Okanagan Lake

Jocelyn Murray February 17, 2014 No Comments



Light spills on the water’s surface

It has been said that Okanagan Lake in Kelowna, British Colombia, Canada is bottomless in some places, and that it connects to Loch Ness in the Scottish Highlands. Dwelling in Okanagan’s infinite depths is a serpent-like monster known as the Ogopogo—a monster very much like the infamous Loch Ness monster of Scotland. And while photographs, testimonials and sightings of the elusive creature have proved inconclusive, the rumor is enough to perk ears , turn heads, and draw attention to this mysterious lake; rumors that go as far back as the native peoples who lived in these parts long before white settlers first arrived. 



The native Okanagan people who originally lived here were historically known as the Northwest Plateau indigenous peoples, and were part of the Interior Salish ethnic group. They lived in tribes, and were hunter-gatherers who fished, hunted wild game, and lived off berries and roots. The first non-native people came to the Okanagan Valley on fur trading expeditions in the early 1800s. With regular trade, a permanent settlement was finally established by Europeans in the late 1850s, after which ranchers, prospectors and miners arrived.



Lakes inspire tranquility

Okanagan Lake is quite large, stretching over 130 kilometers long, and more than 4 kilometers wide, with a combination of sandy shores and pebbled beaches surrounded by lush parks with sagebrush, cedar, hemlock and ponderosa pines. Its sunny, mild, dry climate has long attracted many to swim and soak up the warmth of the sun. Visitors can also go fishing, boating, canoeing, kayaking, waterskiing, windsurfing, hiking and biking.  



Many of the resorts surrounding the lake boast a golf course with spectacular vistas, acres of parkland along its endless shores, and lots of recreational activities for everyone in the family, right on the lake or in the adjoining countryside. For those who revel in the great outdoors, there are wilderness campgrounds as well, with fire rings and picnic tables.  



The surrounding Okanagan Valley is British Columbia’s oldest wine-producing region. It boasts countless wineries and vineyards that offer tours and tastings, including those vineyards that produce the vinifera grapes flourishing in the microclimates bordering Okanagan Lake. A visit to the area just wouldn’t be complete without a trip to some of the wineries.  



Partial panoramic view of Okanagan Lake
attribution / Dave Dyet

With stunning views of the water and surrounding landscape, this is one of those perfect spots for families to enjoy the lush outdoors on holidays or any time of year. It’s hard to beat the many opportunities for recreation, and the lovely array of resorts to suit a variety of budgets. Its gorgeous location has been drawing visitors from far and wide for generations.

There is something about lakes and other bodies of water, that plunge the imagination into all sorts of fanciful and intriguing directions. Water has the capacity to distort, deepen, and amplify the things it contains, sometimes to the point of creating myths and legends that are strange and inexplicaple. And while the myth of the Ogopogo creature is a fascinating tale, it is enough to make one wonder about what lies beneath the lake’s shimmering surface.  Okanagan Lake is certainly beautiful, but the mysteries hidden within its watery depths add a provocative allure to its natural beauty.



avatarAbout the Author:

Jocelyn Murray is a travel writer and historical fiction novelist. She holds two university master's degrees in both English and Education, along with a bachelor's degree in Economics and European Studies. She also has a teaching credential and taught at the elementary school level.

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