Friday, October 23, 2009

A River Runs Through It

Before the late autumn rains start in the Pacific Northwest we wanted to take one more trip around our picturesque Fraser Valley. This time we decided to cross the new Golden Ears Bridge and drive east towards the small town of Mission. It was a beautiful autumn day, sunny and quite warm, and, because there hasn’t really been much rain, the leaves are particularly marvellous this year. Beautiful deep shades of orangey-brown, ruby red and bright lemony-yellow stand out against the multi-green hues of a variety of evergreens.

Once across the bridge we usually head toward the main Highway Nbr. 7 or the Lougheed Highway as it is known. It's one of B.C. major routes following along the banks of the Fraser from Maple Ridge to Agassiz and the Harrison Hot Springs turnoff. Continuing east from that point you would eventually join B.C. Highway 1 at Hope before heading into the Fraser Canyon. Or you could make it a circle trip by crossing the bridge between Mission and Abbotsford and travel back west towards Vancouver by the much faster four-lane Route 1. Wouldn't matter which way you turned at that point; it's all beautiful.

However we didn’t turn right on Highway 7; instead we continued north through the hills and dales of Maple Ridge until we arrived at one of the oldest by-ways in the Fraser Valley, the Dewdney Trunk Road; another east-west route which takes you through the foothills and backwoods and ends in the small town of Mission. But before we got there, we discovered Stave Lake and its waterfall which has been used for many years to create hydro-electricity. Below the dam we found the spot we were looking for. A favourite fishing hole of the locals.
To our delight there were multitudes of salmon spawning in the shallow waters. It was an exciting and beautiful sight to see these awesome creatures whose God-given instinct had helped them fight their way up the Fraser with its strong currents and into this rocky stream to end their days in the place they were born. The one sad note was the fishermen who can’t seem to leave these magnificent creatures alone even in their final death throes.

How anyone thinks that landing a fish that has hardly enough strength left to perform the duty he must if the species is to continue, can be considered sport is beyond me.
But even so, the golden autumn day the woodland setting and the mystery of the salmon’s annual ritual acted together to make it a wondrous and unforgettable day.
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