winter solitude – par 72

hope golf course – photo taken january 2, 2016 facing northwest.


a beautiful 9-hole golf course that anyone can afford to play.  the coquihalla river runs the length of the course on the south side and on the east, thacker mountain provides a scenic backdrop.

for more information visit their site:


fraser river bridge – hope, b.c.

The attached photo of the « water avenue bridge » was taken january 1, 2016, looking north. The fraser river is at its lowest during the winter months, a steep path on the south entry of the bridge gives access to the river’s edge.

water avenue bridge
water avenue bridge – crosses the fraser river as the trans canada highway entering the fraser canyon.

Source: wikipedia
The Water Avenue Bridge is a highway bridge that carries the Trans Canada Highway across the Fraser river. It was built around 1916 to carry the Kettle Valley Railroad out of The town of Hope to the CPR mainline on the north side of the river.[1] It is a two level bridge with the highway bridge on top. The railway, which was long ago removed, ran on the lower level. If you pull off the highway on the north side, eastbound on the highway, and explore under the bridge, this can be clearly seen. The rail bed can be followed a short way west until you come to private property. Little if anything remains to show that trains ran south and east of the bridge into town.

a very big circle tour….

a very fast trip to northern alberta to see family. along the way i took too few photos and missed far too many to make a better photo essay. we drove north through the yellowhead highway 5 from hope to jasper, this is quite scenic and one of the few times we’ve driven it in summer, following the north thompson river until we head east and the beginning of the mighty fraser at valemount. the segment through jasper national park is too familiar too us and we slowed only to grab a couple of shots of elk and mountain sheep…and a raven. the mountains were spectacular and the weather was with us all the way.

our first stop was a charming setup on the banks of the Athabasca river. we had a « rustic » cabin on a high ridge with a clear view of the river and the sound of rushing water. rustic…no running water, outhouse and all the senses of nature, including a rumbling thunder storm (poor max).

a three hour drive up highway 40 and we’re in grande prairie and wide open spaces, big skies, lush fields and oil wells. as you’ll see, I have a thing for the prairies…they are awesomely beautiful and ever-changing. the sky is spectacular and the colours of the fields and trees are a painters dream.

heading south we followed the banff/jasper parkway, a spectacular valley of mountains and glaciers, the blue grey rivers fed by the glaciers and the turquois lakes, inviting but oh, so cold. we were fortunate to see a mother bear and cubs and some very large big horn sheep who appeared right beside the car while we were waiting for traffic.

highway 1 to the beautiful town of revelstoke. revelstoke is located at the headwaters of the arrow lakes surrounded by high mountains and the mighty columbia river. the town itself is a picture postcard with tin roofs for the high snow fall, well cared for yards and home which are most Victorian in style and date back to early 1900’s. the downtown section is truly a postcard setting, revitalized and perfect for visitors. an architectural highlight was the old courthouse located on the south edge of the town. a great place to visit.

ever southward. we caught the early morning ferry south of revelstoke, then a leasurly drive to kaslo, b.c. via nakusp and new denver, both quaint and charming lakeside towns with a strong connection to mining and b.c. history.

kaslo, my old home town (for a while) a perfect village of about 1,000 souls nestled on the shore of kootenay lake. the old building have mostly been restored and the homes are a fantasy for lovers of early architecture. the town hall is the oldest of it kind on the b.c. mainland. too many restaurants (the tree house is my fave), a beautiful golf course and hours of exploration if you have the time.

home via highway 3. all mountains and climate changes along the way. here are a few, or too many photos from the trip…in no particular order.



































rhododendron flats

on a short day trip we had the chance to stop at  rhododendron flats in manning park.  the grove of pacific rhododendron is just off highway 3 (the crowsnest) highway.  there is a small parking lot and toilet along with information signs about the grove.  as they are natural/native only one colour grows, however the beauty of them at different phases of development are as diverse as any garden.  it is a pleasant 15 minutes stroll around a well maintained path amongst the pines and cedars.  the grade is gently but not suitable for wheelchairs or someone with difficulty walking.

m1 r1 r2 r4 r5 r7 rh7 rh8 rh9 rh10 rh11 forest floor

the ubiquitous max
the ubiquitous max

mea culpa

yup, i’m a slacker at maintaining this blog!  a lot has happened in the garden and though not reluctant to share, i question the purpose and my ego in maintaining it.   if you follow, thanks, i’ll try and keep it a bit more current.

on a more interesting note these picture of a small flock of western tanagers at my pond’s waterfall make the project worthwhile.  about six of them spent 15 minutes drinking, preening and squabbling.

wt1 wt2 wt3 wt4 wt5


bern, as you would expect, is very tidy and not without charm. it is also very uniform in its appearance. in fact the entire old town is built with the same coloured sandstone as a result of a fire back in the 1400’s when the town burned down. in fact every building in the olde town is in the same condition it was some 500 years ago!

after checking in to our quite nice hotel, we head off to use up what little light remains in the day. it is very cold and starts to rain lightly shortly after we set out. this is not a problem in bern however as i suspect they get either a lot of snow or rain or both, because they have built some 14 kilometres of covered walkways down both sides of every street in the old town. i take as many pictures as i can before the light goes. there are quaint fountains and statues in the middle of the streets, or affixed to buildings.

it really is quite storybook in appearance as we work our way down hill towards the river the buildings look progressively more « swiss like » with a jumble of roofs, hundreds of chimneys, the odd one puffing smoke. at the bottom of the hill we discover an old church, open but without lights. what a contrast to the ornate ones we’ve seen elsewhere; it is void of decoration except for an old choir from the 1500’s and 3 stained glass windows. by now we’re a bit chilled and stop in for a hot chocolate and a piece of apple cake mmmmm… good.

as we wend our way back up the hill we pass a glittering display of remarkably modern design in the old stores, whether furniture, fashion or jewelery. we also see a couple of workshops where craftspeople are still at work. of all the cities we’ve been to the quality of items here seem to be the best. we did pick up a couple of souvenirs… chocolates… expensive chocolates! i couldn’t afford a watch 🙂

i’m still searching for blair’s gift and we check out a few clothing stores… this is not rick’s favourite past-time and soon he abandons me for the warmth of the hotel. i have no luck and head back to join him before going out to dinner.

we had seen several restaurants on our walk and decided to head back to one that appeared particularly charming. unfortunately, smoking is still very much accepted in switzerland and i’d had enough of smoke filled atmosphere at a restaurant in saltzburg so we passed on our first choice. we end up at the ratzkeller restaurant on one of the main streets and have a wonderfully authentic swiss meal, including swiss wine and strudel to die for. we paid for this indulgence! it was the most expensive meal of our trip (but worth it.) as we ate, it began to snow, you can imagine our delight as it was a perfect mountain experience in a 15th century setting.

we walked home in the light snow for a good night’s sleep in our feather beds.

our hotel looked over the central square which includes the station, clock towers, old building and a futuristic glass canopy that covers a great portion of the square. it was great to wake in the morning to see everything covered in a light blanket of snow.

bern was a nice place to end our trip. tomorrow paris, before flying home.

guten nacht, buona notte, bonsoir (it’s a trilingual country:) see Bern on my flickr slideshow