Laurie comes from Yorkshire, UK, and for a while as a boy, lived in York. So when we saw the York Road sign on the highway near our motel in Campbell River, we decided to follow it and see where it went. (Sure, that's a silly reason to pick a destination, but when you're exploring, any excuse counts.)
York Road heads off into open country, mostly flat, mostly empty of anything but abandoned development sites, cleared and growing back in alders and young evergreens. Here and there we passed a house or small farm, some selling eggs or veggies, some with greenhouses and flowers. 9 kilometres of two-lane, winding road, with not much else to see. A pleasant enough drive, if a bit boring.
We came to a dead end. There were three houses, nicely fenced and landscaped, then nothing. We parked; we were here, wherever here was, and we might as well make the best of it. A narrow trail led off into the bush; we abandoned the car and walked in.
The bush was just bush. Tall evergreens, huckleberries, vanilla leaf, ferns. The trail went on, like the road, winding, seemingly aimless, until we came out onto the bank of a wide creek.
|Woodhus Creek*, looking upstream.|
This was in 2010. It had rained recently, and the creek was full, and flowing fast. But the bed was sandstone slabs, some carved down to make winding channels, most near the surface, both above and below. We were able to walk up and down the creek, and across to the other side without getting our feet wet.
It was beautiful; so calm, yet so busy with rushing water, so enclosed, like a room with green curtained walls, so varied, with deep, still pools and hurrying falls, green and red-brown and yellow and reflected blues, against the background of smooth, beige sandstone.
We came back again this year, after a long, dry summer.
|Wavy sandstone, a green and brown pool.|
|Clear water, turning the sandstone green.|
Have I mentioned before that I love sandstone? Probably. One thing I like is that, unlike most other rock, it absorbs water like a sponge. The wetness seeps up above the water level, painting the rock, softening all the contours.
|Laurie taking a photo of wet rock.|
|A tiny pool between two stones, reflecting the sky and trees above.|
|A thin sheet of water pours over a slanted slab. The little lines are individual plants, about an inch long.|
|Turbulence in a shallow, yellow pool.|
|Calm water, a brown growth on the bottom, and Water striders!|
|The pinpoint feet make big snowshoe reflections on the bottom. If you click on this to see it full size, you will notice that the water striders are not above the shadows. If you were a bird looking for a cool snack, you'd get a beak full of nothing.|
|Laurie, out in the middle of the creek, deciding that, in spite of his injured leg, he could easily jump that channel.|
|Green and beige of the sandstone, yellow-ochre muck, glittering water.|
We had been hot and tired (me) and sore (Laurie); now we were behaving like children. We floated leaves down the stream to see them drop over falls, then be caught by eddies and spin off into becalmed pools. We followed them as they wound back and forth, dropping every now and then to a new level. I threw that stick, above, into deep water and watched it get hung up in the shallows, then, no doubt because of the pep talk I was giving it, shaking itself free and finding a good current again.
Eventually, we remembered our dignity, calmed down and went home.
|Near the edge, a fern finds a crack in the rock.|
But not yet. There's more to see! But that will wait until tomorrow.
|On the trail back, the trees stand tall.|
*Woodhus Creek flows into the Oyster River, just a couple hundred metres beyond this point. The river is on the map, but not the creek.