A nice walk in Kanaka Creek Park along its Canyon and North Loop trails.
I finally got to tick off a park that has long been on my bucket list, Cathedral Lakes Provincial Park. We had planned to go earlier in the summer and had paid and reserved our ride up but cancelled at the last minute because of all the smoke from forest fires in the area. Instead we went to Manning Park and had a great 3 day backpack with only a bit of smoky views the first day which cleared up nicely for the rest of the trip.
As it was getting near the end of summer, and we still wanted to go to Cathedral, we decided to head up last week. Smoke reports were pretty low and lodge staff said weather up in the park was great. So off we went on Sunday to go up on the 4PM shuttle figuring smoke wasn’t going to be in the picture. WRONG!
It was interesting just how the smoke behaved. It was coming up from Washington state fires and would come in during the day. Then the winds would die down and we would have perfectly clear skies to star gaze at night. Early mornings would look clear blue skies and then the wind would start to pick up and the smoke would move in.
We had planned 3 nights camping and coming back mid-afternoon on day 4. And that’s what we did, with a little “wrinkle”. We had reserved our ride out for the 3:30 shuttle but due to the smoke, it turned out that the park was told to evacuate everyone on that day. So we all headed down on the 1 PM shuttle, a couple of hours early.
Still, we got in some great hiking and interesting views. The smoky skies combined with all the dead spruce from the spruce bark beetle kill made for some very other-worldly landscapes. We felt like we could be on another planet, definitely not in BC!
I really enjoyed looking at the stars while falling asleep on Sunday night. We left the rainfly off the tent and had a clear view through the bug netting. Monday was our first and most strenuous day of hiking. Got up and had a leisurely camp breakfast. Lake of the Woods looked lovely. (Many of these photos are large panoramic stitches and you’ll only get the full meal deal if you click on them to view!)
Didn’t see any smoke yet. Plan for the day was to hike to Ladyslipper Lake and then up to the Rim, entering at Stone City. Here’s a map of the park and the core area. It was only a 250 metre climb to the Lake but we noticed that our energy was lower than usual. Well, the park and Lake of the Woods is at 2000 metres elevation so that might have had something to do with it!
Here we are coming down into Ladyslipper Lake.
For some reason, I got the map turned around in my head and when we got to the lake, we headed off along the North shore to the West end of the lake. Lots of people at the lake fishing and swimming.
We considered trying to make our way up to the rim through that terrain you’re looking at and decided not to. Retraced our way back to where we turned right and should have turned left and around and up we went. A view on the way back.
It was a pretty hot day and we started up the trail to the rim. We stopped to eat on the way up.
After eating, headed back onto the trail. Here we are almost up on the rim.
And you can see that the skies are no longer blue but the wind is now bringing the smoke up. Notice how much darker it is on the right than the left!
Finally made it to Stone City.
Star Trek or other space movies would have had a great time filming up here!
From Stone City we wandered Northwards along the rim to the Devil’s Woodpile. Love the orange lichens and other vegetation.
We loved this beautiful wide bench meadow. The colours are just so understated and subtle. And the smoke made it look so other worldly.
S standing on top of the Devil’s Woodpile
From here we continued along the rim to the trail down to Glacier Lake
The trail down to Glacier Lake. It was much more friendly than the trail up from Ladyslipper Lake and is the way most people get up on the rim if they leave from the lodge.
Another view of Pyramid Mountain as we head back down. Notice the sharp division between the smoky sky and not so smoky sky, and the colour of the sun, the white dot at the upper right in the smoke. To our eyes, it was actually a glowing red ball. Don’t quite know why it didn’t come out that way in the photo. Something to do with what lenses see vs what eyes see.
It was a full day of hiking. You can see the stats from my watch, here. Once back at camp, we relaxed, did a bit of swimming in Lake of the Woods to get the sweat off and really enjoyed eating our dinner.
Stay tuned for Day 2, coming your way in the not too distant future.
I’ve always wondered just where I “fit” photographically. There are so many superb picture takers and image makers out there. And I have been inspired by all of them.
Recently, I realized what I really like to shoot. First and foremost, I’m a landscape photographer. I love shooting macros too, but taking pictures of people, NOT! I can do it, just doesn’t churn my butter, as they say.
After many years of shooting landscapes, I realized what I really liked doing, and was pretty good at, was putting together panoramas. I seem to have an eye for just what needs to be in there to make it both a big picture and still retain all the elements that make a photo interesting.
So, expect to see lots of panoramas of places I have been. And I hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Here’s a couple from our trip to Quadra Island this past July.
Click on them to get the BIG picture 🙂
Till next time,
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.
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.
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.
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.
We do like our waterfalls and there are so many lovely ones here in BC.
Until next time,
It’s been a while since I did a “trip report” so this week, I thought I’d share one of the hikes we did last August in Wells Gray Provincial Park, BC.
Wells Gray has become one of our favourite places to go for a long 4-5 day weekend. The first time we went several years ago, we had a friend who had a house there she wasn’t using and she let us stay in it. After that trip, we were hooked on this park and area. There’s so much to see and explore, especially if you like waterfalls, which we do, and lots of opportunities to hike into the alpine so we couldn’t wait to return.
If you do decide to visit this park, be sure to stop in at the visitor’s centre right off the highway and pick up a copy of Roland Neave’s book, Exploring Wells Gray Park. It’s the best guide to the area. We got a copy of the 5th edition the first time we were there and were so impressed with it that when we went this past summer, we were happy to scoop up the newer 6th edition. And you can get it before you go, online!
This post I’m just going to focus on one hike that we did, the hike up the East Ridge of Trophy Mt. Trophy Mt is one of the major mountains in the park and you can come at it from various directions. Last time we headed onto its West slopes via Sheila lake so this time we wanted to try the other side.
We were not disappointed! It’s a great hike and you are rewarded with many great panoramic vistas once you actually get into the alpine, which only takes about 90 minutes or so. On the way up from the trail head, we were rewarded with lovely meadows that still had lots of flowers and stunning views of Raft Mt to the South, another peak we’d like to explore next time we go.
The first part of the trail takes you through some lovely forest with a couple of great scraggly trees. Here’s one I really liked.
And a bit of wildlife on the way up. A butterfly perched on an aster.
As I mentioned, you pass through some lovely meadows before the views of Raft Mt start to come into play.
As you gain elevation, you begin to get views of Raft behind you so don’t forget to turn around and look because the light will definitely change on the way down and you don’t want to miss the changes.
A few pics of Raft Mt on the way up into the alpine.
And then you enter the alpine and things start opening up.
Now we’re really getting into the alpine and things open up with lots of territory to explore. You come to a cabin and from there you can go several ways. We stayed East, wandered up that ridge and eventually came to a lovey viewpoint where we had lunch and just chilled out on the rocks enjoying the views for a while.
Our high point and lunch spot.
A bit of a closeup of the what you see past the selfie hat.
I thought about heading up that bump foreground left but we decided we’d had enough elevation gain for the day and after lunch headed back down. Did a bit of loop to get back to the cabin and then headed back down to the car.
On the way back to the car I took a few more flower pics. Here’s one of a lousewort species.
We also ran across a bit of wildlife, too.
And then just because I happen to be a fun guy who likes fungi, had to take a quick shot of this one.
Well I took almost 200 pics on this hike so you can see I’ve really held back here and saved you from 40 pics of Raft from different viewpoints and so many flowered meadows. You just gotta go and see it for yourself!
Keep on ramblin’