Thursday, September 7, 2017

VanDUSEN BOTANICAL GARDEN

Tucked into an old, well kept residential neighbourhood is the VanDusen Botanical garden, 55 acres of peaceful oasis in the heart of Vancouver. Now we have passed it many times over the years but finally took the time to wander the winding pathways through many different themed areas. After 2 1/2 hours of walking and resting on shaded benches I think we covered a very good part of the garden and will leave the unknown corners to another visit. I have heard that the light up at Christmas is phenomenal and I can only imagine the rush of colour and scents in other seasons.
Even after an unusually dry summer in Vancouver we experienced natural beauty and surprising vibrant blooms in the maze of pathways through forest, beside lakes and ponds, across bridges, over rolling lawns and the specialized themed flora.
These are just a few photos captured of the natural beauty and sculptures that made my heart glad.

A sea of lily pads with pink and yellow blossoms.





Fragrant Sweet Peas
Blooming vines hanging in trees.
Bees buzzing in the hibiscus garden.
Bridge over a lily pond.


                                                              Hydrangeas in many colours.
I want to say these are my favourite flower but maybe only today, as I love all blooms in every season. Hydrangeas just remind me of our daughter's beautiful wedding in August, 15 years ago.








Prolific Rose of Sharon in the Japanese garden.





Cute poses to bring a smile to ones face.



Rich hues of the end of summer blooms.




Gitsan Totems

Sedum Autumn Joy and changing Maple leaves along the Autumn stroll.




Lost in thought.

Verdure - aka lush green vegetation. :)

The Elizabethan hedge maze.
We found our way out and declared it was a good day!
                          This quote sums up my experience at the VanDusen gardens:
The Season was waning to its close. The gardens showed but little of the ravages of autumn as yet. The noble avenues of trees were still in their glory of fulness and expansive verdure; although here and there a few fallen leaves seemed to have fluttered down to earth as premature heralds of decay. The later flowers were gorgeous in their many-coloured splendour, though their earlier sisters had already lived the best of their lives, and now drooped their heads, as if to hide their blighted charms. ~J. Palgrave Simpson, For Ever and Never, 1884,



Sunday, August 27, 2017

I LIFT MY EYES TO THE MOUNTAINS

It has been a long, hot summer of lifting my eyes to the mountains, not only to behold their beauty but to watch for smoke which would be a sign of another wildfire. There have been days where the mountains were shrouded in smokey haze and a hot breeze would whisper through the dry grasses in our valley creating a sense of uneasiness in the midst of news reports of the growing devastation of wildfires throughout our province. We watched and prayed for safety.
We packed up our trailer and drove through the mountains into other valleys in the west Kootenay region and the smoke was there as well, sometimes blurring the view and then with a change in the wind the mountains would once again come into focus.


Our campsite at Syringa Creek Provincial Park near Castlegar was on the shores of Arrow Lake. What a treat to have our own private beach just steps from the trailer. One of my pastimes on this vacation was sketching the mountain contours that lay before us. In the haze there is a tiny glacier in the V and below it an old railroad trestle.





I collect heart rocks but this one was too heavy so it will remain on our little beach for others to enjoy



Off  into another valley to New Denver on the shores of Slocan Lake.  A beautiful and peaceful reflection garden was near our campsite from where one evening after a dry thunder storm we saw a new fire start in the mountain and as the evening darkened we could see trees candling.  We were safe but again we prayed for safety of those living in that area. Had fun sketching this mountain.





We were on a mission in New Denver to visit the Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre which tells the story of the Japanese Canadians who were uprooted in 1941 from their homes and livelihoods at the coast to be transplanted over the mountains into deplorable living conditions all through the Slocan Valley and then later over the Rocky Mountains to a hard life in the prairies, and over time their hopes dashed of returning to what once had been a comfortable and prosperous life.
We both read the book 'Obasan' by Joy Koyawa on this vacation which added to the details of this very sad chapter in our Canadian history.








Travelling north west through gorgeous vistas brought us back to Arrow Lake near Nakusp where we again had a lakeside campsite at McDonald Creek Provincial Park. More mountains to sketch! I wonder what will be my focus on another vacation.




Two lovely hot springs to  enjoy in this area and then home via the Galena Bay Ferry where more mountain vistas called to me.





























From the ferry another wildfire in the Selkirk Mountains and then just days later this billowing inferno taken from my driveway of the fire in Joe Rich just east of us. Again we pray for safety, not only for all those evacuated from their homes but also for the hundreds of weary fire fighters for whom this summer will not be forgotten.


Psalm 121
The Message

I look up to the mountains;

    does my strength come from mountains?
No, my strength comes from God,

    who made heaven, and earth, and mountains.

He won’t let you stumble,

    your Guardian God won’t fall asleep.
Not on your life! Israel’s

    Guardian will never doze or sleep.

God’s your Guardian,

    right at your side to protect you—
Shielding you from sunstroke,

    sheltering you from moonstroke.

God guards you from every evil,

    he guards your very life.
He guards you when you leave and when you return,

    he guards you now, he guards you always.




Friday, June 30, 2017

END OF JUNE AT LAC LE JEUNE

Lac Le Jeune lies nestled in a wilderness forest of Spruce, Ponderosa Pine, quivering Aspens, Birch groves, and grassy meadows filled with colourful wildflowers and songbirds. We have been camping for 46 years and this was the 44th BC Provincial Park where we have set up camp and explored. We have a goal to camp at 50 different BC parks by our 50th anniversary. We'll see, as there are always our favourites to revisit and that won't count.









 Wild roses, Indian Paint Brush, Lupines and Columbia Lilies




























Midweek we had a cooler, cloudy/sprinkling kind of day, but also a day with a cool surprise as our friends/neighbours Larry and Marianne took a road trip to visit us. Took a drive into Logan Lake, a tidy little town in the picturesque Highland Valley. It was established in the early 1970's to accommodate workers in the nearby Highland Valley Copper Mine.



A most unique BC visitor centre up in the cab of a huge mining shovel.




 One way to look small is to pose beside heavy duty mining equipment.


Back at Lac Le Jeune my favourite travelling companion of 46 years spent hours drifting and trolling for those elusive trout which never made it to our supper table. And while he fished I wandered with my camera to capture the beauty of the moment, read a good novel and sketched the vista from our campsite.









One evening I paddled into the serenity of these calm waters, at one with nature mirrored amongst a garden of lily pads, alongside two loons, and floating into the shadows of the setting sun. It felt heavenly.



Night fell and we relaxed and chatted around a crackling fire to the far off yodelling of the loons.