At higher elevations around the Okanagan Valley, the mornings are crisp and frosty now.
So, camped beside a high elevation lake last week, we were treated to a spectacular dawn as the cold rain and slush that fell overnight created silky scarves of mist across the warmer water in the pre-dawn.
When the sun did push its way through the fog bank in the east, it washed evergreens and already-colourful deciduous trees in gold and highlighted the orangey leaves of the maples across the lake.
A loon cruised the still waters, moving in and out of the wreathes of mist rising from the sun-warmed waters, and letting loose with that eerie call that is the quintessential sound of a wilderness fishing lake.
Well, except for the slap of fishing jumping, and there was that too.
Autumn in the Okanagan is a beautiful time of year, but then so is winter, spring and summer too.
I remember when I graduated from high school and had to move from the Okanagan to the coast to continue my education. I discovered there weren’t really four seasons there, except perhaps for the length of day—and I missed them—all of them. It makes me appreciate having to don warmer clothes and put on the heater at this time of year.
Flurries of falling leaves and the rustle and crunch of them underfoot are more reasons to appreciate this time of year. It’s a wonderful time for hiking, fishing and hunting and just being outdoors.
The provincial government has come out with a fascinating new tool for all outdoors enthusiasts and business people, called iMaps.
It’s free and provides customized maps at any scale so the user can zoom in on specific areas in a zone and provide a wide variety of information, from boundaries of Wildlife Management Units to parks and protected areas; from fish, wildlife and plant species to geographical names.
Digital files with LEH and MU boundaries are available to the public through the Integrated Land Management Bureau’s iMap site and they can be integrated into Google Earth and downloaded onto handheld GPS units, or printed for a hard copy in the field.
There’s a tutorial available on the site for those not familiar with the software.
It’s available at: http://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/sv/imapbc/
At times, new technology can be a wondrous thing…
But, forget it and get outside and enjoy autumn.
Judie Steeves writes about outdoors issues for the Capital News.