When I think of a desert, I think of the hot arid deserts in Saudi Arabia and desert in the United States. I think of camels and cactus. I think of dry hot, hot days and cold nights.
Not a lot of people realize that Canada has a desert too. Tucked in a valley between the coastal mountains and the Rocky Mountains is the Okanagan Valley. In the summer months the temperatures can rise well above the 30 degrees Celsius mark and on up into the 40’s. The summers are very hot and very dry. There is little to no humidity either. It is a very dry heat.
The Okanagan Valley is known for it’s fruit orchards and wineries. A lot of irrigation goes on in the valley. Without the irrigation, nothing would grow at all. It would all just shrivel up and die.
The Okanagan Valley is a fun place to be. There are a lot of water sporting events in the summer on the massive Okanagan Lake. A lot of tourists visit this area as well. There are lots and lots of things to do like fishing and camping. However, camping can cause an issue because of the sever danger of forest fires that occur in this hot, dry region. It wouldn’t take much for a fire to start especially when the grass under your feet crunches because it is so dry.
The Okanagan Valley does not have camels but there are several herds of mountain sheep in the region. Mountain sheep don’t seem to mind the heat and when they get too hot, they cool down by climbing up high into the mountains. The rocks on the mountains offer a nice cool refuge for them.
The Okanagan Valley does have cactus though. Now, the cactus here are not the tall thick ones you see in old western movies. The cactus here aren’t even an inch tall and you can’t even see them but if you stepped on one, you’d know it.
Believe it or not, the Okanagan does have tumbleweed. Travelling up through the cities on a windy day is when you will see a tumbleweed rolling down the road. The tumbleweed from the Okanagan is actually from the sage brush plants that grow throughout this region.
This Canadian desert, the Okanagan Valley, is Canada’s best kept secret.