Spring came a bit early this year so we chose to take advantage of the amazing March weather as a family. With the car loaded up and the girls all strapped in we were heading south. Our first stop was the small community of Kaleden located on the west shores of Skaha Lake half way between Penticton and Okanagan Falls. We spent two nights here at Tyson’s sister’s place with stunning views of both the lake and all the surrounding vineyards that line the hillside. Rhianna has a daughter that is 6 months younger than our girls so this gives the cousins the perfect opportunity to laugh and play together. With weather in the mid teens we enjoyed walks near the beaches, the girls play in the park and we may or may not have enjoyed a beverage in the sun.
A further 50 kms had us crossing the boarder into Washington, U.S.A. and we continued south along the Okanogan River until we made a stop for lunch in Omak. After a quick bite and let the girls race around a bit while we collected supplies we finished the last 160 kms of our 400 km journey that led us into Wenatchee. The road south from Vernon follows water the entire way and the hillside changes from pine forests in the north, to thinly treed and rocky outcrops in the centre to sage brush and erred desert scapes in the south. The valleys however are lined the entire way with various orchards and vineyards that bring this valley to life for the tourist season.
We were making this trip to visit with more family. My cousin Jenn, her husband and three kids moved south of the boarder 6 years ago as her husband received a full time position with the University of Washington State. Her three kids were tremendously excited to see our little girls as they seem to be changing so much as toddlers do. The next few days were filled with walks along the river side, a visit to Pybus market, shopping, laughing and eating. Jenn works as a fitness instructor so each morning we were up and off to the gym for a workout, and the gym’s childcare left Tyson to sleep in…. or run…. or do what ever it is that Tyson does.
Sunday morning had all of us headed out for a hike up Saddle Rock Mountain. A perfect local hike of under 4 km with nearly 300 m elevation gain from parking lot to summit. The views from the top have you overlooking the Columbia River and the entire city of Wenatchee to the North and East, the sun scorched hills to the south and the rugged foothills of the Cascade mountains including Mission Ridge ski resort to the west. After our 2+ hours on the trails we found ourselves now in the Olive Garden parking lot for our traditional pasta feast where we always have regrets on how many complementary bread sticks we have just consumed.
Like everything in life, things do come to an end, so after our 5 night visit we loaded back into the car and proceeded north the way we came to our home country while the girls napped nearly all the way to the boarder. We decided to break up the drive again and pay another visit in Kaleden on the way home. This ended up being the perfect wrap up to our trip with a home made meal of Glory Bowl and a relaxing soak in the hot tub under the stars with nearly full moon and breathtaking views of the vines and shorelines.