A Family Trip from Whitehorse to Kelowna

I had to fly to Kelowna, BC a couple of weeks ago to spend a week with my parents. It wasn’t a pleasure trip, it was one of the trips that everyone with elderly parents dreads. My 88-year old mother needs 24-hour care as of a few weeks ago, and my father and a sister living in Kelowna can’t do it by themselves anymore. So I went down to see what I could help with.

At 08:20 on September 4th I boarded this Embraer 190 for the Air Canada flight from Whitehorse to Vancouver, and 30 minutes later we were off.

Embraer 190 - Air Canada flight from Whitehorse to Vancouver

The woman who got the aisle seat beside me asked if I’d like the aisle because she prefers the window. Nope 🙂 Although much of the route was over clouds, there were some spectacular views. This is southwestern BC somewhere, at 10:35.

Northern British Columbia from 30,000 feet

Approaching Vancouver at 10:41 – the mountains go on forever.

An aerial view of mountains near Vancouver

Looking north over West Vancouver and up Howe Sound as we turned onto the downwind leg of our approach to Vancouver.

The tightest connection I could get at Vancouver was 2 hours and 40 minutes. Although I don’t mind spending time at airports, that’s pushing it – a good breakfast killed almost an hour, though. I took a few photos of the action outside but was pretty stressed out about the trip so my head wasn’t really into photography.

Airplanes at YVR

At 1:55 pm, we left Vancouver in a Bombardier Dash 8-200. The large peninsula in this photo is home to the University of British Columbia – the airport is just to the right of it, English Bay and then downtown Vancouver just to the left.

Aerial view of Vancouver

Lilloet Lake, at 2:20.

Lilloet Lake, BC

Twenty minutes later we were over the heavily-logged region north of Merritt, and then, 55 minutes after leaving Vancouver, we were on the ground in Kelowna. If you’re thinking about visiting Kelowna, you can find great hotel deals in this area.

Logging cuts north of Merritt, BC

I arrived as things reached their worst for my Mom. She spent a few days in hospital, and helping get her home and then helping Dad take care of her was tough.

Three days after arriving I took an evening off by myself – Knox Mountain offers excellent hiking trails and views. This is looking north up Okanagan Lake.

Knox Mountain - Kelowna, BC

There are some spectacular homes along the lake. Kelowna is apparently the wealthiest city per capita in Canada, and the second most expensive place to live in the country – it looks it.

Spectacular homes along Okanagan Lake

A lovely calm evening on the lake.

Dusk on Okanagan Lake

Knox Mountain is right at the edge of downtown Kelowna. This view from the summit of the mountain is south down the lake, with West Kelowna (formerly Westbank) to the right.

The view from Knox Mountain - Kelowna, BC

Two days later, things got very exciting for a while. I was asleep in the back yard when I woke up to the smell of forest fire smoke. You can just see the smoke in this photo, shot from my parents’ deck at 4:09pm.

Peachland forest fire - September 9, 2012

By 4:41, the fire, driven by very high winds, was clearly out of control!

Peachland forest fire - September 9, 2012

One of the water bombers working what was now called the Trepanier fire at 4:51 – this was still shot from my parents’ deck. The aircraft is an Lockheed L-188 Electra operated by Air Spray – one of these planes (perhaps this plane) was based at Whitehorse all summer.

Peachland forest fire - September 9, 2012

Incredibly, fire fighters managed to get the fire mostly under control within about 3 hours, but at 05:00am on Monday (September 10th), I went for a drive up Highway 97C (“the Connector”) for a look. This was the view from the tourist information centre! As soon as I got back to the house, I emailed this photo to the Peachland News, and it was on their home page a couple of hours later. I just noticed as I was writing this that it’s also now the header for their Trepanier fire section (which is only open to subscribers). I guess I should have charged them for it 🙂

Trepanier fire - September 10, 2012

Trepanier fire - September 10, 2012

Later that day I tried to do some photography while I was touring residential care options for Mom, but even at the Father Pandosy Mission, just wasn’t into it.

Father Pandosy Mission - Kelowna, BC

I thought about changing my flight home to give me another couple of days, but decided that I’d done about all I could, so at 05:45 on Tuesday the 11th, I boarded another Bombardier Dash 8-200 for the hop to Vancouver.

Bombardier Dash 8-200 boarding at Kelowna, BC (YLW)

I had an hour and 55 minutes at Vancouver this time, a comfortable period that allowed for a calm breakfast. We were over clouds for much of the flight, I think, but I slept through most of both flights this morning. This photo, taken 30 minutes north of Vancouver, was one of the few I shot.

Icefield in southwestern British Columbia

At this point, Mom has private home care coming in for a few hours a week, the province has her on waiting lists for several types of assistance to keep her at home, and my Dad, sister and a niece have a great deal of work ahead of them 🙁


A Family Trip from Whitehorse to Kelowna — 6 Comments

  1. I hope all went well with you search for assisted living for your mother.
    My mother passed away in September 2010 in Salmon Arm BC. After that my father lived alone for about six months but eventually last year he had to go to a fully assisted living place in Kamloops BC. It is very hard for my sister who lives in Kamloops and visits most days as I am now living back in Australia.

  2. It’s a difficult process to go through, and there must be a better way. We’ve had no luck so far except with care to keep her at home, which is not what’s needed.

  3. Mr Lundberg
    Hope a solution works out for caring for your parent. Have been in your shoes and it is a task that wears on all involved.

    I just wanted to thank you for giving us/me an insight on Yukon and Alaska, I had not been to your site in over a year, and read you are retiring also, best of luck in that. I started with your last posting and read back over several cups of coffee, to the date you and wife being in Vancouver getting ready to begin your cruise.

    Needless to say all the photos, and descriptions are simply wonderful and much better than any other travel blog I have ever read. It sure brought back many great memories of my once only trip to Alaska in 2006 for 2 weeks, I doubt I will ever return , but the desire to go back is always nagging me. I went to most of the places you have written about (Denali ,Fairbanks,Anchorage, Seward,etc) but sadly did not get to visit SE AK.

    I found Explore North, right after I found Everything Husky, which I love reading also. I still have many Siberians, and have even added 2 Shiba Inu buddies.

    And in closing, I can remember back to when I first read your blog , when you where posting from your cabin in Carcross, which I thought was the most beautiful place , and I looked forward to each time you updated it. Especially the weather, during the winter months. But I can see many things have changed in your life, since then, and only wish you the best in your travels. Thank you sincerely for taking the time and effort to share with us your thoughts and views, it has meant a lot to me.

    • It’s taken me a long time to reply, but I do hugely appreciated your comments, Bruce. Interesting that you have Shiba Inus now, as that’s the breed that we’re thinking about getting next. Mom has been approved for a care home, but is in a hospital and sinking so fast it may not matter.

  4. I ditto Bruce B. above, you have provided very interesting reading for many people all over the world. I will keep your Mom and Dad in my prayers.

  5. Pingback: Exploring Kelowna, and Flying Back to Whitehorse