Saturday, June 18, 2011

Gowlland Tod Park (part I)

I visited this park many years ago, but rediscovered it this spring and it seemed larger and wilder than I remember.

I've now made a few trips in order to span the 13 km ridge-top trail above the Saanich Inlet.

My first discovery along the trail was this little orchid. The fairy slipper (Calypso bulbosa) grows in dense forests along the coast from Washington State up to Alaska.

All of the wildflowers seemed especially plentiful and brilliant, possibly due to the long, cool spring we've had.

I started from the north end at McKenzie Bight and hiked the Timberman Trail along the top of the mountains standing on the east side of Finalyson Arm, deep in the Saanich Inlet.

The rest of the suspects were usual. This grey squirrel rushed my lens during the time it spent investigating me. Seemed very tame even though we met nearly smack dab in the middle of the trail where the fewest hikers venture.

Like so many Vancouver Islanders I've looked over at these green hills while racing along the Malahat drive on the other side of the inlet and wondered at that great stretch of wilderness.

One minute you're in town, the next you are out there on a ridge top, looking above at a kettle of turkey vultures and below at a little sip of the Pacific coming in to meet the salmon rivers that pour off the land.

My preferred stop on this hike was the Malahat Lookout where the big raptors soared.

I can't help it. I like it when I'm above the eagles.


Anonymous said...

beautiful :) Looks like a great spot!

Anonymous said...

Heather, as well as your stellar writing, of course, I LOVE your photos. I especially got a kick out of the squirrel who rushed your lens. Love it. Wish that I was closer so that you could take me on one of your adventures. I think that the boys would love your perspective and knowledge, too. Love to you. x