Tag Archives: trail

Winter morning in the forest…

On my morning walk along Hoy Creek Trail, after checking on the salmon at Hoy Creek Hatchery this morning I was blessed to witness this sight.  I just love light coming through the trees. It’s magical…

This very old stump above is a favourite spot for photos any time of year and children can even climb within this stump.

I love the colourful contrast of white snow on this bright green moss.


The forest was alive with the sounds of chickadees, and I was pleased to capture this little black-capped chickadee hopping along a moss-covered tree branch chirping and nibbling.


Join me at the Coquitlam Crunch Challenge on Saturday, September 12th

I’ve been climbing the Coquitlam Crunch for over a year now, and I love it as my daily fitness regime when I can get there. I aim to do the Crunch at least 3 times a week, but some weeks I get there 4 or 5 times.  I’ve burned out one pair of runners, and I still love the Crunch!   I decided to help out with a charity event involving the trail last year,  “The Coquitlam Crunch Challenge,” and this year I am even more involved.  I hope you will join me at the 2015 event.

Here’s the official event press release:

The sixth annual Coquitlam Crunch ‘Diversity’ Challenge is set for Saturday, September 12th, 2015, and raises funds for community grants that promote diversity awareness, respect and integration. The Challenge is held at The Coquitlam Crunch trail, which follows a route along the B.C. Hydro cut line and offers a great workout, and unobstructed views of the surrounding area including Mount Baker, Washington. The Crunch is a less intense version of the Grouse Grind and the 2.2km trail starts below Lansdowne Drive and finishes at Eagle Mountain Drive. The average round trip (walking) takes about an hour. In early 2014 the City of Coquitlam helped make the trail safer by putting in the 437 new stairs along the steepest section.

The event was created in 2010 by local resident, Alex Bell and his family. Last year the event raised well over $4000 for the Community Diversity Fund (held and administered by the Coquitlam Foundation) which provides grants to Tri-Cities’ individuals, non-profit organizations, or community groups initiating actions, programs or education aimed at improving integration and participation by diversity groups, identified by the community as being socially or financially marginalized.

This year’s event will have a new shortened 4-hour format, versus last year’s 10 hours. “For those returning to the event, the news of the 4-hour format for 2015 may come as a surprise,”said event founder, Alex Bell.  “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we had two choices this year; either to postpone the event one-year, or to put out a shorter format with less categories.”

“We are preparing for a larger event in 2016 coinciding with Coquitlam 125th birthday, which will have at least 4 categories,” said Alex Bell. “We know people have been training for the 10-hour format, but our hands are tied. The 4-hour format is still a fitness challenge and adds more of a speed component.”

The Challenge on September 12th can be competitive or simply for fun. It’s a great family event, open to anyone of any athletic ability.  There are two ways you can participate:

1. The “Make it or Break” category for the die hard Crunchers. Participants walk or run the trail as many times as possible in a 4-hour period between 8am to 12 noon. Matt Sessions holds the 2012 (12-hour) record of 17 sets (which he repeated in 2014) when there was 12-hours allowed for this category. Register online or on the day at 7:30am.

2. The “Recreational” category for individuals or families who can walk the Crunch at least once. Start time is formally at 10am, but people may arrive and participate any time between 8:30am and 12 noon. Register online or on the day.

Water and sports drinks will be available free for participants. Preregistration is underway at coquitlamcrunch.com.

Optional donations for participants is suggested at $20 for adults, $10 for youth or $40 per family, however no donation of any amount will be refused, and participation is welcomed without the requirement of a donation. (Donations can also be made directly at coquitlamfoundation.com by clicking on the Donate Now button and selecting “Coquitlam Diversity Fund” from the drop-down menu.) A food box will be on site for the SHARE food bank, which tends to be very low at this time of the year, and participants are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item.

In 2015, the Coquitlam Diversity Fund generated its first grant to the Tri-Cities Brain Injury Support Group to help fund social interaction and community recreational opportunities for brain injury survivors.

Volunteers and sponsors make it happen! Sponsorship opportunities are always available and appreciated. Already supporting for 2015 is New Earth Marketing, Eagle Ridge GM, Pasta Polo, MaxFit Movement Institute, and 98.7 CKPM FM Tri-City Radio. Event organizers are looking for people to assist with site set up, registration, water stations, verification stations, parking, ensuring safe road crossings along the route, as well as the tear down of tents and tables. If you can help please email coquitlamcrunch@gmail.com

“Although I started the event, my intention was for it to become a community-driven one,” said Bell who has seen the event grow exponentially, and each year a variety of local businesses and volunteers have stepped up to offer their help.  “Please come out and support this worthwhile cause!”

Building up to the event, Alex Bell will lead a recreational guided hike up the Crunch and beyond to Ridge Park Bluffs on Sunday, August 30th. This 3-hour hike will start at the Coquitlam Crunch parking lot at 8:00 am and is for anyone capable of walking up the Crunch. The 8-km route will circle back to the parking lot and will offer amazing views over the lower mainland. All are welcome, and it is suggested to bring water and a camera. Queries about the hike, or the Challenge can be directed to coquitlamcrunch@gmail.com.

See you at the Crunch!

Summer Wanes…


A sign of things to come…

I love living in British Columbia, and I love living so close to nature.

I go for walks most days, often twice and living next to a forest, it’s easy to be in tune with the changing seasons.

Walking with my mother in the woods the other day we were discussing how you can walk down a trail one way and when you walk back it looks entirely different.  Not just the trail itself, but everything you see along the way. Add to that the lighting, dependent on the time of day, the weather and the seasons.

I am so much into nature these days  that I revel in every little change, excited like a young child.

I had to stop to capture this photo of three  leaves changing colour. The center leaf is almost entirely  red, and the ones on either side of it are wonderfully on their way, and only half red; looking almost as if someone painted them down one side only.

“As the bright green fades away, we begin to see yellow (red) and orange colors. Small amounts of these colors have been in the leaves all along. We just can’t see them in the summer, because they are covered up by the green chlorophyll.”  – sciencemadesimple.com

Although spring is my favourite time of year, fall is definitely a close second. I am looking forward to autumn’s magnificence!


Robbin Whachell lives in Coquitlam, BC and is a volunteer for the local watershed society. In her spare time she likes to hike The Crunch and  explore her community by taking photos and sharing her thoughts on what she sees.

Merry Christmas!

(Photo: Robbin Whachell)
(Photo: Robbin Whachell)

Christmas is still a magical time of the year for me, no matter how old I get. It helps that some of my children still live under my roof, as it urges me to continue on with our traditions. I pray I will keep up with that spirit after I have an empty nest…

It also helps when there is snow! I took this photo in November when we happened to have snow for almost 7 days.  This is the trail to Hoy Creek close to where I live.

Merry Christmas everyone!

(fade to rain…)

Conquering The Crunch

I live in the beautiful city of Coquitlam, and we are surrounded by hills,  mountains and nature.  My latest fitness challenge is to master The Coquitlam Crunch which is a fairly steep ascension up a trail on the cut-line, or under the power lines which serve the area.

Although I do not think that walking under that much energy is good for you, I am excited to live close enough to take part in this fitness challenge, and on a daily basis if I want. The walk to get to the base is about 15 minutes and uphill, then it gets intense once you are on The Crunch.

The City of Coquitlam just put in new staircases (437 steps) in areas that are the steepest. We do have an extremely wet climate, and young and old use the trails, so better safe than sorry I am guessing.  The great thing is you can still use the gravel portion to one side if you prefer the natural climb or descent.

I first came upon the improvement walking down The Crunch and all that shiny new metal starts to wear at your brain after awhile. You have to take it slow as every so many stairs their is a landing stair, or stair with a difference size, so you can’t just barrel down in a solid rhythm as you have to be checking your footing as the stairs change in length. I really hope the City can put a stripping or put paint at the edge of each stair, as then you could speedup your descent being more sure of your footing.

As for going up, I like both the gravel and the stairs and have found intermingling them gives me an interesting work out. I am only getting started and I do need my momentary break along the way to calm my wildly beating heart, but I hope to be able to first walk up the entire way from “Lower Lansdowne to David” without stopping within the next two weeks.  Once I’ve mastered that, I will go higher up the trail. The walk back to my home from the top can be 30 minutes or half that if I jog downhill.

Once I have conquered The Crunch, then I hope to take in the Grouse Grind which is famous in Vancouver for a killer and picturesque workout.  Add to that all the great places one can hike in the area or the Vancouver area, there is so much to explore, all the while getting in a great workout.

(Photos: Looking down The Crunch and looking up The Crunch  Photos: Robbin Whachell)