Archive for the 'life' Category


Sing The Melody, Please

Posted by Heather
In career, life, music
21Feb 11

     I remember a time when I’d hear a song on the radio, and would exclaim to my friends or family, ” I LOVE that song !!! “.  Admittedly, sometimes it was because I thought the guy singing it was cute, ( when I was very young ) but most of the time, it was because the song was well-written, and the singer’s voice was amazing.

     I have always admired people that can sing a song so beautifully that it moves you to tears – no fancy stuff, no embellishments or vocal acrobatics,  just a pure, rich, melodic tone to their voice. Their genuine emotion comes through in their delivery and phrasing, but it’s subtle, not over the top.

     Back in the day, people appreciated a good song, and a great voice.  You could close your eyes, and be transported to another place, and you never wanted the song to end. Think of all the Love Songs and Power Ballads you liked as a teenager … and how those songs still “get you” when you hear them, all these years later.

     A singer used to be able to sit on a stage on a stool in front of a mic, and just sing …. and people went crazy.  Back then, real talent was rewarded and appreciated, pure and simple.

     Nowadays, people expect a bunch of costume changes, elaborate sets, backup dancers etc. to keep their short attention spans focused.  Many of the famous singers don’t even have that great of voices, but they are marketed to look/act a certain way, and the masses lap it up, like a bunch of sheep. Some sound good in the studio, but live, not so much – this goes to show just how “manufactured” much of it is today. Why is that accepted?

     The main reason I’m writing this post is to address the issue of singing “runs”.  Well-executed runs, by such people as Christina Aguilera, Mariah Carey, and a large number of Gospel singers, are absolutely phenomenal.  We can all appreciate their vocal talent, whether or not it is our “kind” of music.

     What drives me crazy, is when contestants on all these singing competition shows try to emulate these people, and sadly, most don’t do it well.  There are only a handful of people that are able to pull these runs off, and it really should be left to them.

     I recall hearing Randy Jackson say to a contestant a couple years ago something like “That was great, you didn’t try and put runs all over it, you just sang the melody”, and I was very happy to hear that. When even the experts are saying that kind of thing, maybe some of these young people will get the message.  If you can really sing, you don’t need to drown a word in all these notes, to the point where no one can understand what word you were trying to sing.

     Just for fun, I Googled the subject of vocal runs, or melisma, just to see if I was alone in my opinion.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I am not.  There are a lot of articles on this, but one of the best I found was here.  Make sure you scroll down and read the part “What are they doing wrong” – it says it all.

     The best example for me of excessive vocal runs was when Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You” came out, as is also mentioned in the above link.  Previous to that , I liked some of her songs, and I liked her voice.  To this day, if I hear the first few notes of that song, I run and turn it off. It is just too much, in my opinion. I may not be known as a Country fan, but I much prefer Dolly Parton’s version of the song.

     Even the handful of women who are really good at runs have songs ( such as ballads ) that I prefer the sound of their voices in – rich, pure and simple.  I want to hear a beautiful voice, not something drenched in vocal acrobatics all the time.  There is definitely a time and a place for it – in small doses, by a select few – but I think aspiring singers might want to find their own unique voice, rather than only trying to copy others …. just a thought.

     My husband agrees with me.  We were watching something on T.V. a couple weeks ago, and he said he wished people would just sing the melody, because “It’s not a yodelling contest ! “.

     Do you think that too many people are ruining songs these days by excessive vocal runs?  It would be great to hear some opinions on this subject.


Live To Dance

Posted by Heather
In career, life, music
29Jan 11

     I absolutely love to dance – it is definitely one of my very favourite things to do. Most of the dancing I’ve done has been in nightclubs, out with friends, having fun.  I have also taken some dance lessons, of various styles: Swing and Jive,  Ballroom,  and Tap. I would like to take Latin, as well as Belly Dancing, some time.  I suppose it is to be expected then, that I enjoy watching  ” dance shows ” on T.V.  The thing that I admire most when watching other people dance is not just technical perfection, but when you can really see that they absolutely love what they are doing.  The music just flows through you, and your body responds naturally – it is not forced. ( and certainly, not everyone is a natural ) For me, dance is an escape, a good way to relieve stress, socialize with others,  get exercise …. but most importantly, it is so much fun !!!

     Recently, we have been watching Paula Abdul’s new show, ” Live To Dance “.  What we really love most about it is:  unlike certain other dance shows that shall remain nameless, the dancers can be any AGE, any group size, any genre. 

     Similar  dance shows ( in Canada ) require you to be between the age of majority ( which varies by Province ) and 30,  or in the U.S. version, 18 – 30.  That has always bothered us – it seems so unfair.  So, if you are under 18, or over 30, and have big dreams of dancing, it’s not possible?  – that just seems ridiculous.  Talent does not begin at 18, and it certainly does not end at 30 !

     Anyway, I have to applaud this new show for being intelligent enough to broaden the rules to be more inclusive.  The judges are very positive and encouraging, and there aren’t the usual “mean” comments that are sometimes heard in these types of shows. They are honest with the contestants when they aren’t at their best, but any criticism is done constructively, which is as it should be.

     My favourites of the competition so far are:  Kendall Glover, D’Angelo and Amanda, and Twitch.  I really hope that one of these 3 wins!

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In career, life
4Jan 11

     From the time we are little children, people try and influence our decisions.  Most of the time, people that genuinely care about us are trying to be “helpful” or to lead us along the “right” path.  Telling us not to put our finger in a socket, or touch the stove when it is hot, are examples of good influence.  ( but most people know that the only way a child will really learn is to actually experience these things, and decide for themselves whether or not this is something they would like to repeat ) Telling a little girl she should be playing with Barbies rather than a train set is not a beneficial thing, nor would insisting a boy cannot wear pink, be.  As much as some parents may think these kinds of guidelines will help, they may actually be stifling their childrens’ creativity to a degree.

     I am not a parent, but I have lived long enough to know full well that most children want to be supported and encouraged by their parents in the things that they are actually interested in.  Just because your children may not share your interests does not mean there’s anything wrong with them.  Everyone is different – an individual, and we need to respect that fact.  Peoples’ differences should be celebrated, not hidden.  The world would be a pretty boring place if we were all into the very same things, or all shared the same talents and abilities.

     As adults, we are also faced with situations where we may feel like someone is trying to put a square peg in a round hole, so to speak.  I have never understood this – it makes no sense.  In the past, I have worked at jobs where one person is told they should get trained to work in a different department ( which they have absolutely no interest in ) yet there are people who have asked specifically to learn that job, yet don’t get the chance.  It is completely illogical to force someone to do something they really don’t want to do, when there is someone eager and interested just waiting for the chance.  One would think that employers would understand that each person has strengths, and putting them in an area that they excel at/have a real interest in, is a win/win situation for everyone.  Why would anyone purposely do the opposite? It certainly won’t gain you any respect, and it may make you lose truly good people.

      In my personal life, I always try and encourage friends and family to do things that make them happy.  It may be something they absolutely love, it may be something they have a natural talent for … the bottom line is: life is too short to let someone ( who obviously doesn’t have your best interests at heart ) force you to do something that makes you miserable. (whether this be in a relationship,  at a job, or whatever. )

     I think Einstein put it best when he said:

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
–Albert Einstein

     Every person has value, whether it be in your family life, personal life, or work life.  It takes a lot of different personality types to make something work smoothly.  Not everyone has to agree all the time, but I do think we need to focus more on encouraging people in the things they are good at, rather than criticizing them for not doing something else.  Some people don’t seem to need praise – the over-confident, in-your-face type people, perhaps. Well, if they really felt that good about themselves, would they really need to be so in-your-face, loud and obnoxious?  ( Of course not !!! )  They are simply screaming for attention – it’s insecurity hiding under false bravado.  We’ve all seen the type.  As for the shy, “sensitive” people that society generally casts aside as being “weak” or “inferior”, well, news-flash – they have value, too!  They tend to take their time with things, do a more thorough job, and actually care about what they are doing – what a concept.

     I could go on and on about this subject, but for the sake of brevity, will try and wrap this up.  My main point is this: instead of tearing down people, we should be building them up, supporting them, encouraging the things they are good at/interested in.  If everyone gave this a try, I think we’d see much happier, healthier work environments, and this would spill over into other aspects of our lives.  Like Einstein said, “Everybody is a genius”.  Give people the chance to shine in their own way.

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In career, events, life, music
13Dec 10

     I realize that there are still a few weeks left in 2010, but with the holiday season almost upon us, thought it may be a good time to reflect back upon the highlights of my year.  Although things never seem to turn out how we may expect ( or wish ) them to, there are always some great things to look back on, when a year is almost over.

     The following are some of the things that made me very happy in 2010:

     My producer Jarome Matthew was not only successful in getting my entire CD on iTunes and various other music sites, but he also got my two 80’s singles ( remakes ) on there as well.  It takes a while to get reports from these sites, but I have seen some recently, and things are picking up.  It feels really good knowing that people care enough to check out my music, tell their friends, and support me.  You all know who you are, and you know how much I appreciate all that you have done for me. Word of mouth goes a long way, so please keep talking ….

     My husband and I did a lot more hiking this year, and it did wonders for our stress levels.  We went to our 2 usual spots several times each, but discovered our new favourite hike at Francis Point.  It is so incredibly peaceful there, and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking.  It always reminds us of how very lucky we are to live where we do.

     We didn’t have much of a chance to really “get away’ this Summer, so we decided to try something closer to home, and were very pleasantly surprised with “A Lakeside Retreat ” in Egmont.  It ended up being everything we were looking for, and more! What a perfect escape – a beautiful Bed & Breakfast on a secluded lake,with a fabulous host.  We will definitely go back there again !

     It’s always good to get out and see some live music, and this year, we were able to do that more than usual.  I try and see my friend Brandon Isaak at least once a year, and when he came up to the Coast with The Twisters in September, we met some of our good friends at the Garden Bay Pub, to see him.  It was an awesome night of incredible music, and good company. It was definitely one of the most fun nights we had this year.

     If I had to pick one thing that I would consider to be the best experience of my year in 2010, it would be the Sunshine Coast Karaoke Idol Contest.  Going to Karaoke every couple of weeks in the Summer was so much fun, and we met some wonderful people, and a lot of fantastic singers.  I’m not really one for contests/competitions of any kind – it’s so not my thing, but I am glad I gave this one a shot.  It was worth it for the experience, singing in front of new audiences, trying new genres etc, but the very best part was the good people we met.  We made a lot of new friends during that time, and their friendships have definitely enhanced our lives. The Sunshine Coast has a lot of talented, supportive, kind, caring people, and I am so glad we had the chance to meet so many of them through this contest.

     I just re-read this post, and realized that pretty much everything that made me happy in 2010 either involved music or relaxing/enjoying nature.  I guess it really is true – this living up here for the past 2 and 1/2 years is really starting to help me get my priorities straight.  I am spending far more time doing things that bring me joy now, rather than worrying or getting stressed out like I used to. I still have a long way to go, but I do believe I am slowly mellowing out the longer I live up here, and that’s a good thing.

     Most importantly, I would like to thank my family and friends for their love and support this year.  Spending time with all of you brings me the most happiness of all.


Thanksgiving

Posted by Heather
In events, life
12Oct 10

     This past weekend in Canada was our Thanksgiving.  Traditionally, this was a time to show gratitude for a bountiful harvest.  The holiday is technically on the Monday, but family dinners usually happen on either the Sunday or the Monday.

     I hope that all of my Canadian friends were able to spend some quality time with their families and loved ones, and reflect on just how much they have to be grateful for.  It may not be as much about the harvest any more, but we still need to be aware of all the things we often take for granted in our lives.  The most obvious things to me are a roof over our heads, clothes on our backs, food on the table, clean water to drink …. we are so incredibly lucky to live where we do.  Most of us have jobs and are able to get the things we need to survive.  We have access to great medical care, we are able to express our different cultures, religions etc. and speak our minds.

     When times are tough, and things are not going how we would like in our lives, it is very easy to forget about all these seemingly “basic” things that we are so used to having.  What we don’t seem to realize is that these things would be considered luxuries to many other people in the world.

     Life is not always easy – that is for sure. Sometimes, things happen that seem like too much to bear, but instead of wishing for things we don’t/can’t have, maybe we need to start to focus on being grateful for the things ( and people in our lives ) that we do have.  If we really think about it, things may not seem so bad after all.

     I for one am very grateful to have the things I need to survive and be healthy. More than anything, I am grateful to have a wonderfully loving and supportive family, and group of good friends.  Regardless of how difficult things get, just knowing people care and are willing to listen ( and give lots of hugs ) makes even the hardest things in life a little less painful.

     What are you grateful for?


In events, life, music
28Sep 10

     This past Saturday night, my husband and I made the long, winding drive up The Sunshine Coast Highway to the Garden Bay Pub.  It was dark and windy, the rain was pelting the car much like a tropical rain, and the road was slick.  We giggled more than a few times as our headlights caught many frogs jumping across the highway, as we made our way to our destination.  As always, we saw quite a few deer, as well, but luckily, they stayed at the side of the road.

     Normally, we wouldn’t go for such a long drive in those kind of conditions, but we had a very good reason – my dear friend Brandon Isaak was playing with The Twisters at the Pub that night.  If that name sounds familiar, you probably read my blog post entitled “Yukon Buddy” that I wrote last year.  Last time I saw Brandon was Sept. 6th 2009, when he and Harpdog Brown played there – another rainy night.  The last time we’d seen Brandon play with the Twisters was when we still lived in Vancouver – I think it was Sept. 7th, 2007, if memory serves me correctly.

     The drive up the highway is always an adventure, especially this time of year, in the dark and the inclement weather, but once again, we were well rewarded for our efforts.  It is such a treat for me to see my old friend even once a year now ( after being out of touch for more than 15 years ) as it is so good to have a chance to chat and “catch up”.  Seeing the Twisters play again was nothing short of amazing – they were even better than I had remembered. Not only are they phenomenal musicians and vocalists, but they have so much energy and enthusiasm that you can’t help but have a huge grin on your face the whole time they are playing.

     The audience was appreciative – they know good music when they hear it up here on the Coast – people were swaying, toes were tapping, hands a clappin’, and every face had a smile on it.  Yes, my friend Brandon is in this band, so you may think I’m a little bit biased, but the Twisters are one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen.  They are so incredibly entertaining – you just don’t want them to stop. The most difficult part of watching them in a smaller venue is the lack of a dancefloor – it is pure torture not being able to dance to their music! ( That didn’t stop a few people, though! )

     We met a couple of our friends there, who had never seen The Twisters before, and they loved them, as well!  All in all, it was a fabulous night out with great people, and awesome entertainment. 

Twisters and Heather Doré

Twisters and Heather Doré

We were able to have a good visit with Brandon in between sets, as well as after the show, so we had to get our obligatory yearly pics together.  I wish we could see each other more often, but am just glad the last few years it’s been more frequently than before.  My husband always takes a few pictures of us, so this time, Brandon challenged me to an arm wrestling match – something we often did in the Yukon years ago – sadly, Brandon lost.
Heather Doré Takes On Yukon Slim

Heather Doré Takes On Yukon Slim

I am so glad we made the drive up to Garden Bay that night.  Everyone had a wonderful time, we were thoroughly entertained, and I got to have a nice visit with my friend.  I guess I’ll look forward to next year – I bet it will be September, and I bet it’ll be raining.  One thing I know with absolute certainty – it will be well worth it.
Heather Doré and Brandon Isaak

Heather Doré and Brandon Isaak


Where Are Our Manners?

Posted by Heather
In life
12Sep 10

     When I got home from work the other day, my husband told me he’d taped a show for me that he thought I would be very interested in.  The show was a CBC Documentary called ” Rude: Where Are Our Manners ? ”  I could tell just by the title that I was going to enjoy the show, since I am constantly talking about the fact that I’m absolutely appalled by the behaviour of many people towards other human beings.

     I have written several blog posts over the past 3 years or so that have touched on various aspects of the subject.  The most obvious ones are:  “Common Courtesy” ,  “Think Before you Speak“, “Turn It Around“, and “Are They Kind?”.  I have always felt very strongly that although my upbringing may have been considered by some to be “old -fashioned “, my siblings and I were definitely taught to treat others with kindness, compassion, and patience.  We did not think we were better than anyone else, nor did we believe that our time was more valuable than anyone else’s.  We were led by example to be polite, modest, and gentle – traits which I still hold dear.  Unfortunately, in today’s society, these are also traits that seemingly get you “walked all over”, while the vile, self-absorbed, loud, obnoxious, over-confident people steamroll over everyone and everything … but I digress …

     I finally had a chance to watch the documentary ( which turns out to be a couple of years old – we just hadn’t heard of it before ) last night.  I felt as though someone had crawled into my head, and put all my thoughts out there – they pretty much covered every angle of how there has been a breakdown in manners and courtesy, particularly since the 70’s.  They mention how parents from that decade and on have been instructed to teach their children to be self-confident, ( which, in itself, is a very good thing ) and that they can have anything they want.  The problem is, parents need to temper this with showing their children self-restraint, compassion for others, and making it clear that the world does not revolve around them.

     I totally understand that things are much more difficult for parents these days, when more often than not, both parents must work to try and pay the bills.  There seems to be less free time, more stress, and kids just don’t get the ” quality time ” ( also, discipline !!! ) that we did with our parents, back in the day.  Many parents are literally too tired, drained of energy emotionally and physically, and just don’t have it left in them to disagree with their childrens’ every desire.  Of course, this leads to spoiled rotten, self-centered kids that can’t see beyond their own wants ( which they mistake for needs ).  They grow up to be selfish, uncaring adults, and this is why we now have such big problems.  Ask anyone who works in the Customer Service Industry in any way – people, for the most part, are not patient and kind.  It is disgusting how many people treat others with disrespect.

     I highly recommend everyone view the documentary online – it is well worth your time.

     There is also a wonderful book mentioned in the documentary that I think every child should read – it is called  ” Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct ” .  

     Come to think of it, there are a lot of adults who could benefit from reading that book, as well …

     Anyway, I am glad that I am not alone in the fact that I feel people must teach their children while they are young, to care about others.  It will benefit everyone, in the long run, and make life a lot more pleasant for us all.


Heather Doré’s First Guitar

Posted by Heather
In career, events, life, music
3Aug 10

     As some of you may recall, in the Spring of 2009, I started talking about wanting an Acoustic Guitar.  My Birthday is in June, so when people started asking what I wanted, I mentioned that contributions towards a Guitar would be much appreciated. It really was the only thing I wanted.

     I had played Guitar once before in Highschool, in Ontario – my friend Sandra had spent an afternoon teaching me a song I really liked. I wasn’t interested in learning chords or anything – I just wanted to learn that song, that day, and that’s what we did. She played a few notes, I copied then, we strung it together, and that was that.

     Since I moved up here to the Sunshine Coast of B.C. 2 years ago, I figured that I needed to find a fairly portable instrument to accompany myself when singing.  ( my piano isn’t portable ) When I was in Vancouver, I had some Musicians I played with from time to time, but up here, I don’t know very many yet.  I figured it was up to me to find a way to be able to sing, without having to rely on anyone else. I’ve always wanted to learn how to play Guitar, so figured this was the perfect solution.

     Not knowing anything about Guitars, I asked a friend from Highschool, Tal Bachman, for some advice on buying my 1st Guitar, since he has a lot of experience with them.  He was very kind and patient as I asked a ton of questions, and even broke down what kind of strings, picks etc. would be best for me.   I started out only knowing I wanted a black acoustic, but by the time we had many discussions about it, I knew a lot more.

     It was decided that I would get a Yamaha FG 720S ( all black) , Jim Dunlop ( nylon ) .60 mm picks, and .10 or .11 gauge ( but no heavier ) strings.  Tal felt the body size of that particular model would be good for a woman. 

     We had been talking about it online for a couple of months, so when June rolled around, and my husband and I were finally able to get into the city, and to Tom Lee, I was very excited.  My husband wanted me to actually see the Guitar, and hold it, to make sure it was what I really wanted, before we got it.  Of course, I was distracted when I saw a gold glitter-covered electric guitar hanging from the ceiling – and swore it would be my next guitar, after I mastered the Acoustic.

     I looked at the guitar I wanted, saw that it was shiny and black, picked it up,  and liked the way it felt.  I pulled out Tal’s checklist, found my strings, picks, and a strap, and the guy threw in a book for good measure.  We got a soft case for carrying, and walking down Granville St. for the very first time with my new guitar in hand, I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.

     Fast forward just over a year, and my Guitar has had a long sleep.  It still has the paper on the strings. I have been thinking about it a lot lately, wishing I had time to learn to play it … and now I am determined to just do it.  It’s so easy to let the fact that you work full time, have errands to run, a house to clean, want to spend time with friends and family make you forget that sometimes, you have to make time to do things just for you. This is important to me, it’s something I really want to do, and I’m going to find the time, somewhere, somehow.

My First Guitar

My First Guitar

So, tonight was the first step – I pulled her out of her case, and looked at all the accessories I have to go along with her, flipped through the books again, and held her, imagining how cool it will be to one day, know how to play her.
Books, Strings, Picks, Strap

Books, Strings, Picks, Strap

I can’t wait to get started playing my new Guitar.  I’ll have to shoot some video when I finally get around to removing the paper from the strings – it’ll seem like a momentous occasion, after waiting over a year …
I’ll keep you posted with my progress, but first things first, I have to find a name for her.
Thanks again, Tal, for all your help and advice – it is very much appreciated.

A Lakeside Retreat

Posted by Heather
In life
20Jul 10

     Last week, I had some time off from work, and my husband and I wanted to get away for a few days.  We didn’t have much time, didn’t want to have to wait for a ferry or leave the Sunshine Coast if we didn’t have to, so I looked online for some options.  As most of you know, I am very much a “details” person. There are specific things I look for in a place to stay, and if a website doesn’t have pictures, chances are, I steer clear of it.

     After a couple of hours checking out pretty much all the Hotels, Motels and B&B’s on the Sunshine Coast of B.C., I found a place that looked  simply lovely.  I recognized the signs that are at the side of the road from the online pics – turns out we had driven past it many times on our way to one of our usual hiking spots ( one I haven’t written about quite yet ) I always thought it looked inviting – even just from the signs, as we drove past before.

     The Bed and Breakfast we booked is called ” A Lakeside Retreat “, and is located in Egmont, about a 45 minute scenic drive past Sechelt.  We were looking for a few days of peace and quiet, relaxation, and sunshine.  When we arrived, our gracious host Rob greeted us, gave us a tour, and showed us to our room – the ” Call Of The Loon ” Suite. Continental Breakfast is included in the price, so he asked us what we would like for the next morning, as a lady brings fresh pastries every day – huge muffins, croissants, or Quiche. The room is stocked with a kitchen area and mini fridge so you can have Breakfast at your leisure in the morning – no set times, and no need to get up early if you don’t want to.  There was fresh fruit, cheeses, whipped butter and jams etc., milk and juice and yogourt in the fridge, as well. Dishes are supplied, there is a microwave, toaster oven, sink  – everything you could need.

 

The Most Comfortable Bed Ever

The Most Comfortable Bed Ever

One of the things I had noticed on the website which helped me choose which Suite I wanted to book was a picture of the bathroom. I liked the mirror, so took some pics of it myself, as well.  The bathroom was bright, clean, and had a wonderful skylight which added even more to it.  The shower was a really good size, which I love – no bumping your elbows.
Cool Shell Mirror

Cool Shell Mirror

After ” checking out ” our room, we quickly changed into our bathing suits, and headed out to our deck, which overlooked North Lake.  We had our own patio table and chairs, a BBQ, and a couple of Adirondack chairs for lounging in while enjoying the sun.
Big Deck Overlooking The Water

Big Deck Overlooking The Water

After a good look around the deck, we headed down the path behind the house to the private dock on the lake.  We were happy to see an inviting sight – chairs seemingly just waiting for us to relax in, at the edge of the water. 
Chairs On Private Dock Overlooking North Lake

Chairs On Private Dock Overlooking North Lake

Before I forget, I have to mention that also included with your stay is use of a rowboat, pedal boat, and a canoe.  Both of us love being on the and in the water, so this was a huge bonus for us.  The ” little girl ” in me wanted to try the pedal boat first, as I have many happy childhood memories of going out in them with my best friend in Ontario.  It was so much fun, pedalling around the lake, exploring the sights that were all new to us.
Three Boats To Choose From

Three Boats To Choose From

After that, we did some swimming, snorkelling, and sunbathing, while listening to the birds chirping.  It was so incredibly peaceful and relaxing – exactly what we had hoped for.  The view from the dock of the lake was beautiful.
View Of North Lake From Private Dock

View Of North Lake From Private Dock

Rob was just in the process of installing a brand new swim ladder, so we got to be the first ones to try it out while we were there.
Brand New Swim Ladder

Brand New Swim Ladder

After a day in the sun, in and on the water, and trying out the various boats, we headed back up the path to our suite.
Path Back To Our Suite

Path Back To Our Suite

Before freshening up to go have some Dinner, we stood on the deck just outside our Suite again, and took in the gorgeous view of North Lake.
Our Fabulous Deck - Call Of The Loon Suite

Our Fabulous Deck - Call Of The Loon Suite

Over the next couple of days, we spent most of our time relaxing, swimming, boating, or just laying in the big chairs up on our deck, soaking up the amazing hot sun.
Adirondack Chairs On Our Deck

Adirondack Chairs On Our Deck

There was also a recently added Games Room, which was great for night time, or would also be good if the weather wasn’t cooperating ( or in Off-Season ).  There was a Pool Table, a Dart Board, a Poker Table, CD’s to listen to, books to borrow, and movies to watch from a comfy couch, or to take back to your room.
We would definitely go back to A Lakeside Retreat again.  Rob was a wonderful host – he made sure we had everything we could possibly need, then left us alone to enjoy the peace and quiet, which is precisely why we went there.  There were a lot of personal touches that showed just how much thought he had put into every detail of the place. 
I look forward to the next time we are fortunate enough to have a couple of days to sneak away to ” A Lakeside Retreat “.
Thanks again so much for everything, Rob !
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Take A Hike – Part 2

Posted by Heather
In life
9Jul 10

     If you read my blog post  ” Take A Hike – Part 1 ” a while back, then you already know that my husband and I spend a lot of our free time hiking up here on the Sunshine Coast of B.C.  That particular post was about one of our favourite hiking spots  – Smuggler Cove, which we have probably been to more times than any other place up here, so far. 

     There is another place we have been to quite a few times, but I will write another post about that one some other time.  Today, I want to discuss the newest place we have discovered for hiking – Francis Point.  The drive there is probably another 10 – 15 minutes past Smuggler Cove, but it was sure worth it !

 

Francis Point Provincial Park

Francis Point Provincial Park

 

     The start of this hike is much like many others around here – fairly flat, and you head right into the forest.  Going in, I had no idea that this was going to be a very different hike than I was used to.  This is an area that has had relatively little human contact – there is even a section that the public is not allowed to go in, for the sake of preservation of delicate mosses and lichens etc.

 

About Francis Point

About Francis Point

 

     Not too far into the hike, you come out of the trees, and are basically walking along a cliff overlooking the water.  I love being in the warm sun, so this was awesome for me.  I am used to spending most of our time hiking under the cover of tall trees ( and I often get cold because of that fact ), so this was both a surprise, and a treat for me.

 

Looking Back On The Trail

Looking Back On The Trail

 

     Since moving to the Coast, one of my newest favourite trees is the Arbutus.  I have seen quite a few on various other hikes, most of them medium in size, and generally they have been on their own.  On this hike, I saw some taller Arbutus trees, and they were grouped together more.

 

Beautiful Arbutus Trees

Beautiful Arbutus Trees

 

          Most of the trail is pretty straight – forward, and not too difficult to navigate.  There are some tricky spots which require a bit of fancy footwork, and a hand from a friend, but nothing too bad.  Sections of the pathway have little wooden posts and ropes, to remind everyone to stick to the trail – there are delicate plants that need to be spared being destroyed by a careless mis-step.  Anything you want to photograph is close enough that you can do so with a decent lens – there is no need to stray from the marked path.

 

Marked Path at Francis Point

Marked Path at Francis Point

 

     My favourite part of the hike was when we got to near the end.  You pass a little ” lighthouse ” ( very small ) and a bit later, you get to the end of where you had been going straight, and have to turn to the left.  This is where the giant Arbutus Trees live – many growing almost sideways, bent by the force of the wind on the unprotected cliff, overlooking the water.  These were by far the largest Arbutus I had ever seen.  They made me think of one of my dearest friends, as they are her very favourite tree.  ( I hope she smiles as she reads this ) I hope one day to show them to her.

 

Tall Arbutus Trees at Francis Point

Tall Arbutus Trees at Francis Point

 

     Once you get to the big Arbutus trees, the trail continues, and gets much trickier.  It appeared to be the  most logical place to stop and turn around, as it was late afternoon, and we had a long hike back out.  We stood there at the end  for a while, marvelling at the size and beauty of these incredible trees, and admiring the view of the water from the rugged cliff.

 

Trail Getting Steep

Trail Getting Steep

 

     It is a good thing I brought my newly acquired backpack – we had been out there for a long time, and needed to find a place to stop, and have a snack.  We picked a sunny spot on some smooth flat rocks, perched on them, had some cashews and water, and enjoyed the view.

     I usually tend to like to go to familiar places, but am very glad my husband suggested we try hiking at Francis Point.  It is definitely a hike I would like to do again, and I would love to take friends there when they come and visit.  I think it may just be my new favourite place to hike.

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