When you bought your Eldorado RV did you ever think you’d be on the lookout for a lake monster? Take a trip to British Columbia’s Okanagan Lake and you might just catch a glimpse of Ogopogo, the province’s cherished sea serpent. No need to go all the way to Loch Ness to get suitably entertained in your motorhome.
Legend of Ogopogo
First Nations people called the lake serpent N’ha-a-itk. When traveling on Okanagan Lake, particularly around Squally Point, thought to house the serpent’s cave, small animals were brought along as offerings. Legend has it that Ogopogo was once a man who murdered a respected elder. The gods changed him into a serpent, doomed to ply the waters of Okanagan Lake for eternity.
The first sighting of Ogopogo by a white person was in 1870. A Mrs. Allison watched the creature from her home in Sunnyside, which is now the site of Vineyard Estates. She described it as being 50 feet long and over 3 feet wide. Various tales of missing animals, people and boats have emerged ever since.
Today Ogopogo is a bit of a celebrity. In the city of Kelowna, a fibreglass statue of the beast sits at Hot Sands Beach Park. Kids climb all over the colourful artwork. Cameras come out for the obligatory photo op next to the legendary creature. You may not catch a glimpse of the real thing, but finding an Ogopogo T-shirt, cap or other souvenir is a cinch.
Campgrounds at Okanagan Lake
The closest full-service campground to Kelowna is the Hiawatha RV Park. Located five kilometres south of the city center, the park is open from May through September, weather permitting. Full and partial service sites are offered, with both 30 and 15 amp electrical hook-ups. A heated pool, hot tub, arcade and playground are just some of the amenities. Rotary beach is a half-block away. Pets are not allowed at this RV Park.
On the western shore of Okanagan Lake, in the town of Westbank is the West Bay Beach Resort. The family-oriented campground sits on 22 acres of farmland. Sites are shaded, with some fronting the private sandy beach. A private boat launch and docks are available. An arcade, sundry store, playground, sports fields and tennis court are onsite. Trails lead by pastures that are home to llamas and alpacas, gentle, fuzzy creatures that don’t seem to mind visitors. West Bay Beach Resort is open from March through October, weather permitting. Reservations are advised, especially during the summer months. This popular place books up rather quickly.
Both campgrounds offer easy access to local wineries, including Mission Hills, Gray Monk, Summerhill and Quail’s Gate. Downtown Kelowna and its shops, art galleries, restaurants and beaches are also within easy reach. If you are staying at West Bay Beach, the William R. Bennett Bridge, ten kilometres north of the campground, leads right into Kelowna.