Spotted Lake - A Landscape from Dr Seuss?

Spotted Lake - Okanagan Grasslands, Osoyoos, British Columbia

The Okanagan Highlands is home to a myriad of unique natural phenomena but nothing quite as otherworldly as Spotted Lake. Known to the Syilx People as Khiluk, or the "grandfather of lakes", it is a sacred place for healing and is said to contain 365 coloured spots, one for each day of the year.

The Okanagan Highlands is home to a myriad of unique natural phenomena but nothing quite as otherworldly as Spotted Lake. Known to the Syilx People as Khiluk, or the “grandfather of lakes”, it is a sacred place for healing and is said to contain 365 coloured spots, one for each day of the year.

Scientifically speaking it is a saline endorheic alkali lake. The coloured amoeba-like pools are formed each summer when the lake evaporates, leaving mineral-rich deposits of calcium, magnesium & sodium sulphates, making it one of the most mineralized lakes in the world. Their colours vary according to mineral composition & seasonal precipitation, varying from blue to green to yellow and nearly every shade in between.

The land surrounding the lake is owned by the Okanagan Nation Alliance and is normally closed to the public, both because of its cultural significance and its environmental sensitivity. It can, however, be viewed quite well from a pull-off on Hwy. 3, North-West of Osoyoos. Here's an excerpt from the Statement of the Okanagan Tribal Chiefs on Spotted Lake in 1979... “Since the dawn of history, Spotted Lake or 'Ha? Ki lil xw' as we call it, has been a sacred place. Indians from all tribes came to visit the lake for the medicine the lake contains. The ceremonial cairns, too numerous to count that surround the lake testify to that. Some of these are so ancient they have sunk underground and only their tops remain above ground. Some are buried altogether. There are many stories told by our ancestors about the cures this lake has provided, physically and spiritually through its medicine powers… …Its medicinal powers are not to be taken lightly. This lake is a Chief among lakes, its powers are above the purely physical. It contains 365 circles in various shapes, sizes and depths. Each particular day of the year. Anyone who goes to this lake will find the right circle if he seeks.

Here’s an excerpt from the Statement of the Okanagan Tribal Chiefs on Spotted Lake in 1979…

“Since the dawn of history, Spotted Lake or ‘Ha? Ki lil xw’ as we call it, has been a sacred place. Indians from all tribes came to visit the lake for the medicine the lake contains. The ceremonial cairns, too numerous to count that surround the lake testify to that. Some of these are so ancient they have sunk underground and only their tops remain above ground. Some are buried altogether. There are many stories told by our ancestors about the cures this lake has provided, physically and spiritually through its medicine powers…

…Its medicinal powers are not to be taken lightly. This lake is a Chief among lakes, its powers are above the purely physical. It contains 365 circles in various shapes, sizes and depths. Each particular day of the year. Anyone who goes to this lake will find the right circle if he seeks.

Scientifically speaking it is a saline endorheic alkali lake. The coloured amoeba-like pools are formed each summer when the lake evaporates, leaving mineral-rich deposits of calcium, magnesium & sodium sulphates, making it one of the most mineralized lakes in the world. Their colours vary according to mineral composition & seasonal precipitation, varying from blue to green to yellow and nearly every shade in between.

How to Get There

The land surrounding the lake is owned by the Okanagan Nation Alliance and is normally closed to the public, both because of its cultural significance and its environmental sensitivity. It can, however, be viewed quite well from a pull-off on Hwy. 3, North-West of Osoyoos.

 


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