Part Two of my Shuswap adventure led me on a grand expedition across the region from the South to the North. I was overwhelmed with the choices of activities to choose from–from fishing and canoeing to hiking, biking, wine tasting, zip-lining to farmers market picnics and wine to snorkeling with salmon – who knew there was all of this on top of the legendary house boating? This adventure definitely needs a return visit that includes delving into the famous Adams River Salmon Run when the red fish are in the water, and exploring further the wonderful culture of the Little Shuswap Indian Band.
Leaving Kelowna at noon, it was a scenic 1.5 hour drive to Salmon Arm, where my co-pilot/niece Hillary and I made our first stop at Larch Hills Winery. The highest elevation winery in North America is a treat. Scenic views of the area, amazing wines to taste and a visit with lovely owners Hazel and Jack Manser made for the perfect kick off to our adventure. larchhillswinery.com
Our next stop was Crannog Ales/Left Fields where we were so thrilled to be attending their Annual 100 Foot Dinner (yes, foot – not mile!). Chef David Colombe, who now resides on the property, created an epic beer-paired meal sourcing from, you guessed it, 100 feet from the table we dined upon. Custom brews were made for this supper including a basil beer that was to die for. crannogales.com
We spent the night at the new airbnb on the Left Fields farm and planned to hike up the Mt. Baldy Lookout Trail that runs passed Crannog Ales (fact: hikers love to stop in for a growler on their way to this 6 km return walk) shuswaptrails.com offers maps to this trail and many more in the area.
We had just too much to fit in for the day, so instead we headed North for Celista Estate Winery. A gorgeous winding drive offering lake and forest views lead us to the township of Celista. Lucky for us, we met proprietor Marg Ootes, an absolute delight, who opened the wineshop for a tasting with us. Celista Estate Winery is actually the furthest north winery in BC! celistawine.com
We stopped at Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, a beautiful park situated on the famous Adams River that offers many different hiking trails for visitors. The Adams River Salmon Society opens an Interpretive Centre in September and October to explain the annual spawning cycle of the Sockeye Salmon that return each year to lay their eggs. Watch as the river literally turns red with the hundreds and sometimes millions (on dominant years) of salmon coming home during the Adams River Salmon Run. Every four years is the ‘dominant run’ when the numbers are at their highest and when the huge Salute to the Sockeye Festival takes place. We were excited to learn that Copper Island Diving offers boat charters, kayak and equipment rentals as well as guiding underwater adventures snorkeling and scuba diving with the salmon! copperislanddiving.com For more info on all things salmon go to the salmonsociety.com
Ecotreats is a good choice for a bite if you are hungry and want to stay in the Celista area, but we bee-lined to our next stop in Chase at Quaaout Lodge & Spa at Talking Rock Golf Resort where we were booked for lunch at Jack Sam’s Restaurant. What a treat to experience the cuisine that focuses on seasonal fare honouring the First Nations traditions of the region such as venison, salmon, bison, or elk. I chose the Qwisp Dip (like a beef dip but using tender, sliced bison). The bison is sourced locally at Turtle Valley Bison Range- another place to visit nearby! turtlevalleyranch.com. After lunch, Tanner, a guide from the Little Shuswap Indian Band, led us for a walking tour to visit the sweat lodge (now available for bookings!) and a kekuli (traditional winter home for the Shuswap people). On our walk he shared some wonderful legends and myths of the Shuswap First Nation’s people. The culture here is fascinating and the Lodge, that celebrates 25 years next year, is now offering these Authentic Cultural Experience tours. Guests are able to participate in a traditional sweat with an elder, explore the area on a walking tour or book a guided tour in a 20-person canoe. We were thrilled and can’t wait to return to engage in other activities and learn more from this wonderful Secwepemc band. quaaoutlodge.com– or phone 250-679-3090 and ask for Frank Antoine, the cultural coordinator.
There were so many perfect places to picnic and swim along our way. Farmer’s Markets abound in this area making shopping local for your picnics easy-peasy. The Shuswap Tourism website offers a list of the local farmers markets with dates shuswaptourism.ca
I am excited about the Anuual Fungi Festival September 23–25th! There is an incredible lineup of events and tours lined up for mushroom lovers. fungifestival.com
More adventures for the more adventurous
White Water Rafting – adamsriverrafting.com
Zipline across the Chase Creek waterfall – treetopflyers.ca
Don’t feel like exploring on foot, Segway tours are also available to book through the trails at Unique Adventure Tours – uniqueadventure.net
~ Jennifer Schell