High Place

high place


In early Semitic religions, a place of worship built usually on top of a hill.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Updated in 2009. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.


Sunday October 6

Alright. Here’s the scoop. A whole week has gone by. We don’t know how…it only felt like a moment. Anyway, today is Sunday. We feel bad about the void but…well…there it is.

Hey, how about a quick wrap up of what happened during the week?

We moved into our place Monday September 30th. Moved out again on Wednesday October 2nd for the short term rental. We stayed at Renee and Brian’s for two nights and they were, once again, really sensational hosts. Thank You so much guys. Moved back into our place on Friday the fourth. Rested on Saturday.


Now, here’s a story that we really want to share with you.

Every time I mention how much I love snow, people out here say, “Well all you have to do is go up the mountain and you’ll get all the snow you want.”

My first impression of this has been one have been of, ‘Well I’m not sure I want to go all the way up a mountain to see snow.’ Heights make me wobble and in Ontario, I can get snow on flat, stable ground.

The ‘mountain’ everyone keeps mentioning is called Dakota Ridge. We’ve heard that it has a good deal of snow, great snowshoeing and cross country skiing. We’ve also been told that in Winter, you need a true 4X4 and tire chains (for the ice) to get to the top. Fantastic…ice and high mountain roads…together. Why should I ski…the drive up would be all the adrenaline rush I’d need.

Of course, Wendle has been totally jazzed about going up the mountain.

Then, the other day, when we were staying at Brian and Renee’s, they mentioned that they were volunteers at Dakota Ridge. Somehow, during that conversation, Wendle and I committed to volunteering there too. It felt right (and scary)

So, just how high is this mountain?

“Splitting the clouds about 1,200 metres above the verdant shoreline is Dakota Ridge”

Twelve hundred metres…what’s that in feet…four thousand you say. Hmm… It sounds high but I have nothing to gauge it against. Wait here, I’ll look it up.

Nothing online. Hmm…how many 60 foot trees is that…great, 666 trees. That’s a reassuring number (and a lot of sixes)

What else do we know about Dakota Ridge?

Dakota Ridge is a 620-hectare, high altitude (3,500 to 4,000 feet)plateau located above a working forest watershed.

Dakota Ridge offers a fairytale landscape of rolling terrain, speckled with stunted old growth hemlock and yellow cedar. On a clear day you can see the North Shore mountains, the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island beyond – even Mount Baker down in Washington State.

And then there’s the snow. It began falling in October this year and with a La Nina winter forecast, snow depths of four metres are not uncommon on Dakota Ridge

Historically the snow is consistently reliable on Dakota Ridge from mid-November to late May!








Wendy…did I pack my snow pants?

Anyway…today is our first day of volunteering.

We’re going to see the mountain.

The volunteers have already been up there for two days. Cutting firewood and a new trail. Getting the buildings out of mothballs…stuff like that.

We have no 4X4 so we’re going up with Renee, Brian and his kids. They’re coming in two cars and we’ll ride along. We’re meeting them at nine in front of ‘Straight Coffee’ in Wilson Creek. Renee says it’s the best coffee on the coast

Okay, we have our coffees (‘Straight Coffee’…you’re a close second) and Wendy and I are in the Jeep Liberty with Renee. So, how do we get there?

From the top of Field Road in Sechelt – turn right and follow the signs to reach the parking area (14 km). Four Wheel Drive and Chains are recommended for safe winter travel.”

(how can it in any way, be ‘safe winter travel’…if you need tire chains?)

After leaving the coffee shop, we are almost immediately on an old logging road up the mountain. The same kind of logging roads you’ll find in Ontario…rough and beautiful. Renee enjoys four-wheeling and the Liberty is eating this road up. It’s a blast.


And it’s beautiful




We gather all our knapsacks and head over to a Quonset hut structure. Around it, people are working…chain sawing and carrying lumber. Renee introduces us to Michel. He works for the SCRD or Sunshine Coast Regional district…and although they are the operators of Dakota Ridge, Michel is here on his own time.

He greets us warmly and shows us the facilities…

a warming hut with fireplace and an outhouse with ecologically sound holding tank’

Boy, that was quick tour. Michel introduces us to Kellei Baker. She is here with BC First Aid…you know, just in case one of us weekend warriors pops a hamstring or something. Kellei says that two people are needed to work in this hut area and two more up the trails. They’re building a new trail and there is a lot of brush to cut and move. Brian and I volunteer to go up the mountain and head off to the car. We won’t be taking Brian’s Subaru…the road is too rugged.

We hop back into the Liberty, put it into four wheel drive and head up a steep and torturous logging trail.


Brian starts to giggle, “I really wanted to drive up here”, he says as he swerves around an obstruction of boulders.


Brian tells me that his car can make it up the mountain except in the snow. Then, he and Renee drive the Jeep. With chains.

We park at a trail cutting off the road. We see some gear lying here so it seems likely that we’ll be able to hike down this road and find the rest of the crew.


A short way down this second trail and we find them…sitting down.

We’ve arrived just in time for a break, which is good because it gives us time to get some direction from Sam…Sam Adams

(no, different guy)

Sam also works full-time for the SCRD and volunteers up here for fun. So do a lot of other people we meet.

Sam wants Brian and I to join this crew in clearing the small brush from this new trail and to use the cuttings to fill in depressions around the larger trees that have been felled. If we can get our hands on a pair, we’re to use the ‘Bypass Loppers’ to cut the brush…

Loppers are a type of scissors used for pruning twigs and small branches, like secateurs with very long handles. They are the largest type of manual garden cutting tool. They are usually operated with two hands, and with handles typically between 30 centimetres (12 in) & 91 centimetres (36 in) long to give good leverage. Some have telescopic handles which can be extended to a length of two metres, in order to increase leverage and to reach high branches on a tree.



…and the aren’t any. C’mon hands…we’ve got some lifting to do.

Hopefully we’ll see you tomorrow with more our our day at Dalton Ridge. For now though, we’ve got some work to do…and probably so do you. (and if that’s your boss looking over here, he thinks you have work to do too)

Goodnight all

Moose and Wendle




Saturday, Wendy picked up a Nutri Bullet. She doesn’t want to forego her morning smoothie and mixing it with a spoon wasn’t working to her satisfaction (“now with ‘extra lumps’). She wanted me to mention it



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