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....