Saturday, June 12, 2010
Kanaka Creek, indeed the Kanaka area of Maple Ridge, is named after the Hawaiian labourers that sailed on the Hudson Bay Company ships from their home port in the Hawaiian Islands to North America. Some of the Islanders liked the area so much they left the employment of the HBC, married regional First Nations women and settled across the river from the fort, at the mouth of a large, slow moving creek.
Here the Kanakans, which means "native Hawaiians" or "kānaka maoli" in Hawaiian, established a small village inhabited by a mix of Kanakans and First Nations people. Many of them worked at the fort, and they rowed daily across the river to work. At the mouth of the river are remnants of a wier that the locals made to trap fish for food for the settlement. If you go to the viewing platform that over looks the confluence of the Kanaka Creek and the Fraser River, you'll see decaying wooden posts protruding from the water.
For our walk tonight, we chose the northen sections of Kanaka Creek; this is the area of the park that is bisected by Dewdney Trunk Road. Dewdney Trunk Road, or DTR, has a pedigree of its own. It was surveyed and constructed by Edgar Dewdney, running from Port Moody at the eastern edge of Burrard Inlet, eastwards to the town of Dewdney in the Fraser Valley. Edgar Dewdney also surveyed the land for the City of New Westminster, and, if you've done any travelling in the southern section of B.C., you'll be well acquainted with the "Dewdney Trail" which Edgar Dewdney surveyed. The Trail was to run from HBC Fort Hope at the head of the Fraser Valley, 720 kilometres east along the southern edge of the province reaching HBC Fort Steele in the East Kootenay area of B.C.
As you walk along the old road, large cedar stumps, some 10 - 15 feet high, stand as sentinels to remind us of a time when logging was a manual job. Loggers would cut a notch into the tree approx 5 feet off the forest floor, then jam 6 foot long "spring boards" on which they would stand to help clear them of the bushes and smaller trees at forest floor level. Two men would handle a large saw and slowly work their way through a tree with a trunk so big that it took 4 men to reach around it.
Now, the remnants of those grand daddy trees serve as nursery trees for the younger generations; many old stumps have younger trees growing out, and around, the stumps. In nature, with death comes life.
From the western end of this section of the park, there are several trails that run east on the north and south sides of the creek, as far as the Bell-Irving Fish Hatchery on 256th street. These are easy trails with moderate inclines, doable by most people.
For our short jaunt tonight, we stayed in the area of the falls. The falls are known as Cliff Falls, but I've also seen reference to them as Arnold Falls, which I could not find an origin for the use of that name. We found the two geocaches in the falls area, more importantly we got to experience the power of the falls and the beauty of the park created by the forces of wind, water, and earth. Hard to beat that!
Before we knew it, 9.00 PM was upon us, as was the descending darkness. Time to quit gawking and start "gittin" home. In total, we only spent a couple of easy hours in the park, but the two hours were breath taking. If you have the time....no, _make time_ to spend a few hours amongst the beauty of the forest that is so close to home. The few geocaches may seem like the prize for coming, but you'll forget all about them once you start to walk the trails. The real prize is nature at it's finest.......