Have you noticed that Blogger keeps tweaking things on their new edition? Little things, but I think it means they might be listening to bloggers.
We've been away for a week, not far from home, camping in our little trailer/caravan. Our site was a short walk from the ocean, but we spent most of our time in the mountains, a 30 minute drive away.
Strathcona Provincial Park is in the middle of Vancouver Island, and has delighted visitors since 1911, making it the oldest provincial park in BC. Many lakes and alpine tarns dot the landscape, along with rivers and streams, meadows and mountain peaks.
Whisky Jacks, also known as Canada Jays or Grey Jays swoop down at the first sign of food to alight on outstretched hands. This Jay seems to be looking at Tim as if to say, "Where's the food?"
The blue Stellar's Jay isn't quite as friendly, but forages on the ground and flies into the cover of trees for safety. They are the only crested jays west of the Rocky Mountains.
We intended to do just a short hike to Lake Helen McKenzie, however, once there, we thought we'd go a bit further. The Kwai Lake Loop is 15.6 kilometres and although we'd begun our hike in the late morning, we estimated that we could do the loop and be back by 5:00 pm. The trail became more challenging as we went on with masses of roots and muddy patches to navigate.
We were surprised to see a ranger station on Forbidden Plateau. It's situated in a beautiful spot with an alpine tarn in front and meadows beyond. A view of the mountains would be visible on a clear day.
In the winter, the cabin is covered with snow, and to access the cabin for inspection, the maintenance crews digs down to walk directly into the top floor. There are three bedrooms, a common area and small kitchen in the cabin. Every kilometre of the trails is walked by crews at least once a year to keep everything in good repair.
We sat beside Kwai Lake to eat our lunch of crackers and cheese. A few campers had pitched tents alongside the lake. It's a peaceful and magical spot, full of quiet beauty.
|From top left to right: Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis), Fireweed (Epilobium angustifolium), White Bog Orchid (Platanthora dilatata): Middle row: Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatas), Subalpine Daisy (Erigeron peregrinus): Bottom row: Arctic Lupin (Lupinus arcticus), Fringed Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia fimbriata), Menzie's Burnet (Sanguisorba menziesii)|
Along the way I stopped to take photos of some of the many wildflowers growing in swaths in the meadows and beside the trail. They are mostly small and delicate, but en masse provide waves of colour in the meadows.
Wild blueberries are just beginning to ripen and we picked a few as we went along. They grow singly, and it would take a long while to fill a bucket with them.
Our return path on the loop was much easier than the ascending portion. The trail was longer, but smoother and easier to walk. We passed Lady Lake, Battleship Lake, and a multitude of unnamed tarns like the ones above that lie in natural terraces formed by glacial erosion eons ago.
We were back at the car shortly before 4:30, quite pleased with our spontaneous long hike. We stopped and picked up food for dinner and enjoyed it thoroughly. Hot showers, a relaxing evening, and we slept well that night. Before retiring we walked out to the ocean once more and caught the evening light illuminating the waves on the point.
Home again now. Tim is on vacation this week and we're puttering around home, enjoying the relaxing change of pace.