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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Mount Cheam - The View from the Top


Mount Cheam from Agassiz

This post examines primarily in photographs the view from top of Mount Cheam and continues the theme explored in the last post of Cheam as a Wife to distance Mount Baker. There is a need to create a sense of “place” in the communities and Mount Cheam is the most prominent landmark in the eastern Fraser Valley; she deserved to be understood and appreciated.


The word “Cheam,” in Halkomelem, means “wild strawberries” and refers to the ridge comprising of Cheam and Lady (Dog Face) plus the lower slopes around Airplane Creek and Spoon Lake. This explanation, even though Cheam is a pretty sounding name, has always been a bit of a disappointment for me; I always hoped that the name would mean Mother or something like that more in keeping with the legend.



Lady aka Dog Face



Quite a number of years ago, I had a chance to climb to Mount Cheam’s summit and took some panoramic pictures of the trek. I hope you like them they show what you can expect if you ever decide to take the climb.


You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know. Rene Daumal



Mount Cheam looks along shoulder to husband Mount Baker






Younger Steve Mullock and Dog Face


Agassiz and Harrison Lake


Seabird Isalnd and Harrison Lake

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Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.



Copyright November 25, 2009 all pictures and content by Stephen Mullock.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mount Cheam Local Legend



The most beautiful mountain in the eastern Fraser Valley is Mount Cheam. This posting will discuss Mount Cheam, its legend, directions to climb and how to sound like a local when you pronounce Cheam.

The last first, Cheam is pronounced locally like “Shea-am” say it any other way and you will be giving yourself away as a non-resident. Try to blend in.

Mount Cheam has an elevation of 6929 Feet or 2,112 meters and is part of the Cheam range a subset of the Cascade Mountain Range. Look up from exit 135 on the Trans Canada Highway (Bridal Falls) and all you are seeing is Cheam. On a good day you will see the brightly coloured chutes of Para gliders floating around her shoulders. On poor days, clouds clinging to her forests. Broken cloud patterns spill unexpected light into crevasses as they sweep across the sky. This mountain has a million moods nearly all of them beautiful.

A number of years ago I joined a group to climb the summit and take in the view. It was quite the journey a deeply rutted dirt road and then a fairly steep trail led to the top.  A more recent blog about the climb was written by John Harvey and has some great photographs. If you are in good health and have an appropriate vehicle it is a trip that I would recommend. Just remember to take plenty of water, good hiking boots and supplies for mishaps; directions to Mt.Cheam.


Legend : The First Nation legend is that Mount Cheam is the wife to a nearby and dormant volcano Mount Baker. Mount Baker is situated in Washington State, United States but can be seen by his wife in nearby Canada. The story I like comes from “Five Corners the Story of Chilliwack” by Bruce Ramsey as set down by Oliver Wells it says that they had three sons, Mount Hood, Mount Shasta and Mount Shuksan and three daughters who are younger than the boys.

Mt. Cheam to extreme left and Mt. Baker to right

Cheam got tired of being away from her people and left so that she could look after the Sto: Lo people “I ‘ll stand and guard the Staw-loh, that no harm comes to my people and no harm comes to the fish that come up to feed them”. With her went her three girls and she holds the smallest one I-oh-wat in her hand. The family dog officially called “Lady” but known by the locals as “Dog Face” followed her back as well. Once again try to blend it and call her “Dog-face”. It does actually look like a dog’s head. A second child east of her is not getting enough attention and her tears form”Bridal Veil” falls; the 6th highest falls in Canada. Isn't this a lovely legend worth knowing? I know it has changed my perspective of this grand "mother mountain".

"Dog Face" Explained

The next post will continue with Mount Cheam, a tragedy that occurred, an angel and a place of wild strawberries.

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Stephen Mullock is a Chilliwack real estate associate broker with 29 years of experience. He can be reached at Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty, telephone 604-792-0077.

Copyright November 19, 2009 by Stephen Mullock.