Friday, September 30, 2011

Mount Cheam BC - Legend and Sin

 Chilliwack* is encircled with a necklace of mountains but none capture the attention and imagination of residents more than Mount Cheam (pronounced locally as "She-am").  This is a landmark that the eye seeks out perhaps because of its pyramid shape or the way light and shadow move across her face. Morning sunlight comes from behind her as the day begins.  I have gazed at her thousands of times each time finding a new expression.  This week, with the Hermann Hiking Group, I went to her summit for only the second time in my life - a great privilege. 

Dog Face (Lady Peak) explained

The previous day an onslaught of rain and wind had blasted the eastern Fraser Valley but when I awoke except for a veil of clouds lightly concealing Cheam from view the skies are remarkably clear.




We muster at stops in Agassiz, Popkum and Sardis with a group of 20 being assigned to the 4x4 vehicles necessary to climb up to the staging area located off the Chilliwack Lake Road; more specifically 27 km from the Vedder bridge.  I am grateful to be placed in Sid's truck both because of his experience driving these rough decommissioned gravel roads and his company.  Along the route Shelley in the back tells us there are 82 dips to cross before we get there and that number 53 is a real bad one.  I start a count and in between the lunging about I reminiscence about the many legends that surround Cheam.


The folklore about Mount Cheam is both beautiful and haunting.  It is the stuff of life and death, transformation and love.  As explained in an earlier post, Mount Cheam, is the wife of Mount Baker and she returned to this place in order to look after both the First Nation people and the Fraser River salmon, fish once essential to their way of life.  Behind her keeping her company is "Lady Peak" but to locals this was always "Dog Face", Mount Cheam's canine companion.

Number 53 lives up to its reputation as the truck grinds over its edge.  We stop a few times to take in the view.  The green hues of the alpine meadows intensify and then recede as light breaks through the clouds. We are almost a mile high.  Magic.

Mount Cheam and Lady Peak,  BC
It is 17.5 km from Chilliwack Lake Road bumping along a gravel road to the top staging area.  Thankfully an outhouse washroom has been built and is properly equipped that is long way to bang about in a truck.

The rain and wind of a day earlier has made the skies crystal clear and a wonderful blue.

I am on the hunt for beauty as we begin our trek.  Beauty it turns out is all around us.


Hermann Hikers and Lady Peak, BC
We pass Spoon Lake which has an interesting impact shape I once thought was the result of a meteor and wrote about it in a post called Cheam and the Great Ice Giant. There is some speculation that Spoon Lake is a kettle lake formed back in the days of the glaciers when a large ball of ice and debris came slamming down from a great height and then melted away leaving the lake.  I look at the embankment it carved away and still think meteor.  Have a look.

Spoon Lake, Cheam Ridge, BC





Back to the hike, the clouds continue to make a quite a show for us on Dog Face and I do my best to capture something awesome in the quickly moving light.


Cloud Play on Lady Peak, BC
I take one more picture of Mount Baker across an alpine meadow and wouldn't you know it my camera runs out of power.  A terrible sin - so sorry.
Mount Baker from Cheam Ridge, BC
The views at the top were captured on another hiker's camera and I will try to get some of these fantastic pictures up soon.  Meanwhile check out the Hermann Hikers Group site.

Living in Chilliwack* comes with the advantage of a having large natural landscape in your backyard.

Imagine living here....

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, September 26, 2011

The discovery of Hot Springs at Harrison Hot Springs


Harrison Lake BC near Hot Springs

Harrison Hot Springs was once a marsh full of cranberry bushes and, apparently, never was a habitation site by the First Nation people of the area.  Given today's upscale Village, modern residential subdivisions and lake view apartments that enjoy a location next to both a hot springs and the largest lake in the Lower Mainland it almost seems hard to imagine. The First Nation peoples would have known and believed in the curative effects coming from these strange steaming waters of Harrison Lake. Legend says that white people discovered the hot springs by accident.  Gold prospectors exhausted after a winter of mining fell from their canoe into the lake waters and to certain doom only to discover that they were warm!

There are two hot springs at the south end of Harrison Lake the "Potash" with a temperature of 40° C and the "Sulfur" with a temperature of 65° C.   People from around the world travel here for the curative properties of these mineral rich hot springs.  Of course these waters are cooled to maximize comfort so to ease the aches and stress of bathers.

Over the years I have also heard of a number of natural hot springs up the side of the lake but have never had a chance to see them.

Today, you are welcome to visit the public pool or if staying at the Harrison Hot Springs Hotel enjoy either the two indoor or 3 outdoor pools.  Locals, often take a wander up the west side of the lake to one of the hot springs sources.  I like to think that those gold miners must have splashed into the water close by; I can only imagine the smiles on those weary fortune hunters. That must have been a very good day.

Imagine living here....

To find real estate properties for sale in Harrison Hot Springs just click on the link below.  If you have any questions, contact me, I live close to Harrison Hot Springs.

REALTOR® MLS Residential Listings for Sale

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, September 15, 2011


Lake and the Needle Peak


Diana   
Weathered and bowed
Needle Peak BC
Exploring the local rich nature beauty is an added benefit to Chilliwack* living as these recent hiking pictures show.  This series comes from the Needle Peak area of the Coquihalla Summit.  A beautiful Alpine lake being feed by a large wall of melting snow was a pleasant surprise. All photographs if clicked will appear larger.

Imagine living here...



Featured Real Estate Properties for Sale (as of September 15, 2011)

This wonderful Agassiz acreage is on the market for $599,000 please give me a call for more information. Click on the picture to read the detail.

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, September 8, 2011

Steve & Ian climb Elk Mountain, Chilliwack BC




This is a great little video that friend and fellow Royal LePage Realtor© Ian Meissner did of our climb up Elk Mountain, Chilliwack, B.C. - enjoy.

My photographs and comments of our trek can be found in the following post call Elk Mountain - Hike 5.

Imagine living here...

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.

Elk Mountain - Hike 5


One of the big advantages of the Chilliwack* area comes from its proximity to rivers, lakes, forest and mountains.  Life in this area is richer with nature right on the doorstep and the Chilliwack* has great diversity. My hiking trips are included to give you some sense of the special place we live in.


The west coast rain forest grows dense and deep, sunlight must really stretch to reach the ground, as a result the underbrush is kept low to the earth.  My long time friend, Ian Meissner, has joined me today for the hike up Elk Mountain and for the next two hours I pant and push my body upward the elevation gain being 800 meters (2625 feet). Ian, who has become very fit in recent years, has little difficulty but the trail is moderately difficult and a good level of fitness is required along with hiking shoes and plenty of water.  This is a popular trail that is quite wide and in good condition.

Mount Baker
I had hoped to catch a good view of Mount Baker from the trail and once we hit the meadow I am not disappointed.  This dormant volcano lies in Washington State and unfortunately cannot be seen from Chilliwack as a range of mountains are in between.  Still, I often think of Mount Baker as the Volcano in my backyard. Back in December 1880, it is reported that night "the sky was so bright you could read a newspaper by it" and that the daytime sky was filled with bright red clouds of acid smoke.*  Mount Baker seems peaceful on this blue sky day.

The difficult hike up to the meadows has been well worth the effort and we are greeted with a wide variety of views some near and others far.  Looking northward across the Fraser Valley we can see Agassiz, Harrison Lake, to the west is Chilliwack, Sardis, Cultus Lake and the Chilliwack River Valley. Please click on the next image to make it larger.

Chilliwack and Cultus Lake © Stephen Mullock

Ian Meissner, On Top of the World
Thistle and Sleeping Bee
Sleese Mtn. and Border Peaks
Indian Paintbrush
Chilliwack from Elk Mountain

A flag flies brightly above the Valley marking this as a special place - Elk Mountain.



Imagine living here....



Source Notes:
* Five Corners The Story of Chilliwack by Bruce Ramsey

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, September 1, 2011

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


This post is part of an ongoing monthly series that examines the relative strength of the Chilliwack* real estate market from data, provided through the Multiple Listing Services of the Chilliwack and District Real Estate and Fraser Valley Real Estate Boards.  It will be of interest to anyone that owns or is considering a purchase of real estate in the Chilliwack, Agassiz, Harrison Hot Springs or Hope communities. This Chilliwack* real estate "armchair analysis" of mine is general in substance, and, as properties are unique, in their very nature, a more specific overview of an individual property should involve the use of a real estate professional member of the (REIBC) or a Realtor®.

SINGLE FAMILY HOMES


Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Housing Sales Report for August 2011


MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
Aug 2011 127 $349,000 78 1128
July 2011 127 $348,000 80 1139
Aug 2010 97 $296,000 66 n/a

NEW - Median Sale Price of Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Homes: August 2011 - $338,000

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Single Family Detached Real Estate Listings: September 1, 2011 - $379,900

With a sales to list ratio of 11.2%,  127 sales over an average listing inventory of 1133 properties, Chilliwack's* August real estate market showed a nice improvement over that of July's.  Looking, further back, at the dismal results of August 2010, 97 sales, it is good to see the 2011 market that much stronger.  Having said that, this period is running at about 86% of where it should be and remains a challenging time for sellers and real estate agents alike.

Buyers have many advantages in this type of real estate market, good selection, reasonable prices and low mortgage interest rates. If you are interested in purchasing in the Chilliwack* market I would be pleased to be of assistance.

The average Chilliwack* home price of $349,000 in August 2011 remains stable when compared to the average home price a month ago.

2011 Market Strength

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

Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun July Aug
2011 85% 91% 75% 70% 68% 93% 74% 86%

The above chart 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.

August, was a much stronger month for sales than July when seasonal factors are considered, even though the same number of sales, 127, occurred in each of the two months.



STRATA HOMES



Chilliwack* Strata Housing Sales Report for August 2011

MONTH Sales Average Sale Price Days on Market Active Listings
Aug 2011 64 $211,000 86 553
July 2011 50 $210,000 81 592
Aug 2010 45 $195,000 77 n/a

NEW - Median Sale Price of Chilliwack* Strata Homes: August 2011 - $225,000

Median Price of Active Chilliwack* Strata Real Estate Listings: September 1, 2011 - $194,900

August 2011 was a pretty decent month for sales of strata units (townhouses, apartments) in the Chilliwack* real estate board area with 64 sales in total. Prices were up from a year ago and similar to those a month ago in July 2011. There remains a healthy inventory of strata units for Buyers to choose from. Given some of the complex issues surrounding the strata form of real estate the services of a real estate professional (REIBC) or a Realtor® should always be employed.

 FORECAST

On August 25, 2011 the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its 2011 third quarter housing forecast which calls for a moderate growth in sales for the coming year, but at a rate still well below activity levels recorded in the previous decade.  Page two of the document deserves a closer look as it breaks down the province into the 11 real estate board areas that serve it and their specific results. From this table it is easy to understand that while as a province, home price might be increasing, this is due almost completely to the heated markets in Vancouver and the western Fraser Valley.

This is a great time for those in Vancouver and the western Fraser Valley take advantage of this price arbitrage by selling and then buying in another part of the province - I hear that properties in the eastern Fraser Valley are pretty nice.

Imagine living here....


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

1645 No. 9 Hwy. Agassiz  - $249,900
34856 Marshall Road, Abbotsford - $539,000
241 Balsam Ave. Harrison Hot Springs - $459,000
6432 Wilson Road, Agassiz  - $599,000


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.