The older I get, the more conveniences I seem to acquire and a portable ice maker is just another example. We are social campers, meaning, we mostly camp with other families and are often in private campgrounds with hook ups. It also means we go through a lot of beverages!
Regardless of our camp set up we like to keep our beverages in a cooler packed with ice. Nothing says camping like digging around in freezing water and being rewarded with a cold beer. Keeping that cooler full of ice during a hot summer trip is really the only stress we have camping so we decided to buy a portable ice maker. I do agree, if this is our biggest stress, then life is great!
We camped at Lightning Lake Campground a couple years back on our anniversary but just realized I did not do a complete review. Lightning Lake Campground is one of 5 campgrounds located within E.C. Manning Park. It is by far the most popular campground, making it difficult to get into. We also stayed at Coldspring Campground the same trip and you can find that review by clicking here.
There are two loops in this campground. I would recommend the large loop if you have a choice. We camped here in early September and stayed in site 13. It was a very large level site that had limited trees but because the sites are so spread apart it still felt very private. There are 92 sites in the large loop and they are all generally good. The park is located high in the mountains so the days were warm but the evenings were very chilly. Camping in this park is a hiker’s paradise with endless trails for every level. The park does an amazing job of providing literature on all, including: the trail name, starting point, level, distance, elevation, estimated time, special features and a short trail description. We did the Canyon Nature Trail and part of the Lightning Lakes Chain. Both were very scenic and easy hikes that almost anyone can handle. There are so many trails it is difficult to decide which one to do. If you’re lucky, you will see some wildlife along the way.
After completing your hike you can then enjoy some time at the lake. The campground is located next to stunning Lightning Lake, which is perfect for kayaking, canoeing and, if the weather is warm enough, swimming. They offer boat rentals at the lake for those who want to give it a try. Some trails require a short portage. The park also has several horse and bike trails. If you like the outdoors this is the campground for you.
I am always looking for easy recipes to make while camping. I often find lots of meat recipes but am looking for an option to roasted potatoes. This option would be much higher in calories but my kids would love it and it looks like an easy clean up.
Heat grill to medium-high heat. Toss frozen French fries with melted butter.
Tear off 2 (12-inch) lengths of Heavy Duty Foil to make foil boats. Place half of the fries in a single layer in the center of 1 piece of foil. Loosely fold foil around edges to form a boat, leaving large hole at top to allow steam to escape; repeat with remaining fries and foil.
Place foil packets on grill over indirect heat. Cover grill; cook 20 to 30 minutes, stirring once, until fries are crispy and baked through. Top each packet with grated cheese; cook about 2 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with sliced green onions and bacon bits just before serving.
I have to thank my sister for getting the site. For 3 days she went into work early so that she could be logged onto Discover Camping in order to hit the booking button as soon as the reservation system opened. It was a difficult task but on day 3 she had success and was able to secure a site for 6 nights. Due to the popularity of this park you can only book 7 nights at a time but really it is still near impossible to get a reservation.
We stayed on the north side of the park in site 33. It was a beautiful lake-front site with a small hill that accessed the lake. The site was a good size and easily fit their 24 foot fifth wheel with its 3 feet slide and both our trucks. There were trees on all sides that provided morning and late afternoon shade but mid day your only relief from the 40 degree heat was the lake or an air conditioned winery. I can confirm that both solutions work great.
This Provincial Park does not have hook ups so if you don’t like extreme heat then this is not the park for you. Osoyoos is considered a desert and the high temperatures confirm it. There are no showers here and the toilets are flushing outhouses. I will say the staff did an amazing job keeping all the facilities spotless and the grounds clean. As with all BC Provincial parks generators are allowed twice a day from 9:00 am to 11:00 am and then again from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. We don’t have a generator but that is not to say I am against them, what I am against are people who choose to turn them on outside the assigned hours or who feel they don’t want to listen to the noise and plant them in the bushes closer to their neighbour’s site than there own. I am pleased to report this park staff did a great job of enforcing the generator rules. This made everyone’s stay much more enjoyable because you could predict when the hum of generators would start up.
The main attraction of the park is the lake and its warm temperature. What is even more impressive is the city has a machine that rakes the lakes shores of weeds regularly making swimming that much more enjoyable. There is a lot of boat, seadoo, kayak and paddle board traffic on the lake so people watching from your campsite is a great past time.
One thing to keep in mind when camping at this park is the wind. It comes from both directions and can gust up in minutes. We were sitting in the screen house playing cards one night and with 5 minutes it went from no wind to blowing the screen house over. This is important to keep in mind because the wind can destroy your awning in seconds so it is best to leave it closed unless you are sitting at your campground. We only put up the screen house because the bugs were so bad it was annoying to sit at the table and play cards.
A couple of other things to note about this park is the poison ivy and the rip tide. The park has done its best to post sign near and around the poison ivy and have included a photo to help you recognize it but if I had small children I would be sure to keep then away from the bush. I would also be aware of the rip tide at point. The park has put up signs to warn you but I certainly would avoid campgrounds near this point if I had family that intended to swim.
Here is my advise for this campground
Double site 27/28 is a winner. It has the most trees, is across from the bathroom, is fairly large and is lake front with easy access to the lake.
Site 22/23 would be my second choice but really any lake front site on the north side is very good offering several trees and fairly good privacy
Site 26 is not lake front but is was very well treed and very private. Would be my choice if I could not get lake front
The lake front sites on the south side are not as treed and felt like they would be more impacted by the wind but the south side did have much better beach space between sites.
I would avoid sites 16,17 and 20 due to the undertow at the nearby point.
Site 7, 10 are both very exposed and open
I would also avoid 1,2,3 and sites 37-41. This run along the main access road and are much smaller with very little privacy. You also get the traffic both coming and going so they are a bit busier.
This campground also has RV overflow which run the length of the park access road. There are essentially parallel parking stalls along the road but at least it is a solution if you have no where else to go. You can only stay in these spots for one night.
The weather; you are almost guaranteed dry hot weather
The lake; it is warm and free of weeds.
Flush toilets, if you have to live with pit toilets it is nice they are flushing ones.
Short drive to town where there is lots to do and buy.
Lots of winery and golf choices
Amazing fresh fruit if you visit in the summer.
No showers nor bathrooms with running water
Due to the heat there is a lot of
generator noise as people want to use their Air Conditioners
Limited shade options
Unpredictable high winds makes tarping for shade impossible
Things to do:
Winery’s: Over 40 winery’s in the Oliver/Osoyoos area
Golf: If you can handle the heat there a several courses in the area.
Desert Center: Guided tours to learn about desert ecology, habitat restoration and conservation of endangered ecosystems
Let the count down begin! In less than 24 hours campers across BC will plant themselves in front of computers, anxiously ready to hit ENTER, and crossing their fingers hoping to reserve a campsite at one of BC’s coveted Provincial Campgrounds.
You can only book 3 months in advance so reservations for dates of June 15th and prior are only accepted. In June, if you are able to camp during the weekdays, you should be okay getting a reservation but weekends will book up within minutes. As the calendar moves into July and August any date is near impossible to secure. We have been able to get into most of the popular Provincial Parks at some point over the last 20 years but each year it gets harder and harder.
We are now into our second winter storing our RV and each year we debate whether we should buy an RV cover or not. When we had our tent trailer we did the unthinkable and covered it with a blue camping tarp. I can hear the collective gasp. What might surprise you is we did this for 10 years and not once did our trailer leak. Adding to our inexperience, not once did we (get ready to gasp) reseal our seams or treat our roof. I know shocking!!! Continue reading →