Jul 15, 2013

Summer Fun #7

With Avery off to her last day of camp, it was our last chance to enjoy a few more wineries. We checked out 3 more: Little Straw Vineyard, Beaumont Organic Winery and Quail's Gate. We had been to Quail's Gate before, but it is such a cute place we decided to repeat.  Last visit, we didn't notice the little cabin on the property. This time we did, and checked it out. Known as the Allison House, it is the oldest European building on the Westside. There was a fair bit of information about Susan Allison, a pioneer who diligently documented their life in the area as pioneers. She struck me as an amazing woman.

With our touring for the day done, we were off to pick up Avery.

A firm handshake as she received her certificate....
Now off to lunch! We had a vote and went with the restaurant that Mark had on his list from the very beginning: Memphis Blues Cafe- home of every smoked meat ever invented. The other choice (Kekuli Cafe- home of bannock) was deferred to another trip. Time flies and all that.

Well fortified, and stocked with rib rub:0)
Today was much cooler than the few previous ones, so we struck off to check out the suspension bridges in Kettle Valley. Not sure what I was expecting, but in my mind I had the trestles that once were a part of the valley that burned in the forest fire of (about) 2003. Then, it was some trails and some trestles. Great views to look at etc. I thought maybe the suspension bridges were built where the trestles were before.

It turns out that this is a whole other area- a new development. And an ambitious one at that! Still under construction, Kelowna Mountain will feature a vineyard and winery, golf course, mountain bike trails, skiing and possibly a two-headed llama in addition to the suspension bridges already there. It will be interesting to see the place again when it is fully developed.

So! Off we go. As it is a construction area, we couldn't actually drive up to the bridges. Mark's parents had been here almost two weeks prior with his brother's family and so had experienced the good and bad of the trails. They had a good idea on the best routes- thank goodness! It is surprising how many trails actually exist up there.

The beginning. The goal is somewhere on the the other side of the mountain top.

A few berms and challenges lay in the way...
If you have ever traveled with Avery, you know that she is a putterer. She does not have a hurry bone for treks like this, and explores in her own way at her own pace. We have learned to not slow down, or double back to get her as she usually takes this as permission to move even slower. This generally works... unless, like on this day, she is exploring along a ditch dug by the side of the trail. We were not worried- the ditch was going the same way we were. Until she hit a low spot filled with good gooey silty mud, sunk over the tops of her shoes and got stuck! She called me back, and I went to help her out. A holding hands tug worked pretty good. Avery was out of the muck and out of the ditch. Alas, her shoes did not make the journey! Stuck in the mud, but not out of reach, I leaned myself into the ditch to retrieve them. One shoe out! No problem!! The second shoe was a bit more elusive, however. I could touch it, but the mud had formed a vacuum around it and I couldn't get enough of a grip to pull it free. So I inched (centimetered?) a bit closer, and felt myself start to slide headfirst towards the mud. I, naturally, started to laugh uncontrollably, and asked Avery to call Mark to help whilst trying to find a way to stop this inexorable descent towards the ooze before me.

In the end, I didn't fall in. Mark braced me as I finished my task. All the offending shoes were rescued from the trolly ditch. No harm done. Mark's mom seemed less amused by this adventure, however. Ah well. We live by the philosophy that a little mud never hurt anyone.

We'll be needing a wire brush...

Just like going to a fancy spa for free!
So we climbed, rerouted, climbed some more and indeed there was something wonderful over the crest of the mountain.

stunning views of lake okanangan

I thought the longest bridge (about 800+ feet) was going to be the freakiest. Turns out it was the last few shorter ones- it was very windy this day, and the cross breeze turned the bridge into a terror!

This is me NOT having fun at the sundial. I am not even comfortable in malls with fenced holes to the bottom floor, so imagine the fear to be found in a sundial on a mountain top with no fences at ALL to keep you from falling off the mountain. I'll be honest. I freaked out a little. And my family took full advantage:0/

There is outdoor seating for about 1000 people (that number may be a lie. Mark said it, but I don't know where he got his info and I can't find anything at all about this spot on the KM website), with a view to a stage. This would be an amazing place for a wedding banquet.

The banquet area has a stunning view of the lake, bridge, vineyards and bridges!

On the way back down the mountain to the car, we saw a marmot! Well, we wouldn't have seen him if he wasn't so noisy!
Since we were in the area, we made a stop at another winery- Tantalus. We heard about this winery from the tasting lady at Beaumont earlier in the day. Like Beaumont, Tantalus is organically produced wine but they have gone further by creating a LEED certified facility. Everything in the winery and showroom is built with sustainability in mind- water and energy usage, giving homes to natural 'helpers' to the vineyard and locally sourced building materials are a few things they have incorporated into their beautiful facility. Such things make the hippy corners of my heart happy! And the wine was yummy too; a few bottles came home with us!

'Til tomorrow...

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