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Published: June 27th 2009
no place like home
my little casita complete with banana trees in Chilliwack BC
Click your heels together and take a deep breath, because as any world traveller will tell you, there's no place like home. So why are we all so anxious and excited to go anywhere but?
I admit. I am one of those that have a travellers soul. Hell bent on seeing every square inch of this world, carbon footprint or not. I want to see all the wonders of the world...I want to dip my toes in every single sea...I want to climb to the highest peak possible and look down...I want to eat Thai food in Thailand...drink vodka in Russia...do the deadman float in the Dead Sea...hike Machu Picchu to witness the mist eerily greet dawn...see the trees slowly reclaim Angkor Wat...marvel the pyramids in Eygpt...and figure out what the Moai are staring at on Easter Island.
But then I wanna go home.
Home is where I belong. Home is home. As a proud third generation Canadian raised right here in British Columbia, I already know this is one of the most spectacular chunks of this small world. I love it, and have seen pretty much every corner of it.
I think only those Canadians who
Cultus Lake, B.C.
All the lakes in the area are beautiful and fun
have been to some far away exotic land can truly appreciate all of what we have back at home. Case in point, some of us experience a "reverse culture shock" when coming back into Canada. It's like getting off the space shuttle. Orderly. Civilized. Fast paced.
No one gives a hoot who you are or what you are doing...just make sure you don't get their way. I queue up in a civilized fashion for my morning coffee at Timmy's with smug glee...and while I wait...I daydream about all those foreign places I haven't been yet....I just can't help it!
Karma or fate somehow landed me in Chilliwack a few years back. Or maybe luck. With the risk of sounding brash, I can say I am very lucky to be living here. Because...
1. Here at home, I turn on my tap and get crystal clean cold drinking water.
2. I can walk up and down the grocery isles without seeing any farm animals, knowing everything I need will be in stock, and not wondering what that putrid smell is, or was.
3. I can walk the streets, at night, without concern. I can leave things
expect a few dumps of snow per season here in chilliwack
out in my yard and they don't vanish. I can hang laundry on my line and not see someone wearing it a week later.
4. I'm not fearful of any policeman or government official (...well okay maybe revenue canada and ICBC.....but, really....they are both pretty scary)
5. I can go to any ATM and money comes out and my card comes back.
6. My car isn't missing any hubcaps.
7. Any public toliet will have toilet paper and a toilet seat. I do not have to hover over a hole, even if I wanted to.
8. I can own a home. I can vote. I don't have to wear a burka or a dress that covers my ankles.
9. I can get an ethnic food take away without having to leaving the country.
10. ...and last but not least, I am free to come and go as I please.
I think Chilliwack is amazing. Let me give you a few little statistics to back that statement up. First off Chilliwack is about 100 kms east of the city of Vancouver...pretty much right along the 49 parrallel (USA border). Sitting on a flat,
Great shot of Chilliwack area and fraser river
fertile valley, the mighty brown Fraser River snakes through on its way to the Pacific.
The Chilliwack valley comes to an abrupt stop at the horseshoe of snow-capped mountain ranges. A good thing, and a bad thing. Good because it creates a microclimate with some pretty lovely weather year round, bad because it traps the air pollution from the city to the point of not being able to see the mountains through a thick orange soupy haze.
A hundred years ago, Chilliwack was farming ground zero. Acres apon acres of corn and beer hops. But as housing prices, and people, skyrocketed in Vancouver, the fertile farm land is now slowly being taken over by subdivisions and minishop plazas.
Whether it is from breathing too much fresh orange air or cow poo fertilizer, us Whackeans are a interesting bunch. We are very proud of our hockey team (go Bruins), we like to talk about the weather alot, OR that interesting smell we have for most of our winter (can you say rotting brussell sprouts?) We believe our corn is the sweetest in the world, and I'd venture to say possibly the best raspberries on the planet. Agriculture aside,
The Fraser River
While out with my hiking club, I try to stop once in a while to snap a picture, but luckily I have most in my minds eye.
Chilliwack is centralized to all the outdoor activities you expect from beautiful British Columbia. You can kayak, fish, canoe, hike, ATV, swim, snowmobile and hangglide for starters. Sometimes all at the same time. Well, not exactly at the same time, but at least in one weekend. Some of our best hiking trails are only minutes away from the downtown core. Many popular water sports are enjoyed at the local lakes (Cultus and Harrison and Chilliwack Lakes are spectacularly scenic...please refer to pictures if in doubt). Nothing says Canadian more than sitting around an open fire with a bunch of friends, roasting hot dogs after a day of adrenaline junky adventures.
One of my favorite things about Canada is we have four distinctive seasons. Not as drastic as back East mind you, but our winters in Chilliwack are only a few weeks of snow and colder temperatures hovering at -0C in December or January, with the odd day plummiting to a chilly -20C. Good for our local mountains allowing for endless cross country skiing, snowmobiling and ice skating. We are also a quick drive to all the ski resorts: Cyprus, Hemlock, Manning Park, Apex, Blackcomb & Whistler, Grouse to name
Harrison Hot Springs, B.C.
HH has a famous Sandcastle competition each year.
Spring is beautiful here and starts in early February, cherry trees start to bloom, and everything is green and fresh. Did I mention the rain? Oh, well, lets just say we get alot of rain. How much? Well, it's pretty much non-stop from November to July....not true but it seems like that. Us Westerners justify it by telling our Easterner relatives, "at least we don't have to shovel it." Let's see if you can stay on this side of sane with 100 overcast days in a row.
When the sun does finally come out, everyone goes bonkers trying to do a thousand outdoor activities all in one afternoon. Most of us born here in the lower mainland have had our 'scotchguarding at birth' so rain doesn't scare us, we just don a jacket with hood and go about life. Never could you call our golfers, fairweather players either. They are out there rain or shine and no wonder, we have some of the most amazing courses around.
Summers in Chilliwack are spectacular. We get very fair days, most days are 20+ but on the odd extreme day it can be 38+. Everyone loves to be
Hiking in Chilliwack
endless trails all through the mountains with beautiful views!
outdoors and for the short three month period we make the very most of it. Boaters head for the lakes, campers to the hills, and fishermen line the river shores trying to hook a salmon or two.
Fall brings a slight chill in the air, and the musty smell of brown damp leaves. Many people enjoy a nice walk down by the river, crunching said leaves under foot. A scenic two hour drive and you arrive in the best vineyards of the Okanagan for wine tastings. Back here in the Fraser Valley, the cranberry bogs are filled with water, brussell sprouts are harvested, millions of orange pumpkins lay eskew in their muddy patches waiting to be picked.
Overall, life here in Chilliwack is slow paced and friendly. Something for everyone in the best place on earth.
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