Sunday, September 9, 2012

Adventure 36- Elk Falls Provincial Park

Hug the gentle giant
We accomplished this adventure earlier in the summer, the same day that we rode the Beaver Lodge Forest Land. This we our half way point, but I wanted to archive it so when we needed a weekend at home or Natalie was away, it would fill in. I awoke feeling tired, my head was sore and felt like a quiet day at home was in order. Of course, while laying on the couch would have been great, there were things to do, so I ended up canning applesauce, making apple chips and experimented with pickled eggs. September is the best month of the year as far as this forager is concerned. If only I could take the month to prep food, probably could get enough stored to keep us going for most of the year. With deer hunting, mushroom picking and so many vegetable and fruit ready to harvest, there is absolutely not enough time to do all that I want. Add in a weekly podcast, blogging and the 9-5, the slate is full. Not that I am complaining, enjoying it all the way, one has to pick the battles that we tackle on the weekends.
Wheelchair accessible trail
The day we ventured north to Campbell River we left extra early because I wanted to explore Elk Falls Provincial Park before having our bike ride. Elk Falls is located in two different areas. There is the Quinsam River campground that is located 2 kilometers from downtown Campbell River. The entire park is nearly 1100 hectares in size. The day use area at the 25 meter waterfall is 5 kilometers from downtown, and at the top of General Hill. If you are not familiar with General Hill, it is hard to miss. It is about a kilometer long and steep. A tough haul with a camper or towing a boat, one day I want to ride my bike up it, just to see if I can. As I have mentioned before camping in the Sayward Forest was part of every summer in my early 20's and am quite familiar to the area.
Stinging Nettle Flower
Follow the signs at the top of General Hill, take the first right and along until a one way bridge crosses the pipe line out of John Hart Lake. This pipeline feeds B.C. Hydro's John Hart Generating Station. The pen stock for this system includes John Hart lake, Lower Campbell lake, Upper Campbell lake, Buttle lake and, at one time, water was diverted from the Heber river, as well as the Salmon river. B.C. Hydro is undertaking a one billion dollar upgrade to the generating station and dam. Access to the park may be limited during the construction, but I am not sure on that fact.
Her "My side of the Mountain" shelter
From the parking lot at Elk Falls it is not a far hike down a few switch backed trails to see the waterfall and river. Huge trees are present in the park, apparently the only significant stand of Douglas fir trees north of Cathedral Grove, near Port Alberni. Plants that you would expect to see in such a damp location, including red alder, devils club, stinging nettles, and red cedar, were present. The trail down to the river view-point is wheelchair accessible, well compacted and void of muddy sections.
Devils Club
Natalie and Dusty played around with hollow stumps and fallen trees. We checked out a clay bank, and felt how smooth the material was. I dreamed about mixing that clay with straw and creating cob for home construction and other creative uses. Of course harvesting clay from a Provincial park is not allowed, seeing that much of it was very inspirational. At the end of the trail there is a fenced off area that allows for a great view of the plunging water down into the canyon below.
Elk Falls
The Campbell was, arguably, the most famous salmon river on Vancouver Island, maybe still is. The lower sections have wonderful runs, easy access, and lots of shoulder room for anglers. Although I stay away, and leave the Campbell for tourists. Hollywood superstars, politicians, and royalty would come to fish the waters that were so lovingly written about by Canada's first salmon conservationist, Roderick Haig-Brown. Haig-Brown fly fished the river and surrounding areas from the 1930's until his death in 1976. He probably did more singlehandedly to save the river from extermination than any one else. He successfully lobbied during the construction of the hydro project to incorporate safety measures to allow salmon and trout to live with the progress of the dams.
Towering Giant Red Cedar
Elk Falls Provincial Park and surrounding area is an easy and close way for families to explore the outdoors. While in Campbell River stop by the River Sportsman and show your children the full size mounts of cougars, grizzly bears, small game and fish, along with many shoulder mounts of ungulates. If your timing is right, one can observe anglers plying the waters of the Campbell right from the windows of the store. Find Adventure.

No comments:

Post a Comment