Day Twenty-One: Cap-aux-Os

You never know what the day will offer.

This morning at breakfast, we were chatting with a couple from France. They told us about a boat tour around Percé Rock and Bonaventure Island. It was a beautiful morning – clear sky and sunshine – so we decided to do it.

It wasn’t until we had bought our tickets and were approaching the boat that I questioned my sanity. The boat was bouncing up and down at the wharf like Tigger having an exuberantly happy day. My stomach lurched and I reached for gravol (which I carry in my purse just in case!)

Getting on the boat involved two men pushing a passenger on board in perfect timing as the edge of the boat rose with the swell to meet the wharf…and two other men catching the passenger on the other side.

The swells increased as we headed out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence but the photo opportunities were worth it (although we nearly froze even with all our warmest layers on). Thankfully, the gravol helped!

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The view of Percé was extraordinary and as we passed Bonaventure Island, we saw grey seals and a huge gannet nesting area. All the photos are on my good camera though and I haven’t had a chance to download them yet.

We dawdled around Percé all morning, checking out historical buildings, and wandering along the shore.

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Then we continued our drive along the coast. Once again, the view was awe-inspiring – mountains in every direction and more hues of orange, yellow, red and green than I dreamed possible. We certainly lucked out with our timing for this trip in terms of seeing the peak of the fall foliage.

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As we came around the other side of the bay, I was able to capture one more shot of Percé Rock with an abandoned house in the foreground.

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The City of Gaspé is nestled into a mountainside on the Bay of Gaspé. It’s a picturesque spot with great views in all directions including these tidal flats.

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Tonight we’re staying in a former school in Cap-aux-Os, about 20 minutes east of the city of Gaspé. The bedroom appears to have been a classroom with the original wooden cupboard doors in one corner, and big windows overlooking the playground. Funny how schools always feel like schools no matter how they are repurposed.

Tomorrow we get to explore Forillon National Park. And it looks like another nice day.

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Day Eighteen: Amherst

This is the view we woke up to this morning. Kelly’s Mountain near Sydney, Nova Scotia.

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As you can see, the fall colours are at their peak, and continued to captivate us during today’s drive.

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Beautiful as it was, I found myself missing Newfoundland and Labrador. The landscape there is so vast and wild, with more trees, mountains and coastline than people. Here there are rolling fields, cattle and sheep grazing, and plenty of towns with gas stations and coffee shops.

We discovered too late that the Celtic Colours International Festival is on now in Cape Breton. How wonderful it would have been to attend a ceilidh! Another trip perhaps.

We skirted away from the TransCanada highway to explore some coastal communities and we considered taking the ferry to Prince Edward Island but our timing was off for that too.

We did stop in Tatamagouche to visit some shops.

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And we came across this delightful lighthouse in Wallace Harbour.

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And this was our view of Prince Edward Island in the distance.

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We also came across a lavender farm in Seafoam (yes, that is a real place).

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And drove past Denmark!

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You never know where your adventures will take you 😁

 

Day Seven: Happy Valley-Goose Bay

It’s been a day of contrasts. We started in Churchill Falls (elevation about 1440 ft above sea level) and tonight we’re in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, elevation 39 ft. Bit of a change!

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We could see it in the landscape along the way. The dark greens and bright yellows of black spruce and tamarack gave way to vivid oranges, reds and yellows of birch, poplar and low deciduous bushes. Steep rocky hills softened into flat sandy valleys as we followed the twists and turns of the Churchill River.

Unfortunately it poured rain all day so my photos were rain-streaked and taken from the car en route.

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With the changing terrain came a difference in wildlife. From road signs warning of caribou, suddenly there was a very large one cautioning about moose.

Still no sightings but in a hike on the Birch Island trail before supper, we did find moose tracks on the beach.

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The hike along the boardwalk through protected wetlands was a highlight of the day. We saw robins, an unexpected sight, and were treated to beautiful colours across Lake Melville and the Mealy Mountains. Lake Melville opens up to the Atlantic Ocean and is, therefore, tidal. The tide was receding when we were there.

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The boardwalk took us into woodlands, across the beach, and through wetlands.

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We had walked for about half an hour when suddenly, the boardwalk ended. Ended as in uncompleted. We had to turn around and walk all the way back again.

All part of the adventure, never knowing how things will turn out!

But this view was worth it!

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Tomorrow is a one of our longer days – about 6.5 hours. We will be heading southeast toward Mary’s Harbour. We’ve heard that a lot of that road is now paved, but not entirely, so we’ll see what awaits!

Reconnecting

Today I unpacked some beloved friends – from childhood and from adulthood. Well worn and well loved.

Treasured books.

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They have been buried in boxes for several months while we navigated a move. I have felt bereft and lonely without them. Today I freed them from the confines of the closet and introduced them to their new surroundings.

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Simultaneously I am reading Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up”. So, as she suggests, I spread all my books out in front of me and picked up one at a time. I asked myself her simple question, “Does this book spark joy?”

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I kept the ones that ignited a feeling of joy. The others I set aside to give away so that they will bring joy to someone else.

My bookshelves are emptier now yet filled with books that make me smile.

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And there are five fewer boxes in the closet! Bonus! 😊

 

A Birth Day – September 24, 2017

A child is born.

My child’s child…my granddaughter.

She is precious and beautiful, as are all children. And a joy to behold.

Each child is a miracle – a miracle that takes your breath away, brings you to tears, and fills you with unspeakable awe.

For her, and all the children in the world, I offer this blessing:

May you know peace,

May you have joy in your heart,

May you be surrounded by love and laughter,

and may you always feel at home in this world

no matter where your journey takes you.

Welcome to the world, little one!

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Sunrise on September 24, 2017

 

Joy Is All Around

Have you ever been surprised by joy? Picture yourself loading up a canoe with folding chairs and a picnic, and paddling off to a small island.

You arrive, unload the canoe, and set up your chairs. Lo and behold…attached to one of the folding chairs is the chrysalis of a Monarch butterfly!

Just look at the perfection, and the detail, the tiny decorations of gold on the soft green. Only in nature can you find such beauty and magic. And be moved to tears of joy at the wonder of it all.

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The perfect design of a Monarch’s chrysalis ~ photo by Julie Wise

The Road Less Traveled

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
~ Excerpt from The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
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Into The Woods…photo by Julie Wise

Sunrise, Sunset

I love sunsets, and sunrises (although I’m not often up early enough to see sunrises!)

Each one is unique. Each holds a surreal beauty, subtly shifting from moment to moment, ushering in a sense of peace and serenity. A feeling that all’s well with the world.

Is there anything more beautiful?

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Sunset at Smiths Lake, Australia. Photo by Julie Wise

Joy is…

One my my many joys is driving my Mini. I smile every time I see it. It makes me feel happy inside. Plus it’s so much fun to drive (especially on roundabouts)!

Another joy is having matching black and white accessories 😉

Mirror covers and car by Mini Canada; capris and clutch by escherly design. Such joy!

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Mini me!

A Star Is Born

I discovered this beauty a few days ago. At first I thought it was a morning glory flower because I noticed it first thing in the morning.

Last evening, however, I saw a second one, unfurling slowly. Within an hour, it was completely open, and remained so all night. This morning it is gently closing.

It’s called a moonflower because it blooms during the night (and probably also because it’s white). However, for me it’s really a star flower. The star design at the centre reminds me that I am a star at my core (as are you), and it’s important to let that star quality shine for everyone to see!

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A star is born! ~ photo by Julie Wise