In a simple day trip to Gold River and back, we stopped along the way to clamber through the bush to look at the back of the beaver lodge, to take photos of spiders in the hardhack and shelf fungi on the trees, to look at birds at Strathcona Park Lodge, to chase grasshoppers at Strathcona Dam, to climb a rock face beside a waterfall, to look at flamingos in Two Boat Pond, to try out newly-carved animal seats, and to chase crows at the Gold River docks. It was raining as we headed home; otherwise, I'm sure we would have stopped a couple more times.
I have tons* of photos to sort and process. These are from the campsite below Strathcona Dam.
Text of sign:
You are standing below the largest hydroelectric dam on Vancouver Island. Strathcona Dam is part of the Campbell River Hydroelectric System which includes the Ladore and John Hart developments and the Salmon River, Heber River, and Quinsam River diversions.
Strathcona was the last dam completed on the Campbell River Development project. This 53 meter high earth-filled dam created Upper Campbell Lake, a 48 kilometer long reservoir for water storage. The water that flows through this dam will drop over 200 meters, passing through three generating stations, Strathcona, Ladore, and John Hart, before it reaches the ocean. As you drive towards Campbell River, you will pass near two other reservoirs, Lower Campbell Lake created by Ladore Dam, and John Hart Reservoir created by John Hart dam. This major project was started in 1945 and took over 13 years to complete.
The campground, with the dam looming over it, has 11 overnight free campsites and large areas for day parking. When we arrived, there was almost no space left to park; cars and trailers and RVs were everywhere; it was the long weekend. It seems that no-one worries about the mass of water ready to drop on you. Signs warn visitors to clear the water and river banks if a siren sounds; water will be rushing down the spillway. The backwaters were alive with kids in rubber boats; the geese I've seen on other visits were in hiding.
We wandered around the weedy area between parking lots. First find: a humongous jumping spider. Or so it seems.
|About 25 meters long. As advertised on the campground map.|
And then there was the grasshopper. We chased him and his family for quite some time.
|It's hard to sneak up on a grasshopper on bare gravel.|
|But we tried. Pop can half tab included to show size. (I moved it on the photo; it was a couple of inches away.)|
|Trying to blend in on a mossy rock. And still aware of us; with the next leap, we lost him.|
|Lichen and moss on a rock. At least it stays put.|
|More lichen and moss.|
|Bladder campion, Silene vulgaris, going to seed.|
Nearly one o'clock, and we were hungry. Next stop, Strathcona Park Lodge.
*tons. Of photos. Digital. So not really tons. But you know what I mean.