The Poppy – Because We Remember

To those who have gone before, and to those who follow now…

I thank you.

Lest We Forget

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Searching For Sun – Let’s Go Higher

How high? At 450 metres the sun was shining in a bluebird sky.

Any higher? At 600 metres snow began to cover the road.

At the highest? At 2,350 metres for 360 degrees the sun was a balmy 10 Celsius and from this height the view below was magical as we could see the layer of cloud that covered the valley bottom.

This past week Cranbrook had a temperature inversion. A layer of dense moist cloud rolled into the valley bottom – and stuck – which resulted in early morning ice fog and dreary days.

An early foggy morning.

An early foggy morning.

By Saturday this layer of cloud still held Cranbrook prisoner. It was the mission of the hiking club to go in search of the elusive sun. There were four determined hikers who left a gloomy, dismal city in search of sun and blue sky. The destination was Lakit Lookout. In addition to blue sky and sun, there would be the last of the spectacular color of the Western and Alpine larch.  The low cloud cover still hugged the valley bottom on the hour drive to the trail head climbing up the Wildhorse Road heading into the Rocky Mountain trench.The Drive

During the slow steady climb, we watched for hints that somewhere ahead there was blue sky. At 450 metres there were glimpses of blue thru foggy haze. All of a sudden, the layer of cloud that had held Cranbrook hostage slipped away and we could see blue sky and, most of all, the sun.

Blue Sky

Blue Sky

Finally the sun,

Finally the sun,

Another 200 metres up the road we encountered a snow covered road. Thankful for studded tires and four wheel drive we arrived at the trail head under sunny blue sky and about six inches of snow (A surprise!)

Starting out in the snow.

Starting out in the snow.

It was a beautiful bluebird sky!

It was a beautiful bluebird sky!

Because of the steepness of the hike, the trail is a series of switchbacks winding upward. If we were on the south side, the trail was snow free but on the northside there were long patches of icy snow which made the climb slow and careful. (Note to self: make sure to carry cleats for future elevation hikes) From the north you could see Lakit mountain and the ridge and a few Alpine larch providing a rich golden color in contrast to the blue sky and white snow.

From the south we realized why the sun could not penetrate to the valley below as the layer of cloud provided a mystical view with tops of mountains poking through and the cloud weaving between the mountains. Breathtaking!
At 2,350 metres the lookout appears. Originally it was constructed as a fire lookout but now provides shelter to hikers and skiers. A drawer in the lookout contains log books dating through the years and signed by people who have reached this summit and left comments about the beauty of the vista surrounding them.
With a lingering look back drinking in the beauty this vista provided, it was time to head downward. It was easy going on the south switchbacks but care had to be taken traversing the snowy patches on the north. (Remember those cleats) As we decended the road down, the fog rose up to met us and once again obliterated the blue sky and sun.
This hike was a metaphor about life. Sometimes we become imprisoned in a web of the routine and the mundane of the day to day. Gently, we must be reminded that amidst the struggles of the valleys, if we peel back the layers and go higher there are many blessings and joyful moments that will meet us along the way.

Posted in Beauty, Color, Finding Joy, Fun, Hiking, ipad, Out My Backdoor, Phonegraphy, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Perfect Day

What makes a perfect day?

Is it foregoing the opportunity to sleep in on a Saturday morning? Rousing and rushing because you did sleep too late but need to meet the a 10 am deadline to meet the hiking club for the scheduled hike to Kiakho mountain?

Is it rushing too fast but needing that jolt of caffeine that Timmy’s (Tim Horton’s) is famous for? You have time for the drive thru before arriving at the hike meeting area. Your favorite dispatcher, Nolan, takes your order for coffee. Nolan is an awesome dispatcher. His cheerfulness gives you the boost to start the best day possible.

Is it getting to the trail head and seeing your breath in the cool mountain air and hoping that you layered your clothing so you will be warm enough as you climb higher?

Is it the first WOW you utter when there is a break in the tree line and you have your first opportunity to admire the view? There had been slash burning in the area and a smoky haze hung in the air and provided a mystical view of the hills and the yellow larch showing their color.
Is it sitting on a log having a snack and listening to the forest sounds? Breathe in. Listen. You hear the screech of the hawk soaring above looking below for prey. You hear the shrill call of the northern flicker as it searches for a bug infested tree. You hear the angry caw of the crow who is probably having a discussion with the hawk as to who is entitled to this particular airspace. You hear the chatter of the two squirrels nearby scolding you for trespassing in their backyard. You make sure to leave two bites on your apple core and intentionally drop a few walnuts that can be found and stored in a hidden hollow for a winter treat. And, if you listen, far in the distance you hear the sound of highway traffic.
Is it at another viewpoint where as you look across you see Fisher Peak and the Steeples with a dusting of snow and far below in the distance you see Cranbrook?
Is it walking past different colors and varieties of mushrooms or watching the movement of light and shadow as it dances through the trees?

Is it reaching the top of the mountain and uttering WOW and Oh My? Wow because in 360 degrees is the beauty of the misted hills and the stunning color of the larch. It is Oh My because 1,750 metres below you can make out landmarks in Cranbrook.
Is it walking the road back down the mountain and stopping all too frequently to say WOW and admiring the jaw dropping scenes around you of the Western larch in all their Fall splendour and magnificence?
Is it returning to the vehicle and taking a lower road so you get a glimpse of Kiakho mountain that you just finished climbing?
Is it rushing home, because you are running late again, getting dressed in dinner attire and making it to the restaurant just in time to see a stunned colleague who was totally surprised by his daughters, family and friends who gathered to celebrate his 60th birthday?

What makes the perfect day? It is the synchronicity of all these moments swirling around you creating a magic that evolves into this perfect day. You cannot and will not always have a perfect day. But when serendipity aligns those moments of a perfect day…. Stop. Breathe in. Savor. Let go. Then move forward to create special moments that may, in the future, once again align to create a perfect day!

Posted in Beauty, Color, Finding Joy, Fun, Happiness, Hiking, ipad, Phonegraphy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

To Blog Or Not To Blog – That Was My Quandary

This blog has been on a hiatus for several months while I contemplated whether I should continue to blog revolving around the purpose why I started to blog or not blog at all.

I initially started the blog so family and friends could follow my journey on the El Camino and then I continued blogging because I wanted to share a part of my surroundings, sometimes ranting but most of the time describing events that bring joy and blessing in my daily life. I got caught up in the process of having to write or post something and the blog became more of a chore than more of a sharing.


I have decided to continue to blog but only when I feel I have a moment or event to share. It may be once a month, weekly or just occasionally. I may post more often if I find a photography challenge to which I can’t resist posting a picture or I may just post articles or quotes that I have enjoyed and want to share.

I want this blog to be my sharing of moments or events through words, articles or photographs where those moments or events have provided a touch of joy to my daily trudge down life’s pathway.

Posted in Finding Joy, Hiking, Out My Backdoor, Phonegraphy, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – # 33 Hiking

Let’s Be Wild’s challenge # 33 is hiking. This activity can be enjoyed year round in the East Kootenays of Beautiful British Columbia, Canada.

Come visit, experience beauty and enjoy!

Posted in Challenges, Finding Joy, Happiness, Hiking, Out My Backdoor, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

How Many Calypso Orchids Can We Find?

The goal for the day was to hike various pathways

in the Kimberley Nature Park in search of the tiny exquisite Calypso Orchid.

Tiny Spring beauties

Tiny Spring beauties

In the East Kootenays this Orchid blooms the latter part of May. Mother Nature favored the region with a blanket of wet snow two days previous, so it was doubtful as to how many flowers would be found and it what condition. We hiked a small section of the Nature Park. Starting on Upper Army Road, along Cabin and to the rest area at Mrytle Junction. After a short break, we went along Boulder, where there was an abundance of sunflowers, shooting stars, larkspur, wild strawberries, oregon grape and wild clematis.

Up Sidecut and down Suicide along Romantic Ridge connecting to Lower Army Road to finish the loop. The goal was indeed reached as we counted 183 of these woodland beauties. The largest clump held a group of 26. Magic, wonder, beauty and joy.

Posted in Beauty, Color, Creativity, Finding Joy, Fun, Happiness, Hiking, Out My Backdoor, Photography, Play | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Word Press Weekly Photo Challenge – Escape

I always seem to complete these challenges at the last minute. My week slips by so quickly. In response to the weekly photo challenge from Word Press, plants use escape as a continuation of life.

The following photos show a prairie milkweed completing its circle of life. Slowly the seed heads are escaping helped by human, animals and wind to float away carrying a new plant in the seed to begin again a life cycle.

Letting go

Letting go

The circle of life

The circle of life

Posted in Challenges, Color, Creativity, Finding Joy, Fun, Out My Backdoor, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – # 32 The Beach

This week I am going to follow through with the intent. The Wild Weekly Photo Challenge # 32 is “The Beach”

I find a week passes so very quickly. I had intentions of entering # 31 Scent but by the time I thought about what to post and actually making an effort to post, the Wednesday deadline had come and gone.

By posting today I am just squeaking under the wire. I enjoy the beach. The beach can provide solitude and a time for reflection. Also, the music of the water – both gentle and rhythmic and yet, too, the darker side filled with force and power calls to my spirit sometimes calming and other times energizing.

The beach is also sustaining. For the locals, the beach is a necessity. It can be the place where fishing boats unload their catch. Food can be gathered and transported, as well as, a gathering place to exchange stories and adventures. The following pictures were taken along the beach in Zanzibar.

Posted in Beauty, Challenges, Creativity, Finding Joy, Happiness, Phonegraphy, Photography, Travel | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – # 30 Movement

The photography challenge for Lets Be Wild is week is movement.

When I think of movement, it is the whirring of hummingbirds as they zip from flower to flower. I spent many a summer afternoon trying to capture this movement. There are many pictures where the wings are a blur. I never quite captured a photo with a clear wing pattern. There is always this summer. The feeders are out and I cannot wait for August when the bee balm is blooming. The hummingbirds are crazy for this flower and it is delightful to watch them move from flower to flower. My camera will be ready again.

Posted in Beauty, Challenges, Finding Joy, Flowers, Garden, Happiness, Out My Backdoor, Phonegraphy, Photography, Solitude | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Earth Day Reflection

To applaud Earth Day, I want to extol the beautiful corner of the Province of British Columbia where I live, as well as, draw awareness to the disappearance of the earth’s glaciers and to enter the Wild Weekly Photo Challenge # 28 Mountains.

I live in the southeast corner of British Columbia sandwiched between the southern range of the Rocky Mountains on the east and the Purcell range on the west. Beautiful and majestic!

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to view the documentary “Chasing Ice“. It is the quest by photographer James Balog and his foundation EIS to create global awareness for the amount of glacial ice that has disappeared within the last ten years. WOW! A definite eye opener to how global warming is affecting our planet.

There are two glaciers in my backyard that I have had the opportunity to hike to and admire the beauty of the area surrounding each of them.

Dibble Glacier is one of the last remaining glaciers in the Steeples. Walking along Dibble Pass, the glacier is visible nestled in the bowl of the surrounding mountains and the vista of the surrounding area is breathtaking.

Stanley glacier is located in Kootenay National Park. This hike is wonderful completed the latter part of August or early September. To be physically close to a massive slab of ice is very humbling. The vista of the surrounding mountains and the view across the valley is spectacular!

I truly hope as stewards in safeguarding our Earth, each of us will strive to incorporate small measures into our daily lives that will preserve our beautiful planet for many generations to come.

Posted in Beauty, Challenges, Deep thoughts, Finding Joy, Happiness, Out My Backdoor, Phonegraphy, Photography | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments