Monday, October 8, 2012

Trip Part Three ( B): Vernon

First, a little backtracking:
Almost as entertaining as Vernon Pearl was a play Penticton Bev took me to see during my visit there.  It was Norm Foster's Storm Warning, performed by the Many Hats Theatre Company.

The play was a wonderfully entertaining story about a shell-shocked reclusive veteran and a bubbly jazz arranger who find themselves together at an isolated, run down, rustic resort.  The two roles were brilliantly performed by Eric Hanston as Jack, and Shannon French as Emma.  While the script itself provided incredibly funny lines (in a truly humorous, not slap-stick, sort of way), the interplay between the two actors stole the show.  As the story unfolds with romance, comedy, pathos and no shortage of drama, the audience is sucked right into the tale in an almost voyeuristic fashion - we are eavesdropping and spying on the intimate lives of two very real characters.  These are two very gifted actors!

Though I attend live theatre often and Foster is said to be "Canada's most  produced playwright,"  I had not seen any of his plays. I'm happy to see several of his other plays are being performed  here on the island during the next year - including one just a very short drive away.  And no matter where you live in Canada, there's something of his playing near you - as well as in a few other countries.  You'll find the schedule on Foster's website. Well worth attending!  Thanks for introducing me to a great playwright and two great actors, Penticton Bev.

Now, back to our visit with Vernon Bev:  

After leaving Penticton, at the south end of Okanagan Lake, we headed to Vernon at the north end of the same lake.  With road construction, heavy traffic, negotiating the busy streets of Kelowna, driving on a narrow winding single-lane highway, and more road construction, it took us three and a half hours to travel from one end to the other - an excessive length of time which left me frazzled.  But it is no small lake - according to Wikipedia, the lake is 135 km long and between between 4 and 5 km wide.  

Vernon, at the northernmost tip of one arm of Okanagan Lake
Vernon is set amid dry grassy hills and three lakes - Okanagan, Kalamalka, and Swan Lakes.  It has its own somewhat barren beauty and is touted as one of the best places to retire in Canada.  A small city (population 38,000, with another 20,000 in the surrounding area), offers all kinds of water activities in summer and great skiing in winter, and is still considered economically affordable.  

Aside from getting to see Vernon Bev, my friend of over fifty years (we met in Grade Two!), and meeting Pearl the cat, a highlight of the visit was the wonderful walks along great trails - especially (once again) the Trans Canada Trail.  As in Penticton, the TCT provides an easy and pleasant walk for miles along the rim of the hills surrounding the city, proffering great views of the rolling landscape. 

Vernon Bev and Eddie walk the Trans Canada Trail above Vernon

The walk also provided glimpses of some of Vernon's economic endeavours.  This busy little industry:

turned out to be a tree farm, where seedlings are grown in flats on raised platforms:
Thousands of seedlings grow on raised beds
This cow and calf hung out in the back yard, near the owner's home.  Perhaps they were part of a larger herd, but none was visible.  
A cow and calf check us out along the trail.

This part of the trail afforded us a look at the area above Bev's home, where a grass fire had recently intruded.  Fires in this region are a fact of life in the hot, dry summers. Sadly, many are human-caused. 

Blackened area from recent grass fire above Bev's home

The trail also offered opportunities to play with the big camera, capturing some of the beauty of the region:

Grains dance lightly in a gentle breeze

A sprinkler irrigates the arid ground

Back at Bev's, I couldn't resist capturing some of the colour that her garden displays:

And Bev pointed out this beautiful bug - a praying mantis, the first I've seen:

Praying Mantis hangs on autumn-red leaves
Eddie was quite happy hanging out at Vernon Bev's - our accommodations were ground level so no stairs or scary elevators, though it took a few times of going in and out before he stopped putting on the brakes at the door.  He even stayed downstairs quite happily by himself when I visited upstairs with Bev.  No way was he going to attempt those inside stairs!  Such a silly dog!

Can we go campin' now?

 Next stop:  Emory Creek, in the Fraser Canyon - yes Eddie, we're going campin'! 


georgia little pea said...

Oi! Oo we callin' names? Me not silly. LOL.

A good place to retire eh. It does look beautiful, even burnt. I actually prefer arid barren landscapes to lush ones. Some gorgeous pictures here. The ones of flowers and grains made my eyes water!

I forgot to mention in your last travel post (before Pearl) that the idea of the TCT being shared by millions of Canadians is lovely. A fantastic way to, I assume, raise funds for creating it?

Anonymous said...

I love the contrast.. from barren desert.. to lush.

The light, colors; sagebrush is inspiration for say ... water-color painting.....(or photography) & the trails.. I could see enjoying long bike rides on those (flat) trails.
Which was your favorite area?

Anonymous said...

Lovely pics Jean - I personally love grasslands which is what attracted me to Vernon. It has a lot to offer in close proximity - lakes, grasslands, forests, the Monashee Mountains, skiing, golf - you name it. Thanks for visiting!
Vernon Bev

Black Jack's Carol said...

You have some especially wonderful flower pictures in this post, Jean, but the praying mantis was, I think, a spectacular find and an excellent photograph too. I'm really happy that the trip was so enjoyable for both you and Eddie! I also appreciated learning about Norm Foster. I checked out the link and hope we can attend at least one of his plays in BC.