Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Exploring Horse Country

The Township of Langley, British Columbia lies about twenty miles east of Vancouver. While the Township is traditionally rural much of it is being built up now as people escape the exorbitant housing costs of the big city. So far, the south part of Langley is still fairly rural with many farms and wineries to be found. South Langley is also horse country. 

Enjoying lunch on a quite day.
There are several private equestrian properties. There is a public equestrian facility. There is a therapeutic riding facility. Much of the area is part of the Campbell Valley Regional Park.
The public equestrian facility
Punchbowl hidden by trees.
While there might be some far-off noise from passing trucks or airplanes, the area is pretty quiet. The south end of 208 Street is narrow with pretty rough pavement, probably a mile long with no exit. Not someplace you would go unless you had a specific destination.

Way back in the woods is a "punchbowl." While there are horse trails in the area, the major hiking trails do not come through this part of the park. Like the entrance from 208 Street, you can find it if you were looking for it.

For thirty-two years the punchbowl was the site of much activity. Horses were run here. Horses by the hundreds. Horses of a different sort.

Horses by the hundreds riding on four tires. (Photo from Petrol-head.com)

Ride them horses! (Photo from Langleyspeedway.ca) 

Racing began at the Langley Speedway in 1963, although the "official" opening was in 1965. The track was sold to the Greater Vancouver Regional District in 1969. The owners were given a ten-year lease. When that lease expired, leases were given on a year-to-year basis, making it difficult to operate.

The 1/4 mile track hosted the NASCAR Winston West races in 1971, 1972, and 1978 -- making it one of only three tracks in British Columbia to host NASCAR races. The last race at Langley Speedway was in 1984.

I enjoy hiking to see relics of the past such as the Langley Speedway. It almost seemed small for auto racing. I would have thought a track would have been a bit larger.

Information from the Langley Speedway Historical website.

The sign at the end of 208 Street
A few hundred yards in from the road is this sign that shows the path to the track.

Entrance to the track? I did not  think to explore it.

I doubt that line is from when the track was active...
...but that might be.
Going into a curve.
As wide a shot as I could get of the track.

There is a hill on the east side of the track with a set of stairs. I assume the grandstands were on this side, as the other side does does not look like it had room.

Access to the stands from the track.

The stairs

A view down from the hill on the east side of the track.
If something is closed I am not one to argue -- but it would have helped if they had a corresponding sign at the bottom.


  1. I've been on a horse one time in my life. I was 8 years old, at the time.

    It was an old horse, and slow, and led around the paddock by the owner, who was dating my Mom.

    The only other thing I remember about him was that the steering wheel of his late 50's Plymouth was not round but oval, flattened on the top and bottom

    1. I have ridden a horse a few times, but it has been years. I had no problem with them -- more because I was too stupid to be frightened of them. One time I was on a beach and my horse spooked at someone's kite. I just settled him down by some innate ability I had (I was a cowboy in a prior life)? I didn't even think to get frightened.

      The best ride I had was about three hours long on the Beach at Bodega Bay then up through the hills overlooking the ocean.

      I know the '61 Plymouth had a rectangular starring wheel, but I don't know what other years did.

  2. The second kind of horses are more my "speed" as it were. There are a number of tracks in the area, mostly dirt, but some paved, and yeah, they get pretty small, as well as loud, when there are a number of cars going around them sideways

    1. I have never been to a car race. I went to a demolition derby once, though. The smell of oil and coolant was overpowering.

    2. The smell of oil and coolant was overpowering.

      Would that be comparable to the jet fuel fumes ingested as a result of working in an office adjacent to a runway at an International airport?

      Don't miss that smell. At. All.

  3. The way to watch a car race isn't even on TV anymore. It's on YouTube and pirated video feeds + automatic lap time updates on a leaderboard.

    That, and a "tasting flight" of small batch craft petrols and coolants to

    /Oregon 👹 😇

  4. It's been thirty years since I've been on a horse. I used to ride occasionally as a kid, but my last ride left me so saddle sore I could barely move for a week!

    There's a race track up the road from me a few miles. I used to love to listen to the engines and the crowd noise on summer evenings. It's not operating any more though. A shame.

  5. Listening to the Indy 500 on a transistor radio was a "thing" back in the day, as well as listening to baseball games. Those announcers were amazing, and would make me feel like I was right there! Of course, back then people were busy with life; no time (or desire) to sit still and stare at a screen. *sigh*

    1. At my first radio job I "ran the board" for an Indy 500 prelim. I also remember listening to the Indy 500 on AFN when we were in Germany.

      It is a sham that things that used to have a charm are now irrelevant.

    2. ER, shame. Or maybe it is a sham.

  6. We could here the midget racing from the track at the fairgrounds in Petaluma a couple of miles away on Friday and Saturday nights, but I never went to see them.

    I can't tell you the last time.i was on a horse. Probably 25-35 years ago.