Another goal that I have for doing all these adventures this year is to visit as many Provincial Parks as we can. I haven't counted how many are close enough for an easy day trip, but I figure it could be as many as 15 or 20, so we could get almost half our adventures this way. Just by visiting the different places in Strathcona Park we could have many adventures.
On our way home from the west coast of Vancouver Island, I thought that a stop in a Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park. Located just off of Highway 4, between Errington and Port Alberni, this pretty spot is an easy place for an afternoon adventure. The park encompasses the Little Qualicum Falls as well as the southern shore of Cameron Lake. Included in the park is a campsite as well as a day use area at Cameron Lake and the network of trails at the river. A wonderful forested trail follows along the gorge with two separate sets of falls, upper and lower. A chain link fence provides a safety net from accidentally leaning to far over for the view and and having a serious fall. Bridges cross the river above and below the falls to make for an hour long circle loop around the river.
I was pleasantly surprised by how many cars were in the parking lot when we arrived. And also shocked by how much heat was in the sunlight. It has been such a damp, unpredictable past month. Feeling the core warming sun was fantastic. The smell of the kinnickinnic and dry moss was intoxicating as we maneuvered our way along the path. Arbutus trees, Douglas fir, and Red Cedar trees lined both sides of the gorge. Pretty, fragile looking Licorice fern growing in the moss in places that would give a mountain goat shaky knees. The gin clear water allowed us to view the stones lining the river bottom, with all their contrasting colors.
As we approached the upper falls, the sound of the rushing water filled the air with a powerful symphony. Mist swirled around the tree branches and making the breeze visible. I never felt unsafe having Natalie (and Dusty) wandering around the edge because of the fence. The barrier isn't to tall to restrict the view, just enough to feel secure and safe. We did take one route that I figured was not built by the parks staff. No fall restriction was in place in this area so we quickly vacated the area. Natalie was awe stuck by the views and the amount of water coming down the narrow rocky channel.
I love the potholes and water features that are so prevalent on Vancouver Island. These gems are not as rare as one might think. Vancouver Island rivers are relatively short compared to main land flows, and with the rapid elevation changes, many rivers will have some kind of falls. Go look around for them in your backyard and Find Adventure.