Then there’s Hope

I left with Bob on the 12:30 Ferry from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay and driving through the lower mainland of Vancouver on Hwy 1 we headed for Hope. One of the little but not so insignificant considerations of driving the Hwy 1 or Trans- Canada from Horseshoe Bay through the city and beyond is the absence of any, nil, zero, traffic lights all the way for 170 km. It’s a smooth long flow right on through to Chilliwack, Abbotsford and on to Hope. Actually, to the opposite end of the country if you kept on going, the Trans-Can is one of the longest uninterrupted highways in the world.

Bob has a few days of work in Prince George and I’m taking the opportunity to go along for the mini tour. Again, fun for me, poor Bob has made this trek countless times over thirty-five years of working Pulp Mill Shut-Downs, saying he knows every stump and stone all along the way. I contemplated testing him. Naw, I’ll take his word.

Ok, so back to Hope. This is the first and only stop over on the little leg of our journey on our way  to Prince George, the second largest city in B.C. in the centre of British Columbia and a good 7 1/2 hour drive from Hope. In his robust younger days Bob would do the drive from Vancouver Island to P. G. in one go, but really that’s just madness, which makes me question exactly how many stumps and stones could one actually see driving like a dirt devil for twelve hours? (Total of 15 hours when you include waiting for the ferry and riding the ferry before even starting the drive!)

Ferry travel- another post.

Hope, the location where Rambo: First Blood was filmed. Hope with its massive fir-tree covered mountains RIGHT THERE looming over you, which caused me to wonder if the town came by the name of Hope from pioneer gold miners murmuring a prayer, I HOPE THIS MOUNTAIN DOESN’T FALL ON MY HEAD. Probably not, but that’s what I would (no, I do) say.

It’s obvious I don’t enjoy dwelling too long in close surroundings like the crevices and canyons of towering rock. Foothills, distant rocky mountain ranges, oceans, meadows, wide valleys, deserts and prairie are more my element. But yes, the looming mountain presence of Hope is pervasive, but in the town its threat feels slightly benign, maybe even spectacular. Impressive also is the Fraser River running through the town, one of the longest rivers in Canada, with humble beginnings in Northern B.C.’s Fraser Pass building and running down into Vancouver’s Delta and New Westminster region and into the Strait of Georgia on the Pacific.

We got a room at the Windsor right downtown for $100, on another previous overnight stay in Hope we stayed at the Skagit Motel down the street from the Windsor, which we liked better. But the Windsor is just fine. We went for a walk through the neighbourhood before having dinner at Wallace, good restaurant by the way.

10,000 years ago this region was the home of the Sto:lo first nations until 1782 when, like so many(maybe all) European contact tragedies, small pox wiped out over two-thirds of their populations within six weeks. Below is the Dream Totem. Life had to have been quite glorious and richly abundant here for the Sto:lo along this big waterway before European contact. Way to go white guy.

Hope also holds the oldest church on its original foundation in British Columbia, the Christ Church, consecrated in 1861. The cedar trees that surround the church are magnificently huge, in fact the downtown has kept many of the old growth occupants intact, flanking the pathways to houses or lining a bit of the street and through the small park in the town centre; acknowledging them as part of the residential population, a rightly place in the neighbourhood.

On a bit of ground to the side of the little church is a Labyrinth, which of course I had to walk.

Next morning we grabbed breakfast at the Blue Moose across the street from the Windsor and began the long drive to Prince George.

 

 

David and Goliath

We got out on our first little sail of the summer the other day, the winds were light but steady and the sun had finally burned away most of the clouds. We didn’t venture far, just around Snake Island four miles out due to the light air. We were kept company by a couple of these big fellas waiting at anchor to get into Vancouver’s port across the Strait.

They are a bane to some of the residents here, hearing the rumbling as they let out their chain rode to drop heavy anchors, complaining of their noisy generators running during the night, and their sometimes bright lights, especially if they anchor particularly close to our island, but I’m fascinated by their  scale, the engineering of their structure, and the historical connection they carry.

Moving cargo by sea is ancient, the world’s economy has hinged on floating vessels up and down great river and ocean systems for millennia. I don’t want to comment necessarily on the cargo they now transport other than to say besides the many loads of sneakers, import cars, stuff for the Wal-Mart’s, or raw log exports – lets face it we buy all this stuff, no right to judge what is necessary goods; there is perhaps much more that is down right dangerous like the diluted  toxic Bitumen that will be coming through the pipeline from the Alberta tar sand’s channeled through B.C.’s mountain range and pristine wilderness for freighter export out of Vancouver’s busy harbour.  Odds are certain this big red ship from Majuro will have such cargo.

It’s the paradox of human ingenuity, we can create incredible feats of engineering that by the same token can harm or destroy. The double edge sword that’s hidden in our many revered works. The Pyramids or the great wall of China can inspire and we marvel and congratulate our innovations, but the lives of thousands of slaves that severely toiled and perished seem to escape us.

And while these ships are striking to see up close, their tenuous journey out to the open pacific before first threading through our narrow passages and skirting our active gulf islands causes some amount of disdain.   But what can we do? We are hypocrites all.

 

 

 

Back home

I’ve been home for two weeks now after spending the month of May in Kimberley visiting my daughter while Bob was working in the area, and I’ve been so busy I haven’t put time aside to post. Upon our return we were greeted with a lawn of very tall grass, and because it was already the end of May we had to get busy buying seeds and vegetable starts and flowers, getting the vegetable gardens planted, putting flower baskets together, mowing and weeding.

We did have a little parcel we discovered in our hedge while weeding, a nest of twelve quail eggs. The mother must’ve been out feeding when we saw the pale and brown speckled eggs nestled in the tall grass. When I checked them the next day I thought they were gone, that a raccoon had gotten to them, but then I looked again I could then notice the excellent camouflage of the male parent spread out over the nest.

I also needed to get up to see my Mom for some serious breakout time; I take her out about three times a week, taking her for lunch, drives, and walks down at the beach front. Although my sister got her out on the weekends while I was away, mom was getting a bit of cabin fever being cloistered during the weeks.

Yesterday Bob and I worked hard in pulling up a massive bamboo type ground cover that had gotten away on us and was encroaching on the veg garden area, and today- I’m beat! Coupled with staying up too late last night to try to watch Saturday Night Live and then waking at 6 this morning, I can never sleep in no matter how late I go to bed! I feel like a wet rag today~

So after doing a bit of raking I’ve surrendered to the remainder of the day to give it a rest. Find a comfy spot in the sun maybe and read. I do need a trip to the library, having finished Paradise by Toni Morrison while in Kimberley, I’ll see what I can re-read from my own library ~

Taking a walk

I now have to bombard everyone with a series of photographs of areas where I’ve been on daily walks with the rugnuts. As mentioned in the previous post Kimberley is replete with hiking avenues for every level of adventurer, and the views are gorgeously absorbing.

 

The unpaved Volksmarch trail, about 2 kilometers in length, follows along side the 28 kilometer paved Northstar rail2trail below.

The ridge trail above the town of Marysville that links up to the Volksmarch trail and to the NorthStar trail. This is where I come to walk most days because it is open and sunny, easy access, great views and it gets in a good length of a walk.

 

 

The Northstar Rail to Trail though is a fantastic path for a good long walk or bike ride, which my daughter and I did last year. It will take you all the way in to Cranbrook 28 kilometers away. The hounds and I spent a better part of the day on it starting from Marysville. And like I mentioned the entire area is gorgeous!

Clouds over Kimberley

Coming out of the woods from a walk with the dogs I glanced up and saw this. Stopped me in my tracks, I thought- Hmm that’s impressive. Googling them I learn on a BBC iwonder site that these are called Mammatus (for obvious reasons) and says that these clouds are not clouds in their own right but an after effect of other clouds, are made up mostly of ice, and come on the back edge of a retreating storm. I just say WOW.