Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Campbell Valley Regional Park

Last week I took Mojo down to Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley.  It was a good opportunity to see this park fully (having only visited briefly earlier this year) and the landscape is quite different from the North Shore.  Infact, the rolling hills, open farmland and deciduous trees are reminiscent of English countryside.

We take Highway 1 to the 200 St exit and drive south.  The first section of 200 Street is very busy as we head down the hill towards Langleys downtown area.   Langley was named after Thomas Langley who was a prominent early director of the Hudsons Bay Company.


Once beyond downtown though Langley becomes more suburban.


Before eventually becoming quite rural with homes on acreage lots and smallholdings lining both sides of 200 St.


As we approach the south entrance to the park on 8th Avenue we pass a large new equestrian facility being built just outside the parks borders.  Campbell Valley Park is one of the few equestrian oriented parks in BC so attracts a large number of horse farms in the vicinity.


We park the car and head off on the Shaggy Mane trail which is a 14km loop around the park.  We soon pass part of the Langley Heritage site including the Annand/Rowlatt Farmstead built in the 1890’s after the creation of the CPR railway opened up the West Coast and in particular the Fraser Valley.


As well as the barns seen here there is also a farmhouse and outbuildings further on which we didn’t walk right past.


Also on the heritage site and not far from the farmstead is this old one-room school.


However, the modern day Fraser Valley farmer isn’t doing too badly, this not-too-shabby farmhouse sits just across 204th St from the park.


Soon after the trail winds into the park, a mix of open ground and small wooded copses made up of deciduous trees predominately including birch and alder.

 IMG_2238 I had read online before leaving that officially the trails in Campbell Valley are on-leash for dogs and that they have two designated fenced fields that are the off-leash dog areas.  However, I was hoping that the same rules would apply here as to the North Shore on-leash parks that generally speaking as long as your dog is well-behaved off-leash is OK and parks staff turn a blind eye. 

In Campbell Valley though the first dog I met was on-leash and I asked the owner about the rules and she said the parks authority are very strict here, happy to fine if you if they find your dog off-leash where it shouldn’t be.  Indeed, all other dogs on the trails were leashed so Mojo stayed that way too.  I did bring the extending leash though so he had a good amount of running space and with the baking hot sun he wasn’t really in the mood to race around a whole lot anyway.

That said, when we came to the first off-leash area he had a bit of a run around and fetched the stick a few times.  With little shade and no North Shore creeks to paddle and drink from his enthusiasm soon waned.

We also realise how far south we have travelled.  The hedgerow on the far side of this field runs along 4th Avenue, which is basically 4 blocks from the US border !


We pass lots more open farmland.  Langley constitutes 40% of all the farmland in the Fraser Valley and farming is a huge staple of the local economy. The countryside makes a pleasant change from the forested slopes of the North Shore.


Small holdings dotted along the hillsides.


We continue along the Shaggy Mane trail up to and past the main arena where an equestrian competition event is being held.  Mojo and I work our way through the crowds of people and horses (thankfully Mojo is great with horses and just ignores them as we had to pass about 30 or 40 at close proximity on our walk today). 

We proceed up the hill past the equestrian ring and inadvertently right through the cross-country course which was all set up ready for the competition.  Not sure we were supposed to walk through there but the trail led that way and there were no signs or people stopping us.

This is the view back down over the cross-country course towards the ring and events arena.


We get a nice, if a little hazy, view of Mt Baker.


Eventually we reach the North side of the park and gain these views to the North over Cottonwood Meadow.  The hazy skyline made up of the mountains around Pinecone-Burke Park and Golden Ears.


As we cross the Little Campbell River at the very north end of the park we get these views along the river clearing south through the park.  The term ‘river’ should also be used loosely for this creek……it didn’t do a lot of flowing and appeared to be more of a mosquito breeding ground.  Mojo was very hot and thankfully I had brought a 2l bottle of water for him otherwise he wouldn’t have had access to any reasonably clean water.  It certainly made me appreciate the creeks and lakes of the North Shore walks.


We continue along the western side of the park on the Shaggy Mane trail and shortly before reaching the carpark where we started pass this pretty pond with lilies growing and a pergola.


This was a nice enough walk and good to see the park in more detail.  However, on such a hot sunny day there really wasn’t enough fresh water for Mojo to splash in particularly as there’s also much less shade than we’re used to.  I don’t think this would be a good trail in the Spring or Fall as the trails likely get very muddy and horse owners never pick up after horses so it was fine in the dry but I wouldn’t want to do it in wet weather.  A cold, crisp winters day when the air is really clear and fresh and the leaves are off the trees will probably be the next time we revisit this park.

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