Healthy Living in the North

Spring versus Summer: Two seasons at Eskers Park

It was refreshing in the spring when I had a chance to hike the trails and see the scenery of Eskers Provincial Park with friends. It was still icy on the trails. Nice to come outdoors and beat the cabin fever. The pine cones from the pine trees fallen on the trails reminded me of Christmas decorations. Lake and mountain pines reminded me of the scenery in north eastern BC where I have lived previously. The tranquility of nature helps to relax the body and the mind. I managed to pick up a female and male pine cone on the way back as a souvenir. It is still sitting at my place as a decoration. 20160927-yvonne-eskers-3

Eskers Provincial Park is a day-use park located 40 km northwest of Prince George. Encompassing 3,979 hectares of gently rolling terrain and many small lakes, the park conserves a portion of the 40 km long Stuart River Eskers Complex. These unique land forms, for which the park is named, are long sinuous gravel ridges. They were created when sand and gravel were deposited in the meltwater channels of ancient glaciers that once blanketed this northern region.

In July, I had a chance to go back to Eskers and do some hiking with friends. The scenery had changed and was so refreshing. At one point we were startled by a pretty Newfoundland cross dog whom we thought was a bear in the bush making noise. We also found some edible wild berries, and got out on the water (in a canoe), on one of the lakes situated in the park. 20160927-yvonne-eskers-4

Circle Lake is an ideal location for families to learn flat-water canoeing. The canoe launch provides easy access to the lake. Those willing to carry a canoe into Camp Lake will find several portage trails connecting some of the smaller, more remote lakes between Camp and Kathie Lakes.

Other fun activities one can do at Eskers park include:

  • Safe berry picking – Know the edible kind prior to wild berry picking.
  • Fishing- Ensure you have an appropriate licence
  • You can walk your pets/domestic animals, but they must be on leash at all times and are not allowed in beach area
  • In the winter the walking trails at Eskers are great for snowshoeing and cross country skiing

The breeze and forest trail air make me happy and feel more energetic. Eskers is about 45 minutes from town and it is a nice place that you can head to when you need to run away from the hustle and bustle of Prince George city life! Why not to give it a try, and surround yourself with mother nature’s beautiful embrace!20160927-yvonne-eskers-1

Finding a local Provincial park is just one of the clues in the Great Northern Scavenger Hunt! Where do you go to unplug and get active in your community? Answer scavenger hunt clues for your chance to win great prizes. The Contest ends on October 02.

Yvonne Liang

About Yvonne Liang

Yvonne is an Environmental Health Officer for the Northern Interior and is based in Prince George. Prior to moving to Prince George, Yvonne lived and worked in southern Ontario and Fort St. John, B.C. She loves to do artwork, paint, and knit during her free time.

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Invest in your health: Nurturing your spirit!

This month, we want to know how you are preparing for the future by investing in your health! Tell us (or show us) what you do to invest in your body, your mind, and your relationships for your chance to win a $150 grand prize! To inspire you, we’ve featured regular healthy aging content on the Northern Health Matters blog all month long!


Person on a dock in the sunset

Nurturing your spirit is important to healthy aging. “For some, religion provides a sense of purpose and connection. For others, it’s a connection to our culture, family, friends and community. Sometimes, spirituality takes the form of being in touch with the world around us.”

To finish off our month-long look at investing in healthy aging, I wanted to look at the idea of spiritual health and aging with a sense of dignity, meaning, and purpose.

Having a sense of purpose and meaning in our lives is an important part of healthy aging. It doesn’t matter which spiritual path you walk on, it matters that you find a path. Nurturing your spirit can take many forms.

For some, religion provides a sense of purpose and connection. For others, it’s a connection to our culture, family, friends and community. Sometimes, spirituality takes the form of being in touch with the world around us.

Many First Nations communities have a holistic view of spirituality and its connection to health. This holistic view includes a “healthy mind, body, and spirit“. An integral part of First Nations approaches to health and healing are through the inter-relationships of the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of a being.

According to the BC Elders’ Guide:

Nurturing spirit is the aspect in your life that gives you a sense of purpose and meaning – it is about feeling good and connected. Nurturing your spirit supports your mental, emotional and physical aspects of your being. Even though your spirit is fundamental in your wellness, it can be overlooked or not supported as part of our health.

How can we ensure that we don’t overlook this part of our health? In my experience, practices like tai-chi and meditation can support nurturing your spirit. For some other ideas on how to nurture your spirit, check out the First Nations Health Authority Wellness Diary.

For me, when I think of spirituality and health, religion has ensured that I will not feel alone and has been a source of well-being for me. As an immigrant, I joined a local church when I first arrived in Canada. I felt the love from the community through the Sunday services and small group gathering activities. I felt that spirituality and spiritual growth kept me going and provided me with a sense of comfort and of being accepted. By continuing to practice, I feel spiritual growth and feel myself continuing to flourish in it.

The impacts of nurturing your spirit have been shown to impact health in a few ways, including:

  • lowering blood pressure
  • reducing anxiety

Life can be very hectic for many of us. Some kind of spirituality can help us to have peace and to feel supported. Spiritual practice can be an antidote to fear. Whatever the spirituality that takes you to that stillness – however you nurture your spirit – know that you are not alone!

Yvonne Liang

About Yvonne Liang

Yvonne is an Environmental Health Officer for the Northern Interior and is based in Prince George. Prior to moving to Prince George, Yvonne lived and worked in southern Ontario and Fort St. John, B.C. She loves to do artwork, paint, and knit during her free time.

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Food safety: a lifelong commitment

This month, we want to know how you are preparing for the future by investing in your health! Tell us (or show us) what you do to invest in your body, your mind, and your relationships for your chance to win great weekly prizes and a $150 grand prize! To inspire you, we’ll be featuring regular healthy aging content on the Northern Health Matters blog all month long!


Raw chicken on a plate with quote from article overlaid

Food safety is a key part of healthy aging!

Did you know that food safety is especially important for healthy aging?

Older adults and seniors are more susceptible to contracting foodborne illnesses because of changes to vital organs as well as aging and changing body systems.

As we age, our organs and immune system also tend to weaken so aren’t able to fight pathogenic bacteria like our healthy adult systems could (or can!). Therefore, it is very important for older adults to practice safe food handling, preparing, and consuming.

Just one tragic example of this recently took place at a church potluck in New Brunswick, where foodborne illness caused the death of an 87-year-old woman and made 30 others ill.

Bessie Scott, 87, was remembered at her funeral Friday, as a wonderful great-grandmother who loved to garden and create handiwork. Her passing was noted in the provincial legislature. Dr. Jennifer Russell, New Brunswick’s acting Chief Medical Officer, says the cause of the gastrointestinal illness that killed Scott has not been confirmed, but she suspects infected poultry. ‘The most likely culprit probably is going to turn out to be the bacteria Clostridium perfringens,’ she says.

Clostridium perfringens is estimated to cause nearly a million cases of foodborne illness each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which also notes that “C. perfringens infection often occurs when foods are prepared in large quantities and kept warm for a long time before serving.”

Make a culture of food safety a lifelong commitment to minimize the risk of foodborne illness! As you age, your immunity is weakened and you may not be able to fight bacteria as easily as if you were a healthy young adult. With a balanced, nutritional diet, good food safety practices, and making wise food choices, you’ll have the healthy aging fuel you need!

Are safe food practices part of how you invest in healthy aging? Let us know for your chance to win!

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Yvonne Liang

About Yvonne Liang

Yvonne is an Environmental Health Officer for the Northern Interior and is based in Prince George. Prior to moving to Prince George, Yvonne lived and worked in southern Ontario and Fort St. John, B.C. She loves to do artwork, paint, and knit during her free time.

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