Category Archives: trees

Cathedral Lakes Park: Up in Smoke! Days 2 and 3

In going back over the previous post, I realized I never showed you our campsite.  That’s because I didn’t take any pictures of it!  But S did and here’s what it looked like.

If you look closely, you can see me just sitting around in a folding chair.  Not what I usually take on a “backpack” but as the Lake of the Woods camp site was only a kilometre from the drop off point, I figured I could endure carrying the chair for 20 minutes!  So glad I did!  Gave S my normal thermarest backpack chair and J brought her favourite backpack chair so we were pretty comfy.

Oh, and I forgot to tell you about another interesting development that we discovered when we started to cook dinner the first night.  We brought my snowpeak propane backpack stove and my backpack popcan stove that uses methanol (methyl hydrate is what you purchase it as).  Before we left home, I had assiduously filled up my gas transport bottle with methanol.  At least that’s what I thought I did.  So I filled up the popcan stove and tried to light it.  It wasn’t lighting.  It never not lights!  I sniffed the container and realized I hadn’t looked at the label of the stock I had used to refill it.  It was paint thinner, not methanol, and wouldn’t light!  So that meant we had only 1 small stove for the 3 of us to make all our meals and couldn’t use a fire as there was a fire ban throughout BC because of all the wildfires!  DOH!  Well, we almost made it through but our last meal the propane tank ran out.  Note to self; be more careful next time!

Day 2 

Ok, it’s day 2 and we are deciding where to go.  As yesterday’s hike kind of wore us out a bit, we decided to take it easy.  J and S decided they just wanted to go back to Ladyslipper lake and hang out there, maybe go swimming.  I decided I really wanted to see Goat Lake so after a short way to Goat Lake, they headed back to the trail juncture and went back to Ladyslipper.

Good choice for me on my part.  I hadn’t been hiking alone in quite a while and it turned out to be just what I needed!  Here’s my trip to Goat lake, which failed to live up to its name as I didn’t see any goats there but filled my needs in all other aspects.

From our juncture, the trail descends into the valley that leads up to a basin where Goat lake is.  Once in the valley, it’s a nice gentle trail to the lake.  Easy walking 🙂

From the map I knew that the lake would be surrounded by a bunch of peaks and nestled into a basin.  Every now and then, I would get a glimpse of where I was ultimately headed.

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First views of some of the peaks around Goat Lake

And you can now begin to see some of the devastation caused by the bark beetle.  Most of the large spruce etc are dead.  Fortunately, there are young trees springing up to replace them so in another 30 years or so, if they survive, it won’t look quite so desolate.  You can also see the continuing effects the smoke was having on the views.  Normally would have been clear blue sky with high definition on the mountains given the lens I was using.

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the stream winding through the valley that issues out of Goat Lake.
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I called this image “tenacity”. It will take a good long while for the new ones to attain such a majestic state but I’m hoping they’re tenacious.
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and this one “rebirth” because you can see all the new trees coming up to replace the dead ones.

Here’s a lovely boggy meadow filled with a sedge called narrow-leaved cotton grass and then a closeup of the actual cotton grass plant.

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More peaks coming into view and a lovely bunch of cotton grass
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cotton grass up close and personal.

Getting a bit closer to the lake now.

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More of the mountain you saw in the previous picture with all the cotton grass
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A panorama preview of what’s coming up around the lake!

And, tada! Finally made it to the lake.

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It was a warm lovely day except for the smoke so I walked around to the other end of the lake and found a great spot from which to view both the surrounding mountains and the lake while I ate my lunch and drank my tea.  Nice breeze to keep the bugs away, too. Happy camper I am.

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Looking South from my lunch spot
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More views South.  This is called Denture ridge.
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Looking North across the lake
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The boggy area between the lake and the mountains surrounding it. I was eating lunch perched on a big rock in the trees on the right hand side of the image.

So…. Goat lake is just a nice little lake.  Nothing special about it except for where it is and the peaks that surround it.  There were 2 other young folks there and they left before I did so I had the place all to myself for quite a nice bit of time.

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A lovely larch tree
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The mountain furthest South and East along the lake’s border.

I just love the rock that these mountains are composed of.  It’s quite dramatic looking and it looks like it would be really fun to scramble up and climb if you were so inclined. Of course, much steeper than it looks in the photos!

After relaxing and taking a few more pictures, it’s time to head back.  A parting shot of the lake on my way back out.

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Took a few more photos of flowers and such.

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False Hellebore
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A dead young spruce.  Not just the old ones are killed.
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Alpine Lupine leaves in their yellow fall coloration
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One of the Sparganium spp, probably emersum or angustifolium.
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A lichen I’d never seen before!  Really cool colours.  Couldn’t find it looking in Plants of Coastal British Columbia is but checked with a lichen expert and he suggested might be Solorina crocea, chocolate chip lichen.
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Another common lichen often found on dead larch and which we saw a lot of, is called tree hair lichen or black tree lichen.  Bryoria fremontii

Made it back to camp and joined up with J and S.  Sponged off my sweat in Lake of the Woods, ate dinner and relaxed.  Watched stars, fell asleep.

Day 3

We had originally planned to leave on the 3:30 shuttle down so after a lazy breakfast we packed up camp and figured we could just leave our gear at the lodge and go for a day hike, returning just a bit before heading out.

Nope.  As I mentioned in the previous post, due to the smoke coming into the park, BC Parks declared an evacuation of Cathedral Lakes Park.  So we pared down our hike to a short jaunt over to Scout Lake which was just a km or so from the lodge and hoped we could get out on the 1 pm shuttle.  No sense hanging around for more smoke!

Turned out to be a good plan.  Wandered over to Scout lake and enjoyed ourselves and saw another of the lakes.  Here’s a few pics.

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Our original day plan was to hike up that far ridge but due to the evac, just went to the lake.
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Another view of the surrounding mountains from the other side of the lake.

I walked all the way around while J and S just stayed on one side.  Here’s a nice sedge that I saw at the lake.

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Carex stylosa? Variegated or Long-styled sedge is my current best guess and if so is a rare plant.

And a nice batch of Arnica next to a rock.

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I think this is Arnica montana or Arnica mollis

On the way out I went a little way past the lake to see the creek coming out of it and got a really nice shot.

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It’s very peaceful looking, don’t you think?

Back to the lodge and it turns out that they decided to try to evacuate everyone on the 1pm shuttle.  So they had 3 or 4 trucks going back down to the highway.  Uneventful ride, back to the car and then back home.

So that’s our trip to Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park.  Maybe we’ll go back when there isn’t any smoke and see all the wonderful views we were supposed to see originally.  But there are just so many wonderful places to visit, that maybe we won’t.  Only time will tell.

Hope you enjoyed seeing a bit of this wonderful park.  We sure did!

Until next time, keep on rambling.

Rich

Gushing

This past weekend, J and I headed into the Burke Mt area with a couple of friends to spend some time hiking and viewing a couple of waterfalls.  The forecast was for clouds and the occasional shower.  Luckily, we got the clouds but not the showers.

Our objectives were the Dry Crossing and Sawblade Falls, both on Coho Creek which tumbles down between a couple of unnamed peaks in Pinecone Burke Provincial Park.

The hike goes up several shared use hiker-mountain biker paths and old logging roads through several different forested areas with lots of lovely spring flowers along the trails, the most common being false solomon’s seal, star-flowered false solomon’s seal, foam flower, bunchberry, and yellow wood violets.

As it was a bit cool for the season, we also lucked out in not being bothered to any serious degree by our insect friends, although the occasional black fly needed brushing off.  After a couple of hours we got to our first waterfall, Dry Crossing Falls.  2 waterfalls hike-12 waterfalls hike-22 waterfalls hike-3

One of the reasons we picked this hike was because we are still in the Spring run off season here in SW British Columbia and the waterfalls are just gushing spectacular amounts of water.  A couple of creek crossings which in summer would be easily transversed required high level ballet type balancing to avoid serious foot and leg soaking!  Not to mention avoiding the algae covered slippery rocks!!

From Dry Crossing Falls, we followed a rough route, the Sawblade Bike Trail, further downstream to arrive at what is becoming a fairly common local hiking destination, Sawblade Falls.  About 30 minutes or so and we arrived at Sawblade falls.  2 waterfalls hike-42 waterfalls hike-5

Our plan was to eat lunch at Sawblade Falls and then head over to a couple of other falls on the way back to the car.  What with the cooler weather, and a strong wet cool spray coming off the falls, we found a less exposed area behind a few trees where we could hear them but not see them and hunkered down and enjoyed our lunch. Here’s a video I took of the falls before we ate.

After lunch, and enjoying a last bit of falls viewing, we decided to forego the other falls and made our way back to the car to conclude a lovely day spent with friends and falls.  A parting shot of Sawblade falls as we head back out.2 waterfalls hike-6

Just a bit of warning; if you’ve never hiked this area before, most of these hikes start at a gate that is just a few hundred metres from a gun club so you often hear loud blasts of gunfire while you’re walking.  But once you get far enough along, the gunshots diminish and forest sounds take over.

And just because you’ve been so patient, here’s another gusher we visited a few weeks ago in the Squamish area, Crooked Falls.  Check out this video, too.crooked falls-1

We do like our waterfalls and there are so many lovely ones here in BC.

Until next time,

keep rambling.

Rich

Left Coast and Redwoods – Finale

After a lovely night’s rest and breakfast at our BnB in Brookings, we headed down to the Harris Beach State Park there and spent some time just walking around.  Here’s a few photos from the park.

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J’s charismatic windswept look 🙂

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Peek-a-Boo!

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Impressive Rocks!

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After getting our fill of the the wonderful ocean scenery and basically having the park to ourselves, we headed back out on the highway to our next stop, Pistol River State Scenic Viewpoint.  From the map, it looked like it might be an interesting spot and lo and behold, when we got to it we were pleasantly surprised to see that it had dunes.  Now this might not seem like a big deal to a lot of people but J had never seen dunes before and she was ecstatic!!  She’d always wanted to see dunes but somehow, had never had the good fortune to run across any on the beaches she had been to.  So, of course, we wandered in amongst the dunes for a while and spent some time on the beach just enjoying watching waves.

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Yup, them’re dunes alright.  With windswept dune grass.

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Wave Watching

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Again, we were the only ones there!  I guess there’s some benefits, especially to a landscape photographer like I am, to go off season in crappy weather.  No one around to get in the way of the scenery except my favourite model 🙂

Back in the car and up the road a piece to another pullout where I took this pic looking North.

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Our next was for lunch at the Redfish in Port Orford.

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The Redfish (J’s hair in bottom right)

Lovely lunch with some great views there too.

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Having achieved a pleasant state of satiety, we meandered back to the car and headed on up the road again to what was our penultimate stop along the way, Cape Blanco State Park. Cape Blanco is the Westernmost point in Oregon and the contingual United States, and contains the Southernmost Lighthouse in Oregon.  All fine reasons to stop there! What they don’t tell you about is the strength of the wind there!  WhoooBoy….!  J was afeared to leave the car.  I got out and took a bunch of photos; hey that’s what I do, and I jumped straight up to land about foot back of where I launched myself from.  There was a guy in a convertible with the top down and all the windows up just enjoying the views and eating a sandwich.  Said he often comes to enjoy the scenery and wind.

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From here we headed up to Bandon where we stopped at the renowned Face Rock Creamery to pick up some cheese and have a heavenly ice cream 🙂  We never actually visited the Face Rock but there’s lots of pics on the web of it.

From here, it was head up to Reedsport to pick up Rt 38 back to I-5.  Rt 38 turned out to be a lovely road along the river and through the hills.  Did I mention that we saw sheep in Oregon.  And Elk.  Lots of both!

Once we got to I-5, we headed up to Portland to stay with a friend of J’s that’s she’s known forever.  Had a pizza dinner, conversation, crashed and were on the road again the next morning.  Our last stop was a food court in the Alderwood Mall because I decided to get the pack after all!

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Yum! Indian Food!

And then back home.  Boy, were we glad to be back home in our own bed that night.  We had a great trip and loved all the crazy ups and downs and beautiful places and trees we saw but there’s nothing like coming home after a trip to your own bed!  And on that note, I’ll say amen and leave you all in peace until I decide to write about something else.

Rich