Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fraser River Valley, BC Canada

The Fraser River is the longest river in British Columbia. It travels almost 1400 kilometers (km) and sustained by a catchment area of more than 220000 sq. km. It is born at Mt. Robson on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains in central British Columbia.
Train crossing Fraser River near Lillooet
The Fraser flows southwest, meeting into the Pacific Ocean just south of Vancouver.
Well, I am writing this post because Fraser River is a very scenic river especially when it makes a right turn near Hope in the lush green rain-forests of Greater Vancouver area. I love this river as much I love Mother Ganges so I must write a post about it. Whenever I visit Vancouver Area, first thing that I want to do is to visit and pay my respect to this river.
Grain Train in Fraser River valley
Well, to me All Rivers Are Equally Holy.
At the small town of Hope Fraser River leaves semi desert areas and enters into the lush green territory. At its right are the slopes of the impenetrable coastal mountains and at its left is the fertile valley where many people from Punjab also own farms. In the fruit season one can have a bounty of fruits from numerous roadside stalls that people install near their farms.
Traditional Tribal boat in Fraser River
Sometimes I myself eat more than 2 kilos of cherries or blueberries or strawberries – to name the few types of fruits.
At the other side of the Frazer River runs a railway line at the bottom of the mountains. This is a very busy railway line and connects rest of the Canada with Vancouver area sea ports. Several miles long trains pulled by several diesel locomotives present a thrilling scene at the other side of river.
Fraser River valley in Chilliwack
One amazing thing that I have seen here are the railway wagons specifically made to carry wheat/grain. Wheat, barley and maize is grown in the vast Canadian prairies and then transported in these sealed wagons to the ports to be imported to breweries of USA and also to the rest of the world.
Two happy donkeys in Fraser Valley
Another amazing thing that you may see from the height of Burnaby Bridge in Fraser River is, all that grain is stored in the chutes, and these are called Silos. These can be as tall as a fifteen story building.
Mission Bridge
Grain is transfered to the ships from these silos.
Many trains also carry logs because logging is a big industry in Canada.
Trains of logs chained together can be seen floating in the river all the times. These logs are brought to the river from coastal mountains and bunched together and then pulled by tug boats to the lumbar factories in Vancouver area.
A Grain Silo port in Fraser River
You can also see tugboats pulling sawdust barges to the power plants where this wood powder is burned to generate electricity.
Let’s follow this great and graceful river towards its delta in Vancouver. After Hope we come to Chilliwack area. Here are some campsites on this river and I just love to hang around here in day use picnic area in the campsites.
Grain Train by the Fraser River
The River forms a beach here so it is safe to step in the water for some short distance. So much is going in the river and on the railroad at the next bank but still this place is extremely green with huge tall trees. It appears a fairyland picture where artist has inserted just everything, a small town, homes, huge trees, railroad, roads, boats, tugboats. Still area is peaceful and in the harmony with the nature.
Saw dust going to Plywood factories
After we pass Chilliwack, here comes the town of Mission on the river. Behind Mission are huge mountains and then the huge lakes surrounded by towering and snowy coastal mountains. And behind these mountains lies the scenic town of Whistler where last winter Olympics were held. However there is no road in these mountains so one has to go around either through Howe Sound or along the river till the railroad town of Lilloot. However people can reach Whistle by a network of 200 kilometer of trails from Harrison Hot Water Springs.
Bridges near Burnaby
This mountainous area is a park system and people can take hikes for hundreds of kilometers on the designated trails. Area is full of bubbling rivers and big lakes.
Train crossing at two bridges at the confluence of Fraser and Thomson Rivers
After Mission, we take the River Road and here comes McMilan Island, a bridge goes there and most of the island is a dense forested public use park. Now comes my favorite Barnston Island.
View of Route 1 Brigde (Port Mann Bridge)
A free ferry goes here; Whole Island is some farm houses and farms. A 10 kilometers road makes the circle on the whole island by the water. Many people come here to do whole 10 km walking or jogging. After this park, Fraser Rivers begins to become a Delta and large ships and tugboats can enter in the area till around Route 1 Bridge.
Sea Planes near Chilliwack
From the heights of Burnaby and also from the bridge, or from the heights of the surrounding mountains one can observe so much is going on in this river but still everywhere is lush green.
Barnston Island Ferry Slip
From the bridge one can see miles of logs trains and tree logs all over the banks where these are going to the lumber mills to make sized wood. Then wood dust goes to the plywood factories and if anything is discarded, that becomes the fuel to generate the steam to process the wood itself.
Grain Train by Grain silos in Fraser valley
I have seen this river from the place of its birth in the Canadian Rockies till it ends in the Pacific Ocean. It is my dream to travel by this river by a canoe for all the 1400 kilometers.
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Lavender
Lavender herb is often known for its fragrance and beauty. it is grown all over Fraser River valley and in the summers you may see blue fields. It also grows wild there all over. It is a feast to be around this plant. Anytime I see a plant, I keep some leaves in my pocket. Also I crush some leaves on the back of my hand to feel its pleasing fragerence.
Lavender growing in Fraser Valley
Medicinal Uses
Lavender is commonly used as an antiseptic. It is also useful for easing the irritation and pain associated with insect bites. Many people also claim that lavender oil can help with insomnia and headaches. In general, you do not have to consume lavender in order to enjoy its medicinal properties. For example, if you have a headache, rubbing some lavender oil on the afflicted area can be of immense benefit.
When combined with witch hazel and rose water, lavender can also be useful for getting rid of acne. Aside from reducing redness and swelling, the antiseptic properties associated with lavender may help with controlling the bacteria that cause pores to become infected. If you are not able to get rid of acne using over-the-counter medications, it may be of some help to purchase lavender oils and find out more details on how to use it for acne treatment.
Since lavender contains camphor, it is also useful for repelling insects. This includes moths and other insects that do damage to fabrics. This is one of the many reasons why it is often stored with clothes and other garments. Typically, if you have a few sachets of lavender around the timber frame houses, it will keep you living space free of insects even during the hottest parts of the summer.
Wild Lavender in Fraser Valley
Uses in Cooking
Today, lavender honey is sold in British Columbia. The nectar from lavender flowers is often used as a natural sweetener. In general, lavender is known to sweeten foods without creating the overbearing effect often associated with cane and beet sugars. Unfortunately, camphor and other compounds found in lavender may cause a number of health problems. This includes an increased tendency to cause abnormal tissue development that may ultimately lead to cancer.
Shampoos and Soaps
There is no question that shampoos and soaps that contain lavender can soothe irritated skin, as well as create a clean, fresh feeling. Many people also enjoy using lavender bath oils for relaxation and stress reduction. As may be expected, if you love the scent created by lavender, then you will also appreciate using body washes that make use of this fragrant herb.
When used in foods and medicines, lavender can provide a number of benefits. That said, if you are concerned about getting cancer, the cellular changes caused by lavender use should be considered carefully. Even though lavender is a natural, or herbal product, it may hold as many risk factors as using synthetic drugs created in modern laboratories.

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