Photo Fun With Sunflowers

A friend gave us a couple of sunflower plants last spring, and Hubby tucked them into the messy back garden. Although they didn’t have a fantastic showing, I enjoyed seeing their happy faces from the kitchen window.

1

One sunny day, I had some fun photographing them with my Canon ELPH 350’s creative shot option. In this mode, the camera takes three or four successive photos, then displays a brief collage of six random special effects on the viewing screen. I wish the collage could be saved as it’s shown, but it can’t, so I’m not sure why it’s even shown that way. Each photo is saved individually, and occasionally I get a real gem.

The first photo is always taken with a regular setting.

2

The camera will also recompose the shot for added emphasis, squaring or oblonging the frame; sometimes cropping the subject. In this example, it also applied vivid colours.

3

This effect might be called posterizing, which makes the photo resemble an old poster or illustration. It’s my favourite, and I wish I could apply it whenever I choose, but it’s only arbitrarily available in the creative shot option.

4

I’m not sure what this effect is called, but I’m not a fan. The photo looks underexposed.

5

I don’t much care for this effect either, with the blurred edges.

6

This one with vivid colour applied, I like.

7

Perhaps you noticed the ugliest spider, ever, devouring a wasp on that sunflower. I didn’t at first, so I had to remove the offensive creature and start again. The originals aren’t all that awe-inspiring, but here’s a selection of the most and least interesting shots.

Original:

8

Effects I liked:

9 10 11

 

Effects I didn’t care for:

12

Original:

13

Effects I liked:

14

 

Effects I didn’t care for:

15

16 17

Original:

18

Effects I liked:

19 20 21

 

Just okay:

22

Original:

23

Effects I liked:

24 25 26

 

Effects I didn’t care for:

27

Original (rather crappy shot):

28

Effects I liked (the second is my very fav):

29 30

Effects I didn’t care for:

31

Original:

32

Effects I liked:

33

Effects I didn’t care for:

34 35 36

 

Original:

37

Effects I liked:

38 39

Effects I didn’t care for:

40

Original:

41

Effects I liked:

42

Effects I didn’t care for:

43

44

Original:

45

Effects I liked:

46

Just okay:

47

Effects I didn’t care for:

48 49 50

 

An option that the camera uses sometimes, but not in this particular series of photos, is Monochrome. I’m not a black and white fan (colour photos were invented for a reason!), so any monochrome shots automatically get deleted. Usually I dislike more shots than I like – but it’s fun to snap away, in hopes of getting that spectacular one. Of course, beauty’s in the eye of the beholder, so not everyone will agree with my choices.

Besides wishing the collages stayed together for downloading, it’d be nice to choose which effects I wanted to use with each shot. Still, the creative shot, such as it is, is a cool option in a relatively inexpensive pocket camera.

I just have to remember to turn it off after I use it. Slaps forehead!

Mostly Pointless, Often Humorous, Always Entertaining Facts…

I collected these random facts off an old OMG Facts Twitter feed years ago. They’re still a good time waster.

-Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

-Some monks can increase their body temperature so much they can dry soaking sheets in a freezing room!

-If you are an average American you will spend 6 months of your life waiting at a stop light.

-In almost every episode of Seinfeld there is at least one Superman somewhere in the show.

-If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days you would produce enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.

-Our eyes are the same size from birth, but noses and ears never stop growing.

-Albert Einstein never received a Nobel Prize for his theory of relativity.

-Gasoline was once sold in small bottles as a cure for lice.

-On average, people buy 40% more when they shop clockwise!

-President Kennedy was the fastest random speaker in the world with upwards of 350 words per minute.

-Odontophobia is the fear of teeth.

-The 57 on Heinz ketchup bottles represents the number of varieties of pickles the company once had.

-In the average lifetime, a person will walk the equivalent of 5 times around the equator.

-It took Thomas Edison 10,000 attempts to make the lightbulb.

-The most common name in the world is Mohammed.

-Cats sleep 16 to 18 hours per day.

-Karoke means “empty orchestra” in Japanese.

-The most money ever paid for a cow in an auction was $1.3 million.

-On average, blondes take longer to get ready than brunettes!

-When the US hacked Al-Qaeda’s website they replaced content with dessert recipes.

-In ‘Hannah Montana,’ the actor who played her teenage brother was actually 34!

-On average, there are 178 sesame seeds on each McDonalds BigMac bun.

-Children grow faster in the springtime.

-Every human spent about half an hour as a single cell.

-Clans of long ago who wanted to get rid of people without killing them used to burn their houses down-hence the expression “to get fired”.

-“Goodbye” came from “God bye” which came from “God be with you.”

-The plastic things on the end of shoelaces are called aglets.

-7.5 million toothpicks can be created from a cord of wood.

-In New York City, approximately 1,600 people are bitten by other humans every year.

-Lefties people seem to die 6 to 9 years sooner than righties people. No one has a good explanation for why.

 

The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly…An Eight-Book Box Set

Today I turn Monday Musings over to Anita Philmar. Anita and her fellow authors are here to discuss their recently released box set The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly.

What do you get when you mix cowboys with ghosts? A collection of eight (stand-alone) amazing stories from the Old West with haunts of every variety.

Get your love of alpha cowboys on and feed your addiction for the bizarre (and sometimes spooky) world when you download The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly.

AnitaPhilmarPP

McKee’s Ghost by Anita Philmar

His fiancée called off their engagement after be accosted by a ghost in his house.

Now, a beautiful ghost detective has shown up at his ranch, saying his brother has hired her to take care of the unwanted spirit.

Konnor McKee is more than happy with PSI Agent Ruth Oliva Wilson. One look and he was hooked. Now, if he can only get some help from a ghost, he might be able to secure himself a bride after all.

With the return of his ex-fiancee, his life is turn upside down by an angry ghost, a vindictive woman and a sexy medium. Konnor doesn’t know which way to turn.

Can he get everyone out of this alive and marry the PSI Agent?

Or has he lost all hope of a happy future because of the ruthless ghost of one of his ancestors?

McKee’s Ghost Excerpt

The hands he’d dropped to her waist shifted. One drew Ruth deeper into his embrace while the other nudged her chin up with a knuckle until their eyes met. His searing gaze lit a fire, heating her core and arousing every cell in her body.

“No. The gentleman in me heads south whenever you enter the room. All I can think about is getting my hands on you.” Konnor sprayed his palms over her back and tugged her deeper against his chest. “I want you in a way I’ve never wanted a woman before, under me screaming while I make you completely mine.”

She gasped. “But you don’t even know me.”

“You’re wrong. Some instinct inside me knew the moment we met you belong to me. Now, all I need to do is convince you of that fact.” He dropped his mouth over hers. His kisses were gentle and sweet one moment, demanding and urgent the next.

The crisp flavor of the apple he’d just eaten played over her taste buds. Pleasure overruled the sound logic of keeping him at a distance. Instead, she gave into the tempestuous assault to her senses and slid her arms around his neck. Minutes passed. The hunger inside her growing until she couldn’t catch her breath.

He tore his mouth from hers, and she gasped for air. “Please, sweetheart, I’m not a patient man, especially when I’ve waited so long for you. I need—”

“Don’t say it,” she whispered and lowered her head to avoid eye contact. She’d tempted him, let him think if he asked for more, she’d willingly give him whatever he wanted.

Realizing how much she already cared for him, she rebelled against the likelihood of losing her heart to another man. More than once, she’d fallen into the trap of believing a man would love her no matter what.

Every time, she paid with a broken heart. This time, she needed to give him a day or two to come to terms with the true nature of her abilities. Once he saw her in action, he’d change. The desire he felt would wilt until he had no feeling for her at all.

“I’m sorry, but we need to take this slow.” She lowered her hands and pressed them against his chest. “Now, you should tend to your horses.”

Konnor studied her for a long moment before he slowly released his grip. “Make yourself at home. I’ll be back as soon as I’ve finished my nightly chores.”

She nodded, and he turned for the door with a sigh.

The light click of the latch falling into place felt like a shot through her heart. She’d come here determined to do her job and leave. However, Konnor had blindsided her with his charm. She’d broken her new rule of not becoming involved with a client.

Now, she had to figure out a way to keep her heart safe when everything inside her wanted to give in to Konnor’s demands.

Find Anita Philmar at:

Website

Blog

Twitter

Amazon

I’m very excited about a new box set that’s just come out. I wanted to let readers know what I’m working on and share with you what others in the box set have written.

Here is a question that I asked my fellow contributors and their responses.

I understand all the stories in The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly are connected to the P.S.I. Agency in St. Louis. How is your character connected and does he/she have any special paranormal abilities?

Keta Diablo said:

Psychic Specters Investigations = P.S.I. Agency. We decided to connect all the stories in the anthology with a common thread. And we knew we wanted to write about ghosts and cowboys. Thus, the Agency was created and its location would be St. Louis, MO. Some stories might have one of the main characters working for the Agency; others might have a secondary character connected to the Agency.

In my story, Comes An Outlaw, a secondary character worked for P.S.I. before his death. He plays a minor but important part in the story. He doesn’t have special paranormal abilities, but rather held an innate interest in spirits and the afterlife when he walked the earth. As a result of his dealings with ghosts, he’s able to transcend the veil between life and death.

Patty Sherry-Crews said:

My character, Healy Harrison, is an agent for PSI. Unfortunately for Healy she sees dead people. This fact has made her early life hell. She became a social recluse and decided to move to the anonymity of a large city before she ends up becoming the eccentric maiden aunt of the family.

But she has learned how to turn her curse to her advantage, seeing and communicating with ghosts for profit.

Blaire Edens said:

My main male character, Cole Swanson, is a native of St. Louis. He’s an up and coming agent with Tremayne PSI who’s just opened an office in Reno. But he has one big secret: He doesn’t believe in ghosts. Instead of solving cases using paranormal abilities, he relies on logic and deductive reasoning. It’s worked just fine until he picks up a case that has nothing to do with rats in the attic or loose roof tiles and everything to do with ghosts.

My female lead, Annabelle Lawson, dreams of the dead. After she contracted scarlet fever, the dead come to her every night in an attempt to contact the living. On the run from an abusive father, she spots an ad for Tremayne agents and thinks it might be the perfect job for her. All she needs is enough money to get back to her granny in Kentucky and she’ll be safe from her father.

Anita Philmar said:

My character, Ruth Olivia Wilson, R.O.W. is an agent for Tremayne PSI Agency. She is a medium and talks to dead people. She has travel across the country, helping people free themselves of ghost. She knows how painful losing someone can be and wants to make sure bring people here on earth peace but the spirits as well.

Charlene Radddon said:

My hero, Burke Jameson, is an experienced agent for the agency and has had strong instincts regarding spirits and supernatural activity since he was young.

Margo Collins said:

Both my heroine and hero are agents for the Tremayne Agency. Ruby Silver is a former demon-hunter who comes to the agency with a number of paranormal ghost-busting skills—and a lot of baggage. Her newly assigned partner, Trip Austin, doesn’t have any paranormal skills, but he does have a lot of experience helping the living deal with their ghosts (both literal and figurative).

Erin Hayes said:

Hattie Hart was a saloon girl in a rough part of St. Louis who was plagued by seeing ghosts ever since she was little. She was rescued from this life by Nat Tremayne, although she has never met the mysterious leader of the Tremayne PSI Agency. For the past five years, she’s traveled around the country investigating paranormal disturbances, although she has disturbances of her own.

Andrea Downing said:

My agent, Dudley Worksop, comes from the Denver agency.  The PSI agency has done so well in finding ghosts and helping them that they’ve had to open a Denver branch! Dudley is an Englishman with very great powers of communicating with ghosts others may not be able to see and hear.  He is a very precise person, too.  These characteristics seem to run in the family because his descendent, Malcolm Worksop, who appears towards the end of the book, is very similar.

Wow, after reading all of this can’t you see why I’m excited by this box set.

TGTBTGMockup

Wild, Wild Ghost by Margo Bond Collins

With everyone she loves in the grave, Ruby specializes in the dead.

Comes An Outlaw by Keta Diablo

An outlaw returns to his childhood home to find his parents and brother dead, and the lovely widow in grave danger.

Long A Ghost, and Far Away by Andrea Downing

Ghosts are restless souls, and Lizzie Adams is one of them.  How many lives will she get to find the perfect love?

A Ghostly Wager by Blaire Edens

Even a skeptical detective needs a little otherworldly help.

How the Ghost Was Won by Erin Hayes

There are ghost stories. And there are ghost legends.

McKee’s Ghost by Anita Philmar

The ghost living in his house might have saved him from an unhappy marriage and brought him the girl of his dreams but when his ex- fiancé returns, the same spirit turns his life upside down.

A Ride Through Time by Charlene Raddon

P.S.I. Agent Burke Jameson wants to find out if Eagle Gulch, Colorado has genuine ghosts. But he found far more than he expected, including a horse ride that could change his life forever

The Ghost and the Bridegroom by Patti Sherry-Crews

She’s sent west to solve a case. What she finds will change her forever.

* * *

Bestselling and Award-winning authors are pleased to save you more than 75% on this fantastic boxed set! (Price if books sold separately)

The Good, The Bad and The Ghostly Buy Link

Iris Blobel Introduces New Beginnings

Monday Musings is back from summer hiatus, and is pleased to host fellow author, Iris Blobel, as she talks about her latest book, New Beginnings.

image001

Welcome, Iris. It’s lovely to have you. Please tell us about yourself.

Iris Blobel 2013

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London, as well as Canada where she met her husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only emerged recently, but now her laptop is a constant companion.

Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her two beautiful daughters.

Next to her job at a private school, she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

Australia’s on my very long travel list, and I hope to make it there one day. Do you live in a city or small town, and what places do you most like to visit?

We live in a small place about 100 km west of Melbourne. I’m very blessed to have a husband who likes to travel just as much as I do, so we travel often with our two girls … and there are so many beautiful places still to visit.

Hubby and I love travelling too – if only we had more time and money! What’s your favorite season? Why?

I used to like summer, but it’s become a season of extremes – either extremely hot or cold. So I’m settling for spring and autumn. Both seasons are beautiful as the scenery around changes. I love it.

Spring and fall are my best seasons, as well. What’s your favorite genre to read? Is this also the genre you write?

I love crime / mystery stories, but, no, my books are romance stories. I wish I’d be able to write crime, but the few attempts have failed miserably. J

I’m with you there. Love to read mysteries, would be horrible at writing them. Do you have a favorite writing place or writing rituals?

No – I write when I have time and when I feel like it. I need to be in the mood for spending time with my characters. They’re demanding and always want to head into a different direction … I need a lot of patience for that J

Patience is a writer’s best friend, at least that’s what I’ve been told. What advice would you offer aspiring writers?

Never give up and never take short cuts. Your time to shine will come soon.

Wise words, indeed. When did you first become published?

In 2011 – didn’t you hear my scream of delight ??

Oh, that’s what that joyful sound was! I wondered. How many books have you written? Do you have a favorite?

I think I’ve written about 15 now, with approximately 12 or so published. A favourite one? Hard to tell. It’s a bit like with children, they’re all different, but you love them each as they are. I do have to say, I can’t wait, though, for my next story to be published. I love the characters and the setting.

Fifteen! Well done. And well said, too. I feel the same about my kids and my books. What comes first, plot or characters?

Depends – often I have a place in mind where I’d like the story to be, but then I have a character I’d like to write a story around, usually a “spin off”.

Where do you get the inspiration for your stories?

Life … but most of my ideas come to me when we travel … and we travel a bit fortunately. It’s interesting to watch people when they’re out of their daily routine. That’s when my mind starts to wonder and wander…

Oh, I do the same – spinning little stories about random people I see. Such fun! Is it difficult or easy for you to come up with titles and character names?

Titles are very tricky. We know we “judge a book by its cover”, but at the same time we judge a book by its title as well. I’m terrible when it comes to titles. My girls have helped me often.

Lucky for you to have the input. That’s a chore I struggle through by myself. What’s the best thing about being a writer? What do you like the least?

I love writing and as I always say, I love bringing couples together. I know it sounds corny, but with so much violence in the world, I love hiding away to write my little romance book. And to know that there are a few readers who love reading my story makes me incredibly happy.

What I don’t like … the promotion of it L

Not corny, but a sweet and lovely notion. Don’t get me started on the bane of promotion. Ugh! Tell us about New Beginnings?

3D New Beginnings 2016

Twenty-two-year-old Sophie Levesque has been guardian to her eight-year-old sister Mia since their mother’s death a few years ago, and it hasn’t been easy. Luck comes their way when they inherit a small house in Hobart. Problem is, though, they don’t know and have never heard of Clara Bellinger, the testator. Settling into their new life, Sophie is still afraid it’s all a mistake.

Mark O’Connor, attorney in Hobart and the bearer of the good news for Sophie and Mia, curses himself for the lack of information about the testator. However, researching the questions gives him an opportunity to see Sophie again, and the more time he spends with the two, the more he realises that his life is missing something. And it’s not his casual lover Linda.

But then there’s Zach, Sophie’s sexy neighbour from across the road… and a very good friend of Clara’s.

Will unravelling the mystery unravel Sophie and Mark’s promise of a future?

Intriguing! We’d love to read an excerpt.

Sophie Levesque stared at the attorney in front of her, waiting for some answers. She and her little sister, Mia, had been quietly sitting in Mr. O’Connor’s office for more than half an hour, learning about the details of their inheritance.

Once he was finished, silence hung in the air before she asked with raised eyebrows. “Who?”

“Clara Catherine Bellinger.”

Mia leaned closer to her elder sister and gave a soft tug on Sophie’s shirt. “Who is she?”

Sophie shrugged. “I wouldn’t have a clue.” Then turned her attention back on Mr. O’Connor and asked the same thing. “Who is she?”

The handsome attorney on the other side of the massive desk leaned forward and rested his elbows on it before he started to repeat his earlier speech. Although hearing his words, Sophie still found it all very hard to comprehend. Here she was in this old office, furnished with heavy antique oak furniture, the curtains in a pretty shade of aubergine, and the carpet beneath her shoes thick and warm in a matching shade, hearing about an inheritance from someone she’d never even heard of.

Startled by the subtle sound of the clock chiming across the road, Sophie’s gaze turned to the window, where she saw the post office building across the road. It looked impressive and old. It’d been only a few hours since they’d arrived in Hobart, the most southern capital in Australia, but she already liked it. A lot more than Sydney, the place she’d lived all her life.

Hauled back from her thoughts, she heard Mr. O’Connor say, “I believe she was a distant relative of yours. I’m afraid I don’t have any further details.”

Sophie arched an eyebrow in disbelief, doubting the accuracy of it all. Not only did she try not to question his competence as a lawyer, but she also hoped it wasn’t a dreadful misunderstanding.

With a slight shrug of her shoulder, she asked, “Why not?”

He met her gaze steadily. “Pardon me?”

Sitting up straight, she repeated, “Why not? Why aren’t there any further details?”

He rubbed his chin with his fingers, his unease now obvious, and although she almost felt sorry for him, she tried not to care. She needed to know more. And not just the what, but why and who as well.

Only a week earlier, Sophie had received the call from Mr. O’Connor telling her about an inheritance. Initially, she’d thought it had been a horrible joke when he’d given her details on where to pick up airplane tickets to Hobart. It was important for her to come, he’d explained. Some legality she hadn’t understood. Something about her having to sign documents for the transfer of ownership of some assets. It’d sounded too farfetched at the start, but after some research on the firm with the help of a friend, it sounded valid, and she’d hoped her life was finally turning around for the better.

Sounds like you have a bit of a mystery writer in you, after all! Is this a stand-alone story or part of a series?

This is the first book of the BEGINNINGS series. The rights were returned to me earlier this year and it has received another full edit … and has become a little sexier.

Is the setting fictional or based on a real place?
The story is set in Hobart, the capital of Tasmania. I went there a few years ago and knew I had to write a book set in this beautiful place.

What can we expect from you next? Are you working on anything new?

I’m currently revising my very first book “Sweet Dreams, Miss England” which I hope I’ll get uploaded late September. Then I’d like to finish my book “Fly with Me” which is partly set in Melbourne and New Zealand. I’m very excited about this story.

Lovely. Where can we find you and your books on the internet? Please share your links with us.

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

AMAZON AU

Click here to subscribe to Iris’ Newsletter

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Instagram

Thanks for joining us today, Iris. Best of luck with New Beginnings and all your future writing endeavors.

Sunday Funday Wrap-up

On a Sunday Funday in the middle of July, Hubby and I set out to explore Kathleen Lake. Access to the trail is off Knox Mountain Road, and we intended to drive to the top of Knox Mountain, then walk the short distance down the road to the trailhead. What we didn’t know is that on Sundays the road is closed to vehicle traffic until noon. So we hiked up the Apex Trail to the first lookout, then took the road up.

An elevation change of eighty metres is listed on the entrance sign, and we found the trail easy, without any real steep sections.

1 Kathleen Lake Trail 2 Kathleen Lake Trail

We got a peek or two at Kathleen Lake along the first part of the trail.

3. Kathleen Lake Trail

As we climbed higher, the small lake came into view.

4 Kathleen Lake Trail

At that point, we branched off onto the Glenmore Ridge Trail. It appears to have been an old service road and vehicle tracks serve as the trail, which is lined with a multitude of Inuksuk.

6. Glenmore Ridge Trail 7. Glenmore Ridge Trail

Some of the Inuksuk are quite large and elaborate.

8. Glenmore Ridge Trail 9. Glenmore Ridge Trail

I found this little notebook inside an Inuksuk and wrote a short greeting in it. What a lovely idea.

10. Glenmore Ridge Trail

Our lunchbreak view of Dilworth Mountain and the Glenmore Valley. Even a glimpse of the lake in the opposite direction.

11 View from Glenmore Ridge Trail

5 Glenmore Ridge Trail

Hello up there.

12 Glenmore Ridge Trail

Back on the Kathleen Lake Trail, we followed another old service road. Very unusual to see green foliage in the middle of July. There’s usually little green to be seen midsummer in the Okanagan.

13 Kathleen Lake Trail 15 Kathleen Lake Trail 21 Kathleen Lake Trail

The upper lookout on Knox Mountain is visible in the centre top of this photo.

14 Kathleen Lake Trail

Kathleen Lake from a better vantage point.

16 Kathleen Lake Trail

Such a look of concentration on my face as I inch my way down the precipitous slope to the lake. After my tumbles on Okanagan Mountain, I’ve grown a tad cautious going downhill.

17 Kathleen Lake Trail

The small lake was lush and green and peaceful. Well worth the trudge down and back up the steep incline.

18 Kathleen Lake Trail

Way back when Hubby and I were first together, I once explained to him while on a road trip that I was so blind, I couldn’t tell a bear from a stump. Over the years, he’s teased me many times: “Look, there’s a bear!…No, it’s just a stump.”

Maybe this time, I’m right. Look – there’s a bear! (Dead centre)

19 Look, there's a bear, Kathleen Lake Trail

Oh, no…it’s just a stump.

20 No, it's only a stump, Kathleen Lake Trail

Well, it could’ve been a bear. We were definitely in bear country. And although we didn’t come across any actual bears, I finally got my first deer sighting on Knox Mountain.

22 My 1st deer sighting on Knox Mtn

The following Sunday, we hiked up to the Rose Valley Reservoir on the Westside, one of my most and least liked hikes of the season. I loved how well-marked this regional park’s trails are. There’s even a clean porta-potty at the trailhead.

We started off on the Bunchgrass Trail, a short .6 kms and rated moderate.

23 Bunchgrass Trail, Rose Valley Regional Park

Bunchgrass meets up with Yellow Bell Loop, which is 3.1 kms and also rated moderate. A small pond borders the start of the trail.

24 Yellow Bell Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Tiny, tantalizing peeks of the lake promised better views to come.

25 Yellow Bell Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park 26- Yellow Bell Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Benches are placed at viewpoints along the trails, offering a chance for a breather and to take in the beauty.

27. Yellow Bell Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Kelowna waterfront and Dilworth Mountain in foreground.

28 Kelowna waterfront & Dilworth Mtn

WR Bennett Bridge and Kelowna city

29 Okanagan Lake from Rose Valley Regional Park

Knox Mountain (where we were the prior weekend)

30 Knox Mtn

Okanagan Lake, looking north

31 Knox Mtn & looking north

Mere steps further were views of Okanagan Lake from the Westside.

33 Okanagan Lake & Westside

City of West Kelowna, with Mount Boucherie (I’ve climbed that!) to the right and Okanagan Mountain (I’ve climbed that too!) across the lake.

34 Westside & Mount Boucherie

The Forest Loop branches off from Yellow Bell. This is an easy 2 km trail.

35 Forest Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park 36 Forest Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Next comes Bitterroot Loop, 2.8 kms and probably the most challenging and definitely the most interesting. The trail circles the top of the mountain, and at times is barely discernible, as the following photos attest.

37. Barely discernible trail, Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park 38. Barely discernible trail, Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park 39. Barely discernible trail, Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

We took a break on this rock to soak in the view.

40. Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Close-up of Kelowna waterfront and Okanagan Lake.

43 Kelowna waterfront & Okanagan Lake

WR Bennett Bridge and Kelowna General Hospital.

42. WR Bennett Bridge & KGH

Vista view lunchbreak.

44 Lunchtime, Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Off we go again.

46 Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Rose Valley Summit, Bitterroot Loop.

48 Summit, Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Great view looking north from the summit.

49 Summit, Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

Rose Valley Reservoir, a lovely oasis of water on the top of a mountain.

51 Rose Valley Reservoir 52 Rose Valley Reservoir 53 Rose Valley Reservoir

Another bench for our viewing and relaxing pleasure.

54 Rose Valley Reservoir

I made myself a little dizzy, going out on this bluff to check how steeply the trail drops off.

55. Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

It’s steep.

56 Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

The reason I’d earlier said this hike was one of my least favourite is because, although there aren’t any steep inclines, the entire hike is steadily uphill, with few flat sections. That wasn’t a problem, but steadily uphill also means steadily downhill. Not only have I grown leery of descents, they’re extremely hard on my feet. By the time we reached the bottom, my Morton’s Neuroma was screaming, making every step an agony, and my two big toenails had partially lifted from their beds – owie painful.

57 Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park 58 Bitterroot Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park 59 Yellow Bell Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

We took advantage of the last bench on the trail to rest my feet and enjoy one final view of the lake. Total distance walked, about nine and three-quarter’s kms. And yeah, I’d do it again, with different footwear.

60 Last viewpoint, Yellow Bell Loop, Rose Valley Regional Park

We had company on our last Sunday Funday in July. My eldest son and his family came to visit from Alberta, making this Grammy very happy. We spent a gloriously sunny evening at Waterfront Park.

61 Waterfront park 62. Waterfront park 65 Waterfront park 66 Waterfront park

Even the dogs came along. And we won’t mention that Sukie, the lab, fell into the lagoon when she went for a drink.😉

63 Waterfront park 64 Waterfront park

Fantastic panoramic shot my daughter-in-law took.

67 Waterfront park

And that’s a wrap-up of our Sunday Fundays…at least for now.

Not All Sundays, But Certainly All Fundays

On the last day of June, Hubby and I took advantage of one of those two for one deals to take a trip to the Kamloops Wildlife Park.

We left early that morning, and the two-hour drive was lovely in the sunshine. Needless to say, we immediately got lost in Kamloops. In fact, I can’t remember a time when we haven’t gotten lost in that small city.

We arrived at the park in time for the grizzly bear feeding. I envisioned them tearing away at chunks of raw meat, but reality is far different. Staff actually hide the food – salmon, berries, veggies – all over the enclosure, and then release the bears to hunt for it, much as they do in the wilderness.

1 Grizzlies, Kamloops Wildlife Park 2 Grizzlies, Kamloops Wildlife Park 3 Grizzlies, Kamloops Wildlife Park

 

The Birds of Prey Exhibit holds many winged hunters, including this great grey owl.

4 Great Grey Owl, Kamloops Wildlife Park

A red-tailed hawk.

5 Red tailed hawk, Kamloops Wildlife Park

The bald eagles and golden eagles share the same enclosure, but they’re not real chummy. When a golden eagle invaded the bald eagles’ side for a drink of water, a noisy ruckus ensued.

8 Golden Eagles, Kamloops Wildlife Park

6 Bald Eagle, Kamloops Wildlife Park 9 Golden Eagle, Kamloops Wildlife Park

7 Bald Eagle, Kamloops Wildlife Park

I obviously don’t measure up well with a bald eagle.

10 Kamloops Wildlife Park

The Bactrian Camels were snoozy in the sunshine.

11 Bactrian Camel, Kamloops Wildlife Park 12 Bactrian Camels, Kamloops Wildlife Park

The Llama was snoozy in the shade.

12a Llama, Kamloops Wildlife Park

Snoozy seemed to be the theme of the day.

We tried twice to find the elusive Kermode Bear, but the closest we got to seeing him with through the camera’s zoom.

14 Kermode Bear, Kamloops Wildlife Park

Bighorn sheep

13 Bighorn sheep, Kamloops Wildlife Park

Rocky Mountain Elk

15 Rocky Mtn Elk, Kamloops Wildlife Park 16 Rocky Mtn Elk, Kamloops Wildlife Park

The cougars and lynx were disappointing no-shows, and we only caught a glimpse of a moose lying down.

24 Moose, Kamloops Wildlife Park

The two grey wolves reminded me of large dogs. What handsome creatures.

17 Grey wolf, Kamloops Wildlife Park 18 Grey wolf, Kamloops Wildlife Park

A park employee roused the black bears with the promise of snacks. The female woke up first and headed to the pond in search of apples.

19 Black bears, Kamloops Wildlife Park 20 Black bears, Kamloops Wildlife Park

When the larger male arrived, the female backed away.

21 Black bears, Kamloops Wildlife Park 22 Black bears, Kamloops Wildlife Park

My first close encounter with a coyote. Kinda cute.

23 Coyote, Kamloops Wildlife Park

The peacock was strutting its stuff, as peacocks tend to do.

25 Kamloops Wildlife Park

I flushed this little marmot out from under a cart and he rushed to ‘hide’ in the corner, keeping an eye on me through the reflective window. Clever fellow.

26 Marmot, Kamloops Wildlife Park

Our three-hour visit ended in the discovery centre, where this adorable little burrowing owl lives.

27 Burrowing Owl, Kamloops Wildlife Park

We took Roxy to Kelowna’s Waterfront Park the next day for Canada Day festivities. And mini-donuts!

28 Canada Day 28a

I was thrilled to get a glimpse of the baby osprey, and even more pleased that my crappy little camera sort of captured a shot of one.

29 Ospreys, Rotary Marsh 30 Ospreys, Rotary Marsh

The first Sunday Funday in July was especially fun because our daughter-in-law and Daisy joined us for a hike up the Boucherie Rush Trail. Mount Boucherie, the nub of an ancient volcano, is on the west side of Okanagan Lake, and this was our first time exploring it.

31 Mount Boucherie Rush Trail

At approximately seven kms, roundtrip, and with an elevation change of 274 metres, the Boucherie Rush is almost twice as long as Knox’s Apex Trail with a similar change in elevation. I prefer the leisurely switchbacks over Apex’s steeper route.

34 Mount Boucherie Rush Trail

Daisy loves to lead the way.

32 Daisy, Mount Boucherie Rush Trail

Impressive lake views were plentiful.

33 Mount Boucherie Rush Trail 46 Mount Boucherie Rush Trail

Volcanic rock lined the trail, a reminder of this mountain’s origins.

37 Mount Boucherie Rush Trail 44 Mount Boucherie Rush Trail 45 Mount Boucherie Rush Trail

 

Refreshment break

36 Daisy getting a drink, Mount Boucherie Rush Trail

Shannon Lake

38 Mount Boucherie Rush Trail

Okanagan Lake, looking northward

39. Mount Boucherie Rush Trail

Summit of Rush Trail, looking east and south. It was cool to view Okanagan Mountain, where we’d hiked the week prior, from across the lake.

40 Mount Boucherie Rush Summitt 41 Mount Boucherie Rush Summitt

Daisy posed for this picture all by herself. So adorable.

42 Mount Boucherie Rush Trail

Going down was as easy as going up.

43 Mount Boucherie Rush Trail

Yes, I shared lick or two of my cone afterward.

47 Daisy enjoying an ice cream cone

We set off the next Sunday in search of great lake views, choosing to explore Stephen Coyote Ridge. This area, located not far from the landfill in Glenmore, is classified as a conservation park and has no marked trails, which made me a little nervous. Not wanting to end up as a rescue story on the Five O’Clock News, Hubby left the occasional blue breadcrumb to mark our way.

51 Stephens Coyote Ridge

With no clear directions, we wandered here and there, and here again, enjoying the peacefulness and variety of trails, but never did stumble across any lake views.

48 Stephens Coyote Ridge 52 Stephens Coyote Ridge 53 Stephens Coyote Ridge 55 Stephens Coyote Ridge 56 Stephens Coyote Ridge 57 Stephens Coyote Ridge

 

When thunder rumbled overhead and the sky began to darken, we headed back to the car.

58 Storm clouds coming, Stephens Coyote Ridge

On the way home, we happened across a road sign for Robert Lake Regional Park and decided on a detour to check it out. An incredibly picturesque spot, Robert Lake is a salt flat and home to several species of birds.

59. Robert Lake Reg Park 60 Robert Lake Reg Park

We saw a few ducks and lots of Canada Geese.

61 Robert Lake Reg Park 62 Robert Lake Reg Park 63 Geese, Robert Lake Reg Park 64 Geese, Robert Lake Reg Park

 

I thought these little guys were sandpipers, but they’re called Wilson’s Phalarope. Cute, anyway.

66 Wilson's Phalarope, Robert Lake Reg Park 67 Wilson's Phalarope, Robert Lake Reg Park 68 Wilson's Phalarope, Robert Lake Reg Park

 

Summer’s flying by, but stay tuned for more Sunday Fundays in the coming weeks.

Discovering a Turtle Sanctuary and Reaching Majestic Heights…

Hubby and I had never been to Kelowna’s Wilden area before, so on a comfortably cool and sunny Sunday Funday in June we took our grandpuppy, Daisy, to check it out. Not certain where to go, we happened across the Hidden Lake trail. What an unexpected delight!

1 Hidden Lake 3 Hidden Lake

The trail follows Hidden Lake to Still Pond.

6 Still Pond 7 Still Pond

Look close. A log absolutely covered with turtles!

3a Still Pond 4 Still Pond

In fact, turtles were sunning themselves on every available log and rock. I’ve never seen so many turtles in one place.

5 Still Pond 5a Still Pond

We took a path up from Still Pond, hoping for a viewpoint, but it led back into the community.

8 Still Pond

Besides the turtles, the two ponds are teeming with feathered friends.

Yellow headed blackbird

2 Hidden Lake

American Coot and babies

9 Hidden Lake

This colourful guy is a Ruddy Duck

9a Still Pond

As we were leaving Hidden Lake, I spotted another log, loaded with even more turtles. Wow!

10 Hidden Lake

Back at the car, Daisy lapped up a refreshing drink of water.

11 Thirsty Daisy

We then investigated another trail, eventually ending up above Blair Pond.

12 Blair Pond

The steep path didn’t bother Hubby (or Daisy) but I had to carefully pick my way down.

13 Wilden 14 Wilden

We’d set out in search of stellar views, and instead found some enchanting ones. The stellar views came a week later…

On the last Sunday Funday in June, we tackled Okanagan Mountain. Boulder Trail started out easy enough, with plenty of beautiful vistas.

15. Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park 16. Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park 17. Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

 

Soon, the trail became both steep and eroded.

18 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

Okanagan Mountain Park stretches along the east side of Okanagan Lake, between Naramata and Kelowna. In 2003, a ferocious wildfire roared through the park, leaving utter devastation in its path, destroying 238 homes in Kelowna, along with twelve historic trestles in Myra Canyon. Thirteen years later, the aftermath of that brutal fire still remains.

DCIM999GOPRO

DCIM999GOPRO

20 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain ParkAfter climbing a short distance, we descended into the Deeper Creek ravine.

21 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park 22 Bridge over Deeper Creek, Okanagan Mountain Park

Deeper Creek was actually not very deep.

23 Deeper Creek, Okanagan Mountain Park 24 Deeper Creek, Okanagan Mountain Park

The most challenging section of Boulder Trail ascends the ravine on the other side of Deeper Creek. We climbed straight up for half a kilometre. The entire time, I kept thinking about negotiating my way back down again. Yikes!

25 Steep trail bordering ravine, Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

A scenic spot to catch our breath and have a snack.

26 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park 27 Stopping for lunch, Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

The incredible views kept getting better.

28 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

More stark evidence of the ‘03 wildfire.

29. Burnt trees from 2003 fire, Okanagan Mountain Park 30 Burnt trees from 2003 fire, Okanagan Mountain Park

Slow but sure signs of regrowth.

31 Seedling amongst burnt trees from 2003 fire, Okanagan Mountain Park

As we hiked by a house-sized boulder, I mused that if our adventurous middle son was here, he’d want to climb that rock to see what he could see. Moments later, we were scaling that massive beast and this is what we saw!

33 Okanagan Lake from Okanagan Mountain Park

The trail grew steep again as we cleared the junction with CN Trail and neared the viewpoint.

34 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

Almost there!

35 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

Best seats in the house for lunch.

37 Lunch at Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park 38 Lunch at Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park

Heading down to marvel at the panoramic lake views.

39 Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park

Looking northwest, Gellatly area and Mount Boucherie on the left, Knox Mountain and city of Kelowna on the right.

40 Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park

West Kelowna (Westbank)

41 Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park

Southwest, toward Peachland

41a Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park

Soaking it all in and feeling quite accomplished.

42 Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park

Didn’t feel quite as accomplished as I hunted for the rock I’d set my poles and bag on.

43 Looking for my trekking poles, Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park

Found them!

44 Found my trekking poles, Boulder Trail viewpoint, Okanagan Mountain Park

Back down, we went.

45 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

Descending the steep trail bordering Deeper Creek ravine was as difficult as I’d feared. I fell a time or two, luckily escaping with only a few scrapes and bruises. Without my surefooted hubby’s helping hand, I might’ve been in worse trouble, especially when a tumble off the path could result in a fall down a deep ravine. Note to self: buy footwear with more aggressive tread.

46 Boulder Trail, Okanagan Mountain Park

At approximately seven kilometres, round-trip, and an elevation sharply rising 300 metres, Boulder Trail was a challenging, exhilarating hike, and I’m so glad I experienced it.

That hike may have been the pinnacle of our Sunday Fundays, but there are plenty more to come…