Steele: Take a break from the heat—go hike in a meadow

The beauty of wildflower meadows, alpine lakes, and amazing rock formations filled us with joy and peace.

If you are tired of relentless, dry heat in the valley, I highly recommend a trip to Cathedral Provincial Park, just west of Keremeos.

Last week I had four wonderful days of hiking there with Xeriscape Association garden volunteers.

At 6,800 feet above sea level the air is refreshingly pure.

The beauty of wildflower meadows, alpine lakes, and amazing rock formations filled us with joy and peace.

The climb to the top of the mountains was well worth it with distant views east to the Cascade Range and west to the Coast Mountains.

Cathedral Lakes Lodge provides transportation on their private road. The steep, exciting, one-hour ride is well worth the $100 round trip. Rides must be booked ahead at www.cathedrallakes.ca/

They provide day trips leaving base camp at 8 a.m. and the lodge at 5 p.m. or, with dinner, stay until 8 p.m.

For longer visits, the lodge provides pleasant accommodations and meals and there are two government campgrounds.

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In case you haven’t read or heard, on Aug. 4, the City of Kelowna initiated Level 4 watering restrictions.

Properties with even numbered addresses are restricted to watering on even calendar days and odd numbered to odd calendar days.

Watering is not allowed in the heat of the day between 11 a.m. and 6p.m.

Manual sprinklers and hand watering can occur between 6 and 11 a.m. or 6 p.m. and midnight on the designated calendar day.

More information can be found at www.kelowna.ca/CM/page2506.aspx.

The page has links to common irrigation control manuals so you can reprogram your automatic irrigation.

Automatic underground systems may be run between midnight and 6am on the designated day.

The Okanagan Basin Water Board has water saving tips at www.makewaterwork.ca/.

Take the MWW pledge before Aug. 23 to reduce you landscape water use and you will be entered to win $6,000 worth of water efficiency improvements, products and services.

The Province of B.C. has now declared the Okanagan to be in Level 4 drought (the highest possible rating). It is essential we all do our part to conserve water.

Aside from reducing watering to alternate days, we can conserve water by:

• Not watering pavement/hard surfaces

• Using a broom to clean sidewalks and driveways rather than hosing them down

• Washing the car on a lawn to utilize the water

• Always using a shutoff nozzle on the end of a hose if hand watering or car washing

• Leaving the lawn to naturally go dormant—it will green up in the cooler, damper fall weather.

If you live in Glenmore or any other area with heavy clay soils, you can get by with watering very little.

To learn more and find plants suitable for dry conditions go to www.okanaganxeriscape.org.

I invite you to attend my two-night class Introduction to Xeriscape: Wednesday, Sept. 16 and 23 or Thursday, Oct. 1 and 8. Details and registration information are on the OXA website.