including Tantalus and Cedar Creek.