Friday, December 21, 2012

Peace, Love & Understanding

  I came upon this old loading dock door with a peace sign spray-painted on it, not once, but twice in emphasis.  I'd like to wish peace, love and understanding to you now and in the year ahead.
Happy New Year!
all the best to you in 2013      

Monday, November 5, 2012

Steller's Jay and the tragic Bering Landing

The Steller's Jay is often incorrectly called a Blue Jay in British Columbia after all it is mainly blue except for its coal black head and neck.  It is not a Blue Jay.  It is a rather feisty, squawky, fleet flyer and the provincial bird of the province of British Columbia  since 1987.  Common to the Chilliwack* Fraser Cheam area Steller's Jay loves to scold and heckle; the one pictures above was taken in my backyard Norwegian Maple Tree caught here in full fall colour.  I recall that it had a lot to say. I thought for a time this bird was called a "Stellar" Jay.  I reasoned that as the stratosphere goes from dark blue into the blackness of space this was a fine and proper name for such a bird whose plumage follows a similar pattern.  Wrong.  Turns out this name has a much more remarkable story attached to it. Georg Wilhelm Steller (1709 - 1746) was a German born naturalist and part of Vitus Bering's original crew; the first Europeans to winter on the North Pacific Coast of North America.  Bering, a Danish born Russian explorer had been encouraged to explore the northern Pacific by Tsar Peter the Great. Having crossed what we now call the Bering Sea he sighted North American soil on July 17, 1741 and was congratulated by his men.  He told Georg Steller, "We think now we have accomplished everything, and may go about greatly inflated, but they do not consider where we have reached land, how far we are from home, and what may yet happen. Who knows but that perhaps trade winds may arise that may prevent us from returning? We do not know this country, nor are supplied with provisions to keep us through the winter."  Prophetic words.... What of Georg Wilhelm Steller?  Like a scene from Master and Commander he had to beg Bering to give him a frantic ten hour period so that he could go ashore and catalogue an array of creatures never known to Europeans before then. One of these was Steller's Jay. Months passed, summer became fall, July, August, September, October with the hardships of winter in a new land fast approaching and scarce resources on board. Vitus Bering, became ill turning over command to his second in command Sven Waxell.  A perilous situation far from home, Waxell wrote, "By now so many of our people were ill that I had, so to speak, no one to steer the ship.  Our sails, too, had worn so thin that I expected them to fly off at any moment.  When it came to a man's turn at the helm, he was dragged to it by two other of the invalids who were still able to walk a little, and set down at the wheel.  There he had to sit and steer as well as he could, and when he could sit no more, he had to be replaced by another in no better case than he...Our ship was like a piece of dead wood, with no one to direct it. We had to drift hither and thither at the whim of the winds and waves.  I tried to instill courage into the men, appealing to them; for there was no question of exerting authority in such a situation, where desperation already held sway."   It was decided on November 4, 1741 to anchor at what they thought was Russian territory but was actually some 175 km away.  Unable to anchor properly due to the harsh conditions of wind and surf the ship was eventually destroyed and the crew forced onto an island. Waxell wrote "Our plight was so wretched that the dead had to lie for a considerable time among the living, for there was none able to drag the corpses away, nor were those who lived capable of moving away from the dead.  They had to remain lying all mixed up together in a ring with a little fire in the centre."  The death toll mounted with the blue foxes eating the hands and feet of the corpses before they could be moved away. Commander Vitus Jonassen Bering passed away December 8, 1741 on this isalnd today called Bering Island fulfilling his deepest fears.
  From the wreckage of the ships the crew built a fragile craft and 14 months later returned to the Kamchatka mainland of Russia.  It is noted that Georg Steller's care and ability to locate greens and animals necessary for the remaining crew helped them survive the winter.   The naming of the Steller's Jay has quite a history and comes with a tale of great distress, hardship, courage and perseverance along the Bering Sea. Source: First Invaders The Literary Origins of British Columbia by Alan Twigg 2004 Ronsdale  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Ed Begley Jr. and Me

I look pretty excited in this Linda Mackie photograph of Ed Begley Jr. and myself at the Real Estate Foundation of B.C. Land Awards last Friday. I was. Ed Begley Jr., well known actor and environmentalist, was the guest speaker. Taking a "you can make a difference to sustainable living right at home" stance he fuelled the imaginations, in a sustainable way, the audience and me alike with his thoughtful remarks.
I had some wonderful duties that evening as well, with ex-Governor Barry Brown-John we presented the Land Champion Award to Richard Hankin a man who was a driving force in the creation of the 29,000 acres of parkland Metro Vancouver enjoy today. For all the great projects nominated in B.C. and the finalist check out .
Ed Begley Jr., shown above autographing my copy, has an interesting book as well "Guide to Sustainable Living" - it is worth a read.
  Imagine living here...

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Harrison Mills B.C. Old Mill in the Forest

In the Forest © Stephen Mullock
I came across this lonely old building in the woods close to the Kilby Museum in Harrison Mills B.C. this week and was curious about its past.  I have been told that it was an Old Mill but I am still awaiting clarification about this. Abandoned and broken, at one time, its builders took care to provide gentle arches to the door and window frames and thick cement walls constructed to withstand the tests of time. 
Today, more than a 100 years later the interior walls have been tagged by modern artists/vandals and the site is overgrown as it returns once again to nature.


This building was connected to the Harrison River and these old pylons still stand like a forest of totems bearing witness.
 Up until 1906, when a railway was built through Chilliwack, the Harrison River served as a major water route from Chilliwack to the Canadian Pacific Railway located here in Harrison Mills.  Agricultural goods would be shipped daily from the farms in Chilliwack to Vancouver.  Passengers would disembark and board the CPR train for comfortable passage.   There is plenty of magic still left over from that time period in Chilliwack, Agassiz and Harrison. 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Night Stuart McLean Came to Chilliwack

Non Magnum Sed Parvi
There is an art form in the telling a story well.  A skill to be learned from hearing proper narration.  Chilliwack was treated last evening to a master of both; Stuart McLean visited the Chilliwack Cultural Centre to a packed house of the young and old.  I had seen Stuart, oh a couple of years earlier, in Vancouver, it was his Christmas show.  My daughter had bought the tickets but at the last moment was unable to attend.  Did we want to go?  Were we interested?  As if she thought these die hard Vinyl Cafe fans could not say no.

That Christmas Show was such a nice event, McLean, folksy and wise with a gentle humour advancing thoughts on the foibles of people, how much we are alike, how fragile we are, how love is the way of strength - all poignant and beautifully delivered. Would his visit to Chilliwack be as good?

We had never attended a show at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre until this Wednesday.  This was to be first for us.  .

This picture is here only because...© Stephen Mullock
The Chilliwack Cultural Centre building is very simple in style, unadorned which suits the people of Chilliwack* just fine. Let Art have the stage here. It does have a very comfortable 596 person tiered theatre. 

My wife, Gail, had arranged for seats centre of the stage and we were soon bumping our way down the aisle to our assigned seats.  We noticed that it was an older crowd for the most part, long time CBC listeners, but here and there were a sprinkling of kids and teenagers.   

Suspended from the stage ceiling was the banner above. I wondered what "non magnum sed parvi" meant.  I thought, guessed that is, that maybe it meant "don't be full of yourself" but I googled it later and I'd like to believe it means "no small magic is unimportant".  It is probably explained at the Vinyl Cafe website but I am not going to look for it now that I have thought of my own explanation. 

The "1994" I later learned was the year the Vinyl Cafe first went on the road - its first show being in Picton, Ontario.

The lights went down and after a brief introduction we listened to the magic of Stuart's first story, casting a spell of images and wise cracks in that "Jimmy Stewart" style of voice.  There is no stutter like the one actor Jimmy Stewart sometimes had, but, there are voice inflection similarities; long on the pause after a character comment but rapid fire on the description.  My sister calls him Jimmy Stewart McLean.  Whatever you want to call him it is a way of speaking that is as endearing and interesting as his stories.

The musical guest of the evening was none other than Harry Manx a talented guitar, banjo, mohan veena and lap slide guitar player.  His bar room voice intoning better days with assistance of a crack backup band.  I have a couple of CDs from Harry Manx and Kevin Breit and recommend "In God We Trust" and "Jubilee".

The evening evaporated only too quickly what a treat to have a Cultural Centre like this in Chilliwack that exceptional talents like Stuart McLean and Harry Manx can perform in.  To check out other productions at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre click here.

Stuart McLean and Harry Manx are both worth seeing and have a number of concert dates in British Columbia I would suggest you see them soon.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Direction Home

The Direction Home©Stephen Mullock
 Mornings of late have awakened to thick banks of fog hugging the ground, transforming what is known, into a much more surreal and mysterious world.   Landmarks such as Mount Cheam (pronounced She-am) and Lady Peak (locally known as Dog Face) once provided navigational guidance to early explorers and the First Nation people, and today, many Chilliwack, Agassiz and Harrison residents use them much the same way.   We look for the Cheam's pyramid head and the Dog Face as we travel the Fraser Valley.  When we see them, even if it is only a glimpse through the fog, in that instance, we know where our home is. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

An Eagle Rising - Cross Border Shopping & the Fraser Valley

Sky Eagle © Stephen Mullock
 Last night I was driving my daughter to the bus depot when we spotted the wonderful cloud formation shown in the above photograph. It reminded us of a large eagle rising above Sumas Mountain with wings outstretched as if in flight.  One important advantage of Chilliwack* life is the close proximity of the USA border and the shopping and outdoor opportunities Washington State offers.  The Sumas border crossing is an easy 30 minute drive from Chilliwack.  My prediction is that the tolls on the new Post Mann Bridge will send more and more Valley shoppers south to the selection and bargains found in nearby Bellingham.  The eagle does indeed rise over the Valley.  

Friday, September 7, 2012

Two Local Day Hikes from Chilliwack


Stephen Mullock on the trail up to Flatiron Peak
 One of the great advantages of living in the Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs areas is the proximity of the wilderness.  Mountains form a natural backdrop to our Chilliwack* vision in all directions.  It may been my good fortune to explore some of the day-trip hiking spots residents in this beautiful part British Columbia can enjoy. What follows is a selection of pictures I have taken of these hikes - hope you enjoy them.  
Flatiron Peak
The Flatiron peak is actually more of a wonderful high elevation plateau close to the Needle just off the Coquihalla Highway.  The day was mainly overcast, generally a poor day for photography, but, these clouds had great character and that lone tree and barren rock caught my attention.   

A relay tranmitter site is constructed on the Flatiron and looks quite odd in such a spectacular natural setting.  In the distance, we see the Needle Peak another great hike which I did in 2011 for a few more pictures of it and a pretty alpine lake click here.
Mount Slesse © Stephen Mullock


It was with a certain amount of respect and morbid curiosity that attracted me to hike Mount Slesse. Here on December 9, 1956 that a Trans Canada Airline Flight 810 slammed into the peak killing all 62 passengers. Amongst the dead were CFL team members of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders, returning home from an East-West All Star football game. Sadly, this aircraft was not found until 5 months later.  Today, the area is a protected site and an appropriate monument has been erected. I have written about this peak before but this was the first time I have ever been up close to it, click here for a previous article on Mount Slesse.      

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Mount Baker - Chilliwack's backyard volcano

Mount Baker © Stephen Mullock

This past week I had a chance for a return hike up Chilliwack's Elk Mountain and as always my attention was drawn to beauty of Mount Baker in nearby Washington State.  Climbing Elk, Mount Baker is at your right shoulder and it is not until you hit the alpine meadows. ablaze with flowers this time of year, do you see good views of the nearby volcano.

While Mount Baker is concealed from everyday enjoyment of most Chilliwack residents, by the Cheam Range, it still remains of local significance.  This article looks at the naming of the mountain and its' Chilliwack connections.

Mount Baker Name

Mount Baker was named on April 30, 1792 for British Third Lieutenant Joseph Baker, of the Captain George Vancouver HMS Discovery expedition. Baker's observation was recorded in Captain Vancouver's journal:

"... About this time a very high conspicuous craggy mountain ... presented itself, towering above the clouds: as low down as they allowed it to be visible it was covered with snow; and south of it, was a long ridge of very rugged snowy mountains, much less elevated, which seemed to stretch to a considerable distance ... the high distant land formed, as already observed, like detached islands, amongst which the lofty mountain, discovered in the afternoon by the third lieutenant, and in compliment to him called by me Mount Baker, rose a very conspicuous object ... apparently at a very remote distance."
[Captain George Vancouver, April 30, 1792]

I like to imagine the young Lieutenant's view might have been similar to this picture I took from a BC ferry; Mount Baker looming over the City of Vancouver in a most imposing way.

The Third Lieutenant Joseph Baker may have been surprised to discover that his namesake is a volcano. Mount Baker has the second most thermally active crater in the Cascade Range after that of Mount St. Helens. 

Chilliwack's Connection to Mount Baker

While Mount Baker remains a potent pillar of fire, eruptions, are rare. In December 1880, Will Branchflower of Chilliwack to a Sunday school group in Atchelitz and reported all the previous night "the sky was so bright that you could read a newspaper by it" and that the daylight was filled with bright red clouds of acrid smoke.  Since then the mountain has remained silent.

The Mount Baker - Mount Cheam Legend 

According to First Nation legend, Mount Baker is the husband of Mount Cheam, although it seems that they are having a separation of types. As recounted in one of my earlier articles Mount Cheam Local Legend  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.

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. A second child east of her is not getting enough attention and her tears form”Bridal Veil” falls; the 6th highest falls in Canada.  Mount Cheam can keep an eye on her husband; the picture below follows her gaze southward to Mount Baker.

Mount Cheam view of husband Mount Baker

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Geography We Call Home - The Acre

How did the acre come into being?  

In medieval times, King Edward I (1272-1307)  decreed that an acre would be 66' wide called a chain or "acre-width" by 660' deep called a furlong or "acre-length". The word "acre" comes from a Latin word for field "ager". The area of an acre became 66 x 660 = 43,560 square feet.

Why did the King decide on the configuration of 66 x 660'?  The world 700 hundred years ago was quite a different place, turns out, the "acre" was based on a day's plowing by a team of oxen.

Now, turning a plow around was a lot of work and so a long straight away of 660', called an acre-length, was welcome.  That is why these parcels were long and narrow.  If you have seen the movie "War Horse" you can imagine the labour.  By mid-day a 1/2 acre could be plowed, the team was feed and rested, before, finishing another 1/2 acre in the afternoon. What back breaking work that must have been!

The acre remains 43,560 square feet in size but today the shape of an acre can vary.

In Chilliwack* the 66'  "acre-width" or "chain" has been used in many parts of the City with the result that lots 66' wide are common. 

Is it time for the "acre' to be replaced with the "hectare"?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tikwalus Heritage Trail

Wednesday July 11th, 2012 A small band of 9 hikers (Hermann's Hikers)  assemble in a pull-off to the side of the highway just past Spuzzum, B.C. about 50 km north of the Town of Hope. The roar of big transports seems to magnify in this part of the Fraser Canyon. We take moment to read and appreciate the new Tikwalus Heritage Trail signage (April 2012) before heading off into the forest. The map shows the 13 kilometer round trip we are taking and the 788 meter elevation gain we will climb. The day is clear and still cool as we are on the west side of the slope and in shadow. The trees seem to welcome us as we begin our ascent.

"The air" one of my companions remarks, "is so clean". Travelling through valleys of deep green to viewpoints giving glimpses of the Fraser River below, to the fine plants that dot this landscape with colour it is easy to understand why this would be regarded a spiritual place. Every step seems to take me further and further from the everyday trials and annoyances that seem to beset one. I feel my heart and eyes start to open to the splendor of the forest.

The Tikwalus Heritage Trail, also known as the First Brigade Hudson Bay Company HBC trail, enjoys a special, well deserved heritage status.  It is here that the Nlaka' - pamux and European first work together.  In 1847   the Hudson Bay Company is desperate to find an alternative route to the Columbia River now that the, American, Oregon Territory has been created. Alexander Caulfield (A.C.) Anderson is given the task of finding a way to connect Fort Langley to Fort Kamloops and the rich trapping areas in the northern part of what is then known as New Caledonia. Anderson forms an alliance with Chief Pahallak to improve the arduous  Tikwalus Trail - with some path clearing and widening perhaps, the 400 pack animal and 50 men trains might be able to make it through.  Through the winter Chief Pahallak make the preparations with tools left for them by the HBC.

The HBC come back pleased with the amount of trail work done by Chief Pahallak and the Nlaka' - pamux people. Over the next two years, 3 mule trains of men, animals and furs are brought through these forests onward to Fort Yale, where the furs could be ferried to Fort Langley and eventually shipped to Europe.  After this, an easier route to the interior of the Province from Fort Hope was located and given preference.

Cedar Culturally Modified
After the HBC use of the trail, it reverts back to the uses the First Nation people of the area had enjoyed for thousands of years.  Hunting deer and harvesting some of the 300 species of plants along the trail to give sustenance; berries, mushrooms and the ever important cedar.  Along the trail, remains some of the "culturally modified" cedar trees used in so many ways. The tough outer bark was became roof and floor materials and the fibrous inner strand material; clothing, baskets, and mats.

This is also a place for contemplation, renewal and perhaps if one is lucky finding one's shna.m spiritual helper.

In 1858, a dangerous and dark period of time fuelled by the greed for gold begins.  I have touched upon this in a previous article called Gold, Alchemy and Yale Today.  Very quickly the canyon becomes home to up to 30,000, mainly Californian, gold miners overrunning the Nlaka' -pamux people destroying salmon beds and generally tearing up the countryside.  The nearby town of Yale becomes known as "the wickedest little settlement in British Columbia" "a veritable Sodom and Gomorrah" of vice and violence and lawlessness".  Very soon after, armed conflict between the miners and first nation people breaks out.  Americans, form local militia groups and the "Canyon War" starts to heat up.  To avoid the perilous Black canyon and ambush, the Tikwalus trail once more finds usage by non-natives.
Door and Stone Foundation
On our hike, we find a number of settlement indicators, the foundation of a building, the fireplace hearth of "Lake House" and a number of pots, stove pipes and pans that we imagine extend back into this precarious time of "gold fever'.

Governor Douglas in 1858, quickly creates the colony of British Columbia to quell any thought of Americans annexing New Caledonia.  In a very real sense the Province of British Columbia is forged from the events that happen here in this narrow part of the Fraser Canyon.

Turning away from the historical significance of this trail, our group is reminded that this is living forest and that nature has its own destructive forces as evidenced along the trail in the form of fire and wind damage.  We come to a clearing of types, a blanket of young green trees and undergrowth under the remains of a dead forest scorched by some fire that must have roared like an inferno along the ridge we are walking along; surreal and beautiful all at the same time.

After the Forest Fire

At the top of the climb we find a pleasant camp site complete with an outhouse, a food cache and seating. The views of the Fraser River and canyon below are our reward for the 3.5 hours needed to ascend the trail.

View from the top of the Tikwalus Heritage Trail ©

The Tikwalus Heritage Trail is well worth a hike and the status that has been conferred upon it. The signage is excellent and I'd like to give thanks to all the groups that contributed to making this such a thoughtful experience.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Chilliwack Air Quality

Mount Cheam and a poor air quality day

Air quality is important to everyone that lives in the Fraser Valley especially to those of us in Chilliwack and the eastern Fraser Valley. It is not that we care more, in fact, our air quality is similar to that of Metro Greater Vancouver, but, poor air is more visible here across open farmland against our mountain backdrop.  It interferes with our appreciation of our beautiful views.  We want our skies to be clear blue as shown below. Alas, the picture above was taken early this morning at about 6:30 a.m.; it shows some of the poor air visibility being caused, in part, by forest fires burning in the United States.  Hopefully, these fires will soon be put out, I wish our American neighbours well, and the wonderful air quality this farming community usually enjoys can return.

How can we improve it and do you go about checking the air quality?  Here are a few sites:

Chilliwack has some of the best air quality in the world.

Imagine living here....

Normal Chilliwack Blue Skies

Monday, June 18, 2012

Freedom in Departure

The only certain freedom's in departure.
Robert Frost

This week marked a departure for me and it came complete with a plaque presentation by the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia (REIBC) on Thursday June 14, 2012.   The event was the REIBC recognition dinner held at the Terminal City Club in downtown Vancouver B.C. It marked the end of a "leadership" passage in life for me  with a whole litany of titles, once mine, now held by younger men and women.  The latest was as the REIBC representative at the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia 2006-2012.

You come to these positions of your own accord.  Sometimes with a great deal of soul searching and work, other times you simply stumble into an opportunity.  It was easy for me, in a way; I grew up believing that volunteering is a duty of being a citizen. Still do. I happily started volunteering soon after I had established a career in real estate. Taking a director position at the YM-YWCA in Chilliwack as it was then known and becoming a director of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board.

Thursday, as I walked up towards the podium to receive the plaque I heard Nathan Worbets President of the REIBC read out the many groups that I have been involved with: the YMCA, the Agassiz Library Society, Canvassing for the Heart and Stroke, Director and President of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate Board, Chapter Director and Chair of the Fraser Valley Chapter of the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia, Governor and President of the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia, and finally Governor and Chair of the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia,  If you have read all this you can understand the torture the audience must have been suffering.  I had my own cross to bear, an odd feeling of inadequacy and a nagging thought that I could/should have accomplished so much more.

Thank goodness, they were not expecting me say anything, a brief shake of the President's hand and a photo-op and I was heading back to my table, plaque in hand. The plaque was a very classy gesture on the part of the REIBC and my grateful thanks go out to this fine organization.

I have greatly enjoyed this "leadership" time period for adding dimension to my life and introducing me to some fascinating people - the best of these in the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia (RI); an organization I would recommend you join if you meet their demanding qualifications.

My friends tell me that it is not the end of my volunteer involvement; I just have this feeling, that's all - I've made my way through the departure gate.  I'm on my way again looking for the answers.


Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hayward Lake

Located within a quick driving distance of Chilliwack is the man-made Hayward Lake.  This lake was created in 1929 when the Stave River was damned by the Western Canada Power Company Ltd. to create hydro electric power. The Superintendent of Operations, Mr. Hayward lent his name to the newly formed body of water. Hayward Lake.  BC Hydro now maintains this facility and the trails that surround it in a fine way.

One of the advantages of living in the eastern Fraser Valley is the tremendous access to the wilderness and natural beauty of the province.  The trails around this lake lead to some pretty scenery and a wonderful waterfall brimming with water this time of year.

I took a trip with the Hermann Hiker's this week and captured the wilderness photographs above. Currently, Hayward Lake has been drained for maintenance and a surreal dead forest scene of lines and shadows has emerged from the bottom, trees still standing since 1929.

Hayward Lake's Drowned forest © S Mullock


Monday, June 4, 2012

Sasquatch Word Origin

This is the land of the Mighty Fraser River, the Cascade Mountains, Douglas Fir and King Salmon, it is also home to the mysterious Sasquatch. 

Sasquatch©Stephen Mullock
Yes, the word "Sasquatch" originates right here in the eastern Fraser Valley.  A word that has been given to the world to become part of our common English language.  Certainly it is a lot more respectful than the "Bigfoot" moniker used elsewhere, but where, did the word "Sasquatch" come from?

Turns out, the term Sasquatch has First Nation origins and was popularized by J.W. Burns, a principal, who while working at the Morris Valley Chehalis Reserve school (1925 - 1941).  J.W. Burns began a series of articles concerning the "wild men" of the woods that received wide publication **. 
Before this, it appears that there were many word derivatives in the area: sokqueatl, soss-q'tal, sesq'ec***, and suhsq'uhtch.   It appears to me, that the J.W. Burns spelling of "Sasquatch" most closely follows the Susquatsch word usage found in Sepass Tales The Songs of Y- Ail-Mihth (recorded by Eloise Street 1911-1915 p.12)*.   This supports the word's common usage amongst the First Nation people on both sides of the Chilliwack - Agassiz part of the Fraser river.

Could the word have come from the Sasquatches themselves?

Chief Sepasse of Tsilli-Way-ukh (Chilliwack) is recorded as saying that they could "talk to the Susquatsches"- the Hairy Giants said to range the Cascade Mountains. He had seen a giant skeleton in Chilliwack.* 

The excellent book by Daphne Sleigh called The People of the Harrison (page 253, 1990) recounts how "one enthusiastic raconteur went so far as to claim that, being part-Douglas himself, he could understand the language of the Sasquatch, because, it had the Douglas speech."

Over the years I had have the pleasure of getting to know and have worked with a number of people from the Chehalis Reserve, it seems, that the Sasquatch is taken with a great deal of seriousness but, today, no one admits to having talked to one.

Imagine living here...

Resources used:
* Sepass Tales The Songs of Y- Ail-Mihth (recorded by Eloise Street (1911-1915 p.12)
** The People of the Harrison by Daphne Sleigh (1990) Available at the Agassiz-Harrison Museum
*** Tracking the Man-Beasts by Joe Nickell 2011

Want to learn more about the Sasquatch and have some fun as well?


Harrison Hot Springs, B.C.

June 9 - 10th, 2012

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Geography We Call Home - The Entry Door

There is an old estate axiom and goes like this "when selling your home - paint the front door".
The meaning of this expression is clear, if you want to successfully market your property make sure that the buyer's first impression is a winner.
The front door is the ceremonial entry into your home even though it may be infrequently used. Today, with a car dominated society most of us enter our dwellings through the garage or a side door. However when company comes a calling, entry through the front door structures the interior of your home from public to private; living rooms to the front and more intimate kitchens and family rooms to the rear.  In terms of presentation this order greatly assists the real estate agents showing the house to prospective buyers.

The front door says a lot about what to expect from the property and the owners.  Is it well maintained, glamorous or neglected, sad and needing repair?   The buyer's first opinion of the property forms at curbside, the next, on the doorstep.  By time they pass through the entry, the "purchase or take a pass on this one" decision might already have been made.

Speaking of repairs, the door locks have to work properly and the hinges should not creak unless you have a haunted house to sell. The area in the immediate vicinity of the door should be cleared so that a party of 3 can arrive without having to dodge around bushes or worry about tripping over toys, chairs or ornaments.  If evening is approaching the warm glow of a porch lamp will help create the right mood.

The front entry is so important, after all, when company arrives it is through this door that we share our first welcome and later say our last goodbyes.

Note: The pictures are from the Gail Mullock © Scandinavian collect. Many thanks.

Helpful Links

Monday, May 21, 2012

Paragliding off Mount Woodside

Setting Sail
The Chilliwack* area is well known for its hiking, white water rafting, wilderness camping, fishing and boating outdoor activities.

Lately, recreation has been taking to the skies and I was fortunate enough to capture a few pictures recently of some of the wonderful paragliding off Mount Woodside in the nearby District of Kent.

You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky. ~Amelia Earhart

Leaving Earth

Soaring with the Wind and Sun

This is a sport with significant risks as noted in a previous article and reported by the newspapers of the recent tragic death of Lenami Godinez-Avila; training and diligence is required. 

Still, the Mount Woodside launch area was very busy, despite these concerns, when I recently took these photographs.


One of many advantages of residing in this fabulous part of the Fraser Valley is access to its rugged beauty.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Where the Rivers Meet

A meeting of the Fraser and Harrison Rivers © SM

This picture taken a week ago from Mount Woodside shows Harrison Bay and the Harrison River, on the right, emptying into the mighty Fraser River.  The size of the Fraser River spring freshet is an item of constant speculation and for properties not protected by dikes some concern.  The area had a major flood in 1948 and in 1894 since then considerable work has been done to ensure the effects of a major flood will not happen again.

Interesting Links
Chilliwack Museum
Agassiz Harrison Museum

For more information on the preventative Fraser River dike work undertaken since 1948 click here.
History of the Fraser River dikes click here.
For snow pack and flood watch sites, Provincial Emergency Program click here.
Definitions and descriptions click here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Beauty and Hope

The Hermann's Hiking Group is well known for their hiking excursions in the Fraser Valley and I had the pleasure of joining this group about a year ago.  My goal at the time was to learn about the magnificent setting my family and I call home.  I didn't realize that I would come away with so much more.  Below are some of the snapshots that I took yesterday.

There is something quite magical travelling through deep woods as layers of green surround and enfold you. You smell the freshness of the forest and listen to quiet...

© Stephen Mullock

Fairyslipper © Stephen Mullock
If you look closely you can find flowers of all types - some bold and others shyly protected under a canopy of leaves.

Hooker's Fairybells © Stephen Mullock

Pacific Bleeding Heart © Stephen Mullock

Everywhere there are reminders of the giant trees that once towered here before logging interests moved in.  Now a new generation of trees grow in their stead.

It is the journey and not so much the destination that the hiking experience is about, however, both Flood Falls and the Town of Hope Outlook are truly exceptional places of
 - beauty and hope.

Flood Falls © Stephen Mullock

Town of Hope © Stephen Mullock