Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Wonderful Christmas Songs from the 1950s &1960s You Need to Know

Modern and contemporary sounding even though their recordings were made decades ago. Here are 11 Holiday and Christmas songs to stir our hearts and imaginations. 

If you have a song and artist favourite to recommend to me from the 1950s or 1960s please send me a message.  

Here Comes Santa Claus - Chilliwack Santa Parade ©

1. Silver Bells  - 1964 - Doris Day
    Doris Day, beautiful at

2. The Little Drummer Boy - 1967 - Lou Rawls
    Listen to a soulful Lou at

3. White Christmas - 1956 - Louis Armstrong
    The beginning and end of jazz Louis Armstrong 

4. Merry Christmas Baby - 1968 - Otis Redding
    Otis is waiting to move you

5. Blue Christmas - 1960 - Charlie Brown
    Poor Charlie Brown has a name that is difficult to search on the Internet - apparently a cartoon character has the same name. Rats. Not a video to be found. Go to iTunes.

6. Mary's Boy Child - 1956 - Harry Belafonte
    The wonderful tone of Harry Belafonte

7. There's No Place Like Home - 1954 - Perry Como
    Grew up this voice in our home

8. Santa Baby - 1953 - Eartha Kitt & Henri René Orchestra
    A few naughty wishes on this list, sigh

9. Silent Night - 1963 - Johnny Cash 
    Country singer Johnny Cash with Carter Family

10. Do You Hear What I Hear - 1963 - Bing Crosby
      What a Christmas song and performance!

11. Gee Whiz, It's Christmas - 1963 - Carla Thomas
      A little more soul from 1963.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas.

Stephen Mullock
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Mount Cheam Reflected©

Mount Cheam Reflected © Stephen Mullock

Fall colours and a still backwater of the Fraser river casts a reflection of nearby Mount Cheam.

Imagine living here...

Stephen Mullock
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hiking the Hope Lookout

This post starts at the top with the unobstructed vista of Hope, B.C. from the Lookout. It is quite a view - the reward for the 1 and a half hour hike to the top. 

Hope BC © Stephen Mullock

It is possible to get to the lookout a lot faster.  In fact, there is a statute near the parking lot indicating trail runner speeds between 23 and 29 minutes.  I am impressed - this trail although only 2.4 kilometres in length has an average grade of 19.2% and an elevation gain of 480 metres.  The conditioning of these trail running athletes must be remarkable. I would rate this trail as being of medium difficulty.  Here is a site for hiking and travel directions to the parking lot and trail head.

The group I am with however have ages in the 50s and 60s and so we are taking our time enjoying the forest with frequent breaks for water and rest. I am wearing good hiking shoes and carry poles, water and a lunch to enjoy at the top.

The trail is well maintained and a number of benches are provided for the weary.  I manage to find them all.

Pika © Stephen Mullock

As we near the lookout I hear a "whistling" from the scree above and see this little guy in amongst the rocks. Known as the "whistling hare" this small mammal, a Pika, had been sending a high pitched warning call out to other Pikas - humans are near.  A very shy creature, I was pleased to get a few photographs before it dove back into the rocks and was gone. 

As we returned I was reminded of the force of nature. This picture shows a recent windfall the tree roots splayed upward with ferns and earth still hanging from it.

Close proximity to coastal forests such as this one near Hope, B.C. is just one of many benefits of eastern Fraser Valley living.  If you are planning on hiking please be prepared, and remember to "pack out" whatever you "pack in". Happy trails.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Best Family Event in July - The Harrison Festival of the Arts

For locals, the Harrison Festival of the Arts is like taking a holiday at home. For visitors it is one more reason to come back to Harrison Lake. Imagine grabbing a lawn chair and setting it up under the branches of a willow tree swaying in the breeze, suddenly you hear an instrument being tuned - just wait, the magic is about to begin.  Likely you will not know the song - that is part of the fun of music exploration. The world comes to Harrison Hot Springs from July 11 to the 19th and with them comes their music, stories, art and goods. Check out the festival lineup at

© Stephen Mullock
This year, so far, I have caught three performances. Last Saturday at the Memorial Hall, Ayrad mesmerized us with a Moroccan blend of propulsive music. Soon we were a hip-swaying dancing mass under the spell of Ayrad's massive groove. Such a good time.

Last night on the beach, Don Alder was featured. A guitar virtuoso that packed a huge wow factor. Also I had never seen a harp guitar. It is pictured above.

At the Memorial Hall, this the only Literary Cafe of the festival featured Corin Raymond's "Bookworm".  Weaving a tale about the power of books, family and love Corin seemed to plumb my own memories with tales about Spider-Man, Ray Bradbury and the Minotaur. He ended "Bookworm" to a standing ovation. Well done Corin!  

I should mention the Memorial Hall is a small, intimate room that is wonderfully air conditioned.

These performances are now all in the past but there is much more to come. Check it out at See you there....

Monday, June 29, 2015

As Cascade Falls so Falls Cascade - Day Trip to Mission BC

A refreshing hike into the forests to Cascade Falls is a great way to spend an afternoon with the kids. Bring a lunch there is a picnic area just off the parking lot, but, please be sure to pack out what you pack in.

A 15-20 minute climb up the trails and stairs takes you to a new suspension bridge and a truly beautiful sight - Cascade Falls. Green pools of water and rock made smooth by a stream of water and time.

Cascade Falls © Stephen Muulock

For the more adventurous take the road up to a second trail above the waterfalls. The large granite boulders strewn along the river provide wonderful spots to catch some sun rays and contemplate how lucky we are to live in such a special part of the world.


Monday, June 22, 2015

The Ghost Flower

Indian-Pipe, ghost flower, corpse plant, ice plant - are all names inspired by this perennial's pale appearance and shape. Unable to make chlorophyll its' nutrition must come from other sources. In this case, via fungi to the roots of a nearby tree.  Maybe vampire plant should be added to its' list of titles?

Ghost Flower © Stephen Mullock
We found this group of spectre forms rising from the ground near Cascade Falls, Mission this past weekend.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Harrison Hot Springs from the Air

I took to the skies last Friday and captured these images of Harrison Hot Springs, B.C. From above it looks so peaceful and beautiful, nestled between forests and Harrison Lake.  Mount Cheam looking on in the background. The Harrison Hot Springs Resort and Spa are the red brick building on the left. A row of white apartment buildings across from the lagoon close to the centre of the picture has a number of apartments available for purchase. What a view to wake up to. The beach to the left of the lagoon is home to Harrison's only true beach front properties. It is a naturally sandy beach. I represent one of the Heron's Cove units for sale, at this date of writing, listed at $385,000.

In the second picture, you can see some adventure park toys in the water and the Miami River flowing along the base of the mountain. I have a second listing at River Wynd offering a fine river view at $200,000.

Harrison is just an exceptional location located within 2 hours of Vancouver and about an hour from WestJet and the Abbotsford airport. Whether you are in the air or on foot it is a great place.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Browne Creek Wetlands Opening - It's For The Birds

It's for the birds. Actually it for the birds, fishes, trees and a variety of other sensitive life forms dependent upon wetlands. Opening day for Browne Creek Wetland Trails was today and I decided to attend along with bus loads of elementary school children, local dignitaries and the partners without whose assistance a project like this would not be possible.

I find a small parking lot at the end of Browne Road having travelled westward from Sardis along the Vedder Mountain Road towards Yarrow.  This a gated lot with hours that change seasonally.

A long path through the trees gave me a chance to shrug off the cares of the world and start appreciating a more natural experience. Pictures cannot capture the chorus of bird trills found here. I look for red winged blackbirds amongst the bullrushes. Not so lucky today, maybe too many visitors.

Finding some tents I have the good fortune to meet and talk to two Rotarians, project artist Jonathan Mills and, fellow Royal LePage agent and good buddy, Ian Meissner.
Jonathan and Ian

Rotary has been very involved with the "Rotary Trail" on the north side of the Vedder River and they have future plans for trail loop that will eventually connect the two sides together. What a legacy that would be for Chilliwack. 

Taking a trail,  I stroll by a number of student classes taking in the sights. The sounds, of "stay on the trail" reverberating through the woods. After all, this is a place for the birds, fishes and... humans should tread carefully.

Major partners included: City of Chilliwack, Fraser Valley Watersheds Coalition, Salmonid Enhancement Program, Rotary Club of Chilliwack and the Government of Canada.

Map details can be accessed at the City of Chilliwack site.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Update - Chilliwack and First Contact 1808 - 1839

Sometimes after I have written an article I receive fresh information. Noted local historian Daphne Sleigh, author of "The People of the Harrison", sent me some further insights on my post "Chilliwack and First Contact 1808 - 1839"

Fort Langley - Warehouse 1840

She writes,

Did you know that there was a Hudson’s Bay saltery built in 1847 on the Harrison River where Rowena’s is now?   It was established after the Chilliwack one proved disappointing. All this is likewise more or less forgotten by the historical societies.

I asked her to confirm my thoughts on what a "saltery" was. Her response,

Yes, a saltery was for preserving and shipping salmon.  The beaver had been over-hunted by then and the HBC was trying to find some other profitable export, so they experimented with this. 
This saltery was established on the Harrison River just below the good fishing grounds near the mouth of the Chehalis.  It is referred to in HBC documents, but unfortunately is not noted on any map in the HBC Archives.  However, this is the most likely spot, and Charles Pretty believed from oral tradition that it had been on his property.

I had the pleasure of sitting with Daphne and her husband Francis at a fund raiser a few years ago and you can imagine I was more than a little pleased with that arrangement. I have been a fan ever since. Thank you Daphne once again. 

To find her books, visit the local museums or purchase them online at her publisher or

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chilliwack and First Contact 1808 - 1839

In 1839, a new venture was about to unfold at the eastern end of Chilliwack mountain on the banks of the  Fraser river - the first white settler structure in the area. How did this come about?

Fraser river close to 1839 landing area

Chilliwack was a far different place then. A shallow lake existed between Vedder and Sumas mountains and the Chilliwack River ran north from its present day location through Sardis and Chilliwack to meet the Fraser.  There were plenty of side creeks and rivers of all sizes and that was good.

Significant transportation back in 1839 was largely achieved by boat so having a choice of waterways was excellent.

Simon Fraser, the river's namesake, explored the Fraser in1808 trying to find the Columbia River. He must have been more than a little disappointed when he meets the Salish Sea considerably north of the Columbia river mouth.

His trip into Chilliwack area was noted June 1808,

"Here we saw seals, a large river coming in from the left and a round Mountain (a head) which the natives call "Shemotch (Sumas Mountain)". After sunset we encamped upon the right side of the river. At this place the trees are remarkably large, cedars of five fathoms in circumference and of proportional heights. Musketoes are in clouds and we had little or nothing to eat. The Natives always gave us plenty of provisions in their villages, but nothing to carry away. Numbers of them followed us, but they were as destitute of provisions as ourselves. And though they were a great distance from home they carried no arms about them. This conduct appeared that they had great confidence in our goodness or in their own numbers."

For local Stó:lō people the Fraser river blessed them with a bounty of fish including the mighty salmon. It also brought explorers like Simon Fraser and traders. Other times it provided unwanted access from warring tribes. Harassed, slaughtered and enslaved by marauding bands from Vancouver Island the less war-like aboriginal people of Chilliwack were kept in a state of anxiety.

The journals of the Hudson's Bay Trading Post at Fort Langley established in 1827 often mention raiding parties going up the river to attack the "Chilliwhacks" and the aftermath effects.

"This warfare keeps the Indians of this vicinity in such continual alarm, that they cannot turn their attention to any thing but the care of their families and that they do poorly. While the powerful tribes from Vancouver Island harass them in this manner little hunting can be expected from them. And unless the company supports them against those lawless Villains little exertion can be expected from them."

A river battle ensued in 1837 when a thousand Yucultas (Campbell River) paddled up the Fraser on their way to attack Chilliwack's Stó:lō people. The cannons of Fort Langley boomed for the first and last time and the help of the Kwantlen tribe the Yuculta raiders were destroyed never to return in force.

In 1839 a repositioning of the objectives of the Fort Langley trading post in the offing. Instead of fur trading, which was in their opinion surprisingly poor, the new focus turned to cranberries, food and fish (pickled salmon) for world trade. It was decided that a "saltery" should be built in Chilliwack.  So, at the eastern base of Chilliwack Mountain the first structure built by white people and, likely a few Hawaiians and other Pacific Island people, was erected to take advantage of the rich annual salmon runs.

I had hoped to see some remains on my recent trip, but 176 years is a long time in a rain forest. It was apparently built near a rock in the river that had been used as a gathering place. This we found. On the day I visited, this rock was slowly being submerged by a Fraser River in its annual spring freshet. I hope to revisit the area again once the waters recede.

This is the beginning of white settlement in Chilliwack, not very glamorous and sadly overlooked by the historical society. Still from this humble beginning stems all that would follow, my arrival here included.

Some 180 years later and my how Chilliwack has grown!  Since lots of good years ahead in this thriving community.

Imagine living here...

Stephen Mullock
is an award winning full-time real estate specialist with 30 years of experience and hundreds of sales. Thinking of buying or selling real estate in the Fraser Cheam communities of Chilliwack, Agassiz or Harrison Hot Springs? Contact Steve (click here) of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Mount Cheam At The Top

Mount Cheam Peak © Stephen Mullock

Mount Cheam (pronounces She-am) offers one of the best summit views in the area. 

On my way up to the top in 2014, I took the above picture. This is the Cheam peak with some of my fellow hikers are already at the top. Others are still climbing. Humans so small against the immensity of the mountain and the sky. There is a feeling of awe to be found here.

It is quite the trek to get to the top, Mount Cheam stands 6,929 feet or 2112 meters above sea level, not that you start at the bottom, still for most, starting at the upper parking lot it is a steady and steep slough for a couple of hours.  I have written about the climb before but today I thought it might be interesting to have a look around the top.  While I have hiked to the peak a half dozen times I realize that many people might never get up here - so please let me share my experience with you.

Let's start with the vista these people are enjoying. This is the reward for all that work. Below we see the Fraser River and the town of Agassiz.  In the top right corner is Harrison Lake.  

How far can you see?  On a very good day, one without any low pacific clouds you might glimpse Vancouver Island.  That would be a remarkable sight.

Agassiz BC, Fraser Valley © Stephen Mullock

It is a ragged looking peak up close. Some 5,000 years ago, this mountain was torn in half. 

An immense landslide that started right at the peak, careened downward burying an unsuspecting aboriginal village with an estimated population of 5,000 people. The end would have been violent and sudden, forever sealing the inhabitants beneath a stone silence. 

The debris field extended right to the Fraser River changing forever its path to the Salish Sea.

The power of this past event is still evident at the summit - its' rock face still looks ripped apart. That is the view at the top.

© Stephen Mullock

© Stephen Mullock

Mount Cheam is the best known mountain peak in the eastern Fraser Valley large part due to its fine triangular shape, its' legendary status, and positioning.  The sun rises behind the Cheam Ridge. It also marks an intersection where the Fraser Valley very quickly turns into the canyon.

This little bandit it will take food right out of your knapsack given half a chance.

All pictures © Stephen Mullock

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Waiting For The Sun

These pictures were taken about a week ago on a foggy morning.  I think we were all waiting for the sun but fog adds such great atmosphere and I just had to get out and see what images I could capture.

© Stephen Mullock
Sun rays plunge through morning fog onto an awaiting mirror like slough surface. 

Ready To Receive The Sun © Stephen Mullock
This is an incredibly beautiful part of the world - we need only to keep our eyes open.  We are lucky to live here.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Mount Slesse (Fang) 1956 Trans Canada Plane Crash

© Stephen Mullock

The name Mount “Slesse” comes from the local Halkomelem language and means “fang”, an apt description for a peak with a notorious history.

Located in the Cascade Mountains just north of the US-Canada border on a fine day, as we had last week, when this picture was taken, you can get a good view of Mount Slesse from Sardis.  It was late in the day and the warmer tones of a January sunset were playing on the mountain as I recalled its sad story.

On December 9, 1956, Trans Canada Airlines Flight 810 crashed near the peak of the mountain, killing all 62 people aboard. Canada’s worst air disaster of the time.  On board, were 3 crew members and 59 passengers including CFL team members of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders, returning home from the East - West all-star weekend football game.  

This aircraft left Vancouver on time at 6:10 pm but very quickly, a little over an hour into the flight things turned sour. 

The last transmission, at 7:09 pm, from the pilot indicated that they were in turbulent weather and that they had lost the use of one of the plane’s four engines.  Now located east of Hope BC they had decided to turn back for Vancouver.  The weather was extremely bad, reports indicating overcast skies, wind gusts of 90 km/hour and icing conditions above 4500 feet. The plane is reported as being flown at 16,000 to 21,000 feet going out but returning they requested a drop in elevation to 10,000 feet. Air Traffic Control approved they cross the Vancouver range at 8,000 feet or above.

Sleese Mountain (Fang) is one of the tallest peaks in this part of the Canadian cascade mountains at 2,439 m or 8,002 ft  It is a mountainous and rugged area completely devoid of people. In December, it would already have a snow cap of some depth.

Speculation suggests that the pilot may have thought the aircraft was flying above all the peaks. It would be dark that time year, of course, and with cloud cover the incisor shaped peak would have been nearly impossible to see.  The impact would have been unexpected and violent.

At the face-jut on the west side of the mountain just a mere 50’ from the peak the airplane crashed with such impact that it left a huge propeller impression like it had been pressed into the mountain. The bulk of the airplane then fell hundreds of feet below.

It took some time for the aircraft to be located.

Despite an extensive air search the wreckage would not be found until the following May when mountaineers Elfrida Pigou, Geoffrey Walker and David Cathcart made their grisly discovery.

Today, the site is protected from disturbance.  I had the opportunity to hike up this remote peak in 2012 and wrote a post about it then as well.

A part of our local history albeit a tragic story. 


Mount Slesse 2012 © Stephen Mullock

Source Material : 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Flight Home - Trumpeter Swans

The Flight Home © Stephen Mullock
I wrote a post not so long ago about the trumpeter and tundra swans that visit our area in winter. These are the largest native birds in North America and it is always a bit of a thrill to see them.

Yesterday, as the sun was setting over the farm silhouetted in this photograph I took this picture of a small group on their last flight of the day.

What does this have to do about real estate?  Well real estate is every bit as much about our communities, the natural world as it is about counter tops and hardwood floors.  Besides that, it's a picture that I just wanted to share.