Flying to Kelowna for 3 Days

I’m home now, but I spent 3 days over the past weekend with my Dad in Kelowna. Direct flights on Air North (with a short stop in Vancouver each direction) make the trip extremely easy now.

Climbing out over the Yukon River just after our takeoff at 5:10. With the incredible Spring we’re having in Whitehorse, it seemed a shame to leave, but I needed to see Dad, and it was even nicer in Kelowna. And hey, any excuse to go flying! 🙂

Flying over the Yukon River south of Whitehorse
At 5:25, we were over Surprise Lake at Atlin.

Surprise Lake at Atlin, BC
At 5:44, we flew directly over Mount Edziza, one of Canada’s highest volcanoes at 2,780 meters (9,121 feet), though from this angle you really don’t get any idea of how impressive it is. I had a close look at Edziza when I brought my Cessna up in 1985 – the perfect cinder cone known as Eve Cone is seen at the lower right of the next photo, and is enlarged below that one.

Flying over Mount Edziza, BC

Eve Cone, Mount Edziza, BC
Four minutes later, we were over Kinaskan Lake and the Stewart-Cassiar Highway.

Kinaskan Lake and the Stewart-Cassiar Highway
Looking down on the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge in Vancouver at 7:05. During its construction, on June 17, 1958, several spans collapsed and 18 workers were killed. I was 7 years old and living in the Vancouver suburb of Surrey when it happened, and still remember it fairly well.

Ironworkers Memorial Bridge in Vancouver, BC
The Port Mann Bridge, a 10-lane cable-stayed bridge that carries Highway 1 across the Fraser River, opened in 2012. It is the second longest cable-stayed bridge in North America, and at 65 meters (213 feet) wide, was the widest bridge in the world until the opening of the new Bay Bridge in California in 2013.

Port Mann Bridge
At 8:15 were taxiing out for the short hop to Kelowna.

YVR at night
Spectacular colours as we climbed out over the Gulf of Georgia at 8:20.

Spectacular evening colours over the Gulf of Georgia

I had rented a car from Budget – a full-size for ease of getting Dad in and out with his walker and oxygen tanks. I was offered a Buick Regal, but they had a brand-new Cadillac ATS for an extra $20 per day. After some thought, I declined the Cadillac, but when I went out to the parking lot, the Cadillac was sitting beside my Buick. I almost went back in and changed cars – it’s gorgeous!

Dad would be in bed long before I arrived in Kelowna, so I had arranged to stay with my sister and brother-in-law the first night. Chatting, drinking good local wine and snuggling with their wonderful Miniature Australian Shepherd was a great way to start the weekend.

On the way to Dad’s on Friday morning, I decided to have a look at Bear Creek Provincial Park, where I’ll be parked with the motorhome for several nights in mid-May.

Westside Road used to be a major logging access road – although the logging trucks are gone, you still go past this booming yard. The lumber mill is across the lake, at the north end of downtown Kelowna.

Log booms in Okanagan Lake at Kelowna, BC
I was very impressed by Bear Creek. It just opened for the year on March 24th.

Bear Creek Provincial Park
Bear Creek, from the bridge between the two sections of the campground, which has a total of 122 sites.

Bear Creek Provincial Park
The nicest part of the campground – this section is still closed. There were about 20 RVs in the campground, mostly trailers.

Bear Creek Provincial Park campground, BC
This is what families will consider the best part of the park, with lots of room to play.

Bear Creek Provincial Park campground, BC

I was at Dad’s by about 11:00, and soon after, we went over to his favourite pub, Whiski-Jack’s, for lunch, and met a couple of his best friends there. Dad worked hard all his life, and now at 93, despite some health issues, has a great set-up for enjoying life. The plan for Saturday was to go cruising backroads as we did so often 50 years ago, and maybe find the first Spring blossoms.

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