Known as Spotted Lake , Kliluk Lake or Spotted Lake, this body of water is undoubtedly a true natural wonder unique in the world. We are talking about a fascinating place that resembles the multicolored palette of an artist, but that changes as if it were alive.
The irregularity of the geography of this lake leads us to think that it is a scene taken from a fairy tale or that we are facing an extraterrestrial landscape. Likewise, its extraordinary beauty leads to it being visited by tourists from all latitudes, but with certain restrictions.
At present it is an indigenous reserve with a sacred and ecological connotation, but in the past it fulfilled a curative function for its first settlers. During the First World War, the lake played a leading role for the British Empire.
Characterization of the stained lake
The Spotted Lake is located on the northeast side of the city of Osoyoos, which is part of the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, Canada. It is a lake characterized by being alkaline, due to its high concentrations of salt.
These salts are structured in the form of magnesium, calcium and sodium sulfates. Additionally, the lake has another series of minerals, among which titanium and silver stand out.
From a geographical point of view, the stained lake is located in what is called the endorheic basin, that is, a depression that does not have a river outlet in the direction of the sea. This implies that the contained water remains there and can only reduce its level by evaporation or infiltration.
Training and environment
In general, lakes are formed from topographic depressions generated by various geological processes; the most common is the shifting of tectonic plates. The water in a lake can come from rivers, groundwater, or rainfall.
In the case of the stained lake, the contained water comes exclusively from the rains. This is the reason why the lake eventually becomes completely dry during the summer season, as a consequence of the evaporation of the liquid.
This condition is enhanced because the lake is located in a desert region, which ultimately determines that, in the absence of water, an immense salt flat will emerge. This factor contributes to the existence of a scarce population of fauna and flora in the area.
The stained lake is listed as the most mineralized body of water on the entire planet. During the summer, it can give rise to more than 360 colorful wells with white edges, where it is possible to walk to explore the area on foot.
The magic of the stained lake
Although during the spring and fall seasons the lake looks like any other, it is during the summer that the magic of the stained lake becomes apparent. This is explained as a function of the gradual evaporation of the water mirror that is there.
As the level of the liquid decreases, circular shapes similar to wells appear and begin to color. This is due to the variation in the concentrations of salts and minerals present, which intensify as the water disappears.
This is a simply spectacular phenomenon that allows you to witness different shades of blue, yellow and pink, among many other shades. In addition, it represents an overwhelming experience that changes depending on the time of day and the amount of water available.
The cultural contrast
Originally in the region occupied by the Stained Lake and its surroundings, the Okanagan Syilx people lived more than 3000 years ago. For this culture, the lake always represented a sacred place.
It was also the pharmacy from where they obtained medicines to treat their illnesses, which they also supplemented with therapeutic baths. The lake was so important that even during the warlike confrontations with other ethnic groups the opponents agreed to truces to access the place and thus be able to heal their wounded.
With the invasion of the British Empire, the Okanagan Syilx population was decimated and their territory was turned into a large mining operation. Workers of Chinese origin were recruited and transported there by the British themselves. Thousands and thousands of tons of minerals were extracted from this industry to be commercialized.
On the other hand, minerals played a leading role during the First World War. At that stage, they were used by the British for the manufacture of ammunition during this heinous confrontation.
A paradoxical context
Only until 1979, the Okanagan Syilx people , in alliance with other ethnic groups, were finally able to recover a 22-hectare territory that had been their property. He bought it from the very people who had appropriated his land.
Probably, the announcement that a spa would be built in this place served as a trigger for the community to mobilize. Basically, they wanted the recovery of this sacred territory.
Finally, it is at this point where today the stained lake is found as an indigenous reserve. This territory is fenced off with a fence, which acts as a naive barrier to protect it from the outside.
Even so, it is possible to observe the colorful lake from the road or fence and enjoy the miracles that nature has to show. To access its interior, it is necessary to request a special permit from the community, which is only granted in few exceptions.