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Archive for September, 2012

With or Without a Dog, the View at the Top of Dog Mountain is a Treat for the Eyes
by Staff Writer

Sept 2012

On a beautiful September afternoon, we took to Mountain Seymour in search of a short hike. Dog Mountain is touted as a short and easy hike for beginners to take and the payoff could be impressive: getting an eagle-eye view of Vancouver.

Packing a few bottles of water, the three of us entered the hiking trail eagerly, and for me, with a little bit of apprehension. This was my first hike of the year, and I wanted this to be relatively tame.  However, even with the clear weather and wearing  runners, I found the trail a bit challenging but clearly not as physical as the popular Grouse Grind.  Still for beginners, Dog Mountain is clearly not a walk in the park, since the trail is often laden with large and small rocks that involved both walking on and climbing over to get the next spot. Fortunately, some parts of the trail are covered with carefully placed wooden paths which make it easier to stay on the correct path.

At several sections of the trail, we encountered groups of swarming black flies which aimed for my arms, legs and faces as if expecting a feast. Unfortunately, since we forgot bug spray, I spent a small part of the hike jogging away from the pesky bugs, some of which seemed find my nostrils too appealing to resist.

As for wildlife, we didn’t see too much and heard more owl calls from our energetic hiking companion than from the actual bird. Near the middle of the trail, we encountered some wild mushrooms, saw  quite a few other hikers, some with dogs,  and paused briefly to take photos of a few quiet bodies of water, which were too shallow for swimming.

Since it was late afternoon when we started the hike, we forced ourselves to go quicker, worried  that dusk would come too soon. Exhausted and almost ready to quit,  I reached the summit by almost 6 pm. A few minutes before, we were splattered with a few drops of rain, which came at a good time since I was thirsty and perspiring. At the top, the rain had thankfully stopped, and we could enjoy our break which consisted of a few juicy plums and water.

A few other hikers posed for photos and like them, I snapped away at the impressive scenery in front  me. From the summit, we could also see other nearby mountains, and see a gleaming lake below.  Reluctantly, it was time to go since we wanted to make our way back before darkness fell on the forest.

I made a mental note that the next time we planned on hiking Dog Mountain, going early is best since it leaves more time to spent at the summit. At the same time, we left knowing that hiking up and down Dog Mountain is a great place to enjoy the peace and quiet of the forest and mediate upon its mysteries.

If you go: bring bug spray, pack a light lunch, bring water, wear sturdy shoes and plan your hike.

Want to hike Dog Mountain?  check out : http://www.vancouvertrails.com/trails/dog-mountain/

Hiking up Dog Mountain means you will see spectacular scenery



The View at the Top of Dog Mountain


The View at the Top


September 16th

General Interest

A Celebration of Japanese Culture at Vancouver’s Powell Street Festival
by Staff Writer

The things that make Vancouver special is its many ethnic communities.  One ethnic group stands out in particular: the Japanese community. On just about every street corner in Vancouver, you will find a Japanese restaurant or sushi bar. Yet it was not that long ago that many Western people that this writer could remember (back in the 80’s) found the thought of eating  Japanese food too different, and too foreign for their palates.  Thank goodness that tastes have changed and people of all backgrounds have embraced Japanese food and culture.

In one area in particular, regulars and new visitors gather each year  to celebrate Japanese culture.  It is no coincidence that it is held in an area  known to locals as Japantown, an  old neighborhood, north of Vancouver’s Chinatown, that once held a concentration of Japanese immigrants.

At the 36th annual Powell Street Festival held August 4 and 5 at Oppenheimer Park, hundreds of people gathered to watch and listen to live music by talented musicians playing a range of traditional  instruments, sample Japanese food and drinks, see demonstrations of martial arts and peruse and purchase unique gift items items. In the marketplace one could purchase handmade silver jewelry, kimono fabric handbags, handmade glass jewelry and Japanese pottery.

A new thing this year  I’ve noticed is a portable hand washing area for visitors to use before munching on Japanese snacks that included standard items like grilled squid to more different items like matcha macaroons with white chocolate and  Asian poutine.

History buffs could also take in a walking tour to learn about Canadian Japanese culture. The weekend event that celebrates Japanese culture is one of the largest event of its kind in Canada and is notable for its wide offerings which include displays of music, film and video put on by both professional and amateur artists from the Japanese Canadian and Asian communities.

Photos below: a demonstration of  Aikido by the Yoshinkai Aikido Club.

To learn more about the Powell Street festival or to volunteer for next year’s festival, go to http://www.powellstreetfestival.com/




A hand washing area for visitors

If you plan to go to the area, be sure to walk around the neighborhood and you can find remnants of the time when the Japanese community thrived in this area.

The Vancouver Buddhist Church, previously called the Japanese Methodist Church,  can be found at  220 Jackson Street (at Powell),] as does the Vancouver Japanese Language School and Japanese Hall at 475 and 487 Alexander Street (at Jackson), which was established in 1906.

There is also a Japanese grocery in the area that is popular among locals. You can find some inexpensive matcha green tea as well as other uniquely Japanese items including a wide variety of noodles.



September 5th

General Interest
September 2012
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