A Not So Bitter Night

With the wind howling outside and the rain coming down in sheets it’s nice to be able to sit inside with a hot cup of cocoa and reminisce  about the summer while browsing through my collection of my images in Adobe Lightroom.

We took a family trip to the Okanagan in late May and when reviewing my photographs I couldn’t help but think that it was time to start planning another trip for 2011. For the birder and botanist, spring in the Okanagan is fantastic with plenty of great birds and early blooming flowers. If you schedule your visit you can also attend the nature walks and other events associated with the annual Meadowlark Festival.

White Lake, British Columbia
The dry grasslands around White Lake promise excellent birding and botanizing.

One of our favourite destinations is White Lake Grasslands Protected Area near Okanagan Falls. You have to drive a little up into the hills to access this spectacular range land but it’s well worth it. At White Lake you have the option of walking down towards the lake itself or taking a slightly longer walk through the hills and forest to Mahoney Lake Ecological Reserve and back.

This spring we had both of the kids with us on their first visit to White Lake – they were a little too young to appreciate the diversity of flowers and birds but Alden and I walked down to the cattle sorting coral while Jocie and Clara slept in the car.

Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva)
Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva) is named for Meriwether Lewis who first collected the flower in 1806 in Montana.

One of the plants that we found in the the dry scrub was the delightful bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva). Bitterroot has a truly beautiful flower and on this dark night, the bright pink colour makes weathering the storm a little easier!  According to Parish, Coupé, and Lloyd’s Plants of southern interior British Columbia, bitterroot is so called because the roots are edible as long as they were harvested in the early spring before the leaves developed and the roots became bitter.

The flowers are striking. Each plant has a solitary flower that is deep pink to white in colour and low to the ground. Looking through my images from 2010 and another trip in 2005 I found quite a few photographs of bitterroot. On this bitter winter night on the coast of British Columbia, they’re reason enough to plan a return to the warm landscape of the southern interior in 2011!

Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva)
Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva) – a little spring brightness on a dreary winter night.

If you’d like to visit White Lake or Mahoney Lake, consult the Google map below: