Friday, January 27, 2012

Alouette River Dykes

The weather so far this January has been, well, very January.  A period of rain, followed by a period of snow, followed by another period of rain. However, yesterday morning the only thing falling from the sky were glorious rays of sunshine !   I ensured Mojo and I got out to soak up some vitamin D.

The Alouette River Dykes walk is a reasonably lengthy but easy walk as the name suggests alongside the Alouette River in Pitt Meadows, a few kilometres south of Pitt Lake.  We had considered doing it a week or so ago but on that day the air temperature was –7 with a wind chill of –15 and knowing how the wind can blow over the flat farmland decided life was too short to get that cold deliberately.  Yesterday however was a lovely +7 and the wind gusts were invigorating rather than bone chilling.

The walk starts from the parking lot on Harris Road, where it crosses the Alouette River. Views here from that point.


The view towards Golden Ears Provincial Park.


While we are bathed in sunshine many of the local peaks are shrouded in cloud.


There was endless stick fetching, although from previous experience I remembered to bring a couple of sticks from home for this walk….they don’t grow trees properly in Pitt Meadows and all you get are little twigs.



He also enjoys the first of several swim opportunities, there are various points along the walk where dogs can get down to the river.


The city of Pitt Meadows and to an extent it neighbour, Maple Ridge were both built on predominately marshland which was drained and farmed in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  While they have preserved great swathes of the original marsh in the Pitt-Addington Nature Preserve nearer Pitt Lake the rest of the marsh is within city limits and developed as such as farmland and residential areas.  The two cities have also worked together to create an extensive network of trails along the river dykes not only on the Alouette River but also along Pitt River and the Fraser River.  While I can’t find the actual number there must be over 100km of riverside trails.  Some, like this section are maintained to the extent that they have gravel surface and allow bikes, strollers etc while others are left more natural with grassy tops and allow equestrian use and so on.


Say “cheese”

IMG_6830 Like the rest of the Fraser Valley, the fertile land is rigorously farmed and although blueberries are the crop of choice for many farmers here in Pitt Meadows, this particular small holding is a shrub/tree farm.


When the clouds lift a little, there’s a very visible snowline.


This blueberry farm looks more like a paddy field with all the precipitation we’ve had in the last few weeks.



We are lucky to be in such lovely sun, there appears to be rain or snow in the distance over Pitt Lake.


The farmers will be pleased that the irrigation canals are full.

IMG_6842 Mojo leads the way….it’s funny how dogs always seem to know where they’re going, even when it’s their first time.  Mojo has only been on this walk once before, in the opposite direction. He has never been this way around the dykes system before but still knew where we were headed at each turn.


Views North-East towards Golden Ears over the blueberry fields.


Some sections of the walk pass through undeveloped areas of marsh which still attract a lot of wildlife. Last time I walked here we saw coyote and this time for a 1km or so section of the route we were inundated with blue heron.  There were loads of them – at one point I counted 11 within easy sight.  It must be a good time of year to see them.


It was much clearer to the naked eye and doesn’t show well with my simple point-and-shoot camera, but if you look closely you can see 5 heron on this side of the canal, one on the opposite side and one just flying off.



Another section of marsh with 6 blue heron



I can think of worse places to be a farmer, and wake up to these views each day !


The Alouette River Loop in this direction initially takes us along the North side of the main Alouette River, before it forks and becomes the North & South Alouette Rivers. The North Alouette River is fed by the mountains in Golden Ears Provincial Park while the South Alouette River is fed by outflow from Alouette Lake. The loop takes us along the North side of the North river, across and back along the inside of the ‘Y’ fork, and across the South river.  Our final leg is then returning along the south side of the South river.

As we return along the South side we see horse riders along the section of dyke on the opposite side where we had previously walked.


Mojo is allowed his final dip in the water, calculated to hopefully be enough time to dry before getting back in the car !


Then a last view of the Alouette Rivers where they merge and the mountains in the background before we return to the car. A reasonably long walk of just under 15km, so Mojo ran his little legs off and snoozed for the rest of the day !  While the terrain is not at all challenging and perhaps a little monotonous with no elevation change it is a bright and exposed walk, great for a winters day.


Thursday, January 26, 2012


It’s been a very sad week as my sister and her husband lost their border collie Bess this week after a very short illness.

She was a beautiful, sweet girl, and the only dog I know with a taste for a madras curry.  Bess, here on the left.


She was the best friend of our late Aussie Charlie, seen snuggling her on the sofa.  I hope they’re together again having fun.


Bess, you will be dearly missed by Karen, Andy, Crag, the rest of your family and friends.

A, D & M


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Blasts from the Past!

Santa came late today to complete some purchases we made for our media room with Christmas money from Mum, Sister & Co.

For many years we have stored & moved our  old Vinyl records around from house to house & even here to Canada with us though we have not had a system to play them on since the CD took over in the 1990’s. Though music is digitally available & easy to access through our home network direct to media systems & the IPod reigns supreme there is something very special listening to an artists work  as they made it on a record so we bought these vintage items.


The speakers I already had having kept them for many years. Now rarely available Wharfdale Diamond III’s.

The Receiver came first a couple of weeks back and is a 1980 manufactured Yamaha Natural Sound CR-640.


Classic build and great sound. We were able to inspect it thoroughly when the guy we purchased it from made final checks inside of all the working parts.

Today we bought a turntable for the Vinyl. A Dual CS-508, Made in Germany between 1980 to 1984. Semi automatic and works beautifully!


Here is the sale brochure from when they sold new back then for around $160!!


Guess what I am doing all afternoon.


Thanks Mum. Thanks Denny, Jay & Annabel. Merry Christmas again.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

An Arctic Blast

Here on BC’s South Coast we have been enjoying reasonably comfortable temperatures hovering around freezing with on/off snowfall for a couple of days and more to come this week. 

However, most of the Province has been blasted with bone-chilling cold temperatures as an arctic outflow comes down from the North.  The Southern Interior cities of Kelowna and Kamloops will be dropping to –19C and –23C respectively while the town of Dease Lake in the north of the Province will be cooling down to a rather chilly –40C (which interestingly is also –40 in Fahrenheit)  - and what’s more, that’s not taking into account wind chill !

Roll on Spring…….

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Old Man Winter Pays A Visit

After a very mild December and early January, we finally get a good drop of snow.  Not a huge amount, about 2-3 inches – enough to make everywhere lovely and white without being a problem.   We enjoyed a lazy weekend, walked Mojo in the whitestuff at Bridgman Park with Sig, Buddy and Missy and wrapped up warm indoors.  With more snow forecast over the next couple of days we will try and get out during the week to enjoy some of the fresh powder on the mountains.




Friday, January 13, 2012

False Creek Seawall, January 2012

Yesterday we completed the second of our two recent city walks.  Again, I had been working at my listing on the edge of Yaletown so it was convenient to cross the Cambie St bridge and walk part of the Seawall that runs around False Creek.

We managed to get one of the rare 2hr free parking spots on Moberly Road which was great $ saving but ensured we could only be two hours.  We walk the remaining block or so to the waterfront, hitting it close to The Wicklow pub (on right with deck).


Views across the adjacent Heather Marina, along False Creek with the Granville Street bridge in the distance.


We start our walk along the Seawall.  Even though it’s wintertime the Aquabus water taxis are still numerous, ferrying commuters and tourists around the waterways.


Panorama view of False Creek from Granville St bridge to Cambie St bridge.

Views of the south-Yaletown end of False Creek


Yaletown again, across to the edge of the Cambie St bridge.


An impressive collection of yachts in the marina


Yaletown, roughly looking across at the head of Davie St.


The soon to be extinct Edgewater Casino which has been a landmark on False Creek since Expo ‘86.


Condo towers behind Coopers Park, with the edge of BC Place visible between them.


Soon we approach the Olympic Village (now rebranded The Village on False Creek). These towers were constructed for and housed athletes for the 2010 Winter Olympics. Now this development is either a lasting legacy for future generations to enjoy, or a bottomless drain on city coffers – depending on which side of the fence you sit !


Back on the opposite side of False Creek we look across at BC Place Stadium, home of the BC Lions and where they won the 2011 Grey Cup in November, and the Edgewater Casino to the right.


A closer view of BC Place.  This stadium underwent a major renovation through 2010 and the first half of 2011 to give it a giant new retractable roof.


As we approach the Eastern end of False Creek we reach Science World with the residential towers of the Citygate neighbourhood behind.


Panorama view from the Eastern end of False Creek, from Yaletown, across Downtown and the arenas, Citygate, Science World and then the Olympic Village.

BC Place on the left, the much smaller grey dome to the right is Rogers Arena, home of Vancouver’s beloved hockey team, the Canucks.  Snow-covered Lions just peeping out between the first two condo towers to the left of Science World.  In the foreground dragon boats resting, waiting for warm summer days to return.


Views West along the still waters of False Creek, the Olympic Village and Seawall where we have just walked on the left.


As we only had a limited amount of time available with parking, we decided to turn around at Science World and make our way back, rather than make a loop around the False Creek as we did previously when walking here with my parents in 2009.

On our route back we head through the Olympic Village to see the new shops that have opened.


In plenty of time we are back at the car. 

Mojo may be unimpressed at trading sticks and wading in creeks for avoiding joggers, strollers and hanging out with micro-sized condo-living pooches out for their morning stroll.  But on the other hand, Mojo does finish his walk as clean as he started it which is a treat.  No hosing down and towel drying off today !


Another fun, different walk in our beautiful city on one of our rare beautiful January days.