Sunday, March 25, 2012

Snow When It's Not Snowing

One of the prettiest sights in the Peace River Country is hoarfrost in the winter.

It happens when it's really cold and still overnight and there is a lot of moisture in the air. A thick layer of crystals forms on all the trees and when the sun hits the frost, the whole landscape sparkles like diamonds.

Any air movement causes the frost to drift off the trees, and it looks and feels like light snow is falling, even if the skies are clear and blue.

A hoarfrost morning is the perfect time for a walk, to stand under a tree and shake it or go for a drive down a country road lined with trees and bushes.

The thing about this special frost is as mysteriously as it appears; it just as quietly disappears so make sure you take time to enjoy it.


Monday, August 1, 2011

Alaska Highway House Interpretive Center

I've been reading about the history of the construction of the Alaska Highway. Many of the people I grew up with knew someone who worked on the construction. Maybe you do too.

Thousands of men living together had to overcome, improvise and adapt to the harshest climates and wilderness in North America.

  • How would you like to eat 3 meals a day out of a can for 9 months?
  • How would you like to wash your army issue, green wool underwear in ice-cold water and hang them on a line to freeze-dry?
  • How would you like to sleep in a tent on a cot without a mattress night after night?
  • How would you like to be eaten alive by mosquitoes and flies for months on end?
Not much of a recruitment poster is it? But that is exactly what the thousands of troops and civilians signed up for when they came to Dawson Creek to lend their skills and strength to the enormous task punching a road through some of the north's most rugged landscapes in extreme temperatures.

When you come to Dawson Creek, make sure you take an afternoon to visit the Alaska Highway House Interpretive Center and learn about the history of this project that brought so many thousands together in very adverse conditions.

See for yourself what that green wool underwear looks like and imagine wearing it, check out the actual Willy Jeep on display and imagine bouncing around in it for 18 hours a day over corduroy roads... take a close look at the cans of 'food' and imagine eating it... check out the pictures of what being eaten alive by mosquitoes or incapacitated by frost bite actually looks like...

Then... say a big thank you to anyone you know who worked on the Alaska Highway. I know I do...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

We took our friends from Vancouver on an afternoon drive for an ice cream and a drive around the area.

We went up the Radar Lake Road south west of town to the Bear Mountain Wind Park. All I can say is wow, wow, wow! The wind turbines are huge! And Beautiful!

Seeing those wind towers from below and in the distance is one thing, but being up close, right underneath them is another thing entirely.

Since all the rains of recent times, the road up to the towers is a bit rough, hopefully the road crews will work on it, but the gravel road that winds along the whole 7 kilometers of the ridge is in excellent condition. We parked and got out of our car and walked along for a couple of kilometers.

Each tower is numbered and there are 34 altogether. There is a mystery though, because the first tower has the number '0' and the last one is '34' so by my calculation, that would make 35 towers, there must be a number missing. We didn't have the energy to go back and check.

The turbines are beautifully painted; the area is immaculate and undisturbed as possible. There are several cattle guards across the road as the area is a community grazing pasture. Nature has been well respected and the wind has been harnessed.

This is truly an amazing project. Be prepared to be awestruck!


Friday, July 15, 2011

If you have been driving through the Peace River Country in July, you have undoubtedly noticed a lot of bright yellow fields as far as the eye can see. It's canola. And it blooms for a few weeks every July

I love it when visitors come here in Canola season, often it's the first time they've seen this remarkable sight. When the sun shines it's spectacular.

This is where much of your canola oil comes from. It's harvested in the fall after the blossoms have faded and the pods have developed.

Another common sight at Canola season is people standing beside their vehicles on the side of the road taking pictures of the landscapes. The color is a fabulous backdrop for old buildings, barns and wildlife.

Deer find the canola fields a great place to hide when they are resting and it's common to see only heads above the blossoms or a herd leaping and bounding over the sea of yellow.

We never tire of the beauty.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Best Barbeque Food in the Peace Country

Dawson Creek is home to the Butcher Block, which has been in the community since the early 1940's.

I remember my Mom taking me into the original store when I was young. I would stand in front of the big glass counter while she chose her purchases. I also remember that they kept sawdust on the floor and I would move it around in patterns with my toe while I waited.

The small original store has been replaced with a new one but the quality of the meats is still as high as ever and the prices are unbelievably reasonable.

They make the best sausage around. When we are traveling on holidays, we often take a cooler filled with various Butcher Block sausages to give as gifts to the people we visit. It is also a common for people who used to live here to stock up any time they come back for a visit.

Favorites that have withstood the test of time:

  • Smoked Pork Sausage & Assorted Smokies - Barbeque
  • Pepperoni Sticks – Barbeque or snack
  • Maui Ribs - Barbeque
  • Thuringer Sausage – sandwiches

The Butcher Block is right downtown on 102nd Ave.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Browns SocialHouse is in Dawson Creek and it's Great!

I went with a friend to lunch at this new restaurant in town. From the topiaries at the front and the hostess opening the door to welcome the guests, we had a great time!

The restaurant is big and tastefully decorated with several TVs, a great sound system with music and a Sports Bar in the center. On the day I was there, the place was full of people laughing and enjoying lunch.

The menu has a lot of fresh food dishes and I was especially pleased to have a choice of very healthy items to choose from. I had braised cabbage with feta instead rice with my lunch.

The service was excellent as well.

My prediction is this place will be around and popular for a long time. I know it will be a favorite for me.


Monday, June 13, 2011

Northern Toy Box in downtown Dawson Creek

Everyone loves a toy store. The Toy Box on 10th street Dawson Creek is one of the busiest and most popular shops in town and a real hit with visitors looking for a special souvenir. This store is known in neighboring communities as a destination for shopping as well as a favorite with locals.

The store is packed to the rafters with toys, games, crafts, books, puzzles, remote control airplanes, trains, models, art supplies, teacher resources, science kits and wind chimes.

No one gets bored in this store, it doesn't matter how old a person is, there's a lot of great stuff to check out. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to look around, you will need it.