The peaks of the Mount Cheam Range above Fraser Valley farmland – from Hillkeep Regional Park in Chilliwack, BC.
Mount Cheam Range Peaks (Cheam, Lady Peak, Knight Peak, Welch Peak) and Chilliwack Farmland from Hillkeep Regional Park (Purchase)
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Hillkeep Regional Park in Chilliwack
A few years ago I photographed the view from Hillkeep Regional Park (link) in Chilliwack, British Columbia. The day was cloudy and rainy, and I could barely make out the Chilliwack Airport below. It was a nice walk with a lot of lush growth in many areas but some of the trails were a bit overgrown and underused. Earlier this year after a question from a client I wanted to get some newer photographs of Mount Cheam (Lhílheqey) from a new angle. Hillkeep Regional Park (on a nice day) seemed like the perfect place to start.
The view at Hillkeep Regional Park is quite nice, and the walk up to the viewing platform is short but does require a small amount of elevation gain to get there. During some times of the year you may want to reconsider wearing bare legs as the trail can be quite close to Stinging Nettles. The first photograph above is an image I made of Mount Cheam and the peaks behind it in the Cheam Range from the viewing platform. In the lower part of the photograph you can see a mixture of farmland and houses that make up much of this part of the Fraser Valley.
Mount Cheam’s Stó:lō name is Lhílheqey (“mother mountain”) and is a significant physical and cultural feature of the valley. The peak names from left to right are Cheam Peak, Lady Peak (Dog Face), Knight Peak, and Welch Peak. Mount Archibald is in front of the Cheam Range between Knight and Welch Peaks.
Mount MacFarlane, Crossover Peak, and Mount Slesse from Hillkeep Regional Park (Purchase)
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Another noteworthy (though less prominent) peak you can see easily from Hillkeep Park and nearby parts of the Fraser Valley is Mount Slesse. At the end of a small range of peaks, Slesse is the most prominent and memorable. The photo above shows (from left to right) Mount MacFarlane, Crossover Peak, and Mount Slesse after some fresh, late winter snows. The word “Slesse” means “fang” in the Halq’eméylem language. Mount Slesse is also known as the site of the crash of Trans-Canada Air Lines Flight 810 in 1956 which killed 62 people and remains the 6th deadliest in Canadian history.
From the Hillkeep lookout there is not just view of the surrounding mountains but also Highway 1 (Trans Canada Highway), the Chilliwack Municipal Airport (YCW), and a lot of housing developments and farmland. The photograph below shows a mix of all of these elements, with the airport in the foreground. The airport was fairly busy on the day I was at Hillkeep, and as a consequence many of my panoramas and photographs from this afternoon had multiple planes in them. One managed to get into almost every frame of a 10 frame panorama, which was a feat I think only a few (feathered) birds have accomplished in the past.
Chilliwack Municipal Airport from Hillkeep Regional Park (Purchase)
Mount Cheam from Agassiz
Here is a “bonus” panorama of Mount Cheam/Lhílheqey I made later in the day from Agassiz near the Fraser River. I’d classify this as a “mountain portrait” as it doesn’t have any of the surrounding land in the photograph. While I’ve made a few of these in the past I still enjoy Cheam as a subject – it is a peak with character, especially with some fresh snow.
Fresh snow on Mount Cheam (Lhílheqey) as photographed from farmland in Agassiz, British Columbia (Purchase)
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For more photographs of these areas of the Fraser Valley visit my Chilliwack and Agassiz/District of Kent Galleries.