Khiluk, the Spotted Lake

Spotted Lake, by David Maslen

Spotted Lake, by David Maslen

Near the city of Osoyoos, between the Okanagan and Similkameen Valleys in British Columbia, and close to the US/Canada border, a lake sacred to the Native Americans attracts visitors from all around the world.
The ‘Spotted Lake’ is a saline endorheic alkali lake composed of 365 separate pools of highly concentrated minerals: magnesium sulfate, calcium and sodium sulphates are present in the highest concentrations, alongside twelve other minerals in smaller doses, among which silver and titanium.

During the summers, the heat makes most of the water evaporate, leaving many large circular “puddles” behind: each of them assumes a different shade of blue and green due to the diversities in their mineral composition, while the rims that encircle the puddles are actually made of crystallized magnesium sulphate.

The minerals of this lake have been used to produce ammunition during World War I, while in the 80’s some efforts have been made to turn the lake into an open-air spa.

This lake though, which is known by the Native Americans as Khiluk, has always been a sacred site: its waters and mud have been used by the Indians to heal the wounds and to produce ailments and the many legends of the Spotted Lake are part of the heritage of the inhabitants of the Okanagan Valley.
In the early 2000’s, the First Nations and the Indian Affairs Department managed to make a deal with the owners of the land, eventually allowing the Native Americans to reclaim it.


Center map

Picture credits:
Spotted Lake, by yargy
Spotted Lake 2, by yargy
Spotted Lake 3, by yargy
Spotted Lake, by David Maslen
Spotted Lake, by Dave Meaden
All the above pictures are copyright of their respective owners and are used by permission. Please do not use/copy them without their explicit consent.

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