fraser river beaches

when one thinks of chilliwack, beaches are not the first thing that comes to mind.  mountains, cows, 80s rock maybe... but in addition to harrison lake and cultus lake, we have the beaches of the fraser river spanning the length of the city.
we have explored the beaches on the fraser a lot more since moving to the northern edge of town, with all the above pictured beaches available by driving down various beautiful farm roads extending from our house.  our current favourite is approximately in the middle of the picture, a huge chunk of no mans' land known as green island, or more commonly "jesperson".
in the early spring, before the snow starts coming off the mountains of the interior, the fraser river runs extremely low, exposing kilometers of sand and river rock, available to anyone with high clearance and the desire to explore.  the packed sand makes a great bike park for learners.

even on cloudy days, we have enjoyed the vast space available to ride bikes, throw rocks, dig sand, and eat picnics out of the back of our truck, all by ourselves.  speaking of our truck, observant blog readers may have noticed that we have a new one, and it is this very beach that occasioned its purchase:

last fall i was venturing to this same beach with ty in his carseat and niko in the back.  we had done the necessary water crossing 2 days earlier.  it was thrilling but fairly straightforward and the 4runner plowed through the river with panache.  as i eyed the water that fateful morning, i noted that the river had risen but thought (and i remember this very specifically) "how much can it really rise in just over 24 hours?"

turns out it can rise substantially.
believe it or not, we had already made it through the deepest section of the crossing when our beloved 4runner stalled out, never to turn over again.  as the water rose around my feet i calmly unbuckled ty, opened the tailgate for niko, slung my son over my shoulder and waded to shore.  i ventured out again to collect our possessions and attach our tow rope to the hitch so a kind farmer could pull us out.

we let the engine dry out, replaced the spark plugs and towed it around trying to get it to turn over, but to no avail.  water had invaded the cylinders, exerted its normally useful quality of incompressibility and bent the rods producing the well known and dreaded state known as hydrostatic lock.

a sad day, and one that i am only willing to contemplate publicly only now after a season of mourning and self recrimination.

after drying out, our beloved truck was sold to a local apprentice mechanic to be turned into a diesel monster truck, with the condition that we receive pictures of the finished product.  i'll keep you posted.
the upshot of this adventure is a third row of seating, sweet sound system and seemingly free satellite radio for life in our new-to-us vehicle, a chariot still equipped with the necessary features to get us to the places we like to go.  i am now much more reserved in my water crossing zeal, and even though our new truck is bigger than the 4runner we get better gas mileage.

ty also needs to learn to respect water crossings.

overall zeke seems to enjoy the river, but apparently he does not enjoy small islands on the river.
every year as the fraser rises and recedes the riverbed changes, with new islands being created even as others are washed away.  i explore these channels with my kayak regularly, but there is a limited window when we can take the entire family out to hop from island to island.

last week we found the best beach yet, featuring fine smooth sand and a slope behind providing shelter from the river breeze.

the small inlet is on the south side of the beach, making a wonderful solar reflector as well as a warm pool with no current.

the beautiful easter sun, reflecting off the river and into the sandy bank created a tropical oasis and gave us a taste of summer to come.  perfect for wading and for playing in the mud!  getting muddy has its consequences though...  witness ty's first involuntary bath of the year.  he did well; tolerating, if not enjoying it.  he did however enjoy watching the quads, dirtbikes and dune buggies tackling the sand hills on the long weekend.  they were endemic, but gave us our space.

the fraser is rising already, so this perfect spot may soon disappear under the runoff of prince george and the rest of the fraser river basin, but rest assured that our family will enjoy it while it lasts!


Lowell & Julie said...

Tragic about the 4runner indeed... but those are some hot new wheels you have!!

Anonymous said...

Fabulous story! Auntie Cheryl