An Ode to My Hubby on His Birthday

Happy Birthday, sweetheart. I wish we could celebrate this milestone birthday the way you deserve. Please accept a rain check to do something as special as you are, as soon as I’m able.

I’m not a poet, so none of this rhymes, but I mean every word.

Thank you for rushing me to Vancouver on such short notice after putting in a full day at work.

Thank you for battling Vancouver’s crazy traffic to take me to all my appointments without losing your cool…too much. 🙂

Thank you for taking such good care of Roxy and me. You might get a tad bossy at times (just a little bit), but I know you always have my best interests at heart.

Thank you for blowing a week of vacation to stay home and nursemaid me. It couldn’t have been very exciting, but I really appreciate it. I don’t know what I would’ve done without you.

Thank you for doing all the laundry (and other housework). Just because I tend to refold things and reorganize where you’ve put the towels doesn’t mean you’re not doing a great job.

While I’m not sure what the future holds for me, I do know you’ll be there by my side, bolstering me and encouraging me, no matter what happens. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all your unwavering support. It means the world to me—and so do you.

I love you!

Happy Thanksgiving Weekend to all my Canadian Friends and Family!

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It’s been another tough year, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to write about Thanksgiving gratitude. Then I read over my past Thanksgiving posts and changed my mind. Because they’re just as relevant today as when I first wrote them, I’ve incorporated some of my thoughts from those posts into this one.

Thanksgiving is a time to spend with loved ones and, if we’re lucky, eat really yummy food. It’s also a time to give thanks for life’s blessings. Compared to so many places in the world, here in Canada, we have much to be grateful for. Thanksgiving will always hold a special place in my heart because I became a mother for the first time on Thanksgiving Day. There’s little in my life I’m more thankful for than the gift of my children.

As I look back at the past year, I see so much sadness, tragedy and anxiety, both personally and in the world, in general. I struggle to find gratitude, so instead I have to accept that sometimes bad things happen to good people for no comprehendible reason. Good things happen as well, and this is where I must seek gratefulness. Even though it’s sometimes hard to find life’s joy, it’s there, hidden in many little things, and I give thanks for that.

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I’m thankful my physical health continues to improve. I’m stronger and leaner and in less pain than I’ve been in a long time.

I’m thankful Hubby and I have had many Sunday Funday adventures this year, having great fun while exploring our beautiful outdoors.

Despite not getting to go to Alberta this year to celebrate Thanksgiving and his birthday with my oldest son and his family, I’m thankful to have family to share Thanksgiving with, and that Hubby once again cooked a delicious turkey dinner for us.

I’m thankful I’ve seen my kids more often this year, and that we were all able to spend a day together for the first time in three years.

I’m thankful I have two gorgeous, bright, healthy, affectionate little grandsons who love me very much, as I love them. And I’m especially thankful they came to visit me, not once, but twice, this year!

I’m thankful Hubby and I are able to look forward to the winter vacation we just booked.

I’m thankful that my aged little Roxy is still with us, and despite the health scare she just gave me, I’m thankful she’s slowly getting better and isn’t in too much pain.

Although I wish my mom didn’t have to take cancer treatments, I’m so thankful she isn’t experiencing many bad side effects.

I’m thankful that, although we’re far from wealthy, we don’t really want for much.

I’m thankful I have reasons to be thankful.

Thanksgiving-7

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you too can find much to be thankful for in your lives.

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.

Spectacular Fintry Falls and More Sunday Funday Photos

Happy Canada Day and Fourth of July! Hope everyone had/is having a safe and fun weekend.

Picking up where I left off with our weekly Sunday Fundays…

Hard to believe, but I’d never been to Fintry before our visit in mid-April. Fintry is located about 30 kms down the infamous Westside Road on the northwest side of Okanagan Lake. Westside Road is known for being winding and narrow, and for its breathtaking vistas.

1 Lake Okanagan

I did quite well with the whole windy road with no shoulders situation (of course I wasn’t driving) until right around the Fintry Delta Road turnoff. Being so close to the edge of the road, with such a large drop-off below, actually made me hyperventilate just a tad.

The Fintry Trail starts just beyond these historical farm buildings, which includes a unique octagonal dairy barn.

1a Dairy barn @ Fintry Prov Park

There are approximately 400 stairs to the top of the falls, but they’re interspersed with viewing platforms and a relatively level trail, making the ascent less of a challenge.

2 Fintry Prov Park

We soon could hear a mighty rumble, which quickened our steps in anticipation. We were told the Shorts Creek Falls can dwindle to little more than a trickle by August, making us feel lucky to experience it in such a magnificent state.

3 Falls @ Fintry Prov Park 4 Falls @ Fintry Prov Park 5 Falls @ Fintry Prov Park

I wish my photos could do justice to the powerful early spring runoff.

6 Falls @ Fintry Prov Park 6a Falls @ Fintry Prov Park 6b Shorts Creek @ Fintry Prov Park

 

Mist saturated the air and we couldn’t stay near the falls for long without getting quite wet, yet I wanted to linger because the sight and sound was so amazing.

7 Water mist @ Fintry Prov Park

Glimpses of the lake and land below were lovely, as well.

8 Lake Okanagan from Fintry 9. Lake Okanagan from Fintry 11 Fintry Prov Park

 

We climbed above the falls, and when we circled back, we had great views looking down.

10 Trail above  falls @ Fintry Prov Park 12 Fintry Prov Park

That’s Hubby on the lookout platform below.

13 Fintry Prov Park

An already near-perfect day got even better when we encountered bighorn sheep on the way back home. They’re a common sighting along Westside Road, but I’d never had the opportunity to cross paths with them before.

16 Bighorn sheep on Westside Rd 18 Bighorn sheep on Westside Rd 19 Bighorn sheep on Westside Rd 20 Bighorn sheep on Westside Rd

 

We also saw some deer. I was in wildlife-sighting heaven.

21 Deer on Westside Rd 22 Deer on Westside Rd

For our last Sunday Funday outing in April, we took a quiet stroll through Dilworth Mountain Park. In the spring, the park boasts stunning fields of blooming Arrow Leaf Balsam Root, which happens to be Kelowna’s official flower.

23 Dilworth Mountain Park 24 Dilworth Mountain Park 25 Dilworth Mountain Park 25a Dilworth Mountain Park

 

Situated above the Kelowna Golf and Country Club, Dilworth Mountain Park offers panorama views of the golf course and city.

26. Dilworth Mountain Park 27 Dilworth Mountain Park 28 Dilworth Mountain Park 29 Dilworth Mountain Park

 

Back in April, when we explored the Oyama Isthmus, we decided to return to bike the length of the Pelmewash Parkway, an eight kilometre stretch of road that used to be part of Highway 97.

31 Pelmewash Parkway

The road is relatively flat and runs along Woods Lake.

 

32 Pelmewash Parkway 33 Pelmewash Parkway

We thought it’d be a relaxing, safe place to bike (I’m not an experienced cyclist), but we didn’t realize vehicle traffic would be so heavy. With narrow shoulders (non-existent in places) and drivers ignoring the 50 K speed limit, the short ride got my heart rate up in more ways than one. Still, it was a beautiful start to May, and we were happy to be out enjoying it for Hubby’s birthday.

34 Pelmewash Parkway 35 Pelmewash Parkway

I actually had children to spend Mother’s Day with this year. We took one of my favourite strolls to Paul’s Tomb on Knox Mountain.

36 Paul's Tomb

Roxy reluctantly posed for a photo once we got there.

37 Paul's Tomb

My handsome brown-eyed boy and beautiful daughter-in-law (and Daisy!) were much more cooperative.

38 Paul's Tomb 39 Paul's Tomb

We capped the stroll off with a stop at Rotary Marsh to check out the Osprey nest. The babies weren’t visible, but the adult ospreys put on an aerial show before landing on their nest.

41 Waterfront park

We’ve had plenty of adventures since then and I’ll be back to share more photos one day soon.

Off To Enjoy Summer…

As I did last year, I’m putting my blog on summer hiatus until September.

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If I have anything exciting to share regarding my writing, I’ll pop in with an update. And if I’m feeling really energetic, I might post the occasional Sunday Funday photo.

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Have a wonderful, safe and happy summer. Wear sunscreen and hug your loved ones every chance you get.

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