Monday, August 10, 2020

In the Mountains


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. 


  1. There is something so special about Canadian lakes. That beautiful blue/green of the water. Your walk sounds stunning and exhausting too. Sounds like you are making the most of summer. B x

  2. That was quite a long walk! Such beautiful places deserve to be looked after. Sadly, if that was in UK it would be full of tourists leaving litter.

  3. How lovely! We haven't been camping yet this year and going at all looks unlikely as the toilet and shower blocks on many sites are still closed, it'll be the first year we haven't camped since 1997. I do especially love it when you show me birds that I don't recognise, that's how I know that you really do live on the other side of the world. x

  4. Lorrie, I thoroughly enjoyed this post and seeing your part of our world. I know it is beautiful. I have a fondness for Jays and we feed them their peanuts every morning. The Blue Stellar'S Jay is a beauty. Enjoy your week.

  5. What a gorgeous hike. Growing up we hiked all over California's national parks. So much beauty in the West.

  6. The photos are beautiful, Lorrie. I really like the wildflowers.

  7. i always love hiking along with you and Tim to see all the beauty that you discover along the way. Those stellar jays are stunning! I get many bluejays to my little waterfall. They love taking a dip and a bath. Enjoy your week, Lorrie!

  8. I love that Stellar Jay...what a handsome fellow. And how nice to really get way out away from civilization and enjoy nature. You did great identifying all the wildflowers. I have the hardest time with that. I'm glad you had some food and water with you so you could keep hiking. What a fabulous place!

  9. What a beautiful place to hike and camp. It sounds like the perfect time!

  10. Stunning landscapes, your 9 plus mile hike is quite a hike!
    A wild jay perching on a hand looks like such fun. The Stellar jay is a gorgeous bird.

  11. Those who hike reap the rewards of so much beauty. Thanks for sharing it. Glad you could get away and enjoy the peace of the mountains. Don't pull any muscles with projects on hubby's staycation!

  12. I so admire you and Tim walking so far - I know I could never keep up with you!
    Beautiful views and wildflowers.

    Yes, you're correct Lorrie, Blogger continues to tweak things and to move the date forward for the actual changeover, so they must have issues still.

    I don't like the 'labels' now, plus sometimes have a problem with centering.

    Now I need to teach myself the new version of PicMonkey also - I'm afraid I'm getting too old for all these changes, they wear me out!

    Mary x

  13. What a lovely trip! It has been really hot here and all your green coastal views are welcome. Take care. Kit

  14. I lost my comment!!!!

    I was telling, how such things as "New Blogger," use we bloggers, to help Blogger fix problems, with the "New". It is called BETA. I don't like this. Yes, it is free. But......

    Gorgeous photos, especially teh last one... water.

    'Miss BB'🐝🐝
    "Beside a babbling brook" blog

  15. Oh Lorrie, your post is wonderful . . . such beauty in every photo. I could almost smell the forest's fresh pine scented air. I'm so delighted that you were able to get away and enjoy this time together. Making lovely memories are treasures that will last a lifetime :)
    God bless you both and thank you for allowing us to tag along.
    Connie :)

  16. Such a gorgeous place to visit and enjoy nature. We are missing our visits to family on Vancouver Island, and wondering when we will be able to visit again. I've been hearing lots about Blogger and the changes, glad that I moved away from it years ago.

  17. How beautiful what a wonderful walk. Thanks for sharing with us. This is one way to enjoy somewhere different now that we rarely go anywhere more than the short distance to the shops!!¬

  18. That was quite a hike you went on!! Beautiful pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  19. Spectacular images. Each one has a special beauty. I would love to see a Stellars Jay some day and those flowers and small lakes.Just gorgeous.

  20. Did that comment go through? I don't think so. I was saying that you will probably enjoy a few more hikes this week on Tim's vacation.

  21. The beautiful scenes, the wildlife, both flora and fauna, are a feast for the eyes, and your photography enables us to enjoy them from our arm chairs! Oh, i am sure it is all more stunning in person, but thank you for these wonderful images!

    I'll bet you did sleep well! You two are amazing!

  22. Your camping hike sounds wonderful! I love the wild flowers and how you name them one by one.
    Have your found things you like about the new blogger? I don't do so well with change. I promptly went back to the old,
    even though I do not have spell check.

  23. It is difficult to understand just why new blogger is taking so long to sort itself out. They have been fiddling with it now for over a year!!!
    We only have one type of Jay here, and they are the complete opposite to yours - very timorous, private birds.
    You are lucky to have such beautiful countryside on your doorstep. Currently, I am finding that I need a break from the home routine each week. To have something new and interesting each week to visit or do helps keep me sane.

  24. Lorrie - yes, I have noticed subtle changes to Blogger. The only big issue I still have is that I cannot add captions to photos.

    Anyway, much more important is the beauty of this post. You know I am a huge wildflower fan, and I am glad to say I recognized most of these plants. We also have both types of jays, but I had no idea a Gray Jay would come to the hand for food. I will have to try that sometime. Glad you enjoyed your camping, and that you have some time together before hubby has to return to work!

  25. I love your new header - photos and the byline. At least it feels new to me. Enjoyed the photos from your camping trip. Loved your whisky jack and stellar blue jay - they make me want to go to the mountains, that's where we see them around here. Oh well, not this summer.

    I did notice that Blogger is still adjusting things. That's good. Trying to adds labels is still is a nightmare; the old way was a cinch.

    Wishing you a lovely evening...
    Brenda xo

  26. Dear Lorrie,
    Your outings are always full of adventures. You know how to make the most of your sojourns. Good for you!

  27. Oh Lorrie, what a wonderful post! You surely slept well after such a lovely day. :)
    The mountains, trees, birds, flowers... and the cherry on the cake, the ocean in the evening light. Already the word "ocean" makes me dream with my eyes open.
    I will use the "old Blogger" as long as it's possible.
    Have a good weekend!

  28. Your blue Stellar's jay is so handsome! And my husband would be over the moon to have that Whiskey Jack land on his arm. I bet you did sleep well after your long hike; maybe that would cure any insomnia. Sometimes I think that the Garden of Eden must have been in your part of the world!


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