My sister is visiting with her husband. Despite the smoky skies we've been keeping busy canning, playing and having our make-up done by the lovely make-up artist Caroline of Chantique. Thank you Caroline! 

Sisterly Love. Xox.
The Kettle Valley Railway Trail is an old railway network that runs through southern part of British Columbia between Midway and Hope. The railway network was abandoned in the later part of the twentieth century and subsequently purchased by the provincial government of British Columbia in order to preserve the railbed. Over time various groups and individuals have set to restoring the six-hundred kilometer railbed into an amazing network of multi-use trails that are enjoyed by countless people every year.

We have biked several parts of the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR) Trial over the last few years, mostly around the southern part of Okanagan lake and Skaha lake. Now that my two eldest children are becoming confident bikers I thought it would be a good time to explore the trestle bridges located in Myra Canyon Provincial Park. We started our bike ride at the Myra Station entrance, which is one of the most popular public entrances because of its proximity to the trestle bridges. We rode to the Ruth entrance and back again. The round trip was about twenty-three kilometers. For directions to the Myra Station and Ruth Station entrances click here.

The trail between Myra Station and Ruth Station is amazing. There are eighteen trestles bridges to cross and two tunnels to go through. The view of Myra canyon is breathtaking and the city of Kelowna can be spotted in the distance. There are other interesting things to note along the trail as well, most of which are marked by signs. The trail itself is wide with gentle gradients throughout. I pulled a double chariot behind my bike and it fit comfortably on the trail and was just right on the trestle bridges. Because of the popularity of this section of the KVR it can be very busy with hikers and bikers, and there were several times that I had to struggles to get past groups of people with the double chariot in tow.

My seven year old was able to bike the entire twenty-three kilometer round trip while my five year old completed half. They both did superb. I would not recommend training wheels on this trail, but a chariot behind a bike works well. It is also important to prepare for the elements. We went on a cool and stormy day and my sister was quite surprised by how cold it was up there. We were sure glad to have our raincoats and my son was happy to share his with auntie Natalie. I imagine it can get pretty hot up there, either way be prepared.

Overall, this is great section of the KVR for a family bike trek! One that I highly recommend.
It is terrible to admit that I have lived in the South Okanagan for three years and yet today was my first time visiting Linden Gardens. This morning we joined our friends on a leisurely, or somewhat leisurely, walk. The truth is, viewing a garden with seven rambunctious children is not particularly leisurely.  Regardless, it was a beautiful place to visit and one that my children have already asked to return to.

Linden Gardens is nine acres of land covered in trees, shrubs, flowers, streams, ponds, bridges, winding paths and soft green grass. Throughout the garden there are chairs and tables set up, inviting the passerby to stop and relax. The garden is located in Kaleden, on the west side of Skaha lake: directions here. Entry into the garden costs five dollars, half-price for children, or twenty dollars for a season pass. Next year I plan on purchasing a season pass so that we can enjoy the beautiful Linden Gardens from May until September.

Another draw to Linden Garden is the Frog City Cafe, a popular spot for breakfast and lunch. By the business of the place, I think that it is safe to assume that it is a good place to enjoy food and drink.
Back in April I took my children for a walk along the Naramata Creek Park trail. I shared our adventure in this blog post. Now, four months later, we returned to this trail once again with out-of-town friends.

Naramata Creek Park is a good place to visit in the summer. The trail winds through a well sheltered gully following Naramata Creek. The towering rock slabs, trees and trickling creek help keep the gully cool, even on the most sweltering of Okanagan days. The hike to the waterfall is about 2.4km, round-trip, and takes about an hour for us to complete. The first part of the trail has several well maintained bridges, a bench and picnic table. The trail is a combination of packed bark mulch and dirt with rocks and roots jutting out. The trail is not stroller friendly, especially the second half. The first part of the trail is maintained by the RDOS but at a point along the trail the park become part of the Nature Trust. After this point there are no more fancy bridges and the trail becomes more challenging.

I was surprised by how much I failed to take note of our first time through. There are some very interesting rocks along this trail and when the water is low, as it is in the summer, children can explore around the creek bed. We found a cave, of sorts, along the side of the gully and a magical pool where my youngest believes mermaids live. Since our last visit there have also been several upgrade made to the trail, especially the two creek crossings, making the hike a little easier for my younger two. We have yet to hike above the waterfall, but once I have an extra set of adult hands to help me out we will give it a try.

The direction for finding Naramata Creek Park is on my previous post, but I will repeat them here. Naramata Creek Park is located north of Penticton on the east side of Okanagan Lake. To get there drive north towards Naramata and just before swerving left into the small town of Naramata look for a narrow, easy to overlook, road on the right side. There is park signage at the end of the road, as seen in the picture above. The entrance to the park is very easy to miss unless you know what to look for. For more directions click here.
The following is the second part of a guest post by the lovely, adventure seeker Natalie Vogt. Below she describes her recent adventure adventure at Kakwa Provincial Park and shares a plethora of beautiful scenic pictures. To read the first part: click here.
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July 28 – August 1: Edgegrain Lake Trip (continued)
On our fourth day, we left Edgegrain Lake and slowly climbed back up the pass. With every step we got many different beautiful perspectives of the landscape below and above. Slowly the lake that we briefly called home shrank beneath us. Near the top of the pass, we spotted a butterfly. With some luck the camp host got a good picture and identified it as Milbert’s tortoise shell butterfly. Butterflies are hard to take pictures of.

On the other side of the pass we finally got to see Sir Alexander in all its glory! Interestingly, Sir Alexander was originally named Kitchi meaning “big” or “great” in Cree and was later named after Alexander Mackenzie the explorer. There is another mountain close by that was instead given the name Kitchi. One day I hope to bring my little nephews and niece to Kakwa to get close and personal to these giant 3D mountains.
Near the bottom of the pass you find “The Guardian” (which we also saw on the way to Edgegrain Lake). The Guardian consists of rocks precariously stacked forming a bust, a very distinctive landmark. My father-in-law was very excited to share The Guardian with us. After we scrambled up and past The Guardian the walking was easy in the alpine. Eventually, we made it back to our campsite around Flat Top. We moved our camp closer to the back of the basin for more shelter and discovered remnants of an old horse campsite. With the gorgeous weather we were then able to take in the peaks that were hidden earlier on.

On our fifth and final day, I was greeted by Sir Alexander first thing in the morning… what a sight! As we climbed out of the small basin toward Flat Top I took a number of plant pictures. I love paintbrushes. They range from bright red to pink to dark purple as well as yellow. The alpine harebells are also lovely. On the old mining road we came across another willow ptarmigan.
We arrived at Kakwa Lake around 5 pm. We very much enjoyed the shorter day, as we were all very tired. Together with the camp hosts, we ate dinner in a cozy warm cabin. The hosts were very kind and treated us to fresh baked biscuits! That evening we looked at plant, bird, and butterfly identification books hoping to identify and learn more about the creatures we saw on the trip.

August 2 – Mt Kendra 
The last day before leaving, we decided to visit Mt Kendra at the far end of Kakwa Lake from the public cabin. My father-in-law and I biked on the old mining road along the lake while the hosts rowed the host canoe to the end to meet us. To get to the top of Mt Kendra we bushwhacked up 2 km of steep terrain until the alpine. Here there are dust wallows, places where goats repeatedly return to roll in the dirt. You can find their soft hair clinging to surrounding plants and many goat trails. I also took pictures of alpine/Bering chickweed and alpine milk-vetch. On our way back, a big thunderstorm suddenly rolled into the area and we got soaked. It was fitting to end on a similar note to our last trip to Kakwa, with a big thunderstorm leaving us wet and refreshed.

August 3 – Travelling Home
Traveling back home I had mixed emotions. The morning greeted us with a beautiful blue sunny sky. It enticed us to stay longer to enjoy natures’ wonders. But, on the other hand, I missed my husband, my body was tired, I could escape the nightly porcupine disturbances and I really needed to bathe. I will return again to visit Kakwa Provincial Park. Lately I been talking to my husband of potential exciting trips, and I would really like to see a goat.
This last pictures was taken at Bucanan Creek….my only successful butterfly pictures. Does anyone know what kind of butterfly thisis?