Thursday, September 13, 2012

Naramata Lake Day Trip

The following blog is compliments of our guest writer Travelin' Pat

I had a brainstorm the other day. Hike to Naramata Lake with a couple of friends. Rightio. Logistics’ … borrow truck, pack lunch, take lots of water, co-ordinate times with friends, bring dog for bear bait and get going.

Our route… drive out along the road to Naramata, turn right up Smethurst Road, cross over the cattle guard at the Kettle Valley Railway then bounce up the excruciatingly rough road to the Adra Tunnel. There is not much signage but I remember it from before.

Work on the KVR railway started in 1910 and construction took six years. It spanned the way from Midway to Hope and in it’s hey day was a thriving service both for passenger travel and transport of goods. Long since abandoned it is now a wonderful venue for biking and hiking, partly because of its forgiving 2.2 degree grade but mostly for chance to be in the wilderness without having to go too far. The KVR zig zags between Penticton and Chute Lake and the Adra tunnel curves through the
mountain at a cut back changing the direction from South to North. (Or North to south depending)

Entrance to tunnel on 1st level of tracks
The tunnel is blocked off at both ends because it has over the years become rather dangerous. (Rocks falling from the ceiling, possible cave ins… that sort of thing) I just found out that my kids used to go inside it just for fun…. Oh the things a parent never knows until years later! So we skirted by it on a nicely marked trail and then started walking north for approximately 2 miles. We avoided slithering things and turned east to trundle up the Elinor Lake Service Road. It is hilly and rough but once you get up to the Summit it is a lovely forest road far from the Maddening Crowd. We didn’t see a soul up there. It took us about 4 hours round trip and is eminently do-able if you have a reasonable level of fitness. What’s reasonable? I know, I know…

Just inside the tunnel before the barricade on the second level of tracks

View from little tunnel on 1st level of tracks
Naramata Lake
Rest stop on 3rd level of tracks
Thankyou Travelin' Pat for sharing your adventure with us.  It seems like it would be worthwhile going just for that spectacular view, not to mention the great workout!!!!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Exhibit By Penticton Artist Edna Millar

Comical - Imaginative - Clever    These three words characterize the paintings created by Penticton artist Edna Millar. My husband and I recently attended an exhibit of her work and on entering the studio, I was immediately struck by the simplicity and humor that her style combines.  Truly a breath of fresh air was my feeling!! 

Edna confessed to me that many of the inspirations for her paintings come from questions that her friends ask her.  For example one day Sandra asked "Why don't your paintings ever have feet"  Edna's mischievious response was, "Because I don't know how to paint feet".  Nevertheless her mind went to work and she came up with the following painting entitled "My Feet's Too Big"   She says she started this one with the legs and then exaggerated the feet on purpose just for fun.

 Another time she was asked why she never painted birds or animals.  As before her response was that she didn't know how.  By the next morning she had come up with a plan and decided to do a stylized version of the Quail, one of our local residents. Before long she got tired of always having them in an Okanagan setting so she decided to send them on trips to other countries.  Her Quail have been to Hawaii, Barcelona, Italy, France, Ireland, England, Scotland and the Mediterranean to mention a few of the places.  We couldn't resist buying the one of a female Quail on vacation in Hawaii looming in front of the Palm trees and ocean. We divide our time between Penticton and Maui so it was a no-brainer that we just had to have it!! Edna tells me that her Quail have become the best sellers of all her work.

One of my favourite pieces at the exhibit was the larger than life face of a Greek man wearing a beret, and pretending to twist his finger into his nose.  Apparently the Greeks like to talk with their hands and this gesture means "You can put a hole in my nose"  which translated means that you can do what you like but I'll still do what I want.

Edna Millar with her larger than life painting
The title on the next one is "Say Yes to the Dress". and underneath the title it says  "There's a TV program called this and I can't believe what people will pay for a wedding dress". 

"The Paper Bag Princess" is the title on the next one because it was inspired by a sketch on a brown paper bag that was given to Edna in Hawaii.

The last one that I am featuring is called "I Did it My Way".  I think this is a fitting conclusion to the article because Edna is certainly doing things her way with her very own unique and creative artistic style.

Edna hails from Glascow Scotland and even though she settled in the Okanagan Valley some 45 years ago, she still retains a charming Scottish brogue. Teaching was her career, but she was always interested in trying her hand at painting, so when she retired 9 years ago her dream became a reality.  Acrylics are her medium of choice and she also does some great pen and ink sketches of people. 

Edna is a self-taught artist who describes her work as "Primitive".  She says that she can't paint if she takes herself too seriously. In her words "I would like to be a cross between Beryl Cook (an English artist) and Modigliani (an Italian) but it ain't going to happen"

Thankyou Edna for making our day!!!! We wish you every possible success with your new career as an artist!!!

Send Edna an email if you are interested in her art.  ednamillar at 

Monday, August 6, 2012

36th Annual Naramata Faire

Yesterday we drove to Naramata to meet our friends and check out the 36th Annual Naramata Summer Faire.  Parking was scarce but we managed to find a spot not too far away. 
It was a festive scene with vendor tents set up all around Manitou Park.  Music from the stage wafted over as we walked across the field.  We decided to do a walk about and have a look at all the interesting crafts and works of art. Very impressive to say the least!!

I have to say that it was the hottest day yet this summer so we were dodging into the shade whenever we could.  We managed to find a picnic table ideally located under a tree overlooking Okanagan Lake and all the activity going on at the beach. To the south of us we saw a young man walking on what appeared to be some kind of tight rope.  I walked over to have a closer look and sure enough he was not only making his way along the not very wide "slack - line",  but playing a didgeridoo as well, while still maintaining his balance. Wow!!!!!!  He told me that his name is Guillaume Coutu, he is 22 years old and he fares from Repentigny, a place not far from Montreal. He has been practicing slack line for 3 years and has only just started learning the didgeridoo.  I think we should watch out for him in the future!!

There were so many mouth watering smells in the air that we had a hard time deciding on the best choice for lunch. 

Mauricio Cepeda  Cooking Up Chorizo Sausage
I was drawn to a venue that advertised an Authentic Gourmet Chorizo in a bun.  It turned out that the recipe for this special sausage originated in Argentina, the birthplace of co-owner Mauricio Cepeda.  I decided to give it a try. I have to say it was yummy.  Much more healthy than a hot dog too!!

Mauricio and his family
Mauricio says that they are also at the Farmer's Market in Penticton every Saturday and their stall has become a big hit.

After lunch we did some more wandering and came to a booth advertising a Naramata Trivia contest.  Craig Henderson, who was running the contest, called us over to try our luck to win a $350 gift basket prize. It was spin the bottle on a piece of cardboard and whichever letter it landed on indicated the question we would have to answer.  It was a multiple choice set up and by chance my friend Carol and I both picked the right answers and our names are now in for the draw.  Not sure when we'll hear the outcome. By the way, Craig is the editor of a website for Naramata called My so have a look and find tons of information about the history and happenings around this special town.
Carol McGibney having a go at a Naramata Trivia Game led by Craig Henderson
After the trivia game the sun was getting to us again so we decided that it was time for ice-cream and a rest under the tent facing a stage that featured on-going entertainment.

When we arrived some very talented young women in colorful costumes were doing some exotic belly dancing.

After that The Penticton Concert Band under the direction of Gerald Nadeau, was playing some great old tunes including a medley from the Tijuana Brass.  A neat blast from the past for me!!!  They featured a young woman named Maddison from Summerland who has a remarkable voice and will certainly go places!!

Judi Ritcey, MC for the Penticton Concert Band on left and soloist Maddison on the right
Before we went home we caught a little of the Horseshoe Tournament under the trees on the beach.

Patrick McGibney takes his turn during the Horseshoe Tournament
There was something for everyone at the Naramata Faire and we were tired but happy as we left for home!! We'll look forward to attending the 37th Annual Faire next year.  Way to go Naramata! You have done it again!!!!!!!! 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Family Summer Fun at Loco Landing Penticton


Loco Landing in Penticton is a great place to take your family for some unforgettable summer fun!  We have taken our grandchildren there two years in a row and both times we all had a blast.
They just seem to know what kids of all ages love to do.  Our family favourite was the 18 hole mini golf which takes you around some interesting challenges.  
The bumper boats were also a hit but you took the risk of getting a little wet if someone in another boat decided to spray you.  I just watched from the side where there were some nice misting stations which helped cool you off without getting soaked.

Both the grandkids, ages 2 and 5 went on the Go-Karts.  The double seats were perfect for a parent and child to race together.


Our grandson loved spider mountain and the rock climbing. He also enjoyed playing Canon Ball with his uncle.

There was something called Monkey Motion which both kids thought was a heap of fun. They were put in a kind of harness and then got to jump up as high as they wanted.

We found the food prices there very reasonable and finishing off the day with an icecream was just the ticket.

I totally recommend Loco Landing as a great place to take your family when on a vacation in the sunny Okanagan. For more information visit the Loco Landing Website.

If you need a place to stay for your Penticton vacation check out some fantastic Penticton Vacation Rentals. You can book directly from an owner.

Friday, May 25, 2012

10th Annual Rotary Okanagan International Children's Festival

Yesterday I decided to walk down to Okanagan Lake Park in Penticton to check out the Children's Festival. My first impression was school buses, kids, tents galore and a happening scene.  I wandered around a bit to see what all the excitement was about and was drawn to an open entertainment tent by a sound that was similar to a french horn, but turned out to be an instrument that appeared to have come from the dark ages. I was too late to hear what the entertainer said about it but I did take a short video.

After I got home I did a little bit of research and found out that the entertainer's name was Boris Sichon, originally from the Ukraine. Over a number of years he collected traditional local intruments from many countries. The one he is playing in the video is a Peruvian Vagra Puku and is made from the horns of a type of antelope called the Peru Puku. His website is fascinating and you can both see and hear his collection of unique instruments.

What a fun place for kids this was.  There was no end to hands on activities and workshops including crafts, music and dance. The Penticton Art Gallery sponsored Art in the Park. Here children were given the opportunity to express their artistic side under the guidance of local artist Glenn Clark.

Here some children were playing a fun game of cat and mouse with a colourful parachute.  Not sure of the rules but the mouse is running underneath somewhere.

I came across Jennifer Moorhouse, one of my former teacher colleagues, with her K/1 class.  They were having fun painting a paddle for their very own paddle-ball game.

Jennifer Moorhouse from Naramata Elementary with her K/1 class
 There was one venue where kids could watch a dance demonstration and then learn how to do the dance. 
A young girl was demonstrating belly dancing as I strolled by.

Afterwards she taught the dance to a few eager beavers.

There were plenty of local venders offering a variety of food and drink.

You're not too late to enjoy this fantastic event with your children or grand-children.  There are two more days including today, and Saturday is all access Family Day.  On Saturday evening there is a special Vaudeville show at the Cleland theatre featuring Erth's Dinosaur Petting Zoo, Breakdance with solo cello, High Strung Aerial Act and much more great entertainment.  For more information go to the website of the Okanagan Children's Festival.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Naramata Community Choir - 50th Anniversary Concert

"Singing Through The Years" was a fitting title for the recent Naramata Community Choir concert which celebrated 50 years of music and friendship.

On Sunday, May 20th, 2012, Columbia Hall in Naramata was packed with choir fans, including us and many other faithful alumni.

It all started in 1962, when Carol McGibney posted a sign on a tree that said "Wanted Singers"  The rest is history and the choir of 55 voices is still going strong under the direction of Justin Glibbery who took over the baton, three years ago. 

Craig Henderson was a brilliant Master of Ceremonies as the choir took us on a fabulous muscial journey down memory lane.

Interspersed with the concert were some video reflections including special interviews, historic photos and film. Craig Henderson and Gary MacDougall of Video Innovation Productions worked together to produce these nostalgic clips. Carol McGibney and charter members of the choir shared their memories and Berte and Stu Berry were featured in a 2007 performance of "I Remember it Well" from the motion picture Gigi.
Les and I share a total of 73 years of belonging to this special group and we were both feeling quite teary eyed as we drank in the memories and mouthed the words to the songs.  Ah yes We remember it well!!!!

After the concert, charter members Carol McGibney, Buck Salting, Jake Van Westen, Stu Berry and Berte Berry were presented with special recognition awards by Buck's daughter Cyndie Salting who now sings with the choir. It was her grandfather Don, who suggested to Carol way back when, that she should start a choir, so it was serendipitous that Cyndie should present the awards 50 years later.

Alto Cyndie Salting presents a recognition award to her father Buck Salting

In the short video clip below, violinist Elizabeth Lupton and pianist Sandy Andres accommpany the choir in Ave Maria.

Kudos to the Naramata Community Choir!!!! "Ya Done Good" as Carol always used to say!!!