About Joyce Holmes

Joyce Holmes lives with her husband in the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia. Photography and blogging about her travels are two of her passions, along with visiting her kids and grandkids. When she's not dreaming up stories in her head or planning her next great adventure, she’s off enjoying the great outdoors.

Cityscapes From Vancouver’s Lee Building

I’ve just returned from a week in Vancouver, to have more eye surgery. In the following days, I was allowed to do very little, and was mostly confined to the apartment we were staying at. Lucky for me, I had endless entertainment, simply by looking out the windows. Our puppies, Bella and Georgie, were captivated by the views, too.

Situated on the seventh floor of the one-hundred-plus year old Lee Building, this gem of a corner suite offered vast views of Vancouver, including its City Hall.

West Broadway

Main Street

Harbour Centre Tower

I could go on and on, and believe me, I will, but I’ll start with the Lee Building, itself. Built in 1912, this distinguished brick building sits on the busy corner of West Broadway and Main.

The entrance opens onto West Broadway, with a convenient café located right next door.

Hubby had just given me a Canon Powershot SX60 HS camera as an early birthday gift, and I’d planned to use my downtime to go through the operating manual to familiarize myself with its many features. Instead I just took photos. Lots and lots of photos. The camera has an amazing 65x Optical Zoom (21mm-1365mm) Wide-Angle Lens, and it was great fun experimenting with what it could do.

Between the clocks and the Canadian flag on Vancouver City Hall, I had ample opportunity to practice zooming. Hubby’s shots with his Rebel generally turned out better than mine.

Night shots were tricky, and not many of mine turned out.

I love this shot of Hubby’s with the sun in clouds behind the flag.

West Broadway was another convenient spot to photograph.

Street lights just starting to come on.

The street looked incredible during rush-hour. A parade of red, green and yellow lights made it look very festive. It was hard to capture, though. My son took these ones with my camera.

It rained a lot while we were there, socking everything in.

It all came to life when the sun appeared.

A sliver of ocean was visible on the horizon on clear days.

Street views from the west window.

I caught a partial sunset one evening.

City night lights.

Being a corner unit, it also overlooked Main Street to the North.

The lights of Grouse Mountain ski hill are visible in this one.

Harbour Centre Tower was great to zoom in on, both day and night, when it lights up like a Christmas tree. (My son took the night shots with my camera)

Harbour Centre Tower and Grouse Mountain are tiny specks in this night shot.

BC Place, with its changing lights.

Street views from the north window.

Day after day, we looked for the Northshore Mountains, without luck. Then one sunny morning, there they were, towering majestically in the background.

BC Place, Harbour Centre Tower and the Northshore Mountains, all in one frame.

This mountain is called The Lions. It’s also known locally as the Twin Sisters.

Cypress Bowl ski hill.

Grouse Mountain ski hill, where Hubby grew up skiing.

So, there you are. Lovely cityscapes through the windows of Vancouver’s Lee Building. I hope you were as entertained looking at them as I was photographing them.


Georgie & Bella’s First Road Trip, The Wrap-up – The Okotoks Erratic and Puppy Pictures Galore

The main purpose of our September trip to Alberta was to attend our youngest grandson’s birthday. It did my heart good to finally get to celebrate his special day with that precious young man.

Having five dogs – two large ones – in one house is a lot, but they all got along great. Piper continued with her fascination with Georgie, following her around wherever she went. Georgie learned how to jump on the furniture, feeling braver when they were face-to-face.

An audience gathered whenever Georgie ate. That’s Piper and Shasa watching, with Bella just off-frame, all keeping an eager eye on Georgie’s bowl.

My puppies forsook their usual preference for my lap, seeking my son’s company instead, even while the poor guy napped.

Not accustomed to such chilly weather, Georgie developed an appreciation for the gas fireplace.

She willingly shared the heat with Shasa and Sukie.

I even caught her huddled on Hubby’s shoes, seeking the heat coming from the vent under the bench.

Her absolute favourite was snuggling in the faux-fur couch blanket. Too adorable.

Bella has a thicker, fluffy coat and doesn’t usually like being snuggled up, but even she couldn’t resist the faux-fur.

One cold and windy day at the end of our visit, we ventured down to Okotoks. Bella, looking stylish in her little sweater, appropriated my grandson’s booster seat.

Our destination was Okotoks’ big rock. Called the Okotoks Erratic, it’s a massive pile of fractured quartzite that formed many millions of years ago during the formation of the Rocky Mountains, and was transported to this prairie field by glacial activity many thousands of years ago. You don’t need to be a geologist to find it fascinating.

Huddled against the freezing wind, the guys look awfully small beside that ancient hunk of rock.

I didn’t see the exchange, but at some point Hubby cajoled our grandson out of his red toque. Luckily, the boy’s hoody offered plenty of protection. Yes, it really was that cold!

We headed back home the next morning. Bella, now a seasoned traveler, promptly sprawled out on my lap and slept soundly.

Georgie, however, has developed an obsessive fear of overhead structures, windshield wipers (she’d never seen them operate before) and even the towering mountains lining the highway. She kept her head on a swivel, searching for dangers.

She eventually grew sleepy, but nervously kept her guard up.

Even after sleep claimed her, she diligently (and comically) refused to relax.

I can unequivocally call Georgie and Bella’s first road trip a huge success. I’m so glad we took the time to explore some of our beautiful province and I’m especially happy we had the puppies with us. The pleasure of their company far outweighed any challenges of traveling with them. I look forward to many adventures to come.

Links to other stops on the trip:

Moses Creek Falls

Golden’s Rotary Trails

Confluence Park

Wapta Falls

Georgie & Bella’s First Road Trip, Part Four – Wapta Falls

Hubby and I left Golden later than planned on the second day of our September road trip to Alberta, after visiting Confluence Park earlier that morning. (Link to that post) Our next stop was Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park. A gravel road from the highway turnoff leads to a good-sized parking lot. The trailhead is marked with a National Parks signpost.

The 2.5 kilometer trail through a mossy pine forest had many muddy patches and was often tangled with roots.

Our intrepid hikers, Georgie and Bella, dodged around the worst of it with incredible ease and enthusiasm.

I felt lucky to have spotted this renowned tree with the massive burl.

Before long, we could hear the rush of the falls and see glimpses of the gorgeous turquoise water of the Kicking Horse through the trees.

The closer to the top of the falls, the more lush and mossy the trail became.

Same as at Moses Creek the previous day, the water’s loud roar frightened Bella. She jumped onto a bench at the viewing platform above the falls and there she stayed.

Georgie, on the other hand, was keen to sniff and explore.

At 100 feet high and 500 feet wide, Wapta Falls is one of the largest waterfalls in Canada in both volume and width. Photos can’t grasp its riotous grandeur.

The steeper trails leading down to the base of the falls apparently offer a variety of dramatic views. We stuck to the main path with the easiest grade.

The magnificent Wapta Falls from below. Mount Hunter looms behind.

I would’ve liked a closer view of the falls, but to do so means getting a good soaking from the abundant mist, so we stayed well back.

With the immense volume of water cascading down the falls, I expected the Kicking Horse River to be deeper and more turbulent, and I wondered where all that water went.

I couldn’t convince the girls to drink from the cold, clear water.

Taking a breather before heading back.

The short, steep slope from the riverbed to the trail is an obstacle course of enormous roots and rocks. The puppies powered through it like pros.

Natural blowdowns crisscross overhead throughout the trail.

We happened upon the tiniest mouse happily scavenging without any fear of the large humans towering over it. I was enchanted.

With the afternoon rapidly drawing to a close, we decided to forego our next stop, and head directly to our destination in Alberta. It had been a satisfyingly full two days of explorations, and I relished the experience.

Next week I’ll wrap up the trip with a visit to the Okotoks Erratic, and will include lots of cute puppy pictures.

(Link to the start of our trip)

Georgie & Bella’s First Road Trip, Part Three – Golden’s Confluence Park

The early September morning was cool and slightly overcast as we left the Travelodge in Golden. We had a couple of fun stops planned along the way to Alberta, but I hoped to make an unscheduled one first.

As I mentioned in last week’s post (link), we ran out of daylight looking for Confluence Park the prior evening. Confluence Park is where the Columbia and Kicking Horse Rivers meet. With their vastly different colours, (the Columbia is emerald and the Kicking Horse is turquoise) I thought it’d be cool to see them mingle, and it was disappointing to have missed this.

So I suggested to Hubby we drive to Confluence Park that morning before leaving Golden, and he agreed! We found our way back to Fisher Road and continued past the small airport and around the bend. A parking area next to the road soon appeared, and an informative sign confirmed we were at the right place.

The slow-moving Columbia River is visible behind the parking area. This is the same river we’d visited the previous morning at Moses Creek Falls in Revelstoke. (link)

We took a trail on the right-hand side of where we’d parked. Sometimes we were in the trees, sometimes we had glimpses of the river.

At one point, we descended onto a small bank to look downriver. The view was spectacular, and we thought we could see the mouth of the Kicking Horse off to the right. But what did I spy just before that? The same teepee structure I’d asked Hubby to photograph the night before? Could we’ve been that close?

We accidentally lost the trail and ended up back on the road, and it became obvious, indeed, that this was exactly where we’d left off the evening before. Working our way down to the large sandy bank of the river, we found the ‘teepee’.

The puppies had never been on sand before, and they soon realized it wasn’t good for sniffing. Poor Bella got the stuff stuck all over her hairy little face.

The vibrant fall colours were lovely.

This is the emerald-green Columbia River.

And this is the turquoise-blue Kicking Horse River.

They meet here, with the Kicking Horse emptying into the larger Columbia. If I could’ve, I would’ve crossed to the other side of the Kicking Horse to better see the discernible change in the Columbia’s colour as the commingled rivers flowed south.

No wonder Hubby mistook this for a backwater from the road. There’s barely a ripple on the surface of the Columbia River. What a gorgeous vista!

The girls were happy to get back on the trail, sniffing smells and chasing leaves.

Back in the car, they snuggled on my lap and snoozed all the way to our next stop – Wapta Falls in Yoho National Park.

Join me next week as we visit one of Canada’s largest waterfalls.

Georgie & Bella’s First Road Trip, Part Two – Golden’s Rotary Trails

We arrived in Golden, the next stop on our trip to Alberta, late on that sunny September afternoon, having taken longer at Moses Creek Falls (link to that story) than I’d allocated. After checking into the pet-friendly Travelodge, we drove to Spirit Square, where the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge connects with Golden’s Rotary Trails.

I’d originally hoped to walk the entire seven kilometre loop, but with only a couple of hours of daylight left, we opted for the section that runs along the Kicking Horse River towards Confluence Park – the meeting point of the Columbia and Kicking Horse Rivers. (The trail is outlined in green below)

This timber-framed covered bridge is the longest freestanding span in Canada, measuring forty-six meters across.

On the other side, a gravel path follows the turquoise-hued Kicking Horse River in both directions. We went to the right.

Looking back towards the Kicking Horse Pedestrian Bridge.

The puppies were thrilled to be released from the confines of the car, and eagerly sniffed and explored every new smell. We met a massive dog (Irish wolfhound?) along the way. The poor lady could barely control the huge creature when Bella and it wanted to make friends.

We veered off the trail at the point where it leads away from the river, and followed Fisher Road in search of Confluence Park. We crossed a wide set of train tracks and eventually, when the road took a left turn beside a small airstrip, Hubby suggested we turn back. With dusk setting in and still no obvious signs of the park ahead, I reluctantly agreed.

Before we left, I asked Hubby to photograph this teepee structure I’d spotted in a clearing beside what he thought was a backwater. (More about this in next week’s post)

Back on the trail, I stopped to take a picture of Hubby and Georgie, while Bella eagerly tugged to join them.

Meanwhile, Hubby took a picture of me taking a picture of him. (Fisher Road is visible behind me)

The fall foliage lining the aquamarine water enlivened the trail with spectacular colour.

The evening sky offered its own brilliant show of colour.

Back at the Travelodge, the girls watched nervously while Hubby unloaded our gear from the car.

Didn’t take Bella long to make herself at home.

And she soon succumbed to her strenuous day.

Georgie took a little longer to unwind.

But then exhaustion claimed her as well, and they both snoozed the evening away.

Next week I’ll share what happened after I persuaded Hubby that we couldn’t leave Golden without finding Confluence Park. (Link to that post)

Georgie & Bella’s First Road Trip, Part One – Moses Creek Falls

On a mild, sunny September morning, Hubby and I set out – with much anticipation and a little apprehension – for Alberta. It’s a long ways to travel with two young puppies, so we decided to break the trip into two days with some fun stops along the way.

Georgie, our eight-month-old Chihuahua, immediately settled onto my lap, while Bella, our five-month-old Papillon/terrier, insisted on riding shotgun next to Hubby (her best buddy). She looked so cute, I couldn’t be annoyed.

Our first stop was Moses Creek Falls in Revelstoke. There’s a wide trail on the right-hand side of the parking lot (located about six kilometres down Westside Road), so we followed it. Before long, we came across a No Trespassing sign and then another sign saying Explosives, Do Not Enter. The trail ended at a munitions shed. Obviously not the correct path, so back we went. Not the most auspicious start, and a half hour wasted.

Behind the Moses Creek sign, on the left side of the parking lot, is a narrow dirt trail. This took us down to a road, which we headed right on. The road is rough, but driveable. Hubby didn’t enjoy walking it and wished we’d driven down.

At the road bottom, we followed the trail to the banks of the Columbia River, where we caught glimpses of the Revelstoke Dam.

The Columbia River, with one of my favourite glacial mountains, Mount Begbie, in the background.

We wandered along the river bank for a bit, not sure where to find the falls. We could hear it, but not see it. We did see lots of cute toadstool villages.

Hubby finally located the trail heading up to the falls. I’m so proud of my little girls. Georgie forged ahead, eagerly climbing all obstacles in her path. And Bella, who isn’t terribly keen to walk on a leash, bounded along, showing her first signs of genuine enthusiasm.

Moses Creek Falls isn’t huge, but it’s very pretty, set in picturesque surroundings. Despite a couple of drawbacks getting there, visiting it was worth the effort.

The rush of the falls intimidated Bella, and I had to pick the little princess up to get close enough for a picture. Surprisingly, Georgie, who’s afraid of all strange noises, wasn’t fazed.

We didn’t dawdle as long as I’d have liked, because of travel constraints and the time we’d already lost finding the falls. Soon we were back on the highway, headed for Golden, with two exhausted puppies snoozing on my lap.

Join me next week to explore Golden’s Rotary Trail and search for Confluence Park. (Link to that post)

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!


Wishing all my fellow Canadians, especially family and friends, a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you find joy and gratitude in your lives. Here are some of my joys, for which I’m so grateful:

Our two puppies. Georgie, who came to us in March (thanks go to our youngest son for driving her out here from the coast) and Bella, who joined us in June. I’m grateful my hubby set aside his misgivings to welcome these precious little ones into our family.

Hubby had his knee replacement in May, and is working hard on a complete recovery.

May was a good month, as we also celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary. And the best gift of all that month was the birth of our adorable granddaughter. I’m beyond grateful for our miracle baby. Take my word for it, she’s beautiful and perfect in every way.

I’m grateful my oldest son and his family came to visit twice last summer. A quick trip in June to meet our new little princess. And again in August, to celebrate my oldest grandson’s birthday and have some fun in the Okanagan sun.

We usually try to go to Alberta for Thanksgiving, which coincides with my son and daughter-in-law’s birthdays. This year we opted to go in September to celebrate my younger grandson’s birthday. It’s the first time in five years we were able to do so, and for that I’m grateful.

I’m also very thankful that we made it safely back home the day before a huge snowfall caused all sorts of havoc in Alberta and on the highways headed west. I’ll post photos and stories of our trip in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I’ll gratefully enjoy turkey dinner tonight.