Sunday, November 08, 2015

Almost full circle

In my earliest clear memory, I was standing on the dock in Tahsis, on the northwest coast of Vancouver Island. It was raining, just a drizzle. There was a boat; I think we had just landed. I was 4 years old.

A few days ago, checking maps and distances, I realized that I'm almost back where I started. There's a road through to Tahsis now, and it's less than a 3-hour drive from here. And the road is paved all the way to the west coast, at Gold River; after that it's gravel, and may be snowy going over two summits; they advise carrying chains in the winter.

So yesterday afternoon I headed west. I dawdled, stopping to take photos and look for mushrooms in the bush, so I only made it to the border of Strathcona Provincial Park, with 40 kilometres to go to Gold River, before I had to turn back to get home before night.

Coastal mountains, from the edge of Strathcona P. Park

Upper Campbell Lake. About 300 metres (1000 ft.) above sea level.

Three large lakes line up along valleys across the top of Vancouver Island, looking on the map like three wide rivers. First is Campbell Lake, in the hills just above Campbell River. It flows through a narrow neck into Upper Campbell Lake; the road follows the south side of the lake to the entrance to Buttle Lake; here it crosses and heads up the north side to the head of the valley going down into Gold River. I turned back just after the crossing.

Nameless islet at the west end of Upper Campbell Lake.

Spar tree in a logged-off area, with the new growth at its feet.

I'll post photos of some of the mushrooms I found tomorrow.


  1. We tried taking our kayak to Buttle but got stopped by at the Strathcona Lodge when our car died while we were checking out the establishment. Rather than camping and kayaking as we planned we stayed one night at Painter's Lodge. It was nice, but not as much fun as we would have had on our originally planned adventure. Turned out a fuel safety cutoff switch burned out just at that moment. We were lucky we were at the lodge where we could phone for a tow truck, otherwise the safety device could have been a danger device for us. - Margy

  2. I stopped at the Strathcona Lodge, thinking to get a coffee, maybe. But it's the wrong season; there were cars around, but all the chairs in the restaurant were on top of the tables, so I went on.

  3. More likely a seed tree. Mechanization has made spar trees obsolete.

  4. towhee, Thanks! That makes sense. I wondered, because it hadn't been topped.


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