Autumn colours in the South Okanagan

The autumn colours are normally my favourite time of the year to photograph and depending on where you are, October is normally peak. Here in the South Okanagan we don’t get the flaming reds and orange of the sugar maples, but there’s a kaleidoscope of colours — even if yellow dominates. Grasslands come together with orchards and vineyards and nature blends into agriculture. I only really had a chance to get out one weekend, on the 13th, but it was a good one. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Vineyards cover the South Okanagan making the antelope brush and sagebrush dry vegetation in the foreground more scarce. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Autumn in the orchards north of Osoyoos glows golden on a sunny day. Green glass and blue sky add to the palette. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Grapes for red wine ripen on the vines in a vineyard north of Osoyoos in October. The leaves haven’t yet changed to their full autumn colours. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Okanagan River passes the Oxbows in a channel and empties into the north end of Osoyoos Lake. Vineyards are turning yellow. (Richard McGuire photo)

Plants leave squggly reflections in a small lake’s water, which is yellow with autumn reflections. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Golden aspen leaves are backlit in a forest on Kruger Mountain Road.

A cyclist enjoys an autumn ride through pines and aspens to the sagebrush landscape near Kilpoola Lake. (Richard McGuire photo)

Golden aspens and arid hills surround Kilpoola Lake. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Golden aspens and arid hills surround Kilpoola Lake. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Golden aspens and arid hills surround Kilpoola Lake. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Rosehips next to Kilpoola Lake add some bright red to the colourful autumn landscape. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The waters of Kilpoola Lake add some blue to the arid autumn landscape. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The waters of Kilpoola Lake add some blue to the arid autumn landscape. (Richard McGuire Photo)

A cluster of golden aspens zigzags up a slope from a small pond west of Kilpoola Lake. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area and the Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area offer spectacular and ever-changing vistas of this unique grasslands landscape. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area and the Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area offer spectacular and ever-changing vistas of this unique grasslands landscape. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area and the Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area offer spectacular and ever-changing vistas of this unique grasslands landscape. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area and the Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area offer spectacular and ever-changing vistas of this unique grasslands landscape. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area and the Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area offer spectacular and ever-changing vistas of this unique grasslands landscape. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area and the Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area offer spectacular and ever-changing vistas of this unique grasslands landscape. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The South Okanagan Grasslands Protected Area and the Sage and Sparrow Conservation Area offer spectacular and ever-changing vistas of this unique grasslands landscape. (Richard McGuire Photo)

I managed to find time Saturday for a drive to one of my favourite spots outside Osoyoos. Autumn at golden hour. A great time if the weather cooperates. (©) Richard McGuire photo)

The last glow of golden hour strikes the trees and wetlands vegetation at Blue Lake, west of Osoyoos. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Osoyoos from above on an August weekend evening

It’s been a smoky summer over most of B.C., but there were occasional breaks in the smoke as weather patterns changed. On Aug. 4, the B.C. Day long weekend, I took a few photos from the West Bench with a long lens. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Osoyoos Lake is calm on a summer evening in a view that shows the Main Street bridge, Hotel Row, the Cottonwood area, Nk’Mip Campground and Spirit Ridge. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Osoyoos Lake is calm on a summer evening in a view that shows the Legion Beach area, Kingfisher Drive, Main Street bridge, Hotel Row, the Cottonwood area, Nk’Mip Campground and Spirit Ridge. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Journey through smoke to Bella Coola

Until this past weekend, the Chilcotin and Bella Coola Valley were major areas of B.C. I had not yet visited. I’ve been wanting to go for several years, but only now had the chance for a brief trip. I’ve watched the wildfire situation for a while, knowing it could disrupt plans, but in the end I decided to chance it. There was smoke much of the way, but I tried to make the best of it to capture some different landscape images. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

North of Anahim Lake, the sky filled with an ominous, massive cloud of wildfire smoke. Beside it, to the left, the sky was clear. The sun casts an eerie orange glow through the smoke. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Fog clings close to the ground as smoke from wildfires fills the air north of Princeton in cattle ranching country. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Warning people not to pollute the air by idling their cars is a good message, but it will do little to improve air quality here — at a lookout next to Highway 20 west of Williams Lake. Wildfire smoke pushed air pollution levels to 10+ that day. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

After camping by Horn Lake in Chilcotin, I left my trailer in the campsite and took a drive down to Bluff Lake. There was some blue in the sky, but wildfire smoke cast a haze over the Coast Mountains. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

After camping by Horn Lake in Chilcotin, I left my trailer in the campsite and took a drive down to Bluff Lake. There was some blue in the sky, but wildfire smoke cast a haze over the Coast Mountains. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Chipmunks are skittish too, but they will pose if you stay a respectful distance. Another use for the 600 mm lens. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

South of Nimpo Lake I drove through thick wildfire smoke, which abruptly ended as I drove out into blue sky. A helicopter passes overhead surveying the wildfire’s growth. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

North of Anahim Lake, the sky filled with an ominous, massive cloud of wildfire smoke. Beside it, to the left, the sky was clear. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

North of Anahim Lake, the sky filled with an ominous, massive cloud of wildfire smoke. Beside it, to the left, the sky was clear. The sun casts an eerie orange glow through the smoke. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

North of Anahim Lake, the sky filled with an ominous, massive cloud of wildfire smoke. The sun casts an eerie orange glow through the smoke. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Wildfire smoke from a blaze to the north fills the sky at the eastern entrance to Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. This area has seen fires in past years, as evidenced by the burnt bark on dead trees and the abundant fireweed growing below. This pink flower is one of the first to establish after a fire. (Richard McGuire Photo)

The Heckman Pass in Tweedsmuir Provincial Park is the road access to the Bella Coola Valley. But it’s at 1,524 metres — 5,000 ft. — and the descent is very steep and twisty. It’s called “The Hill” and while it can be very dangerous in the wrong conditions, it’s not that hard with caution, a mechanically sound vehicle and no bad weather. The bottom of The Hill was around 325 metres or 1,000 feet according to my GPS. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

As I reach the first hairpin down, the road has been quite steep, but doable, and the road is wide, well graded and with a fair number of pullouts. Note the clear sky over the valley, but smoke clouds drifting in from the northeast. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

There are no railings or curbs beside the road anywhere on “The Hill,” but that’s not unusual in B.C. Beside this pullout, cliffs drop down to the next switchback far below. At the bottom is the Atnarko Valley. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

I stopped regularly at pullouts to take pictures. I’m towing a 1979 Triple E Surfside fibreglass eggshell trailer behind a 2008 Jeep Liberty with standard transmission. I’m well off the road, but I’m not parked too close to the steep edge. I also make sure I’m standing on stable ground. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Looking down from the pullout, I see the next switchback far below. This area has some steep descents and some narrow stretches. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

The road narrows neveral places around here where it skirts a cliff. It’s wide enough that two cars can squeeze past, but larger vehicles may have problems. Descending vehicles should yield to those making the climb. There are regular pullouts. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

I now tow my 1979 Triple E Surfside behind a 2008 Jeep Liberty with standard transmission. Last year I used an aging VW Golf diesel standard, which could handle more modest climbs, it could not have climbed up “The Hill.” (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Below “The Hill” is the Atnarko Valley. The rugged landscape made road building difficult when it was built in the early 1950s. Incredibly, the government rejected building a road as too costly, but locals banded together and built it themselves — calling it “The Freedom Road.” (© Richard McGuire Photo)

I decided to check out the Mccall Flats recreation site for camping, but the road was too rough with the trailer, so I didn’t go all the way. I did enjoy the views from the bridge over the Bella Coola River. They don’t allow tents because of the local bear population, so it looks like your best option would be a truck camper. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

This was the clearest evening I’ve seen since the beginning of July as there was hardly any smoke. You can even make out details of the half moon above the mountains around Hagensborg. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

With only the slightest amount of smoke, the sinking sun casts its golden light on the mountains around Hagensborg, where I camped. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

I was looking forward to getting up early and enjoying another clear day. But the otherworldy sunrise was because of the advancing smoke that moved into the Bella Coola Valley. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Framed by many of the washed-up stumps on the shore, a big, hulking abandoned fish cannery sits out on the water next to the Bella Coola harbour. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

The Bella Coola Harbour is mainly fishing boats that travel out on the North Bentinck Arm to fishing waters. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

A big, hulking abandoned fish cannery sits out on the water next to the Bella Coola harbour. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

A bald eagle takes flight where Clayton Falls Creek empties into the North Bentinck Arm. There’s a recreation site there operated by BC Hydro. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Although it’s past the middle of August, snow and glacier ice clings to the tops of some of the mountains overlooking the North Bentinck Arm near Bella Coola. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Water has sculpted the rocks at Clayton Falls, just up the creek from the North Bentinck Arm west of Bella Coola. BC Hydro operates a recreation site here, and there is a platform to view the falls. A graphic sign shows what happens to people who get sucked into the undertow of the pool below the falls. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Water has sculpted the rocks at Clayton Falls, just up the creek from the North Bentinck Arm west of Bella Coola. BC Hydro operates a recreation site here, and there is a platform to view the falls. A graphic sign shows what happens to people who get sucked into the undertow of the pool below the falls. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

I took a short stroll onto a mostly dried streambed, strewn with cut logs. I never saw a bear, but I had my spray just in case. Hint: you don’t use the spray on yourself like mosquito repellent. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

A sign indicates the steep grades descending “The Hill” from Heckman Pass. At one point low down the sign is posted at 15%, though the road is said to have part at 18%. Most is 10 and 11% grade. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

North of Anahim Lake, the smoke became especially thick on the return trip. Vehicles drove with headlights and visibility was very limited. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

These cattle posed a roadblock on a bridge near Kleena Kleene. I don’t know if they wanted me to pay a toll, but I inched around them and they inched to the side. Cattle and horses aren’t fenced in this open rangeland, so you have to drive carefully. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

I drove fairly non-stop on the return through smoke along Highway 20. Williams Lake was less smoky than on my way up, but after stopping for gas, I continued down Highway 97. I opted to camp at Green Lake Provincial Park near 70 Mile House. (© Richard McGuire Photo)

Early summer dusk in Osoyoos

Dusk at the beginning of summer in Osoyoos can be a colourful time — especially if there’s a changing weather pattern with moving storm clouds reflecting the setting sun. The view from my balcony looks over a small vineyard. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dusk at the beginning of summer in Osoyoos can be a colourful time — especially if there’s a changing weather pattern with moving storm clouds reflecting the setting sun. The view from my balcony looks over a small vineyard. (Richard McGuire photo)

Osoyoos Photography Club exhibition at The Art Gallery Osoyoos

This month I’ve been showing a few photos at The Art Gallery Osoyoos along with other members of the Osoyoos Photography Club. Thank you very much to Margarete, who bought my photo Change of Seasons, which is printed on canvas and shows winter creeping down the mountain into autumn below. I’ve now replaced that with Spotted Lake, Winter Magic, also on canvas. Also showing is a framed print of an old log barn under a full moon and stars. The show runs until March 3, 2018.

Winter descends down Mount Baldy as the golden larches of autumn still colour the valley below. (Richard McGuire photo)

Clouds and fog blow across a frozen Spotted Lake, just west of Osoyoos, while the sun tries to break through. (Richard McGuire photo)

I went out with several guys from the Osoyoos Photography Club to photograph the Perseid Meteor Shower. I was too early for the best meteor show, but as a photographer, I found the combination of moonlight and expressive clouds to be more interesting. (Richard McGuire Photo)

Super moon

I was returning to Osoyoos from Mount Baldy today when I turned a corner and saw this amazing super moon rising right in front of me. Osoyoos was socked in clouds all day, but the elevation of Mount Baldy was above the clouds. Moments later the clouds rose and the view of the moon was gone. Happy New Year everyone! (Richard McGuire photo)

I was returning to Osoyoos from Mount Baldy today when I turned a corner and saw this amazing super moon rising right in front of me. Osoyoos was socked in clouds all day, but the elevation of Mount Baldy was above the clouds. Moments later the clouds rose and the view of the moon was gone. Happy New Year everyone. (Richard McGuire photo)

Local landscapes, 2017

With 2017 coming to a close, I thought I would post a few photos of landscapes in the Osoyoos area that I’ve taken in the last half of the year. I’m truly lucky to live in such a beautiful part of Canada, and although I like some seasons better than others, the constant change of season always brings changes to the landscapes. (© Richard McGuire photo)

An old log barn on a sideroad near Anarchist Summit, east of Osoyoos, B.C. This shot was taken in mid-August, after the worst of this year’s smoke from wildfires was past, but there was still some haze in the atmosphere. (Richard McGuire photo)

Starlings perch on a wire. (Richard McGuire photo)

McIntryre Bluff is a massive ridge of gneiss rock at the south end of Vaseux Lake between Oliver and Okanagan Falls. (Richard McGuire photo)

The mud mineral rings of Spotted Lake west of Osoyoos become more and more dominant later in the summer and fall. The white is minerals — not snow — in this photo taken in early October. (Richard McGuire photo)

A grove of aspens is lit up in autumn gold as the sun lowers on an October day. (Richard McGuire photo)

As water evaporates, the mineral rings in Spotted Lake become more pronounced. The lake, sacred to local First Nations, is just west of Osoyoos, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

An autumn evening in October descends on the town of Osoyoos and Osoyoos Lake. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dusk descends on Osoyoos and the town lights up. The name “Osoyoos” comes from the Okanagan language and refers to the land bridge across the lake. (Richard McGuire photo)

A pool in the mountains west of Osoyoos reflects the autumn colours. (Richard McGuire photo)

The water of Kilpoola Lake ripples on an October afternoon. (Richard McGuire photo)

Aspens give off a golden glow in the grasslands above Osoyoos on an October afternoon. (Richard McGuire photo)

Burned trees on the hilltops tell of a wildfire in the past. The flaming aspens and other bushes almost appear like fire on an autumn afternoon west of Osoyoos. (Richard McGuire photo)

As dusck descends on Osoyoos, the town’s lights shine around Osoyoos Lake. (Richard McGuire photo)

Stars fill the sky above Haynes Ranch just north of Osoyoos. The building and grass are lit with “light painting” — the combination of a long exposure and “painting” using a flashlight. (Richard McGuire photo)

Snow covers the higher elevations on Mount Kobau in the background, but Osoyoos is still enjoying the last of autumn on a mid-November afternoon. (Richard McGuire photo)

Snow has covered the fields around the old Lawless House just west of Anarchist Summit on the descent to Osoyoos. Each year the old house’s condition looks more deteriorated. (Richard McGuire photo)

A tall dead tree stands like a sentinel overlooking the Okanagan Valley east of Oliver. (Richard McGuire photo)

This old barn stands next to the Haynes Ranch off Blacksage Road on Road 22 north of Osoyoos. (Richard McGuire photo)

A dusting of snow covers the grassland in the foreground on Mount Kobau. This view with a telephoto lens shows the different landscapes descending through pine forest, grasslands and finally to the valley bottom planted in vineyards and orchards. (Richard McGuire photo)

Snow covers the slopes of Mount Kobau as the Okanagan Valley enjoys a sunny day in early December. More and more days are overcast at this time of year and it’s not long until the snow reaches into the valley too. (Richard McGuire photo)

A few golden delicious apples still hang in the trees and others are scattered on the ground. It’s early December and the harvest is over. Soon the leaves and apples will be covered in a layer of snow. (Richard McGuire photo)

A lone pine tree is living on the edge of a rocky cliff east of Vaseux Lake. (Richard McGuire photo)

The shoreline of Vaseux Lake is brown after the end of autumn in early December. Snow is creeping down from higher elevations into the Okanagan Valley. (Richard McGuire photo)

A bighorn ram munches on dry grass in the hills east of Vaseux Lake. This shot was taken from considerable distance with a very long lens. (Richard McGuire photo)

A winter drive up the Similkameen River

Chunks of ice flow down the Similkameen River and mist rises from the water as the temperature falls to around -16 C. (Richard McGuire photo)

It’s not often at this time of year that a rare day of sunshine coincides with a day off work. Yesterday (Saturday) I took advantage of the sunshine to do a drive up the Similkameen Valley to Princeton and back. Arctic air has moved in and although the temperature was about -6C in Osoyoos, it fell to -16C as I got into higher elevations closer to Princeton. The Similkameen Valley is gorgeous and without the runaway development that has taken over much of the Okanagan. (Richard McGuire photos)

From the lookout off Highway 3 heading west of Osoyoos you look out across Osoyoos Lake. On the opposite shore are The Cottages on Osoyoos Lake. (Richard McGuire photo)

In winter, the snow on Spotted Lake forms ridges along the edges of the mud rings. (Richard McGuire photo)

In winter, the snow on Spotted Lake forms ridges along the edges of the mud rings. (Richard McGuire photo)

Mountains rise up was you enter the Similkameen Valley, descending from the Richter Pass. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Similkameen River meanders past vineyards. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Similkameen River meanders. (Richard McGuire photo)

Frozen tire tracks reflect the sunlight on Barcelo Road near Cawston. (Richard McGuire photo)

Erosion on the side of a mountain outside Cawston makes snow-covered patterns. (Richard McGuire photo)

A few frozen apples cling to young apple trees in rows near Cawston as the sun beats down on a cold winter day. (Richard McGuire photo)

St. Ann’s Catholic Church is perched on a hill just east of Hedley at Chuchuwayha, an Indian village. It was built around 1910. (Richard McGuire photo)

Hedley is a village west of Keremeos that has a gold mining history. The Hedley Country Market, like many buildings in Hedley, look like they’ve changed very little in the past 50 years or so. (Richard McGuire photo)

Sunlight catches the trees on a ridge above Bromley Rock Provincial Park on the Similkameen River between Hedley and Princeton. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Similkameen River winds past the rocky cliffs at Bromley Rock Provincial Park between Princeton and Hedley. Chunks of ice float in the river and the sun lowers behind the mountains, throwing the valley into shade. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Similkameen River winds past the rocky cliffs at Bromley Rock Provincial Park between Princeton and Hedley. Chunks of ice float in the river and the sun lowers behind the mountains, throwing the valley into shade. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Similkameen River winds past the rocky cliffs at Bromley Rock Provincial Park between Princeton and Hedley. Chunks of ice float in the river and the sun lowers behind the mountains, throwing the valley into shade. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Similkameen River winds past the rocky cliffs at Bromley Rock Provincial Park between Princeton and Hedley. Chunks of ice float in the river and the sun lowers behind the mountains, throwing the valley into shade. (Richard McGuire photo)

Chunks of ice flow down the Similkameen River and mist rises from the water as the temperature falls to around -16 C. (Richard McGuire photo)

Chunks of ice flow down the Similkameen River and mist rises from the water as the temperature falls to around -16 C. (Richard McGuire photo)

A quick trip through Alberta

Near Drumheller, there are rock formations known as hoodoos. Harder stone, often with iron, forms a cap that sits on top of a column of eroding sandstone. At this hoodoo area, a stairway and platforms have been built to provide tourists with a close-up view. (Richard McGuire photo)

I took a quick trip through Alberta this past week when I traveled to Edmonton to trade my aging VW Golf in on a 2008 Jeep Liberty. I much prefer to drive a standard, but they are getting harder and harder to find, which is why the only vehicle I could find that met my needs was in Edmonton. I drove part of the spectacular Icefields Parkway through Banff National Park, stayed at Stony Plain, where I edited a newspaper in the early ’80s, and explored the Badlands between Drumheller and Dinosaur Provincial Park. (Richard McGuire photos)

The Columbia River becomes Upper Arrow Lake to the south of Revelstoke, B.C. Along with Lower Arrow Lake, the lake levels were raised by a dam to the south near Castlegar. The morning light made it look beautiful. (Richard McGuire photo)

One of the most beautiful road trips in the world is the Icefields Parkway, which stretches from near Lake Louise in Banff National Park up to Jasper. This shot was taken near Hector Lake close to the south end. (Richard McGuire photo)

Bow Peak rises dramatically to the west of the Icefields Parkway to the west of the Mosquito Creek campground. (Richard McGuire photo)

Bow Peak rises dramatically to the west of the Icefields Parkway to the west of the Mosquito Creek campground. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Crowfoot Glacier near Bow Lake along the Icefields Parkway looks like a chilly place on a cold early October day. As the glacier has retreated over the years, it has lost the lower toe and now looks less like a crow’s foot. (Richard McGuire photo)

Bow Lake, next to the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park, is the closest lake to the headwaters of the Bow River. It’s lined with steep mountain cliff faces. (Richard McGuire photo)

Bow Lake, next to the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park, is the closest lake to the headwaters of the Bow River. It’s lined with steep mountain cliff faces. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Saskatchewan River Crossing is where the David Thompson Highway leaves the Icefields Parkway to head east from Banff National Park. The aspens were a brilliant yellow. (Richard McGuire photo)

Abraham Lake is an artificial lake next to the David Thompson Highway heading out of the Rocky Mountains. It is kept full by the Bighorn Dam on the North Saskatchewan River. That storm in the background brought snow flurries. (Richard McGuire photo)

This old abandoned house south of Stony Plain, Alberta, leaves a memory of an earlier era. The area is still farmed, but the houses today are much larger. (Richard McGuire photo)

This rural road south of Stony Plain travels through typical Parkland County landscapes — low, rolling hills, trees and fields, and lots of small lakes. It’s very different from the open prairie. (Richard McGuire photo)

I was the editor of the Stony Plain Reporter in the early 1980s. The building is still there, but it’s now a Community Futures office. A mural on the wall, one in a series of historical murals decorating downtown Stony Plain, shows an early printing press in the days of the Stony Plain Advertiser. (Richard McGuire photo)

When I worked at the Stony Plain Reporter in the early 1980s, we often went for lunch at Bing’s in the Stony Plain Hotel. Both are still there, though much of Stony Plain has completely changed and grown since I lived there. (Richard McGuire photo)

The 1910 Oppertshauser House was faced with demolition in 1984 at a location a few blocks away. Stony Plain had some soon-expiring provincial grant money that could help to save it, but the County of Parkland opted to let its grant money expire rather than put it towards saving the house. “What that house needs is a gallon of coal oil and a match,” said one redneck county councillor. I spoke to the council of Edmonton Beach and they agreed to provide their grant money, thus saving the house. In 1987, it was subsequently moved to a new location next to the Multicultural Centre, the brick former schoolhouse on the left. (Richard McGuire photo)

Heading south from Camrose, there was more and more snow in the fields after a storm that hit the previous night. (Richard McGuire photo)

There’s a gentle roll to the prairies east of Trochu, as the Red Deer River has eroded a valley. That valley widens and evolves into badlands as you travel southeast. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Orkney Viewpoint northwest of Drumheller provides a view of the badlands and the Red Deer River. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Orkney Viewpoint northwest of Drumheller provides a view of the badlands. The prairies suddenly drop off as they hit the Red Deer River Valley. (Richard McGuire photo)

When I bought this used Jeep Liberty in Edmonton two days earlier, they spent a long time detailing it an making it look clean and immaculate. It only took a short bit of driving on a few Alberta backroads and the car was covered with mud. (Richard McGuire photo)

Near Drumheller, there are rock formations known as hoodoos. Harder stone, often with iron, forms a cap that sits on top of a column of eroding sandstone. At this hoodoo area, a stairway and platforms have been built to provide tourists with a close-up view. (Richard McGuire photo)

Near Drumheller, there are rock formations known as hoodoos. Harder stone, often with iron, forms a cap that sits on top of a column of eroding sandstone. At this hoodoo area, a stairway and platforms have been built to provide tourists with a close-up view. (Richard McGuire photo)

Near Drumheller, there are rock formations known as hoodoos. Harder stone, often with iron, forms a cap that sits on top of a column of eroding sandstone. At this hoodoo area, a stairway and platforms have been built to provide tourists with a close-up view. (Richard McGuire photo)

The snowy badlands are reflected in the still waters of the Red Deer River southeast of Drumheller. (Richard McGuire photo)

The remnant of an old grain elevator still stands at Dorothy, Alberta. The small community is a semi-ghost town, which is still inhabited, but has many old derelict buildings recalling its history. (Richard McGuire photo)

When I drove through Southern Alberta the day after an early-October snowstorm, there were still many vehicles in the ditch. Conditions were horrendous during this storm, even for those with vehicles built to handle the rough conditions. When I came along the next afternoon, most of the roads had been cleared except for the odd patch, but many vehicles had not yet been rescued. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dinosaur Provincial Park to the north of Brooks, Alberta, is a great location to see the badlands and walk among the hoodoos. I took a short hike along one of the trails in the early morning, before anyone else arrived. It was peacefully quiet, with only a few deer stirring, and the light was beautiful. Many dinosaur bones have been found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dinosaur Provincial Park to the north of Brooks, Alberta, is a great location to see the badlands and walk among the hoodoos. I took a short hike along one of the trails in the early morning, before anyone else arrived. It was peacefully quiet, with only a few deer stirring, and the light was beautiful. Many dinosaur bones have been found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dinosaur Provincial Park to the north of Brooks, Alberta, is a great location to see the badlands and walk among the hoodoos. I took a short hike along one of the trails in the early morning, before anyone else arrived. It was peacefully quiet, with only a few deer stirring, and the light was beautiful. Many dinosaur bones have been found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dinosaur Provincial Park to the north of Brooks, Alberta, is a great location to see the badlands and walk among the hoodoos. I took a short hike along one of the trails in the early morning, before anyone else arrived. It was peacefully quiet, with only a few deer stirring, and the light was beautiful. Many dinosaur bones have been found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dinosaur Provincial Park to the north of Brooks, Alberta, is a great location to see the badlands and walk among the hoodoos. I took a short hike along one of the trails in the early morning, before anyone else arrived. It was peacefully quiet, with only a few deer stirring, and the light was beautiful. Many dinosaur bones have been found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dinosaur Provincial Park to the north of Brooks, Alberta, is a great location to see the badlands and walk among the hoodoos. I took a short hike along one of the trails in the early morning, before anyone else arrived. It was peacefully quiet, with only a few deer stirring, and the light was beautiful. Many dinosaur bones have been found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dinosaur Provincial Park to the north of Brooks, Alberta, is a great location to see the badlands and walk among the hoodoos. I took a short hike along one of the trails in the early morning, before anyone else arrived. It was peacefully quiet, with only a few deer stirring, and the light was beautiful. Many dinosaur bones have been found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dinosaur Provincial Park to the north of Brooks, Alberta, is a great location to see the badlands and walk among the hoodoos. I took a short hike along one of the trails in the early morning, before anyone else arrived. It was peacefully quiet, with only a few deer stirring, and the light was beautiful. Many dinosaur bones have been found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Richard McGuire photo)

The prairies, near Enchant, Alberta, to the north of Lethbridge are wide open and present a minimalist landscape. The expansive views of the sky form part of the landscape. (Richard McGuire photo)

Drive to Kilpoola Lake

Around Kilpoola Lake, grasslands spread over low mountains with the sweet smell of sagebrush. (Richard McGuire photo)

Whenever I need to take my mind off the stresses of work and be surrounded by nature, I take a trip up to Kilpoola Lake to the west of Osoyoos. It’s about 20 minutes away, but it’s like stepping into another world. The road — better described as a “track” — is rough, but the used truck I bought in July is better able to handle it than my car. I took a trip there in late July when water levels were still high from the wet spring, but the effects of drought were starting to take hold. (Richard McGuire photos)

I’ve heard this little lake on the way to Kilpoola referred to as “Turtle Lake,” but I can’t find any official reference to its name, so I don’t know what its real name is. It’s pretty, nonetheless. (Richard McGuire photo)

Up Kruger Mountain road, you come to this little lake, which appears to be an extension of Blue Lake. The landscape is very diverse with forests, grasslands and low mountains. (Richard McGuire photo)

Up Kruger Mountain road, you come to this little lake, which appears to be an extension of Blue Lake. The landscape is very diverse with forests, grasslands and low mountains. (Richard McGuire photo)

Blue Lake is the largest lake on the way to Kilpoola Lake. It’s set in the midst of forests, grasslands and low mountains. (Richard McGuire photo)

Around Kilpoola Lake, grasslands spread over low mountains with the sweet smell of sagebrush. (Richard McGuire photo)

Around Kilpoola Lake, grasslands spread over low mountains with the sweet smell of sagebrush. (Richard McGuire photo)

A breeze blows through grasses near Kilpoola lake. Although a drought is underway, there’s still a lot of green after the spring flooding. (Richard McGuire photo)

The road past Kilpoola Lake is just a rough track across the grasslands. There was still a lot of green in late July here despite concerns about dry vegetation and the possiblility of fire elsewhere. (Richard McGuire photo)

Around Kilpoola Lake, grasslands spread over low mountains with the sweet smell of sagebrush. (Richard McGuire photo)

Around Kilpoola Lake, grasslands spread over low mountains with the sweet smell of sagebrush. (Richard McGuire photo)

Around Kilpoola Lake, grasslands spread over low mountains with the sweet smell of sagebrush. (Richard McGuire photo)

Flooding in the spring has left the water high in Kilpoola Lake. Even at the end of July, the lower road was still submerged under water, despite widespread drought elsewhere. (Richard McGuire photo)

With higher clearance, the used truck I bought in July was good for travelling on the dirt tracks around Kilpoola Lake. (Richard McGuire photo)

Blue Lake is the largest lake on the way to Kilpoola Lake. It’s set in the midst of forests, grasslands and low mountains. (Richard McGuire photo)

Blue Lake is the largest lake on the way to Kilpoola Lake. It’s set in the midst of forests, grasslands and low mountains. (Richard McGuire photo)