Saturday, March 14, 2009


All set for a fresh hiking season, I set out on a trail today that climbs up above Cameron Lake on Wesley Ridge to mountain tops that give a view of Georgia Strait to the east.

My trusty guide book also promised a 360 degree view further on, but I lost the trail in the snow so I headed back down to an arbutus bluff overlooking the lake. I had my lunch and went home very satisfied with the challenging two-hour hike.
The second viewpoint will be something to look forward to later in the spring or summer.
Along the way, I saw a varied thrush, and a merlin and heard a red-breasted nuthatch.
That little taste made me want to share some of the other great hikes I've enjoyed on central Vancouver Island.

Last July, I tackled Teodoro, a gorgeous climb up above Sproat Lake between Port Alberni and Tofino.
Like so many trails, finding the start was a challenge and when I returned to my car about four hours later, I had a flat tire.
Still, no regrets.

The name Teodoro lead me to research how it came to have such an exotic moniker, and there's a good story there.

The local man who built the trail named it for the Mexican environmental activist Teodoro Cabrera Garcia who, along with Rodolfo Montiel Flores, was tortured and jailed in May 1999 for opposing forestry company Boise Cascade's logging in the Sierra de Petatlán in southwestern Mexico where they live and farm.

In 1995, the Idaho-based logging company, which also operates in Canada, signed a deal with the state of Guerrero to buy large tracts of land. Mexican farmers watched as entire forests were logged and hauled away by the truckload. The deal, made possible the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), caused a dramatic surge in the rate of destruction of one of North America's last old-growth pine and fir forests.

Teodoro and Rodolfo organized farmers to speak out against the clear cutting of the forests, which they also depended on for their livelihoods. They were on their way to stage a demonstration in the capital of the state when they were stopped by federal police officers. Without warning, the police began shooting, killing 17 and injuring 20 more.

The two men were taken to a military camp, beaten and told to confess to drug trafficking.

Their case drew international attention, including that of Amnesty International, and the men were finally released in November of 2001.

Eventually, Boise Cascade left the area, claiming that the inconsistency of wood supply had forced them to close shop. Many were convinced it was directly related to the activities of Garcia and Rodolfo.

I've planted Boise Cascade blocks in northern Ontario where only the bears know what they're up to.

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