Serenity Sunday: Back to Newfoundland

These photos were taken in communities near Stephenville, Newfoundland, on the island’s West coast. Rugged beauty is everywhere with trails to hike or bonfires to enjoy on each and every beach, if you choose. Or, if you are fortunate, local fishers will take you out fishing on the bay. The sturdy and the brave may even enjoy a dip in the ocean….

Boswarlos is a small community on the Port au Port Peninsula and features sandy beaches
On the way to Stephenville from Boswarlos, this is Barn Hill in the community of Agathuna
A boat slip where fisherman pull their small dories ashore. This one was in the community of Fox Island River.
Larger fishing vessels are a common sight on Bay St. George
A river in the small town of Stephenville
Heading toward the community of St. George’s passing through Stephenville Crossing
Driving through Stephenville Crossing the “new” highway runs parallel to the old roadway where this old bridge still stands
Approaching St. George’s is a stand made for the Osprey a.k.a. fish hawk, where, if you are lucky, you can see these birds on their nest
Osprey nest
Another old bridge crossing a river near the community of St. George’s
On our way back from St. George’s we stopped at a beach where this jelly fish was stranded on the sand. Many of these fish are pink in color, but there are also clear jelly fish which are very hard to see when you’re out for a swim in the ocean. My mother always warned us about jelly fish because they can sting.
Loons are common to see out on the water. This one seemed to be injured and did not move as I approached. A call to wildlife once I got home sent help for this bird.
A broken dory is a sad reminder of the strong fishery that had made life on the island possible
Another shot of the river through St. George’s and a more modern bridge
Pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea L.) are a common sight on the marshes. It was adopted as the provincial flower in 1954
Little Port Harmon is part of the charm of the town of Stephenville where people walk, bike or roller skate along side of the roadway.

I hope you enjoyed this little tour. All communities included in this post are dotted along the bay and near Stephenville, NL, Canada.

Serenity Sunday: Alberta

These photos were taken over the past few years between Fort McMurray and Edmonton. Alberta has many beautiful places. There is lots of rural farmland as well as hills and mountains with lakes and rivers carved into the land.

The mighty Athabasca River taken in the town of Athabasca
Highway 63 winds over hills and through lush farmland from Fort McMurray to Edmonton
Horses, cows, sheep, llama, alpacas, and even buffalo can be seen on the drive to Edmonton
Rivers, ponds, and lakes aplenty
And lots and lots of cows
Lac La Biche
Beaver Dams are a frequent sight as well
Look up into those wide Alberta skies and you may catch sight of a hawk or two
North of Fort McMurray
Gregoire Lake, just outside Fort McMurray, near the community of Anzac
Fort McMurray Golf Course

Into the woods

Last week my daughter and I went on a hike on a nature trail here in town. I love the woods. I hope you do too. Here are a few photos from our little adventure.

Does anyone else see a face here? Admittedly I have a vivid imagination.
Mushroom growing out of a tree trunk – fantastic!
A promise of wild strawberries – they grow abundantly on the edges of the trail
The Birchwood trail goes on for many miles through the city
Another mushroom! A very oddly shaped mushroom!
At some points the trail is a narrow footpath
Almost looks like something out of a sci-fi movie but this is no special effects job – nature does it well with no help at all
One minute it was sunny but off and on the clouds moved in
A fairy hoop – the woods are magical
More mushrooms!
I kept seeing them everywhere – maybe I was hungry….
While there are many level areas the Cougar Trail can be quite arduous as well – lots of hills!
Another “monster”
Evidence of insects – it was too low to the ground to be wood peckers
What do you see?

I hope you enjoyed the hike. Come back soon and we will go again. Thanks for visiting.

Serenity Sunday: In my backyard, birds, bugs, and blossoms

Normally I try to go through my photos and share some of the beauty I have seen in other places, at other times. Today I am inviting you to come see the backyard (so to speak, it’s actually the green space behind the apartment building where we live). I have been watching for babies in the pond where a pair of common golden-eyed ducks have made their home. For a long time I could not catch sight of them, I guess mama duck was keeping them hidden in the reeds and cattails that surround the waters there. I was delighted to see the pair do have four little ducklings, which have finally come out of hiding. Come see a few small miracles I was blessed to see this morning.

All four babies keep close to their mama
There were plenty of hiding places in the long grasses surrounding the pond
They were diving under the water and enjoying swimming around the pond, a pleasure to watch
Tall grasses, cattails, and reeds make for great camouflage making these ducks a challenge to see
Dragonflies are plentiful around the pond
How amazing is nature?
This red-winged blackbird stayed close by as I photographed the ducklings
he made me wonder if he is guardian of the pond judging by his constant chattering at me
The flash of color when the wings are extended is so beautiful
I am rather enamored of these birds, always a joy to see
Wild strawberry blossoms hiding in the grass. These wild berries may be very small, but they’re also very sweet

Next week we will go further afield. I hope you didn’t mind spending today at home with me.

Serenity Sunday: Gravels Nature Trail in Port au Port West, Newfoundland and Labrador

The following photos were taken on a groomed nature trail that follows the shoreline of Port au Port Bay. Accessible year round, the trail is a favorite spot of both local people and tourists alike. These photos were taken in various seasons over several years. I hope you enjoy them.

A red dory marks the entrance to the Gravels Nature Trail
The trail provides a good work out as well as incredible scenery. Come along, you’ll see
Wild rose bushes are common to see along the trail, and their scent is divine.
Near the beginning of the trail, which snakes through the woods as well as along the seashore
Huge boulders are part of the rugged beauty of this land
Little streams and small ravines require bridges
Near the top right side of this photo you’ll see the fencing that acts as a safe guard to prevent falls and accidents
Much of the shoreline includes shale cliff that reaches out into the bay
More rocky shoreline
The drop off is quite steep in some places
My favorite place to be: in the woods and near the sea
That hill in the background is known as Pine Tree
Taken from inside a natural cave on a small stretch of sandy beach below the trail
So serene
The trail is fairly long and can be arduous in spots, but small benches are placed at several places where people can rest and enjoy the view
A bird’s eye view
Even in winter the trail is beautiful to hike or ski

Serenity Sunday: Bowring Park in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador

It’s been a tough week with so many news stories that are concerning and, frankly, depressing. So, let’s all take a deep breath and go to the park. Bowring Park is so beautiful. I took these photos back in 2014 when we went to visit our daughter who lives in the ‘oldest city in North America’. I love the architecture there and the history. If you ever get a chance to visit St. John’s don’t forget to spend some time at Bowring Park. You’ll be glad you did – at least, if you like green spaces and beautiful surroundings. I invite you to come along, let’s take a little tour of the park.

One of the things I love about the park is the swans
Watching the swans glide through the water is so peaceful and balm for the soul
Of course, other water fowl also inhabit the park. This guy seemed to be asking, “How do you like my tux?”
So many ducks, and lots of pigeons too
The park has many floral features as well
There are explosions of color everywhere you look
To the left you will see the park bench that’s been painted green to blend into the trees. So, if you get tired you can rest there and enjoy the scent of the flowers
So many pretty flowers. I love flowers.
One of my favorite flowers. I love how the head of a sunflower turns to follow the sun throughout the day.
In the center of the park stand several statues. Fantasy fans will love these fairies, as will the children and the young at heart.
I bet you didn’t know Never-never land was actually located here in Bowring Park. Yup, that’s Peter Pan calling all the lost boys to a picnic, perhaps?
Stepping stones across the pond
a bridge over the waters allows visitors a new viewpoint
Trails meander through the park and through trees that offer shade on a hot summer day
Sit and listen to the water cascading over rocks and rushing downstream
Another shot of the bridge and fountain
Bowring Park, a gem located in the Waterford Valley in St. John’s
I could watch the swans for hours
The park has been home to water fowl and wildlife since 1915, a sanctuary in the middle of the city, and a most welcome reprieve from the trials of life

I hope that these photos will help instill a sense of peace and tranquility. We are all experiencing a fair deal of stress these days and it is so important to take a break from it all, to go on vacation, even if it’s only virtual. Wishing you all the blessings of peaceful calm.

Serenity Sunday: Back to the mountains

These photos were some I took driving out of Canmore, Alberta in May of 2016. It was a beautiful day. I feel so blessed to have been able to stand and gaze at these impressive peaks in the foothills of the Rockies.

Clouds kiss the mountain tops
A little bit of snow hangs on
in higher altitudes snow stays late into spring
which makes Banff a favorite of skiers
Three humps…. a different angle
It is so awe-inspiring as we drive out of the mountains. I took this one looking back from where we’d been and where we cannot wait to go again….
Close up …
Awesome views!
Glaciers carved furrows into the land
Further down the highway and ponds are plentiful
Even from a distance the foothills are beautiful
Farewell to the mountains, until I can come again….

Wildlife surprises

Over the past month we were traveling to Lac La Biche so my husband could have his dialysis treatments after a massive flood in the city caused water issues at our local hospital. It’s a three and a half hour drive to get to Lac La Biche through countryside, most of it wooded. It’s a beautiful drive, though I am glad we no longer have to make it three times a week! I always take my camera because you never know what you might see. Most of the wildlife I have been fortunate to see disappear quickly into the brush. But on a couple of drives I was lucky enough to capture a few shots of deer and a coyote. I was pretty excited and the quality is not top notch. Nevertheless here they are:

These deer were in a farmer’s field near Lac La Biche and it was such a joy to stop and watch them for a while
A doe, a deer, a female deer
There was a group of maybe a dozen deer, but this one was less alarmed by my presence as others
Such beautiful animals
Wile E. Coyote
This guy wandered out of the woods and loped along seemingly undisturbed by my presence
Lots of swampland and small ponds where beavers have been at work
Duck and geese have returned to hatch their eggs before returning south again
Although I waited patiently there was no sign of the beavers who built the dams

I have been hoping to capture an image of a black bear but have yet to see one this year. When I do I hope it will be while I am in the car and not while I am walking the nature trails that crisscross the city. In the past I have also seen red fox, but again not yet this year.

Spring blessings of birds

I took a little walk this morning and captured a few photos around a pond not far from home. I was a little disappointed that were not more variety of ducks and birds but I did enjoy what I did see and hear. I especially love listening to the song of red-winged black birds, although I love them all. Thought I’d share these for your pleasure (at least I hope it is a pleasure for you all).

This little sparrow was very active flitting among the reeds around the pond
So quick and so busy on this windy but warm spring day
I love the sheen of colors and he had lots to sing about too
Grackles were plentiful around the ponds
Red-winged black birds seemed to be in competition with the grackles
Their wings are so vibrant!
Mr. blackbird added his harmonies to the cacophony of song
While a pair of ducks took in the symphony and grabbed a bite to eat now and then

Serenity Sunday: Guelph, Ontario

Riverside Park

These are photos I took at Riverside Park back in 2012. If you happen to be in Ontario this is a really pretty park with an antique carousel and a miniature train as well as floral gardens with a floral clock. The Speed River flows through the park and the gardens include a waterfall feature. The park is a delight for the young and young at heart alike.

Can any child resist a carousel, even today?
A floral clock is one of the features of the gardens
Flowers of many varieties bring color and splendor to the park
A scaled down model of the first house built in Guelph in 1827 by John Galt
Flowers, flowers, everywhere
Stone pathways lead visitors through serene surroundings
A variety of shrubs and trees add to the beauty
Waterfall features add to the peace and calm
Side view of the waterfall
Strange and beautiful tree roots add interest
A miniature train carries visitors on a tour around the park
Personally, I prefer to walk the paths through trees and shrubbery
Or visitors can cross the bridge that crosses the river and feast their eyes on another vista
The Speed River flows through the city of Guelph and through Riverside Park
People are not the only visitors, water fowl seem to love the park as well, like this Canada Goose
Beauty everywhere since 1955 when the park was first created for the enjoyment of citizens and visitors alike.