Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sun-Oka Beach

At the south end of Summerland, across the highway from the Ornamental Gardens, you’ll find a Provincial Park with a beach that Mike and I have claimed as our favourite. Despite this fact, it’s the first time we’ve visited Sun-Oka Provincial Park since we stumbled up on it two years ago. There is something very appealing about this family beach that keeps it in my mind despite the fact that it's a good 45 minute drive away. Sarson beach, Gyro, Rotary and Strathcona are all within ten minutes of our house but I think that can be a disadvantage in a way. You sit on the beach for a few minutes then run into the water to cool down. If it’s a bit too hot or crowded, it’s easy to take off back home again where all those chores await, rather than letting your impatient brain wind down until those splashing kids are amusing rather than annoying and if you wait just a bit longer, perhaps a you can grab a shady spot when another group leaves.

It ended up taking us an hour to get to our destination on Sunday, mostly due to the fact that we came to a long stretch through the construction zone where people had slowed down to a snail’s pace. At one point were driving 10 km/hr. Not because there was ongoing construction, but because there was a 50 foot section of gravel that had everyone fearful of rock chips I guess. The heat had render us rather disorganized earlier on in the day, so the red light on the dash had me in a bit of a panic as we crawled along with no knowledge of how long this woul
d last. After the stop for gas, we visited a fruit stand where ripe apricots bowed the tree branches and tumbled down the hillside, into the parking lot. We bought some sweet cherries to munch on at the beach and I purchased my first field tomatoes of the season.

When we finally arrived, I was disappointed to see how full the parking lot was. Between the lot and the beach a crowded green and shady area was filled with families sitting on picnic tables and blankets, rummaging in coolers and giant potato chip bags, looking cool and contented. Our parking spot was near the busy entrance so we lugged our chairs, beach bags, camera and cooler towards the far end of the beach. Despite the initial crowded appearance, it was easy to find a spot on the sand, but still under the shade of a tree. People were far enough away that we couldn’t easily hear their conversations.

I sat in my chair reading my book without much focus, observing the bobbing children and ducks, breathing in the smell of wet sand and sunscreen while I tried to figure out how someone so determined to avoid crowds had been drawn to this popular spot. Perhaps it was the cozy comfort I felt while looking out at the water, contemplating the stunning view down the lake towards Penticton. 

To the east a sandy point curves out into the lake. Behind you trees shelter you from the highway noise and to the west the waterfront curves around to where the highway hugs tall bluffs. I feel Mother earth envelop me in a protective hug as tension unspools between my shoulder blades.  I fight my natural tendencies to analyze everything. It’s time to just be.

1 comment:

  1. Suzan… I love that you are blogging!!!!!

    Oh yes, I know this place. It used to be our traditional Father's Day picnic spot. My memories include the kids covering themselves in mud from the marshy spot just between the public beach and the dog beach, then running into the lake to wash off. They brought home a tadpole from there, kept it refreshed in a large pail, then released it into the Mission marsh once it sprouted legs. Not very ecologically sensitive perhaps… but just kids loving the heck out of nature. Thanks for reminding about this really amazing place.


    p.s. there's a light yellow coloured text here that is not easy to read (for me anyway)