Tag Archives: rain forest

Road Trip to Victoria, Part 2

After our delicious lunch at Ottavio’s deli in Oak Bay Village, Victoria — www.ottaviovictoria.com — Jamjarjude, Ralphie and I hopped back in the car and headed back to Nanaimo. But we made a stop at the Goldstream National Park — www.goldstreampark.com — just¬†before we hit the dreaded Malahat (crazy road, crazy drivers) — the main road out of Victoria.

Running through the centre of the park is a salmon-spawning river.

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No salmon there this time of the year, but there are signs along the river which explain the whole cycle.

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I’d love to go back when the salmon are running, although the salmon also bring out the bears. ūüôā

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It was a lovely day, and the forest was cool and quiet, the path springy underfoot from bark and moss. We followed the river…

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…passing the knarled trunks of dead “wildlife” trees — homes to insects for birds like woodpeckers…

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…pass “nurse” trees sprouting octopus-like growth…

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…past fallen trees, which Ralphie had to inspect…

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…and the stumps of long-gone giants.

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The saskatoon berries were starting to ripen… bear candy…

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…and¬†plants were unfurling into their full glory on the forest floor.

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All along our walk, the river rippled beside us…

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…tempting Ralphie for a drink…

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…and a Canada goose for a wade.

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Eventually we came out of the forest onto a marshland where the streams were full of the honks and squawks of ducks and geese…

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…a lovely place for a picnic… some day.

Then we retraced our steps, piled back into the car and headed up to Nanaimo. But our day wasn’t quite finished yet! Jamjarjude made a turn off the highway to Shawnigan Lake. “I know a little place for lunch,” she said.

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It was off the beaten track. So unassuming it was easy to drive by. But, oh, what you miss if you drive by! The West Arm Grill — www.westarmgrill.com .

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With a view out over the lake from our table by the window…

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…and the most delicious spinach salad I’ve ever eaten.

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Yes, I do actually eat salad sometimes. (JJJ had the caesar salad which she gave a thumbs up too).


The Big Tree

I had an errand to run in Port Alberni yesterday, and on the way back I stopped at Cathedral Grove to see The Big Tree. I’d missed it the last time I was there with Jamjarjude — it was in another part of the grove and we didn’t have time to trek there. But this time, I was on a mission.

But, of course, once you walk into Cathedral Grove, with its centuries-old redwoods, your pace is slowed and your mouth drops open. Because all you can do is look up.

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The grove goes on for miles, but only a small portion of it is accessible. The paths are covered with moss, which drapes from branches like swags of green velvet.

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The grove is so quiet… you tend to find yourself whispering. It is a place of awe.

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Then the quiet is broken by the murmurings of a brook, and, for a moment, I bring my eyes back to earth, to reconnect.

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I pass a lightning tree – a giant which has been immolated by¬†a blast of lightning from a sky god…

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…just the one tree, in the middle of the forest, all its neighbours untouched.

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Then, it is there. The Big Tree. A Douglas fir eight hundred years old. Already 300 years old when Columbus set foot on the New World. Born at the end of the 12th century, when Richard The Lion-Heart was on the throne of England, and Genghis Khan’s armies overran Asia. Still alive. A connection to all that has lived since it’s birth.

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Seventy-six metres tall, nine metres round, taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. And still growing. It has another two hundred years to go before it starts its decline.

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And I touched it of course.


Footprints in the Mud

My sister, Jamjarjude, Ralphie and I went for a walk the other day in Aldergrove Regional Park in the morning¬†and Campbell Valley Regional Park in the afternoon, near where she lives on the BC mainland. There were all sorts of strange and wonderful things to be found in the woods…

…ferns unfurling, looking like alien creatures…

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…or clinging to trees like a beard.


There were strange fungii…

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…a lightning tree…

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…and another face in the forest.

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There were flowers (of course). Trilliums….

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…and skunk cabbage — and yes, it smells just like skunk…

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…delicate bleeding hearts…

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…buttercups hiding under a bridge.,,


…and a tree stump garlanded with flowers.


A tiny bird came to eat some seed off a log…


…and there were turtles sunning on an island.


There were sparkling streams…




…and pretty ponds.


There were even footsteps in the mud. Big footsteps.

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Cathedral Grove

Jamjarjude, Ralphie and I piled into the car yesterday and headed out of town. Travelling west. Going as far as we can until we are stopped by the Pacific Ocean.

En route we stopped at Cathedral Grove.IMG_4203

We arrived early, and the forest was ours.


A place where you are compelled to look skywards…



…in the company of giant Douglas firs and Western red cedars, some of them over 800 years old and 76 metres high. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is 56 metres high. This is a forest of giants.


And some, babies.


A cathedral to nature.


A place of silence and reflection. And beauty.

Beauty Stripped Bare

As much as I love to see the green unfoldings of spring, there is something about the uncompromising starkness of nature unadorned which holds its own appeal.

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And nowhere is this more in evidence than on the misty islands off the coast of British Columbia, where the wild is there to be found in all its stripped back, unapologetic beauty.

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There is something about the monochrome landscape which seems veiled and hidden…

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…it whispers secrets which we can’t quite hear…

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….and promises¬†fantasies we can’t imagine.

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I must go back again, to see if I can uncover the secrets it holds.

A Little Bit of Wonder

I headed out to the woods with Ralphie today — the sky was as blue as gentians but the wind sliced through the blueness like shards of glass.

walk at neck point 040We headed into the woods, expecting to find no one. But what we found was…magical. There was a tree inviting offerings and wishes…

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…and love painted onto rocks in a pond…all you need is love….

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…balancing stones…

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….and tree bark as red as fire…

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…or as ribbony as string.

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There are always wonders to see in the forest.

The Enchanted Forest

Today Ralphie and I walked through an enchanted forest. Past the evergreens, beyond the grasses, down a path I’d never taken before, there were trees dressed in green velvet….

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and rocks sprung with their velvet hearts out of their bed of orange leaves….

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and there was a fairy ring of toadstools….

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and fairies.