Princess Louisa Inlet
"It has been said by people who have travelled the world and viewed all its beauty spots that two places stand out as the greatest mountain scenery in the world. One is Princess Louisa and the other is Milford Sound in New Zealand." Ray Phillips, The Royal Fjord
The distance from the boat launch at French Creek to Chatterbox Falls at the head of Princess Louisa Inlet is 70 nautical miles. Our boat chugs at about 7 knots. You can figure out how long it took us to get there. We broke the trip into two days, and it didn't seem overly long.
Unfortunately, smoke from the BC wildfires drifted westward and obscured the view. At times it felt like we were drifting on an unknown sea, not certain that there was anything beyond the next point of land.
The inlet is narrow and tall vertical peaks rise sharply from the water, so high that we had to tip our heads far back to see the peaks (or their outline, as the case was).
Chatterbox Falls lies at the head of the inlet, a torrent of freshwater, fed by multiple waterfalls above, rushing over rocks and logs to the saltwater. We anchored our boat, at the bottom of the falls for the best view in the house (our boat is the little one on the left) for a blissful few days.
We rowed our little dinghy along the shore and captured these photos with the falls in the background. It was hot and the spray refreshing.
Yours truly. This is my boating hair - curly, frizzy, wild. I tie it back in a pony tail to try to control it. I am so thankful for my flat iron!
The mist from the falls rises in great clouds wafted here and there by the breeze. Beautiful moss covers rocks and logs; tiny star-shaped flowers bloom in the hidden places. The water falls and falls in unending streams, creating a lush environment.
The trails near the falls are not long and we like to get out and hike. We saw this sign, talked to a family who had done the trail, and set out one morning to do the same. 550 metres = 1800 feet. It was strenuous, alright. We made it in 1 hour 45 minutes, scrambling up rocky faces, using tree roots as foot holds, and sweating a lot. I can't imagine the Trapper who once lived up here who would have hauled his supplies from the inlet up this trail.
The Trapper chose a beautiful spot for his cabin (now in ruins) beside another waterfall. How lovely it was to let the cooling spray fall on our faces. Taking these photos with my camera's timer feature proved hilarious. There are other takes where I'm scrambling over the rocks and don't quite make the photo.
Here's a little perspective. The white speck above the "w" in white is the Trapper's Cabin waterfall. Our boat is in the bottom of the photo. After our descent we changed into swimming suits and bathed in the stream coming off Chatterbox Falls. Brrrr!
In the inlet, the water was completely calm, disturbed only by the comings and goings of boats and the occasional float plane. There are tour operators who bring people here for an hour or so, by fast boats or planes to see this amazing place. I suggest you do an internet search to truly see the beauty of this place. My smokey photos are but sad representations.
It is such a peaceful place. The continual chatter of the falls dulls other sounds. Admiring the scenery takes time and is utterly absorbing. The quietness of nature seeps deep into my mind and soul.
Another day, on a tip from friends, we rowed to a stream trickling down through the rocks, climbed a very short ways and found this small waterfall. Two rocky pools, one just below the falls and another a bit lower, are completely hidden from shore and also very "refreshing." This was another case of using the delayed timer on the camera and I had just fallen into the water at this moment. I look at these photos and think that we are very silly for our ages. But we do have a lot of fun together.
A low-flying heron. You can barely make out the far shore. It was indeed eerie.
And our view leaving the inlet, still smokey. The next day the smoke blew away and it was lovely to see blue skies and real clouds. One day we hope to return to Princess Louisa Inlet when there is no smoke.