I love travelling in my home province, British Columbia. Mid June, I set out on a road trip to the South Okanagan. My intention was field study for a print edition of Khiluk – or Spotted Lake – near Osoyoos. I traveled on the Crowsnest Highway, a drive I always enjoy.
Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, just outside Osoyoos, is a housed in a modern building designed by HBBH Architects. The exterior is an enormous, and exquisite, rammed earth wall. The Cultural Centre and Resort are sited high with views of the lake and valley below. Terra Firma Builders based on Salt Spring Island did the wall, and it’s a work of art.
In the interior behind the massive earth wall there’s a feeling of peace, and a powerfully subtle historic display. Talented interpreters demonstrate traditional crafts. There’s a pathway outside, meandering through desert heritage dioramas.
I sat in on a fascinating talk about snakes of the area, with several live examples. I learned that a rattlesnake had crossed my path at the lake. It could have been a corn snake, but I’m sticking with rattlesnake….it was VERY long!
The Nk’mip people are keepers and protectors of Khiluk, a sacred site of the Okanagan First Nations people. I’d been discussing my print project idea by email with Derek Bryson at the Nk’Mip Cultural Centre, and eventually got permission to enter the lake site.
My offering to Khiluk (Spotted Lake). They call it the Grandfather of lakes.
I arrived in the morning, and Derek opened the gate. With my offering of sage, tobacco, feather, and a bundle of bound twigs from a birch tree in my Victoria garden, I was ready to start my work.
Late afternoon light with subtle jade coloured spots.
A saline endorheic alkali lake, it’s a unique place. It’s healing properties are valued by the Okanagan people. It certainly has a strong pull for me. I saw a photo of it a few years ago in a Beautiful BC magazine, and did some research.
The lakes spots changed colour by the minute, mirrors of reflected cloud and sage hills.
Cumulus clouds rolled through the valley and over the lake as I photographed, sketched, and explored through the day and early evening.
The approach into Osoyoos, Canada’s desert city. It’s surrounded by bountiful vineyards and orchards that stretch along the lake.
Osoyoos Lake is shallow, so mid June swimming was very comfortable in front of Sandy Beach resort where I stayed. It was awash in red roses.
I spent a few days in Osoyoos with the friendly folks. And, savoring the first long hot summer days. The Nk’Mip Resort, next to the Desert Cultural Centre, was my favorite spot to enjoy Nk’Mip wine and hospitality.