Friday, July 29, 2011

BC Hiking - My First Hike


I got a call late on Tuesday night from my friend Helle,"Steve, we are going hiking tomorrow and I was wondering if you would be interested"?

The Chilliwack Fraser-Cheam area is next to some of the best hiking in the world, from lofty peaks, to valley trails the sights are unforgettable and uniquely west coast. I said "I'm in".

At 9:00 am the entire group was assembled at the Popkum roundabout to meet and carpool. There was a nice mixture of beginners, five of us including a couple visiting from Denmark and 3 experienced leaders including my friend Helle. I should mention the dog - Takoda a mixed breed with a wonderful attitude and terrific poser. After introductions we were off to a section of the Trans Canada Trail and former Kettle Valley rail line up the Coquihalia Highway.
Takoda amongst the Hawk-weed
The couple from Denmark, turned out to be father and daughter named Ulf, somehow I heard Wolf, and Rosa, I thought was Rose. Ulf and Rosa were coming close to the end of their month long holiday in western Canada. They had already enjoyed the Rockies and been out on a hike just two days prior.  In contrast I hadn't hiked for a decade and, okay, I am also carrying a few extra pounds.

One concern of mine when hiking is bears but I was reassured to learn that the group is quite chatty thereby advertising its presence in the forests so that no bears are surprised, they then have time to retreat.  Sometimes hikers wear bells on their backpacks for the same purpose. Bear spray, bear bangers are also kept readily at hand.

No Bells, Black Beat Scat
I asked Wolf, "How can you tell whether you are in Grizzly or Black bear country"?  He told me that a massive shoulder hump gives the Grizzly bear away; that and the hiker bells found in Grizzley scat (poop).


We turned off the Coquihalla Highway 5 at the Portia intersection, parked, shouldered our packs, wiggled through a massive yellow gate and began walking, it was 9:45 am.

This hike, the Coquihalla Summit Trail, took us along in part down the former Kettle Valley Railway and in part along the Trans Canada Trail.  The grades are not difficult.  It soon became evident that along with mushrooms a riot of wildflowers were in bloom and the photographers in the group were given time to take some pictures of them.


Wild Mushroom


Through a forest canopy we walked.

The wildflowers were quickly named by our leader Sue and Tracey and included Hawk-weed, Red Columbine, the delicate forest Tiger Lily, Red Paint Brush, Yellow Salsify, Oxeye Daisies and the list just goes on and on....

Wild Strawberries
My favourite plant were the wild strawberries. These berries although "pea" sized packed a real punch of flavour putting store bought strawberries to shame.
 
At 1 o'clock we arrived at an old railway snowshed and had a break for lunch. I was ready for a rest and a chance to explore this old structure.
Snowshed KVR
We could tell from some of the dates stamped into the concrete that a lot of railway work had been done in 1944 and 1956 and couldn't help but think when, and why, it was decommissioned. This dramatic tag may tell the tale as to when.
Work Train Last Supper June 20, 1962
After our break we continued on through a second train tunnel and then to the "Hole in the Wall".  The “Hole in the Wall” is a circular hole approximately 4’ in diameter cut through a solid granite wall. It is open to the sky for about 8’ and then it falls into a lower opening and finally emerges as a waterfall. The following photograph does not do it justice.
Hole in the Wall KVR
Hiking it turns out is a great way to get to know people and talking helps those miles disappear. At about 2 PM we turned around. This time fewer pictures were taken, the party was on the march!

A blister on my right heal began to form, fortunately these hikers are well prepared and a band aid solution materialized. A few miles further my left heel began to complain and a second a band aid was offered. About 5 pm my wife called to "ask where are you" in a hushed tone I said "we are still walking...that is hiking... I'm all in."

A day later, I am feeling fine and looking forward to another hike in the near future.

Imagine living here...

Interested in hiking in this spectacular part of the world? Here are some handy links:

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent 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) for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Agassiz's Agricultural Experimental Farm




Canada's experimental farms are celebrating their 125th birthday and last Saturday the Agassiz Experimental Farm opened its' doors to visitors like me.  The Agassiz Experimental Farm is not quite 125 years old as it was established as one of Canada's original 5 farms by William Saunders in 1888. Saunders was taken by the almost tropical farm environment Agassiz presented and the relatively mild winter conditions.  In the following years since a host of tropical plants have been grown including lemons, limes and kiwi. Unfortunately, for such trees, it seems the farm is still too far north.  While the farm was initially used to evaluate livestock and fruit trees suitable for the climate today it is a modern, state of the art, research laboratory and dairy.  It is one of our area treasures.

It takes a great deal of work to organize an Open House for the public and I'd like to thank the employees of the Agassiz Experimental Farm for the interactive and  fun way they presented their work.  Here are a few pictures of the day.

The Commons
Dominion Experimental Farm Agassiz 1888
Research Laboratory and Mount Cheam Agassiz
Chicks of all colours
Stately Old Agassiz Research Barn
Agassiz Cows enjoying a meal
Into the Sunlight - Hurray!
Imagine living here....

Featured real estate offerings on this date:


Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent 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) for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Sense of Place - 6432 Wilson Road, Agassiz, BC


Here is a little real estate secret - "really special properties are hard to find" - just this past week I found this one, now listed for sale at $599,000.

There once was a scientist who worked at the nearby Agassiz's Agricultural Research Station, then as now, there were concerns about "energy". He decided to build a wiser more Earth friendly structure on a 2.85 acre parcel 1.5 miles out of town. A landscape architect was consulted. 
They planted a forest along the north side of the parcel to break the winter winds and lessen its' chill. A driveway under a leafy canopy is the entry today.  They liked it - it seemed that the work world along with their cares were shrugged off at the roadway.

The house design also hunched its shoulders against the northern winter weather with an earth berm along the north side and a reduced number of window openings on this, the colder side of the house. They thought how lovely their residence would be framed by the trees of this forest. On the east side of the property a fern garden was planted.


As friendly as forests can be, they can also be dark and so a meadow on the south side of the home was planted so that as much sunlight as possible could get into the south side of their abode. 



The passage of the Sun in the sky was carefully considered so that the house might take full advantage of the solar rays and naturally warm its interior. 

Good views were essential and this property offered plenty of nearby hills and mountains.




  A great deal of thought went into the integration of the natural world with the interior of the house. A very private, sunny, brick patio area was built right off the kitchen. Sometimes they would catch sight of this owl in a nearby pine tree.  
Other sustainability ideas included a greenhouse to the side of the house; making it easy to grab some fresh vegetables, herbs and fruits for the kitchen table. Fruit bearing bushes, a hazelnut orchard (currently maintained by a nearby farmer) and a wide assortment of ornamental trees materialized. A philosopher stone was placed at the base of a cherry tree so that they could rest and reflect on the bounty of this acreage. 
As much thought that went into the exterior also went into the interior of the home. Here are some pictures of it wonderful rooms. They wisely decided that the master bedroom should be located on the main floor. Two more bedrooms both with vaulted ceilings are upstairs, as well, as a writing area with a wonderful but distracting mountain view. The use of wood sash windows, wood burning fireplaces, wood clad vaulted ceilings, extensive brick and an air heat exchange unit are only a few of the features. 

Watching the sun rise over Mount Cheam with a mug of coffee on the upper balcony (since renovated) was always a treat; as this winter picture shows.
As stated at the beginning, this is a very special place and worthy of your attention - let's get together - my mobile number is 604-378-9000.


Imagine living here...

All pictures and content © copyright to Stephen Mullock and Trish Fushtey
Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent 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) for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Harrison Hot Springs Festival of the Arts 2011: A Cultural Mash-Up


These are the days, when music, art, craft, sun and beach blend and merge into the Harrison Festival of the Arts.  My friends what fine days they are, with a mash-up of international sounds and people, a celebration of music, theatre, dance and visual arts on every day until July 17th, 2011.

What does a cultural event, like this festival, have to do with real estate you might ask?  Other than the fact that I have a wonderful house and workshop at 241 Balsam Ave. for sale at $459,900 and a tidy, furnished one bedroom apartment for $274,900 at 328 Esplanade Ave? [Shameless and unapologetic plug].  In the Village of Harrison Hot Springs, isn't it just more entertainment in a world whirling with voices clamouring to be heard?  Hey, you can stay at home and watch "America's Got Talent" or rent a DVD and never leave the cocoon of your home or, grab a lawn chair, step out and saunter down to the beach.  Your life will be the richer for the experience, I know mine has been impacted and I believe that our local communities are better for it.


Los Morenos
I was brought up Chilliwack, BC then a small town of 20,000 located within the Fraser Cheam area of the eastern Fraser Valley. "Canada" in the early years of my life was divided between Canadian English, the local Canadian First Nation people and a distant Canadian French.  Here on the west coast, "French" was more an acknowledgment, but still an important one, to a larger Canadian commitment.  My "French" was taught by a chain smoking teacher who would plug us into headphones and a taped program of instruction and then, he would slip out to his real interest - the dark room. Canada has changed; the "World" has come to realize that this country isn't all igloos and polar bears. With these new peoples, carried to Canada, in their spirits and minds, has come the art, music, theatre and ideas of a planet.  Some of the best are being presented right here at the Harrison Festival of the Arts. Imagine living in a community supportive of such an embraceable philosophy of inclusion and evolution - that's where you should live.  They say the "World needs more Canada" for the next few days it is alive and well at the Harrison Festival of the Arts.

Here are some pictures I snapped off this weekend, I hope you enjoy them.

Art and Craft Merchants (spent some $s here, reasonable prices)

Celtic Music Trad Band
Joel Fafard

Madagascar Slim
Locarno (one of the best sets of the show)

Just underway and running every day until July 17, 2011 the Harrison Festival of the Arts, bring your friends and if you see me there say hello or "bonjour".

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent 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) for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Harrison Hot Springs; Todd Richard "Journey On" Debut


Todd Richard Journey On
Canada Day, Harrison Hot Springs BC, the sun is shining and Todd Richard is debuting his new CD "Journey On" his deep baritone energizing the crowd with a rich rumble and shiny wit.  I will admit that I come from a rock and roll perspective and don't know a heck of lot about country music, other than having enough sense to know what I like, and, that includes Todd Richard.  Rock, has been a territory dominated with too many wimpy boys with high falsetto voices of late it is nice to hear a man's voice.

Todd Richard is playing this Friday July 8th, 2011 at the Chilliwack Party in the Park sharp at 8 pm and I recommend purchasing his CD - I have. It is available at iTunes and at Myspace Music.

Find more artists like Todd Richard at Myspace Music

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent 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) for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.

Chilliwack* Real Estate Market Analysis and Review: July 2, 2011


SINGLE FAMILY HOMES 

Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Housing Sales Report for June 2011

MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
June    2011  165 $361,000 63 1073
May   2011  128 $355,000 66 1064
June   2010  150 $363,000 61 n/a

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Real Estate Listings: July 2, 2011 - $379,900

Good news for a change...
the market for single family houses in Chilliwack* strengthened for the first time since February 2011 with 165 sales in June. Over a 10-year period we would normally expect June to see on average 177 sales, so 165 represents about 93% of what we would usually anticipate.  Not bad, a big improvement over the sorry state that was the May numbers.

Average sale prices have been slowly improving up since the beginning of the year and currently are hovering around $361,000; this time a year ago they were $363,000.  Prices tend to expand through the spring and summer months and then retreat in the fall and winter. The exception to this occurs when there is a boom underway. At present there are 1,064 listings of single family houses in the Chilliwack area and the market seems to be moving from a Buyers Market into a Balanced Market.  No Boom.  A 15.4% sale to listing ratio occurred in June a month earlier this was only at 12%.

STRATA HOMES

Chilliwack* Strata Housing Sales Report for June 2011
MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
June      2011  65 $232,000 52 537
May     2011  70 $220,000 82 524
June     2010  70 $213,000 83 n/a

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Strata Real Estate Listings: July 2, 2011 - $214,900

Not so rosy for...
the sale of Strata Units (apartments, townhouses) in the Chilliwack* area; this was an under-performer in June.  Usually, we would expect about 77 sales on a 10 year average.  Only 9.8% of the listing inventory was sold; the Chilliwack Strata Market falling once again into Buyer's territory.

Sellers need to ensure that they are working with a professional local real estate agent and that all parts of their marketing mix are in order such as: price, product condition, access (place), and promotion.  All items should be reviewed on a frequent basis and new sales and competitors discussed.  Once that is done prepare to be patient. I have a tailored program that keeps my clients up to date on values in their neighbourhood; other real estate agents will have similar services as well.

If you are interested in the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia's most recent journey into Smithers British Columbia have a look at Sojourn in Smithers by Alicia. This site also has a couple fresh posts about this remarkable community "Looking for the Soul of Smithers BC" and "Smithers Old Church and the Meditation Garden".  I hope you enjoy them.

Stephen Mullock RI is an award winning full-time real estate agent 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) for experience, local knowledge and friendly service you’ll be happy you did.