Hodge: Summer camping in our own valley backyard

Economics dictate that our camping outings truly mean ‘camping.’

I can’t recall a more enjoyable month of August since my youth.

Teresa booked a full week of holidays, as well as a few other days during the month, resulting in a couple of extra long weekends.

Since I am fortunate (broke) enough to work for both myself and another company that largely allows me to plan my own schedule, I likewise chose time off in August.

That convenience equated to more time for us to play tourist in our own valley—i.e. lots of time camping.

Economics dictate that our camping outings truly mean ‘camping’—no RVs or camper vans, just a good ol’ tent.

However, I must admit our twist on roughing it came with some padding.

Tez decided two years ago that a thin little foamy on the hard ground would no longer cut it, so she got out the tape measure and calculator and figured out that we could afford a bed-in-a-bag (complete with the blow-up mattress) which barely fits in the tent.

Carrying an inflated bed into our tent tends to draw some unique eye-brow lifting looks from any eye-witnesses nearby.

We started our lazy camping days by the water on the August long weekend taking part in the annual Rod and Annie Bell bash in Lake Country, which meant three wonderful days of sleeping next to Woods Lake, probably the warmest lake in the province next to Osoyoos Lake.

The following week, my buddy Curtis and I ventured in his really comfy camper trailer up to Island Lake (above Winfield) for another two nights and three days of fishing. A memorable adventure that will flash through my brain for the rest of my days, I am sure.

A few days, later Tez and I ventured south to Osoyoos for a fabulous night of fun and friendship at the Osoyoos Desert Centre fundraising event.

‘Romancing the Desert’ is a terrific night featuring evening boardwalk tours of the unique protected area while learning about the amazing flora and fauna of the preserved desert.

Information kiosks along the boardwalk were manned that evening by wine-tasting stations armed by local wineries—which obviously enhanced the evening.

Scrumptious food and fine music capped off the evening under a full moon and stars. Another great night to remember.

A special bonus was running into my childhood buddy Barry Smith and his lovely wife Leslie at the event. Seems bizarre having to drive two hours away to run into a friend who lives in the same town as us.

Two days later, Tez and I found ourselves tenting on the shores of Okanagan Lake at the peaceful Okanagan Church Camp known as Owaissi. As mentioned in a column two weeks ago, the camp is still a fabulous place for kids to enjoy the sunny days of summer.

From the comfort of our tucked away private camp site, we could hear the youngsters playing  near by—and it sure was neat. For some reason, the sounds of youngsters having fun is never a burden—unlike listening to kids fight and scream and/or playing Marco Polo by the hour (which they do at the Accent Inn next to our house).

Camp coordinator Keith Thom does a marvellous job of running the facility for the board of directors. However, in order for the facility to continue to fills its mandate of providing camps for all who wish to attend (and to continue the ongoing maintenance of the camp) continual funding is imperative.

If you are interested in assisting the camp, or arranging a tour of the facility to book for your group or organization, I encourage you to contact Keith at 250-769-3676 or  www.campoac.com.

The month was ended with the best fun of all as Tez and I played host to more than 100 friends who attended our annual September long-weekend barbecue party in our quaint but crowded back yard.

Once again it was a memorable evening of fine tunes, laughter and friendship – and indeed one more reminder of how truly blessed we are to live where we live —and with the comfort and fellowship of those around us.


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