Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Strathcona Provincial Park and the Young Men's Camp

We live in truly one of the most beautiful places on the planet. And this is the eve before they take off on their summer camp, both the boys and my husband Stephen. They're heading for Buttle Lake in Strathcona Park, just north of Campbell River on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada.
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The theme of the camp this year is "We finish what we start". They've got lots of activities planned as well as a few shorter hikes but on the final day I know they're tackling a 10 hour hike so I'm sure they will all come home and sleep!

The terrain is varied in Strathcona park from Alpine lakes, to deep forests, snow covered mountain peaks to sandy beaches. Imagine if you worked here and got to see the spectacular sights of things like Della Falls which has a drop of 440m over 3 cascades. It's just to the left of the Park Ranger in the picture, can you see it?

Here's the view from nearer the bottom. It's hard to tell where the clouds end and the mountain top begins so have a good close look. It's so beautiful to see a waterfall just tumbling down the mountain and into the forest. I wonder if the trees on the east coast grow as massive as they do here. On the coast of course trees grow for most of the months in the year and some species can reach incredible sizes. I'm going to take Dave, our friend who is staying with us, to Cathedral Grove which has some famous trees in it. I'll make sure I take pics and post them. If you come to visit Vancouver Island, it's located right off the Alberni Highway on the central island. Well worth a visit if you like nature. The trail system was much more extensive before some wind storm damage blocked trails and made them unfeasible to clear and re-open. The current trails take you among the trees and there are interpretive signs for you to read all along the route which crosses the highway so be careful. Parking is in lots at either side of the highway and the speed is 50 km/h right in the park section but please be careful crossing the road. The best time of day to come is early morning or evening. Less people and cars and the light through the forest canopy is beautiful. Spring is also a nice time of year to visit. Bathrooms are available and the trails are somewhat handicap accessible with assistance. They are mostly flat and level but bumpy. It's a good place to take the kids too but please keep an eye on them to make sure they stay on the trails (and not on the trees) and keep your dog on a leash. People from all over the world including all our WWOOF'ers come to visit and see these spectacular trees, some of which were alive before Jesus Christ walked the earth over 2000 years ago. The trees pictured here courtesy of the CBC are in a stand that has mostly 800 year old specimens. But I'll post more about Cathedral Grove in a few days.

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