Escaping the heat in the Southern Interior.


We’ve recently returned from a week-long excursion around the Okanagan, Shushwap and Nicola areas of Beautiful British Columbia. We spent a few days in a *gasp* provincial park campground in the town of Okanagan Falls, and lazed around the beach – visiting with family for a few days.

Looking north.
Skaha Lake, from Okanagan Falls.

With temperatures at 35 degrees (95 fahrenheit) being warmer than almost all areas of Canada, it was nice to be lakeside. The forest fire smoke from across BC and WA State was rolling in and out of the Okanagan Valley, which made for dramatic sunsets! After a few days camping near town we opted to head to the hills and seek cooler temps.

Up the Green Lake Road from town.

We found our next camp at Sawmill Lake Rec Site. The access road has steep sections with loose surfaces and large ruts.

While its a rough and steep trail in and out of the lake, any 4×4 should be able to make it in dry conditions.

This was also the first time we were able to get our new wheel/tire combo dirty and put to proper use.

Enjoying our new FN FX PRO wheels and Duratrac tires.

The new setup also matches the Kakadu camp trailer better as well!

Home sweet dome.

We arrived at dark and turned in for the night after a quick setup. We were only a few thousand feet higher than the valley bottom, but the temps were quite a bit cooler and the breeze was welcomed. We got our proper view in the morning through the Kakadu’s screen wall option:

The screen window… lets the views in but keeps the bugs out!

The Mrs. isn’t always a fan of surprise early morning photos, but she smiled right after – honest!

Morning at Sawmill Lake.

We slowly made our way out of the Okanagan area and spent some time in the Shuswap, seeking out more lakes and rivers in which to swim. There are numerous backroads all over and endless places to bush camp. We camped up high enough that we actually slept under sleeping bags for the entire night. I suppose the wild wind had an influence in the temperatures – the gusts were strong all night and we used a total of nine twelve-inch pegs to secure the tent to the ground. In the morning we even slept in and made bacon, eggs and coffee to start the day.

Somewhere up above Pinaus Lake and the Westwold area.

The roads around here were very dusty as the area hadn’t seen rain in weeks.

Had to close the windows before stopping each time.

Taking the backroads, one always expects some form of trouble or another. Here we came upon an old washout which was just wide enough for us to squeak through… even if the dirt was crumbling underneath the tires on both sides!

Photos are always deceiving, however these holes were over 5 ft deep and would have made for an interesting recovery had we fallen in.

We wound our way south-west, avoiding the highways and wildfire areas and even escaped the smoke for awhile. Here we came out onto the back end of the controversial Douglas Lake Ranch.

Out of the forest and into the open range.
The roads in this area were well maintained.

Plenty of roads and open range, some of the roads gated with blocked access to public lakes – hence the controversy.

Somehow the Endurance still looks clean here.

We had no issues as we kept to the obvious roads and stayed out of the areas marked private. Despite the controversy, the Douglas Lake Ranch area was pretty interesting. You can read about it here.

Classic old log barn.
Doulas Lake Homestead.
An oasis in the brown grasslands.

We wound our way back to civilization to fill up on water and fuel and continue to an area that has peaked my interest in the past. Shovelnose Mountain, above the community of Brookmere. We were happy leave pavement again and get into the bush. It wasn’t just any pavement we were leaving, it was the famed Coquihalla Highway, as seen in the popular Discovery Channel show Highway Through Hell.

We crawled and climbed our way up the ATV trail to the summit, with our faithful Kakadu trailer bouncing along happily behind us. We were treated to a smoky sunset at the top of a mountain to finish off our trip. It felt a bit like we were in another world – it was dead silent but the views were changing by the minute. I scrambled around like a child, hopping from rock to rock and snapping photos. I’ll leave some of them here to finish off this post.