Excellent Car Camping, Incredible Water!
With all of the beautiful lakes in and around Vernon, why the heck would we strap a canoe to the roof of our truck and head 2.5 hours out of town? Clear water like we’ve only seen scuba diving somewhere warm and toasty, that’s why!!
Johnson Lake blew up on Social Media, with people posting cool shots of them paddle boarding, kayaking and canoeing its clean, emerald waters. The water is so clear, that it was questioned if lens filters had been used to get the shots that had been posted. We had to see for ourselves! (For the record, all pictures in this article were taken with a GoPro Hero 5, no filter.)
While the day use on the lake was pretty busy, with people coming and going, wanting a glimpse of what is making this body of water all the rage, the evening quieted down nicely, and my snoring only irritated a few outside of our party.
Is it Worth the Trip?
In a word, yes. Yes, it is worth the trip. Yes, you should drag yourself off the couch and make the trip to see it. If you don’t own a boat or other means to get on the lake, seeing it from shore is pretty incredible. If you have access to something to float in or on, now you’re in business!! Want to give a boat a try? Drop the folks at True Outdoors a line. They have a rental fleet!! Basically, you’ll have to go see it and let me know what you think!
We had a real mix of weather during this trip, and were fortunate to get some sun long enough to get into the lake for a dip. The bottom of the lake is nice and firm. No muck here folks! Clear, clean water with a firm bottom to walk on. Fantastic!
Where to Stay
The Johnson Lake Resort has a row of cool looking cabins and camping options if you wish. There is also a BC Rec Site. We opted for the Rec Site (That’s how we roll), and I did have a chance to meet the owners of Johnson Lake Resort while trying to help a couple from Belgium break into their rental car (that’s a story for another day!). The owners of the Resort were super friendly and did what they could to help us out (2 free coat hangers that were destroyed in the making of this article).
The Rec Site has 12 campsites with picnic tables and fire rings, and is very well maintained. Outhouses were very clean, and it was clear that someone is spending time on a regular basis, working to offer up a top notch experience to guests. All in all, a very good experience.
If you are pondering where to spend the night, flip a coin. I think you’ll be happy with either!
What knowledge can we pass on from this trip?
We have a couple of important points to share with you that came out of this adventure.
Never paddle further away from the shore than you are comfortable swimming. We set out early one morning to explore the lake. It was GLASS! We wandered the shoreline taking pictures, practicing our new found love for paddling and soon found ourselves paddling out to the middle of the lake. No big deal, right? Wrong! Mother Nature decided that we were getting pretty cocky, and opted to throw us a curve ball. Here comes the wind. Wind makes waves. Canoes don’t like waves so much. Well, let’s say that super green paddlers in canoes don’t like wave so much!! We made it back to the shoreline and worked our way back to camp knowing that in the future, hugging the lakeshore is the way to go.
Pack for the WORST, hope for the BEST. We spend gobs of time in the backcountry. It’s what we do. Over the course of the last 15 years, we have learned the importance of packing the appropriate gear for whatever nastiness might come our way. The same packing rules should apply when camping out of the back of your truck. Why cut a weekend short because the temperature drops 15 degrees between the time you leave home, and when you arrive at your destination (Toss in some heavy rain, and now we have a camping trip!!). To quote the great Brian Range, “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing”.
Tarps to protect from the weather, layers of wool and extra socks to keep us warm and the usual First Aid, Repair Kits, Tools etc. are also ever present to help get us out of the house, and keep us out of the house until we have to come home.
This province is jam packed with goodness! More specifically, the Okanagan area has fun stuff to do for people of all abilities. Lakes and boats not your thing? Check back to VernonRocks.ca often, and hopefully we can stir something in you to get out and explore!