On the Gr65. Day 8

Each day, we are ready earlier. It means  two things. We are getting stronger  and we sleep so well that we are ready to start  walking as early as possible. When we leave the gite it is still a bit dark  ( shortly after 8 AM) . The sky is wonderful. I need to capture  this moment.

We follow the road, the same road  we were able to see from our bedroom window.

We are enjoying the moment. Our body knows well that this is another day on our feet. How many km will we do on day 8 ?  29 km counting the steps we do when we arrive in Lauzerte.

But before we get there , we pass the town of Montcuq. We do not visit. We prefer to get going and have more time when we will get to our destination.

We stop later to have our picnic. We see donkeys and sunflowers. We also see a few pilgrims. It feels good to know we are not alone in that adventure.

We arrive in Lauzerte and we have to climb  a street to get to our gite. Les Figuiers.       A very friendly  couple  runs this gite. We have booked a room instead of sleeping in a dorm.  Each room has a name. Our room is called Marguerite  and we have a great view on the area.

We have time to go to  the town center.  It means we have to climb a little more. But it is worthwhile. We are enjoying it very much , the Church, the square, the beer we are having with other pilgrims and the good weather. Is it possible to say we are having the time of our life ?

At  7 pm we have to be back in our gite for dinner. And it is quite a great dinner with  apero, soup, prosciutto and melon, sausage, ratatouille, cheese, desert and wine as we wish ! We are a good group at the table. Across the table is a man from Mexico. He does not speak French and not much English either. So I  have to communicate in Spanish with him and he shares with me the reason of his pilgrimage. He plans on walking all the way to Santiago in Spain.

Another great day. We feel fine. We are happy.

Thank you for reading and comments.

 

A fun summer.

Hello readers !

I know summer is not over yet  but it feels like it. I will show you -with more photos than words- some activities I enjoyed this summer. And then I  will  take a break and wait to have  fun things for “show and tell”.  Writing my blog is not a job.  I  enjoy it but letting the computer having a rest is not a bad idea !

First, there were a few trips to Langley  to pick up berries: strawberries, raspberries and also blueberries. Which one are your favorite ? They are great in smoothies. I am please to support local farmers.

Spending summer in Vancouver is nice. You may want to pretend you are a tourist. Not so far from Vancouver, with only a short ferry ride, Bowen Island was waiting for us. We climbed  Mount Gardner to appreciate the view on the Sunshine Coast.

We walked around Killarney Lake.

and just in case you are lost or think you are , follow the signs.

Summer is a good time to have guests and go on  different outings.

Lynn Canyon suspension bridge is always fun to cross. On that day , we were quite early and I was able to capture Emilie  almost by herself on the bridge. When we came back there was more action (firefighters in training).

We like our beautiful green and mossy  forest.

Going downtown ( using the sea-bus).

Visiting Dr. Sun-Yat Sen garden.

Resting for a minute at English Bay.

Going up Grouse Mountain to check our fitness level.  The Grouse Grind is a very popular hike for locals and visitors. The Grouse Grind trail takes you up steep and rugged terrain from the North Vancouver plateau to the glorious Grouse Mountain peak. It is a near vertical 2.9km (1.8 mile) hike up the mountain, offering an intense workout with 2,830 stairs and an elevation gain of 2,800 feet.

When you reach the top, you can say hello to Grinder and Coola (the bears), enjoy the bird show, admire the view.  It is fun to take your time  up there and come down with the gondola only when you know you are ready to be back in the city.

Here is my friend Agathe  with a view of the city down below.

What else ? Oh well,  summer is also time to hike. This year we did a few new hikes . Kennedy Falls was  a good one. It gave us the chance to see the Big Cedar,  a 600+ year old red cedar, that is one a only few old-growth trees in Lynn Valley to have escaped being clear-cut. At 4 meters wide, it’s arguably the most spectacular tree you can find anywhere around Vancouver.

Here is the falls. It was a perfect spot to have our lunch.

A  smile on the trail… to make us smile of course!

I  thank you for reading or leaving a comment. I will be back later with new adventures  and photographs to share with  you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sonoma Valley

On a foggy March morning, we got ready to explore Sonoma Valley. First , we walked a bit in the town of Sonoma ( we had been there in 2014) but it was nice to see it again.  A beautiful park  with spring blossoms in the Italian garden.

Sometimes,  we  stop to capture the landscape…

There were no leaves yet on the grapevines…

So many wineries in this area of California … more than  425 and 70 varieties of wine grapes.

Some of the wineries have nice buildings and it gives me opportunity to take photos like I always do.  Here is Chateau St.Jean

Ledson Castle is an architectural showpiece nested among 20 acres of estate vineyards.

We were not really trying to go for tasting  the wine  but we certainly enjoyed very much spending time  and exploring . Spring time is probably a lot more quiet  than if we were visiting in fall when the grapes are ready to be picked.

We also  visited Santa Rosa but I will not say more about this city on this post. It will be for next week. Thank you so much for your visit and comment.

 

 

Zabriskie Point and Mosaic Canyon. (DVNP)

Zabriskie Point, the golden badlands. Deathly silent and still . Result of often violent action of water and earthquake.  Another amazing area of this splendid park. Enjoy the photos I brought back.

Time for another hike… in Golden Canyon.

I have great memories of this day.  Blue sky  and fantastic landscapes to capture. We still had some time the next morning to explore Mosaic  Canyon, a showcase of geologic features. Out and back hike within polished marble narrow filled with unique color pattern. Many times I felt the need to touch the soft walls of the canyon. It was early in the morning and just perfect weather.

Goodbye  Death Valley.   A very unique  and special place it is.

Thank you for visit and comments. Always very appreciated.

 

 

 

 

Salt Creek interpretive trail.

Death Valley National Park was the highlight of my trip in California in 2017. The first evening we  enjoyed was  a spectacular sunset.

The next morning, we were up early and ready to explore this vast area. The salt creek trail has a boardwalk that allow us to visit the salt marsh.

It was amazing to see the rare pupfish in the creek. Their lifespan is one year or less. So these tiny fish are in a hurry to feed and breed.   Pupfish got their name because they seemed as playful as puppies. They live in temperature ranges from 0 to 100C ( 32F to 212 F). They can live in water 3 times as salty as the ocean. They have been around for 20,000 years. Pupfish are desert survivors.

It was fun to see little lizards and see how fast they move.

We needed to get going with our visit as there is so much to see in DVNP.

More from our exploration in the park on my next post.

Thanks for reading !

On the road to…

I have done a few road trips. Some with my whole family ( when our kids were still quite young and later when they were teenagers). Now I go on road trip with my husband. We plan the trip together. We decide where we should stop for visit.  I usually  book the accommodation.  My husband is the driver and with the help of the GPS, we get where we want.

On this road trip, we had plan to visit Death Valley National Park as we were already in California. I did not know much about this National Park but I was very curious to discover this very special place.

We booked a room in Stovepipe Wells village. It just happen that the hotel was very close to the Mesquite Flat  Sand  Dunes.  It made it easy to go at sunset and  again early in the morning. One  experience I will never forget. If you have been to a desert you will know the feeling of walking on sand and climbing sand dunes. I had been to a sand dune in France in 2015  but this was totally different than what I saw in DVNP.

I will share a few pictures and let you get the feeling of it. The first picture was taken early in the morning   (7:50 ) when there were very few people on the dunes. We did not stay very long that day because we knew we would come back later and we had so many other places to see.

That night, it was almost full moon and many people wanted to see it from the dune. Because the temperature was cooler in the evening than during the day , it was a good time to explore.  But  Death Valley is known for warm, very warm temperature. Even for us with a visit  in March, the temperature went up to 101 F (over 38C).

I really wanted to go on the biggest dunes and the only way we could do it easily was to get up early and go right away before wasting any time. It was the best decision for us  as we were able to climb all the biggest dunes and take photos with almost nobody in it.

We stayed on the dunes for almost one hour and a half. It was a great feeling to walk bare feet . I am happy I did not see the desert sidewinder snake ( I only saw the trace ).

The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are at the northern end of the valley floor and are nearly surrounded by mountains on all sides. Due to their easy access from the road and the overall proximity of Death Valley to  Hollywood , these dunes have been used to film  sand dune scenes for several movies including films in the  Star Wars series. The largest dune is called Star Dune and is relatively stable and stationary because it is at a point where the various winds that shape the dunes converge. The depth of the sand at its crest is 130–140 feet (40–43 m) but this is small compared to other dunes in the area that have sand depths of up to 600–700 feet (180–210 m) deep.

Thanks for reading  and  for writing  a comment.  I will  write more on DVNP and share other places we visited.  Now that summer is here, I might not post  every week.

THANK YOU.

 

 

 

Canada

July  1st is Canada Day ! Happy  Canada Day !

This year, Canada celebrates 150 years. Sesquicentennial. Ses·qui·cen·ten·ni·al. It means a one-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary, and if you perfect the pronunciation it’s a real crowd pleaser.

Some will say it is older than 150 years  but I think  Canada is still a young country. How old is  the country  where you live ?

Canada is a North American country stretching from the U.S. in the south to the Arctic Circle in the north. Major cities include massive Toronto, west coast film centre Vancouver, French-speaking Montréal and Québec City, and capital city Ottawa. Canada’s vast swaths of wilderness include lake-filled Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains. It’s also home to Niagara Falls, a famous group of massive waterfalls.

I am Canadian. I was born in Canada and lived in Canada all my life. I grew up in Quebec  but I am now living in British Columbia. So I moved from  almost one end of the country to the other end. Nature is very different in each  provinces. We have beautiful National Parks : Banff , Waterton Lakes, Jasper, Yoho,  etc… In fact there are 47 National Parks in Canada. All provinces have it special beauty.

I have not visited Newfoundland yet  but I hope to go there one day. You get there by ferry or by plane.

Maritime provinces are very interesting. I have traveled to Nova Scotia twice. I know some parts of New Brunswick.  I crossed Prince Edward Island to get to Magdalen Islands. The Magdalen Islands form a small archipelago in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence with a land area of 205.53 square kilometers. Though closer to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia, the islands form part of the Canadian province of Quebec. I have been twice to Magdalen Islands and I want to go back. I really love the wonderful beaches where you can walk a long time. It is very windy as it is in the gulf of Saint Lawrence. Some people like to go there to do  surf kite.

When I moved to BC, I drove across Canada by car. It was an interesting feeling to see my country.  And 22 years later, my family ( husband and kids)  went on a road trip across Canada.

In Alberta, we spent one night at the Prince of Wales  Hotel built in 1920. This hotel is opened only 4 months during the year ( end of May to end of September). It is located in Waterton Lakes National Park.

In Manitoba, we saw bisons.

I was very happy to see our famous Niagara Falls. They are a major tourist attraction for anyone who comes to Ontario.

Quebec City is a lovely city . The  iconic Chateau Frontenac ( Fairmont Hotel) is a wonderful historic building.  This heritage urban resort with its breathtaking views of the St. Lawrence River and the architecture of the Old fortified City, designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site is always great to see.

Now that I live on the West Coast,  I want to see more of my province. There is so much to see here in BC. I love traveling and I plan on seeing more each year.

I share two photos  showing down-town (taken from the North Shore). The sea-bus is transporting pedestrians to and from the North Shore.

To all Canadians, Happy Canada Day.

…and to you all who read my blog, Thank you ! Maybe you can tell me what is your favorite city in Canada ( if you have been visiting or living here). I know it is a difficult question.