During my recent trip to the North Okanagan region of British Columbia I spent some time in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park. Of all the parks and areas I visited, I think this is my favourite view of Kalamalka Lake – a view looking down on Cosens Bay. The flowers in the foreground are Arrowleaf Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata) and I found them in full bloom which was fortuitous timing to say the least.
What was perhaps not as lucky timing was what happened next. I walked a bit further up Cosens Bay Road and then jumped on a few rocks out into the grassy meadow for a better vantage point on some Balsamroot plants that looked promising. I try not to walk on vegetation if at all possible so rock hopping is a good opportunity to avoid this. I was about 10 feet into the field, standing on a rock, finishing up a photograph when I heard a distinctive rattling sound – but only twice. This made me uncomfortable to say the least – there are Western Rattlesnakes in the park and I’d just read a sign on the way in about them. They say on the sign that when you hear this sound you should identify where the snake is, then walk far around it. Great advice IF you can find its location! I could not – and it wasn’t rattling anymore so determining the source was not exactly going to be easy. Unable to find it I extended the legs of my tripod to their fullest extent and swept the grass as far ahead of me like I was looking for mines – and made my way back to the road. This was uneventful. I’ve read that people find unexploded WWII ordinates in the park too, so mine sweeping might not have been that far from the truth. The Cosens Bay area was a WWII mortar practice range. Every 10 years or so someone finds an unexploded mortar which has to be disposed of!