2023 February 5: Fraserview trails and the Fraser River

Starting selfie
Starting selfie

When you’ve been walking together for as long as most of us have, you’ll sometimes find yourself retracing your own footsteps, and posing for group selfies in familiar settings (the theme of this year’s walks is Loopers’ Greatest Hits, so I suspect that this sense of deja vu will itself become increasingly familiar; at the risk of getting a bit too meta, we might call that sensation “deja deja vu“).

Some of us, for example, will have a vague memory of leaning against the wooden posts and other props shown in the photo just above, in the children’s playground located at the south end of Kerr Street, with the Fraser River slowly sliding past. Those faint memories date from the ending selfie for the February 2016 walk, which was part of that year’s series of walks following the Fraser River upstream to Langley. But did we know, back then, that this children’s playground had a name: Driftwood Playground, and a website? Perhaps not.

The March 2016 walk followed some of the route we walked this past Sunday, but in 2016 we’d continued upstream, along the Fraser, rather than looping back. Our February 2020 walk, however, covered much the same ground as this month’s walk, so check out Jon’s erudite description from three years ago, and compare that month’s route map to this month’s, shown below:

Route map
Route map

This time around, twenty of us met up at the foot of Kerr, at 10:20 am, hanging out and chatting while waiting to take our traditional group selfie.

We set out post-selfie heading west, downstream, along the river. Following Carol’s lead, we took a quick detour to visit the site of The Chicken Coop, “a chicken coop [converted] into a makeshift dancehall and jam space […] located in the backyard of a bungalow on East Kent Avenue.” According to an historic plaque now located there (and confirmed by other websites), this is where country singer Loretta Lynn was discovered, while singing at a session in 1959. We were—alas—guitarless, so we simply bowed our heads reverently for a moment or two, and quietly hummed a few a cappella verses of I’m a Honky Tonk Girl, Loretta’s debut single.

From the former Chicken Coop we continued west, crossing busy Marine Drive at Elliot Ave, soon connecting with the Fraserview Golf Course Perimeter Path, a walking path which (you guessed it) runs around the perimeter of Fraserview Golf Course. After half of a clockwise circuit, we crossed Kerr and entered Everett Crowley Park, formerly (from 1944 to 1967) the site of Vancouver’s Kerr Street garbage dump. After a 20-year break—plus some significant beautifying, trail-building and reforestation—the park is now a popular destination for dog walkers (and for Loopers). Partway through that park we paused for a brief snack break beside scenic Avalon Pond (a previous visitor’s video—with bird sounds!—is available here).

Once through Everett Crowley Park we followed local streets and paths, crossing Boundary Road at Rumble, to connect with the Kaymar Creek Ravine Park Trailhead, the start of a lovely path that eventually leads back to Marine Drive. A short distance further east, we crossed Marine Drive to pick up a similar path, the Glenlyon Urban Trail, which led us towards the Fraser River, via a pedestrian overpass which crosses Marine Way at a great height. Careful observers may have noted that the railings of this overpass still have traces (fragments of string; severed zap straps) of the many banners which have been affixed there over the years, bearing urgent messages to Vancouver’s commuters. On this particular Sunday the only active sign was one reading (in large, hand-painted letters) THEY LIED. About what, and to whom, I’m not sure.

The walk along the Fraser River—heading west again, along the Fraser Foreshore Trail—is quite scenic, with views of the river and associated wetlands. At one point the path took us past a section of chain link fence displaying colourful murals, originally painted for the Vancouver Mural Festival. The last time we took this route, in 2020, the riverside path was blocked near Kinross Street, forcing a detour through what is being marketed as the River District development. This time, though, the path along the river was fully accessible, and we could see that there are sections of that path which have recently been raised in height. We completed our 12.3 km loop back at our starting point, at the foot of Kerr, and many of us stayed on at Romer’s to celebrate and to visit further over a chilled beverage and a bite to eat. And so endeth another stimulating Looper outing.

Photos by: Jon, Liz, Adrienne, David S, Angela H, Angela R, Michael, Sharon.

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