Sunday, June 19, 2005

howe sound islands

howe sound islands, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

I spent a blissful day putting 600km on my car's odometer, and driving roads where it had never been before. Lovely to bounce around twisty highways when there are no speedtraps.

I took Highway 1 to Hope, then to Lytton, then Highway 12 to Lillooet, then returned home through Pemberton and Whistler with Highway 99.

I finished the day with a lovely dinner with a good friend in Squamish, then took a few photos of Howe Sound in Porteau Cove long after the sun had set.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Fairhaven Sunset

fairhaven sunset, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Last weekend I went for a run near Chuckanut WA. Claire and I ran 11 miles (2,000 feet of elevation gain) then jumped back into the car, visited REI for a quick browse (maps for me) then drove down Highway 20 to connect to the Mountain Loop highway.

A beautiful day - the sun was playing peek-a-boo with the clouds, with nary a drop of rain.

The Pacific Northwest is rich with history - gold rushes, mining claims, years of logging... then other industries appeared, people moved away, and these older pursuits - and older towns - became abandoned.

People move on, and leave behind small towns - reducing some of these to ghost-town status (if they ever had a name at all).

Meanwhile, other areas thrive - in the early 1900s, the towns of Fairhaven and Whatcom merged to become Bellingham.

During the last two weekends I've visited a few far-flung small towns: Skookumchuck in BC, Concrete and Oso in WA state. Here are only three small towns with memories of former grandeur. How many more there are! With histories that may go silent if no one take cares to record them.

Some towns are taking action - Bellingham is actively restoring its historic Fairhaven buildings, with real estate prices rising swiftly and angry letters to local papers about 'condofication'. An evening stroll through Fairhaven reveals old buildings from the late 1800s, lovingly restored and put to good use.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

I'm Going In !!

I'm going in, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

Sometimes, in life, you just gotta jump in.

Skookumchuck Church Of The Holy Cross

So picture this.

You drive for several hours: from Vancouver to Whistler, then past Whistler to Pemberton - take a right at Lillooet Lake, then follow the lake, then down Little Lillooet Lake, then down Lillooet River... 300km of wilderness, of rainforest, of distant glaciated mountain peaks.

You come across this.

A 100-year old Gothic Church, built by Native artisans under the direction of Roman Catholic Oblate Fathers.

A Fitzcarraldo moment.

Members of the In-SHUCK-ch Nation allowed us into their Church - it was Sunday, after all. We were free to look at (and photograph) anything that we wanted, but were asked to please respect the tombstones in the large cemetary behind the Church.

There are more photos of the Church in my Flickr stream, just click on the photo above and follow the links.

Gothic Graveyard Near Skookumchuck

graveyard, originally uploaded by seawallrunner.

This beautiful small cemetary, with its own gothic arch and carved wooden headboards rendered in a wonderful folk art manner, is found about 8km away from Skookumchuck.

It features very old gravestones built from early to mid-20th century.

Skookumchuck has its own cemetary - which leads me to wonder, why a separate one for a small group of people?

When we drove again past this graveyard an hour later (after a visit to Skookumchuck) we noticed that there were beautiful fresh flowers on some of the graves. Although this graveyard is isolated, it is still visited and protects the remains of people who are remembered and well loved.