Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chadsey Lake, Sumas Mountain, BC - Hike 4


Clouds over Chadsey Lake © Stephen Mullock

Consider the entire package when you are thinking about relocating, the Chilliwack* area has plenty to offer including a spectacular natural setting which I have been exploring in a series of local hikes. My first hike took me up the Coquihalla, my second to the Harrison Lake Forestry lookout, then to Lindeman and Greendrop Lakes, the destination today Sumas Mountain's Chadsey Lake sometimes called the Lost Lake.

Sumas Mountain, Abbotsford B.C. stands quite alone in the middle of the Fraser Valley.  To the south are the fertile plains of the Sumas Flats to the north the Fraser River, west is Abbotsford and eastward Chilliwack.

I meet fellow Hermann Hikers on the north side of the mountain and we convoy up Sumas Mountain Road  to a trail head marked with a baby's sun hat.

It's a 735 meter (2,411 feet) climb in elevation to the lake we are told by our trail master K, even higher than the Mount Cheam accent. It's requires intermediate hiking ability with a round trip taking 6 - 7 hours depending on whether you go to the peak or not.

Into forest we climb, after the downpour of rain we had a few days earlier, the forest is still sloughing off moisture. Humidity levels are so high even the leaves seem to be sweating. 


There are a number of fast moving streams to cross and few logs to climb over, but, as usual, the hiking here is just as simple as placing one foot in front of the other.  Sometimes, this is a trudge and at other times a brisk walk through the trees.  From H, I hear about the "magic forest" that's ahead of us, and how, when she last came through here, clouds clung to the evergreens creating an enchanted landscape.  We wind our way up pushing through underbrush in some areas, past large fern growths, at last, we come to a view point and have a look northward over the Valley.

Sumas Mountain View © Stephen Mullock
Hiking is not just about the destination, rather it is about the journey. Alien looking plants and mushrooms found along the way are examined with delight. I enjoy the taste of some huckleberries along the way.

Huckleberries © Stephen Mullock
Tree Growth © Stephen Mullock
Cotton Grass © Stephen Mullock
There is a real difference when we reach the upper forest, the "magic" one that is.  The trees are taller over 100' in height, the light is more muted and uniform, the underbrush has all but disappeared, brown trunks rise tall against a field of ever green.  This is indeed a beautiful place. 

After 3 hours of hiking we reach Chadsey Lake where we rest. Like a gift just waiting for me, I find a huge eagle feather about 20" in length...magic.

Chadsey Lake, Sumas Mountain © Stephen Mullock

Quick Facts
"Sumas" is a Halqemeylem word meaning "a big level opening" according to Wikipedia to the Sumas Prairie below.

Sumas Mountain has special significance to the First Nation people as it sheltered them through a legendary great flood eerily similar to the story of Noah. This story was recounted in an earlier post called Sumas Mountain and the Great Flood.

Name Details for Sumas

Hike Sumas Mountain

The Sumas Peak has an elevation of 910m or 2,986 feet above sea level.

Imagine living here...


Featured Real Estate Properties for Sale (as of August 1, 2011)

34856 Marshall Road, Abbotsford
241 Balsam Ave. Harrison Hot Springs
6342 Wilson Road, Agassiz



4545 Humphrey Road, Agassiz 


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.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Harrison Lake, BC - Looking for Awesome


It's Wednesday night, one of those perfect summer evenings, clear skies but not too hot.  In fact, in recent days the first trees have started to turn and poplar leaves now dot parking lots and forest trails alike.  I'm heading towards Green Point, Harrison Lake, part of a 1,217 hectare area known as the Sasquatch Provincial Park.  I am looking for the awesome.

Let's talk about awesome for a moment, I think of awesome as a experience, that brings a rush of unexpected emotional pleasure, perhaps a sense of moral goodness or some sort of spiritual connection. I see, awesome, in design sometimes and other times nature.  Most recently, I found it at Lindeman Lake before that it was this crazy orb-like forest spider web that was shining like a thousand constellations in the dappled light filtering down between the trees. Okay, maybe I am easily amused - but I am okay with that.

As I head up Rockwell Drive, the sun has about an hour left in it - the road winds up and down the mountains that hug the east side of Harrison Lake.  I notice a lot of waterfront properties are up for sale and enjoying these last few minutes before sunset.  There might be some deals here, one property just reduced its asking price by a whooping $600,000!  I would love to be the Realtor® that sells one of them!  Harrison Lake's Rockwell Bay Estates look very attractive in the light so I stop and take a picture.

Rockwell Bay Estates, Harrison Lake, BC © Stephen Mullock
There are three cars in the Green Point parking lot as I get out.  On the pebble beach I see two striking blonde women on beach towels about 80' apart.  Cellular telephones are pressed to their ears.  Modern times, I wonder if they are talking to one another?

I trudge past them, my feet crunching small stones underfoot, hoping to get a good twilight picture of the little island just offshore. Waves lap the beach with quite a din. I listen to the sound - could I get use to that noise if I was a waterfront home owner?

Along the way I notice black against the stones a large raven feather about a foot long.  A feather of this size would be important for flight, it would be missed.

Unfortunately, this evening the island pictures are not so great, as I head back I pick up the feather, two ravens wheel high above me calling out. As I  move around the bay, I see that the blondes have not moved and remain on their phones. 

I look back for one last picture and there it is....



Bird Spirit over Harrison Lake © Stephen Mullock



Imagine living here....




Featured Real Estate Properties for Sale (as of August 19, 2011)


6342 Wilson Road, Agassiz
4544 Humphrey Road, Agassiz
241 Balsam Road, Harrison Hot Springs
34856 Marshall Road, Abbotsford

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.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lindeman and Greendrop Lake - Hike 3


Lindeman Lake © Stephen Mullock
Consider the entire package when you are thinking about relocating, the Chilliwack* area has plenty to offer including a spectacular natural setting which I have been exploring in a series of local hikes.  My first hike took me up the Coquihalla, my second to the Harrison Lake Forestry lookout, the destination this time, Lindeman and Greendrop Lake, BC.

The skies are overcast - with showers in the forecast - but we find rain as we drive down the Chilliwack Valley road, the windshield wipers beat a rhythm, and then all at once, the asphalt roadway is dry - my third hike of the season to Lindeman and Greendrop Lake might still be a dry one - with any luck. If it rains I am told we will only go as far as Lindeman Lake the rocky trail beyond gets slippery and dangerous when wet.

As we drive I am thinking about Charlie Lindeman (1869 - 1943), one of the last true mountain men to live in these parts. Like a lot of other young men he claimed land in the Chilliwack River Valley in the early 1890s. He built himself a 15' x 30' log cabin on the north side of Chilliwack Lake, grew a garden, and lived there with two Airedale dogs called Boob and Ben. Many men came into the Chilliwack River Valley looking for gold, silver, some logged and most left disappointed after a time, Charlie Lindeman stayed; he liked the wilderness. Charlie never married, and, only a couple times a year would venture into Chilliwack for supplies. He loved the forests, enjoyed isolation and being a self reliant man. To earn money he taught himself how to trap marten and ringed a trap-line around Chilliwack Lake at about the 4,000 foot mark. Mostly I am remembering a picture of Charlie Lindeman, from the book called "In the Arms of the Mountains, A History of the Chilliwack River Valley" (2006), he is sitting on a rough hewed wood bench against a log house wall with a twinkle in his eyes and a smile of contentment a yard wide.

Parking the car to the side of a rising Chilliwack Lake road we pile rocks behind the tires. Empty vehicles have been known to lose there grip and start drifting down the road, usually into another parked car. 

The Hermann Hikers are soon assembled, 10 on this day and our trek to Charlie's namesake Lindeman Lake begins at 9 am.

The first part of this popular trail requires a bit of steep climbing through the forest. Beside us Post Creek rushes by, very pretty, under forest canopy. Evidence of a wind storm some 4 years ago, the same storm that devastated Vancouver's Stanley Park, is all around, large trees blown down, snapped and splintered.

Post Creek, Chilliwack BC © Stephen Mullock
The walk to the lake takes us about 2 hours with a number of breaks to capture the beauty of this place with our cameras. We cross over Post Creek using log bridges and clamber over rocks, finally we reach Lindeman Lake and I am startled by the clarity and the emerald green colour of Lindeman Lake. As the sun darts in and out of the clouds these hues amplify and then recede. I can see why Charlie Lindeman loved it here.

Lindeman Lake © Stephen Mullock
Lindeman Lake, BC Emerald Greens
My attention is then taken to a craggy rock outcropping called the Castle or the Gargoyles guarding this jewel-like lake.  With their sharp dagger-like serrated edges they look like something from a horror fantasy. Clouds are being burnt off as the sun momentarily blesses the scene; then the Castle and attendant Gargoyles once more are enveloped by clouds to materialize once again just moments later.
Caste and Gargoyles, Lindeman Lake BC, peak through clouds
After a few minutes rest we are off to Greendrop Lake leaving Lindeman Lake behind us.

Up the rocks with Lindeman Lake BC behind
There are plenty of rocky areas between the two lakes, known as talus or scree, where choosing you footing must be carefully done. We take our time picking our way through these uneven surfaces. 


Scree or Talus Rock
Moving back into the forests plenty of interesting sights both small and large await us.


Looking up Cedar Tree Hollow

After another 2 hours we arrive at Greendrop Lake.  Unfortunately, the clouds have bunched up a bit and it does not show itself to good advantage.  I am happy to rest my legs, eat my lunch and marvel at some of nearby old cedars, maybe 100-200 years old.


With some good rest breaks we return to our vehicles at about 4 pm. without a single drop of rain falling on us.



Imagine living here....



Featured Real Estate Properties for Sale (as of August 11, 2011)
 

34856 Marshall Road, Abbotsford
241 Balsam Ave. Harrison Hot Springs
6342 Wilson Road, Agassiz
4545 Humphrey Road, Agassiz
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.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Twilight Concert Series in Agassiz BC

 
Pioneer Park Twilight Concert Series - Agassiz


Emerging Talent
They come to the Park for any number of reasons, to be entertained, to meet up with friends, family, to cheer on the performers, some just to pass the time.  They unfold their lawn chairs on the grass, under the leaves, well away from the stage so as not to be noticed, it is easier to slip away that way.  The feet of children dangle from a cherry tree, a burden its' branches have often borne.  If you have troubles no need to remember them this evening, let the music embrace you, if only for an hour.  There are days of love to recall, and, as each tune is played, they tumble down sweet like fruit from a tree.

The Pioneer Park Twilight Concert Series is a pretty laid back affair  held every Wednesday Night in Pioneer Park, Agassiz from 6:30 - 8:00 PM until the end of August, so grab a chair and make yourself friendly.

Shelia, Laura and Marilee
Strange Fruit in Cherry Tree


Imagine living here...

Featured Real Estate Properties for Sale (as of August 9, 2011) 

34856 Marshall Road, Abbotsford
241 Balsam Ave. Harrison Hot Springs
6342 Wilson Road, Agassiz
4545 Humphrey Road, Agassiz

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.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Harrison Lake Forestry Outlook - Hike 2


Harrison Lake and Mount Cheam
Up a dusty road along the west side of Harrison Lake we drove. The weather was a perfect 25° C and I had all but recovered from my first hike of the year. Heck, to be truthful, the first time, in many years. I was bouncing along in the backseat of pickup truck with, hiker dog extraordinaire, "Takoda" whom you may remember from a previous post.  Takoda, I learned is a word from the Sioux language meaning friend to all. A very appropriate name for a dog that is brave enough to chase away bears and quiet enough that you barely notice her.  Oh, I should mention I was with some fine people as well, but, I do like that dog, experienced hikers from the Hermann's Hikers group and some friends from my first foray into the BC forests.

A few years ago, my family in convoy with another group attempted to find the Forestry Lookout on the west side of Harrison Lake but the age of our children and the steepness of the path turned us away.  Somewhere along this dusty gravel road is a hubcap from our 1986 Camry. I wasn't going back to try and find it but I happy with the thought that I would finally see that, so far, elusive Forestry Lookout.

I am not sure how these lookouts worked in the past as they predate cellular telephones and personal computers.  What did they do if they saw a forest fire? Send a smoke signal?  Perhaps, they had a satellite telephone?  If you know add a comment.  Anyways, I do know that they were staffed and had a small shelter to keep them dry and out of harms (bears) way.

We had to pull over once for a logging truck hauling a full load but otherwise the 24 mile ride up the road was uneventful.  The picture above was taken just as we left the truck and it turns out that it was one of best vantage points of the day. Looking over a logging clear-cut the glacier fed waters of Harrison Lake appear tranquil, beyond them, the BC coastal mountain tower with the highest peak to the right being Mount Cheam.

Some old bear scat (poop) was found close to where we parked the truck.  I was told it wasn't fresh as it wasn't steaming.  Not so much a reassuring thought.  Anyways, I was quickly armed with an orange container of bear spray and told a horror story about a woman that thought bear spray was to be used like bug spray; her children being the unfortunate victims of this stupidity.
 
Finding the trail-head turned out to a bit of a problem because the logging has destroyed a former stone cairn. Our local experienced hikers came through however eventually locating the trail-head, thereafter it was well marked with tree tags and the occasional trail marker.


Hiking photographers, myself included took in the views and snapped away.


 
Turns out this trail is not "a walk in the park". We had to cross a number of treacherous log jams and then bushwhack our way through the underbrush. There were steep parts as well and I was happy that we had not dragged our young children up here so many years ago. Hiking though is as much about the journey and companionship as it is about the destination. Along the way, I enjoyed myself savouring the sour taste of small ripe, red, huckleberries and talking with new friends.

Two hours of hiking later some of us bruised, others scratched, several missing sunglasses we reached the lookout.


We live in an area of natural beauty and wonder...imagine living here.


All photographs © Stephen Mullock

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

Featured Real Estate Properties for Sale (as of August 5, 2011)

34856 Marshall Road, Abbotsford
241 Balsam Ave. Harrison Hot Springs
6342 Wilson Road, Agassiz
4545 Humphrey Road, Agassiz



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, August 1, 2011

Chilliwack* Real Estate Market Analysis and Review: August 1, 2011


SINGLE FAMILY HOMES 

Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Housing Sales Report for July 2011

MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
July     2011  127 $348,000 80 1139
June    2011  165 $361,000 63 1073
July     2010    99 $343,000 61 n/a

NEW - Median Sale Price of Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Homes: July 2011 - $344,500

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Real Estate Listings: August 1, 2011 - $388,800

At the request of a good friend, this month I have added Median Sale Price to our statistical mix. Thanks for the suggestion V.

My hopes were up last month, as reported last month, the sales of single family houses were in resurgence following a three month slide.

We usually do expect the number of sales to fall off slightly in July, as, many of those family who want to be moved before school begins have made their purchase. Sales as a result traditionally fall off by 3% between June and July.  Sales fell 23% between June 2011 and July 2011. N'uff said.

Over a 10-year period we would normally expect July to see on average 172 sales, so 127 represents about 74% of what we would usually anticipate and a market very similar to what we had in March and April this year.

2011 Market Strength 

Single Family House Monthly Unit Sales as % of 10-Year Monthly Sales Average

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July
2011 85% 91% 75% 70% 68% 93% 74%

The above is another new feature which very simply tells us when the market is running and when it is retreating. My sense is that when the market is running at about 85% healthy expectations are present in the market.



STRATA HOMES

Chilliwack* Strata Housing Sales Report for July 2011
MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
July      2011  50 $210,000 81 592
June     2011  65 $232,000 52 537
July      2010  44 $228,000 79 n/a

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Strata Real Estate Listings: August 1, 2011 - $219,900
NEW - Median Sale Price of Chilliwack* Strata Homes: July 2011 - $202,000

The sale of Strata Units (apartments, townhouses) in the Chilliwack* area is seen here as being once again firmly stuck in territory benefiting the Buyer with only 50 sales on an average inventory of 565 for the month.  Only 8.8% of the listing inventory was sold; usually, we would expect about 75 Strata Home sales in July on a 10 year average. 

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.


Featured Real Estate Properties for Sale (as of August 1, 2011)

34856 Marshall Road, Abbotsford 
241 Balsam Ave. Harrison Hot Springs
6342 Wilson Road, Agassiz




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 Mullock of Royal LePage Wheeler Cheam Realty (click here) for experience, local knowledge and friendly service; you’ll be happy you did.