Following a difficult and anxiety-ridden year for me, my husband, Roger, suggested we visit my brother and sister-in-law in Kamloops, British Columbia for our summer vacation. After speaking to my brother and his wife, we started planning our trip. This vacation was obviously meant to be as it only took two attempts on Aeroplan’s website to successfully redeem points for the dates that were feasible for us, receive our electronic tickets and be booked in business class for almost every leg of the trip. We had forgotten one small detail: when you travel for free on Air Canada, apparently direct flights between Ottawa and Vancouver do not exist. Our itinerary involved a long, up and down voyage to get to our destination, including wait times every step of the journey: Ottawa-Toronto; Toronto-Calgary; Calgary-Vancouver; and, finally Vancouver-Kamloops.
Once we arrived in Kamloops, our ten day vacation flew by in a whirlwind of activity, sprinkled with quiet times to reconnect, reminisce, talk about what are grown-up children were up to, retirement plans, future travel, read and relax.
The view from my reading spot on the balcony & Sisterly love: Teasing the dog to disrupt my brother’s nap
One of my husband’s passions is wine tasting. He has worked diligently over the years to be able to identify aromas and tastes in various wines and to identify a wine’s region, and can now do well in blind taste tests. If you are a wine lover, you can probably relate to the work involved in this pleasurable pursuit of knowledge.
Knowing this, my brother Mike took us to visit many wineries, three of which we really loved, beginning with Harper’s Trail Estate Winery (not related to the federal election campaign at the time, by the way!). The winery was named for the cattle drive trail of pioneer rancher Thaddeus Harper. It was the first winery in Kamloops, built on the banks of the South Thompson River.
Inside Harper’s Trail Estate Winery
We then headed to the banks of the North Thompson River, where we visited Privato Vineyard and Winery, a Double Gold Award winner for its 2012 Pinot Noir; Roger also liked its Chardonnay and Rosé wines. Take a look at their beautiful property at http://privato.ca.
Our favorite stop was lunch overlooking Quail’s Gate Winery’s vineyards in West Kelowna. At the winery’s outdoor café, each menu item came with a recommended wine pairing which made it difficult to keep the cost down but made lunch an unforgettable experience!
Wonderful afternoon at Quail’s Gate Winery
In between visiting wineries and relaxing, we participated in Mike and Marilyn’s passion: geocaching. Promoted as the world’s largest treasure hunt on geocaching.com, geocaching is defined as searching for and finding hidden objects with the help of GPS coordinates. My brother and his wife started geocaching to encourage one another to get more physically active; it has evolved into a daily, routine activity for them.
We spent many pleasant hours, seeing parts of Kamloops and outlying areas that we would never have thought of exploring, all for the sake of finding and recording the caches we uncovered on a website. Surprisingly, it was a lot of fun, albeit a bit competitive between siblings – so much so that we now own a hand held GPS and have convinced our kids and their partners to share in the fun with us! I would love to hear if any of you have experiences and hints to share about geocaching as we are novices in this pastime.
Here are a few of the awesome sights we came upon on these treasure hunts in the Kamloops area:
Unexpected art in the woods
Beautiful scenery while geocaching
Cacti in Lac Du Bois Grasslands Provincial Park
Beautiful scenery in Lac Du Bois Grasslands Provincial Park
On the last week-end of our summer vacation, we spent time downtown, first at the Farmers’ Market to purchase Kamloops and area home made products such as jerky, salmon and chocolates to bring back east with us. We then spent time wandering through Riverside Park, listening to musicians participating in the Music in the Park events and enjoying the summer day.
- “Our Community” sculpture, Riverside Park
And we topped it all off by satisfying everyone’s passion: collector vehicles, in the annual downtown Show& Shine event, inventing scenarios and day dreaming about which vehicle we would drive if ever there was nothing else we needed to spend money on!
Our trip home ended with the same upbeat and positive energy we had experienced for ten days: once we landed in Vancouver, we were paged and asked if we could possibly take a direct flight from Vancouver to Ottawa, rather than a Vancouver-Toronto-wait two hours-Ottawa one! Needless to say, we graciously accepted!
I hope you get the chance to visit this beautiful area of Canada one day! And if you have any tricks and tips about wine tasting, food pairing or geocaching, please feel free to share them with me!