Mini Vacation to Algonquin Park

There were no big vacation plans for us this year, but my husband and I did manage to get away for a few days. Back in August we planned a little get away to Algonquin Park a place we haven’t been in 17 years. 

Algonquin Park is a Provincial Park located in southeastern Ontario, Canada. The park covers 7653 sq kms (2955 sq miles). It is larger than Prince Edward Island (the smallest province in Canada) and about the same size as the US states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined. It is the oldest provincial park in Ontario and was established in 1893. (Thank you for the information)

We booked into a motel (more about that later) just outside the park checking in on Monday, Sep 17 and leaving on Thursday, Sep 20. As it is a five hour drive to the park we decided to get away a day early. So we headed to Peterborough on Sunday night.

On our drive to the park on Monday we stopped at Dorset Tower Trail. The idea was to hike the 2.3 km trail then to climb the Dorset Tower which stands 30 m hight (100 feet) tall. What we ended up doing was climbing the tower first as our GPS lead us to the tower and not the trail head. That ended up being a good thing.

I always forget how much I don’t really like heights until I start climbing. Going up wasn’t so bad, I just kept my focus ahead of me. Going down, however, was a little slower as I made sure my feet firmly planted on each steel grating step and both hands gripped the handrails.

Back at the bottom our legs felt like jelly. And then we went on the hike which was a loop that started and ended at the tower. First down a steep hill, across the bottom of the trail, and then back up an even steeper incline over rocks. Literature on the trail says that the hike should be completed by people who have a reasonable level of fitness. I’m not sure if we have a reasonable level of fitness, but we didn’t die.

Looking back up the trail as we hiked down
The hike back up the trail

Later that afternoon we checked into our motel, which was a bit of a dissapointment. We had stayed there the last time we visited the park and it was beautiful. The dining room served amazing meals and you had to make reservations because it was so busy.

Today the motel is run by a new owner and without going into too much detail the place is very run down. Grass hasn’t been cut all summer, overgrown gardens, roof shingles need replacing. Our first room had a leaky toilet (needed a new wax gasket) so we were upgraded to a much bigger room. The rooms are clean but are still decorated in the 1980-1990 style. Our second room only had one of three lamps working, the crank on a window was broken and we had to remove the screen and pull the window shut with our hands, the bottom track for the shower door was behind the bathroom door and we put it back on the shower. Plus many more other things but the owner would rather line his pockets with profits instead of putting it back into his motel. It really is a shame. Despite the “meh” accommodations we had a fantastic time enjoying the park.

On Tuesday we spent the day hiking and completed 8 trails with a total of 14.6 kms.

On Wednesday we ended up renting a canoe instead of hiking (my husband’s knee was bothering him), and we spent 4 hours paddling on Canoe Lake inside the park.

If you ever get a chance to visit Algonquin Park, do it. It is a beautiful place. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see any moose this trip. Fortunately, we didn’t run into any black bear as the first trail we hiked had some bear droppings here and there.  (Pictures without timestamp were taken with my cell phone).

Pictures with timestamp (forgot to turn it off) and the canoeing pictures after the turtle were taken with Canon wifi digital camera. The rest of the images were captured with my cell phone.


Sally’s Cafe and Bookstore – Author Update #Reviews – Sandra J. Jackson and Alethea Kehas

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome the Author update… a day later than usual as I got myself organised on my trip.

And the first author with a recent review is Sandra J. Jackson with a great review for Promised Soul.

About Promised Soul

Just as Krista’s summer plans are almost ready, she is suddenly plagued by strange dreams and intense feelings of déjà vu.

Feeling like she’s losing her mind, Krista visits a psychic, only to feel more confused. When she arrives in England, her dreams persist, and she finds herself at the doorstep of another psychic. She needs clarity.

Finally, the words Krista was afraid to say out loud are spoken. Now, she has to figure out what it all means.

Promised Soul is a story of the past, present and future of two souls, bound together by eternal and transcending love.

One of the recent reviews for Promised Soul

James J. Cudney…

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Book Review – Hurry Up Nurse!

Hurry Up Nurse!: Memoirs of nurse training in the 1970'Hurry Up Nurse!: Memoirs of nurse training in the 1970′ by Dawn Brookes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Author, Dawn Brookes, leads the reader through her personal journey as she trains to become a nurse in England during the late 1970s to early 1980s.

I usually read fiction; however, I thought I would try something different. And since this book is about becoming a nurse and I am not a nurse nor ever trained to be one, I thought what could be more different than that?

This is a good read with some funny and some not-so-funny times. It was interesting to learn about a nurse trainee’s experiences and perspectives in various areas of nursing such as geriatrics, psychiatry, and paediatrics to name a few.

There were little, if any, grammatical errors or typos. I did think there was a need for an extra space between paragraphs when the story changed from the account of one patient to another. Much like in a fiction novel when there is a scene change within the same chapter.

While this story would probably not be of interest to many it certainly is to anyone who has trained as a nurse no matter what country they are from. And maybe to those who are curious and enjoy learning about new things.

View all my reviews

The End of Summer

While I realize it isn’t officially the end of summer it sure does feel like it, especially since my husband and I drove our son back to Ottawa today for another year of university.

Ever since my children started school, I have found “back to school” a little sad. I think it’s a combination of things – kids getting older, kids leaving, end of summer – winter is coming. In any case, I feel like when he is finished with school only then will summer seamlessly merge into fall instead of feeling like such an abrupt ending.

Wishing all kids and parents a happy, healthy, and safe school year.



Smorgasbord End of Summer Party – Brunch Meet Robert Goldstein, Victoria Zigler, John W. Howell, Becky Ross Michael, Jemima Pett, Marcia Meara, Luna Saint Claire and Anita Dawes

Check out Sally Cronin’s End of Summer Party with some fantastic guests!

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

Welcome to the first of the end of summer posts this weekend. There are three meals today, Brunch, Afternoon Tea and Dinner this evening… and tomorrow Sunday Lunch. I hope that you will be able to visit at least one during your day.

First is Brunch with eight guests who I hope will enjoy each other’s company. I asked my guests if there was one particular food that they could not live without and hopefully I have catered for all of their tastes. I have also asked for their music requests and I have drawn four of the choices out of a hat to play today.

Those tracks that there is not time for will be shared during next week in special editions of the Blogger Daily.

With that out of the way I hope you will enjoy this opportunity to meet blogger friends in a slightly different setting, and…

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#SoCS – Notice

This post is part of SoCS

After I posted my author intervew blog this morning I decided that I wanted to participate in #SoCS. It has been awhile since my last stream of consciousness post so I actively looked for the prompt. When I saw that it was “notice” the first thing that came to mind was that I noticed I had nothing to say.

I couldn’t think of anything that I had recently noticed or didn’t notice. Though I did notice that I woke up with a headache again this morning. It’s not bad, just enough to notice. I think it has to do with my pillow or sleeping wrong. I do have neck issues which I see a chiropractor for once a month. It hasn’t bothered me in a while but the last few mornings I have had a barely noticeable headache that goes away after a bit. If I rub my neck a little, I notice the headache goes away.

I also noticed, before I even read it, that the picture for Stream of Consciousness is new. I quite like it.

I notice its a beautiful day here today so hopefully I can go out and enjoy some of it soon, though I still have editing to work on so maybe later.

I hope everyone has a wonderful day!


Author Interview – Sharon C. Williams

 My interview guest for the month of August is Author, Sharon C. Williams. Sharon is a children and YA author. She also writes short stories which have been included in a couple of anthologies. I hope you enjoy her responses to my interview questions. Welcome Sharon and thank you for participating.

About Writing/Books/Being an Author

  1. When did you first realize you wanted to write?

Oh gosh I started writing later in life. When I talk to other writers and I hear that they been writing for years I feel like a newbie. In 2010 my husband told a good friend that he felt I wrote well. And what better way to let me know than to tell my friend who he knew would tell me. LOL. So I took that to heart and worked on my first book at the end of that year. It hit me like a ton of bricks. I fell hopefully in love with the process of creating something out of thin air to create a world, characters and plot lines that embraced me as much as I embraced it. I imagine if my husband had not started the ball rolling I would probably never would have started. I am grateful he did. This is now who I am. I am an avid reader and now with that an author who can’t imagine not ever not wanting to write.


  1. Who is/are your favourite author(s)?

My go to authors are Stephen King for starters. We are from same place plus I do love horror in the way that he does it. I inhale anything he writers. Agatha Christie to me is still amazing her books never go out of style no matter how much time passes. I started reading Bently Little since I saw on one of his covers a high recommendation from Mr. King. Taking a chance I fell in love with his story telling and have read to date the majority of his works. My new favorite now is Michael Grant who has penned the Gone series which is a YA series. I am enjoying this series, I am on the last book that is out, though two more have not yet been released.


  1. What is your favourite thing about writing? What is your least favourite thing writing?

I love that you can write anywhere you want on anything you want. It is so freeing and invites you in to forget about stress, forget about that pain or forget about anything that is taking you away from being the best that you can be. Writing is just freeing and I love it. To dive into a new piece of writing is so exciting for even when I feel I know where it is going to go. There are times it decides for me and I let it. It is kind of hard to describe to those who don’t write, you know? It is thrilling, exciting wonderful and amazing that is how it makes me feel so why would I want to do anything else? What I like the least is the editing part. I mean yuck. LOL I know there are people who are editors and they love it and that is wonderful you should enjoy it. But that will never be me. The revisions, editing, rewriting and doing that so many times until you feel it is good to go is a long tedious process. I’d rather just sit down and write and that is why I write free style. I know authors who edit as they write, I can’t do that. It stifles my creativity. And we get that enough when we are editing. Why do it while I am writing?


  1. Where do your ideas come from?

I find they come from just about anything. I love prompt books and a good portion of my short stories in my anthologies started as a word or picture prompt. It is different now that I am an author. I look at things with the purpose if I can use it for a writing piece of any kind or length. I love that. It keeps my mind busy and active.


  1. I’ve often found that creative people have more than one talent, what is yours?

I am an avid photographer and have had lovely reviews on some of my photographs. I do calligraphy, I still need to work on it more, but it is so relaxing and what you get is something really cool that you can give as a gift. I also knit various items such as scarves, blankets and home-made slippers which I also gift. I love puttering with my plants and enjoy seeing them grow. Life is so full of things to try out and explore. I am always looking for the next thing to try to learn.


  1. If you could jump inside of a book for one day (as an observer) what book would it be?

There are just too many to choose from for as an avid reader I go through a lot of books. If I had to, it would be anything from Agatha Christie or Stephen King.


  1. When you create characters are they completely made up or do they resemble or remind you of people you know?

The majority of my characters are people I have made up in my head out of the blue. It gives me personally more range as a writer. However, my children’s series is based on my parrot. And while people might say well that is not the same thing in a way it is. We have had Jasper since 1999 when we adopted/rescued him at the age of five. In having him for so long we have come to learn of his vibrant personality if we just take the time to take notice. His mannerism is seen through the series in how he approaches things. He may not be human but please don’t tell him that. In his mind he is all boy. 


  1. How do you come up with titles for your books?

To be honest I suck at creating titles. All my books have been titled by other authors who see it clear as day while I am wondering what will I call this book anything but, “The Book.” I need to do better at this for there will be a time it will be up to me.


  1. What are you working on now and can you tell us about it?

At the moment I am working on three separate projects. The first one is volume 4 to my Jasper series which is a children’s book that is based on my rescued Amazon, Jasper. Each book I have tried to invoke a problem that is going on in the rainforest and with this volume the topic is the poaching problems in the rainforest. My second book is entitled; “Lost Faith” it is a YA series and I am working on the first volume. The premise is that it is based in the future where religion is no longer allowed. Our heroine learns quickly how serious this is and she won’t stand for it.


  1. Have you won any awards for your writing/books and if so what?

In 2013 I released an anthology; “Dragons In The Attic” with a writer group I formed called “The Wonder Chicks” which consisted of five ladies. On May 12, 2014 we made the Amazon Best Sellers list in three categories. We rose quickly and fell just as fast but still it was a wonderful moment for us and we can now say we are Amazon best-selling authors.

Amazon Best Sellers Rank:

#9 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Anthologies & Literary Collections > General
#12 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Anthologies & Literary Collections > Short Stories

#33 in Books > Literature & Fiction > Short Stories


And while this next part is not an award I been fortunate to have been able to sell my writings and books overseas quite a few times. My friends say I can call myself an international book selling author. I think that might be stretching it but it sounds good.


About You

  1. What is one thing you haven’t done but would like to do?

I would love to skydive, I been too chicken to do it as of yet. I would also love to travel more than I have to date.


  1. What makes you happy?

Gosh I have so many things that make me happy. I love to read. I can get into my own little world in my house and visit countries, realms, people, animals and all in between. To read and forget about life’s problems and pain is one of the easiest ways to destress. I love spending time with my family. Granted they get on my nerves as I do on theirs but just having them home with me makes me happy. They don’t have to be interacting with me. Just having family around gives me just a sense of happiness. And of course writing gives me such joy. The pleasure this gives me when I am writing, especially on a new manuscript can’t honestly be measured. I love to laugh. I try to laugh daily and sometimes if that means watching a sitcom or cartoon so be it. Something so incredible as a good belly laugh definitely makes me happy. I’m a huge sports fan and anytime my teams are on TV or I can make it to the game I am definitely in my happy zone. The list is truly long and for me that is a blessing.


  1. If you aren’t writing (or doing anything associated with writing), what are you doing?

Again as mentioned I’m an avid reader. I love taking pictures and always am trying to find the shot that will wow people. I do love watching movies, listening to music and exercising. I like being outdoors and love working with my plants. I am a huge history buff and I LOVE documentaries. My family is accustomed to me saying, “Hey, I remember hearing about that on a documentary I just saw.” I always want to learn about history. It has been a close friend of mine for years now.


This is where I can be found online:

Here are pictures of my books and short stories and stories inside anthologies


At the moment I am in the process of obtaining a new publisher. However I do have copies of my books if anyone is interested.