The early influx of spring weather in the Thompson-Okanagan means three things to me: hiking, camping and road trips. Last weekend, my friend Carlie and I packed up her Sunfire and headed south out of Kamloops, destined for a weekend in Grand Forks.
We shot out onto the Trans Canada Highway early in the morning. We took the turn-off (which I almost always miss) towards Vernon, though we didn’t quite make it through the city as planned.
One of the realities of travel is that no matter how many plans you make, life will probably throw you some curve balls.
Instead of following the main road into Vernon, we turned right, scooting to the west side of Okanagan Lake. The road offered stunning views of the hills and lake. We pulled off at Killiney Beach Park, where we enjoyed a picnic of avocado, ham and lettuce sandwiches on the wooden dock in the sunshine.
The road eventually turned into Westside Road, one of the most notorious drives in all of Canada. We were stopped at a large rockslide that blocked a full lane and left a single lane driving on the edge of a sheer drop.
We took Highway 33 past Big White, heading south. Sections of the highway revealed scars of the past; signs of the Rock Creek fire that swept this region last summer.
The Boundary is the type of place you want to follow an old-school, hard-copy map to. There’s no cellular service before (and after) Rock Creek, so you need to know where you’re going prior to arriving.
Instead of following the highway as it curved to the right, towards Osoyoos—the opposite direction of Grand Forks, and therefore, in my mind, the wrong way—we followed my printed-out version of Google maps to the left, driving down Christian Valley Road.
Carlie swerved the Sunfire to avoid hitting at least 212 deer. We were nearly attached by an eagle and a falcon that were picking away at a carcass in the ditch. We were out of cell phone reception, so we had no contact with the outside world. We attempted to infiltrate a monastery to get directions, and I deeply considered converting to a nun just to get off the road. When the cement turned to gravel, the sinking feeling in our guts outright drowned—we had definitely taken a wrong turn.
Defeated, we turned around and headed backwards to Rock Creek. We arrived at the intersection we were supposed to turn at—which was clearly marked with signs to Grand Forks. As the sun began its descent, we made our way to Midway. The quaint town of old buildings made us smile—not only because it was adorable, but also because it told us we were on the right way.
We made it to Greenwood for pizza dinner at Greenwood City Foods and continued on in the dark to Son Ranch just outside of Grand Forks, where we would be spending our first two evenings in the Boundary cozied up in a cabin (without cellphone service, again!)
Our three-day adventure was full of twists, turns, dips and upward spirals. Our plans changed as the weather did. I came home earlier than expected. Our roadtrip back to Kamloops was smooth sailing; we arrived home yesterday exhausted, safe and satisfied.
On a spring roadtrip through beautiful B.C., it’s always wise to expect the unexpected, take it as it comes and enjoy the ride.
Hello Alison, it was such a pleasure to have you and Carlie as my guests at the Kettle River Retreat in Rock Creek. So glad you came to experience the adventure around every corner (even if you take the wrong turn, LOL) and enjoy the pristine nature and our wonderful wildlife in the beautiful Boundary Country. There is so much history and “Gold Rush” footsteps to follow. The fun doubles in the summer months when the Kettle Valley Rail Trail (Trans Canada) and the Dewdney Trail host activities for bikers, hikers and horseback riders to experience breathtaking adventures over amazing rail trestles and offer rivers and lakes to camp, fish and swim. Hope you come back in the summer to Rock Creek to experience fabulous river floats, the Ponderosa Music Festival and the famous Rock Creek Fair…. all next door to the Kettle Valley Retreat B&B. Thank you for your stay! Inga