The usual desert image
During our stay in the Okanagan our friends took us to the Desert Centre, Osoyoos in the South Okanagan valley. Much of the area in the valley was desert. But due to agricultural development, growth of wine production and a large influx of people choosing the valley as home, most of the unique desert has been lost. “The Osoyoos Desert Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of the endangered antelope-brush ecosystem” (from the Desert Centre brochure. The result is a beautiful oasis of desert (sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it).
The desert is an abundance of life – flora and fauna, reptile and insect, it’s a wonderland.
The natural valley landscape
The centre has a small but interesting natural history museum that is worth visiting before setting out on the trail. The centre offers daily interpreter led tours. We arrived after the last tour of the day but enjoyed strolling at our own pace. We were guided by the interpretive map and the numbered exhibit markers.
The society has built a boardwalk to protect the fragile biotic crust
The biotic crust is made up of around 27 different species – it resembles moss, and turns bright green or brown when water is sprinkled on its surface. “It retains moisture for plants, transfers nutrients into the soil below, and allows bunchgrass seeds to hold on to the ground for germination.” (Desert Centre brochure).
Susan and our friends Anne and Allan head out on the boardwalk
It was very warm for early June – in the mid thirties Celsius. Bring your hat and water.
So delicate, in such a harsh environment
These beautiful plants were widely distributed in the area, but too far from the boardwalk to get a great hand-held shot
Flora is even more striking when discovered in the otherwise monochrome desert
Shrubs in bloom
More striking blossoms
and floral surprises
and floral displays
Just one more of my purple friends
One more for the road
Anytime you are in the South Okanagan, take the time to visit the Desert Centre Osoyoos.