Posts in Outdoors

Bear Skies

Winter brings the best skies…

Focus Friday: Skating Downtown


The City of Kelowna has done many excellent things over the years, but the outdoor skating rink at Stuart Park must be right up there on that list. What a great way to embrace winter! Glad to see that lots of people are enjoying the ice, and local photographers seem to be noticing too.

Untitled by Envasion Cre8tive Graphics

Happy New Year

beginnings are always fresh

Coming from the West Side, Fire Works on New Years Eve! New beginnings are always fresh.

Celebrating New Year’s Eve the New Yorker Way

If you were downtown on New Year’s Eve the action was hard to miss. Two large spot lights dancing in the night sky directed thousands of people towards Stuart Park where the city was having its New York New Year’s Eve celebration, an event inspired by the popular New Year’s Eve countdown happening simultaneously in Times Square, New York. If you had young kids or no intention of staying up until midnight this was the place to be to make your New Year’s Resolutions and celebrate with friends and family.

There were plenty of activities for young kids to do downtown on this night, including snowmen building, snowball target practice, and even soccer. Since the weather wasn’t quite what you would expect during this time of year the city had to bring in a truck full of snow to dump in Stuart Park, creating an area where kids could build snowmen and play on the piles. There were also snowball targets set up for kids to practice their aim with rubber balls.

Despite the lack of snow the temperature remained a reminder that it was still winter, keeping the ice on the skating rink frozen. Several thousand people filled the park on this night, and I’m willing to bet the majority of them were crammed onto the ice. Vendors supplied waffles and other hot treats to keep everyone warm.

When I arrived, managing to catch the coattails of this family friendly event that began at 6pm and ran until 9pm, the stage which was previously occupied by a DJ was being set-up for a maritime folk band that came out and rocked it until the end of the night. When they finished their set the people then crowded the boardwalk to watch fireworks which were set off at 9pm sharp and lit up the night sky for the next fifteen minutes or so. This concluded the New York New Year’s Eve celebration in downtown Stuart Park.

A New Year’s Resolution Success Story

It’s that time of year again, the time when we think about that one thing that we really want to accomplish in the next year and fervently promise ourselves that THIS YEAR we’ll really lose twenty pounds, go to the gym religiously, quit our horrible jobs, etc.

The New Year’s Resolution!

Generally the success rates are not good. How often do we have the same resolution (“No, seriously, this year I’m really going to lose twenty pounds!”) from year to year to year?

So I thought I would give an example of my own of a New Year’s Resolution that I actually fulfilled. New Years 2011 I decided to set myself the goal of completing the Across the Lake Swim. I had heard about the swim ever since moving to Kelowna, but was always away when it occurred. In 2011 I promised myself I would complete it, and although I probably could have survived it without too much training beforehand, I decided to prepare by joining the Okanagan Masters Swim Club. I told myself that as long as I attended practices once a week I would be ready for the swim in July. Well, the first practice had me tomato-faced and gasping for air, not because the practice was extremely difficult, but because I was so out of shape! What had I gotten myself into? But I plugged away, attending practices, and slowly getting in better shape to the point where I was no longer exhausted at the end of practice but exhilarated! By my third month with the club I was swimming three or four times a week instead of just once. I made new friends, fell in love with swimming, and couldn’t wait for my first try crossing the lake.

Ashley, Myself, and Paul are ready to go!

Ashley, Myself, and Paul are ready to go in our matching wetsuits!

When the swim finally rolled around I was nervous but ready. I wasn’t sure what it would be like, swimming with 400 other swimmers, both faster and slower than myself. I had received lots of advice from other swimmers about how to spot the finish line, where to place myself at the start line to avoid being run over, and how to deal with the current (yes, there is a current in our lake!). But when the start gun went off for my group, all planning went out the window and I just put my head down and swam!

Running to the finish while also trying to pull off my cap.

Running to the finish while also trying to pull off my cap.

In the end, I swam faster than I thought I would, but that wasn’t important. What mattered was that I had achieved my goal, a New Year’s Resolution completed! And with it came the added benefits of new friends and new swimming challenges.

My Across the Lake Relay team: The Fintastic Four. Phred, Ashley, Myself, and Paul at the finish line.

My Across the Lake Relay team: The Fintastic Four. Phred, Ashley, Myself, and Paul at the finish line. Photo by Angelique Duffield at

In roughly seven months I will be attempting to achieve pretty much the biggest swimming goal there is, crossing not a lake, but the English Channel. That would never have entered my mind if it weren’t for that New Year’s Resolution to cross our very own lake. So go ahead, make a resolution this year. You never know what might come of it.

Winter Love, New Year

We are so fortunate to live in a place with secret spots so close, like Bear Creek.

Focus Friday: Late-Autumn Greenway

There’s not much green in the Greenway right now, but it sure is a beautiful place for a walk. When we put Greg’s photography In Focus last year, several of his pictures included spectacular trees. This recent shot is no exception — like a little bit of local Lothlórien.

Mission Creek Greenway by Greg Gaspari

Focus Friday: Wild Horses

It’s so cool to encounter wild horses while hiking or biking — amazing that they seem to be thriving year-round in the Okanagan. Lori got a great shot of this pair near Penticton, with a beautiful forested backdrop. You have a good chance of seeing a few if you pedal the old KVR railbed between Summerland and Penticton.

Between the Woods and Frozen Lake by Lori-B