Early 1900s Fishing Cabin, Conkle Lake, British Columbia
One of my favourite spots on earth is the Southern Okanagan. I had the joy of camping high in the alpine wilderness of the Southern Okanagan with my daughters this week.
The adventure began almost immediately. You have to love BC Parks and their guide manuals. They say there are 2 roads that access Conkle Lake, BC (a high alpine lake in Southern BC, 1100 m). The guide advises that the road from highway 3 is a better road, as the forest service road (off of highway 33) is not suitable for campers. I took the forest service road off of highway 33 because that was the highway we were on: #33. The rocky trail was 26 km and wound straight up and around mountains.
It was a mountain goat trail!
Once on it, there was no turning back. It was the narrowest trail, scaling along steep mountain sides, with no shoulder and boulders frequently blocked the trail; one had to try to navigate around them without sailing off the cliff.
Thank-God I was driving, as to be a passenger along such a road would have terrified me; one awkward bump around a boulder and off we’d tumble, over the cliff and drop hundreds of meters to the valley below. I took pictures on areas I felt safe enough to stop (the girls weren’t impressed but I asked them, “What do you expect when your mom’s a photography junky?”).
The road was so rough and narrow and steep that after nearly an hour we arrived (thank-God I have 4 wheel drive or we’d still be on the mountain!) at a mountain top, quiet, secluded, wilderness camp site called Conkle Lake Provincial Park.
Lake Conkle was a breath of fresh wilderness.
I grew up on many averages and now as an adult I miss the wilderness and often long for a true break from civilization with only nature surrounding me. Conkle Lake is just that: The Okanagan at its wilderness finest. It reminded me a little of Switzerland with its rolling hills that turn into mountains. We crossed many cattle guards to get to the lake as it is the classic west: cattle roam the mountain pastures in the spring/summer and ranchers round them up on horseback in late fall and bring them home for the winter.
Conkle Lake was surprisingly warm despite the altitude of the lake. It has a natural sandy beach formed by a constant southerly wind. The lake drops off very quickly and the bottom is a void of blackness.
We hiked along the shores of Conkle Lake and found a path that would take us all the way around the Lake.
We decided to hit the beach instead of hike all the way around the lake in the early afternoon sun.
The camping is a little rustic as there is no running water–the lake is it. We brought in gallons of our own water to drink but forget showering!
The most wondrous part of our trip was the night. The mountain night did not disappoint. We listened to a lone wolf howl every few hours all night long, at about 4 a.m. another wolf finally joined in. The final wake-up howl came at 6 a.m.
Nothing is more beautiful than listening to wild wolves howl to the moon. It is a rare treat on this earth.
Wolves were once as plentiful as humans–we populated and shared the earth with equal force. But we got greedy and as it stands now, there is a 4 bag limit on hunting wolves in the Okanagan. With a total wolves estimated as low as 50–will I hear the wolves howl next summer?
I hope you enjoy pictures from our Adventure Girls camping trip.
* I cannot squeeze all our fabulous photos on one blog so stayed tuned for camping with girls next blog!