Category - Travel Diary

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The senses tour – part four – Penticton to Osoyoos
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The senses tour – part three – Naramata to Penticton
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Close your eyes and bite down
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The senses tour – part two – Kelowna to Naramata
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The senses tour – part one – Hello Kelowna

The senses tour – part four – Penticton to Osoyoos

Penticton to Kaleden to Okanagan Falls: all trail, all lovelyimg_1588

As I prepared to shove off from the west side of Skaha beach, I was delighted to run into the much rumoured Gorgeous Georgia’s ice cream bike. It had proved to be elusive, though I’d had my eyes peeled since arriving in Penticton.

I am a food img_1595zealot. My holy grail is artfully delicious, local, seasonal and organically grown. With a shift away from cow’s milk, proclivities like ice cream can be a challenge. Luckily, it’s a rising trend to focus on natural yummies with a wider variety of fresh ingredients than yesteryear.

To kick off the southern leg of the tour, I treated myself to a natural, fresh fruit blueberry-peach popsicle.

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The senses tour – part three – Naramata to Penticton

Wikipedia defines sensate focusing as “a set of specific sexual exercises…with an emphasis on mindful touching…that lead to a whole new set of sensual possibilities.”

[OMG she’s talking about sex again. Relax, it’s okay, I know what I’m doing.] Mindful touching – without thinking about goals – expands what’s possible in the sense experience. Masters & Johnson said so.

This leg of the trip is sexy as hell. I didn’t hold back or think too much or let goals cloud my senses. This definition of sensate focusing is perfect for anything we do with our mouths, eyes, noses and fingers. If I think I know what a muscat wine is going to taste like, I will absolutely miss something. No predetermination. Beginner mind. Buddhists make good wine-tasters. Except we’re not really supposed to take alcohol. Whatever.

[Speaking of which, the Muscat Ottonel at Summer Gate Winery is off the hook.]img_1641

Starting in Naramata, there was a bit of a noisy surprise: wild peacocks and peahens (I never heard the word peahens before, have you?). They are just kind of hangin’ out about the town. This one was scratching up a flower box and cared not at all about my approach. Historically, there has been a community battle about getting rid of them vs. leaving them alone. Occasionally, you can see vehicles with massive stuffed animals attached to the hood or roof. This, apparently, keeps the birds from landing on the vehicles scratching the holy hell out of them.

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Close your eyes and bite down

A fresh-picked, tree-ripened nectarine, cold on a hot day, will make you feel that all is right with the world.

Close your eyes. If you decrease the dominating visual neurons (some researchers put sight at 83% of sense input), you can increase your perceptual range of taste, aroma and touch.

Bringing yourself into deep awareness of the senses is a break from the skittish, tiring human mind. It’s a small act of meditation. A small reminder that what’s real is the present moment, not your thoughts. And it feeeels gooooood.

The senses tour – part two – Kelowna to Naramata

First, Myra Canyon

The trestle bridges are pretty as a picture, the views are stunning and the trail is just fine for touring bikes. There were occasional challenges with sand and minor fish-tailing. No biggie. The grade was almost entirely a gentle downhill – all the way to Naramata, as a matter of fact.

The dark tunnels feel a little adventurous. For a moment, I thought I was entering the Lonely Mountain from The Hobbit. No gold, wah. But then, no Smaug, either

Quite a number of people were out on bikes and legs. With a wide pannier load, it was necessary to dismount on all the bridges.

There was brief but exciting moment when I passed a boulder spray painted with “Michaela [backwards ampersand] Adam was imagehere”. Exciting because even common, ubiquitous nasty grammar will inspire some creative cussing on my part. But nasty grammar spray painted across nature’s pretty self? WTF, Michaela and Adam?? I wish I had caught them in the act so I could scrawl “Cathrine were here” across their dumbass backs.

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The senses tour – part one – Hello Kelowna

IMG_0866Why Okanagan Valley?

Today begins The Senses Tour. Okanagan Valley, British Columbia, Canada, from Kelowna to Osoyoos. This ride is about sense pleasure. Not hedonism; don’t get me wrong. It’s about deep, meditative sense-joy to feel richly alive.

As a student of Vipassana meditation, which develops body awareness, I know the satisfaction of being deeply aware of every inch of my body. It’s grounding, it’s delicious. This trip, I commit to taste, smell, feel, hear and see with rapt attention.Therefore OKANAGAN! This place is a sultry, beachy heaven of orchards, market gardens, wineries, distilleries and artisan producers of every kind. There are ample trails and beautiful views.

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