Hemlock is a Beautiful Tree

Guest Post by Jocie Brooks I drive through Miracle Beach Provincial Park quite regularly, en route to my mother’s house. I always enjoy going through the park, where the boughs of western hemlock fan out on each side of the road in broad, sweeping sprays. When dusted with snow the effect is even more enchanting, like entering a scene from …

August Walks in Paradise

Summer flowers and insects in Paradise Meadows, Strathcona Provincial Park. Summer is in full bloom at Paradise Meadows, and the Strathcona Park Wilderness Centre has a full schedule of guided nature walks and hikes to enhance your appreciation of the natural splendor of Strathcona Park – BC’s first provincial park. The Wilderness Centre building located at the Paradise Meadows trailhead, …

Copperbush

Copperbush | Elliottia pyroliflora showing new buds Yesterday was a brilliantly sunny day so I decided that a quick trip up to Paradise Meadows was in order. I don’t usually go up to the Meadows at this time of year – it’s the transition time between summer and fall hiking, botanizing, and birding and winter cross-country skiing. At Paradise Meadows …

Shootingstars

Jeffrey's Shootingstar | Dodecatheon jeffreyi I was fascinated by the colour of the leaves of Jeffrey’s shootingstar (Dodecatheon jeffreyi) alongside a cold sub-alpine stream this week in Paradise Meadows, Strathcona Provincial Park. The leaves were a stark contrast to the dark water and grey day and a beautiful sign that winter is not far off. Jeffrey's Shootingstar | Dodecatheon jeffreyi …

Fern-leaved Goldthread

Fern-leaved Goldthread | Coptis aspleniifolia One of the easily missed plants in the sub-alpine is the fern-leaved goldthread (Coptis aspleniifolia). At this time of year the flowers are long gone but the basal, fern-like leaves remain since they are evergreen. More noticeable are the striking seed heads. The picture above shows an old seed head after the seeds have been …

Bramble Ramble

Five-leaved Bramble (Rubus pedatus) On a guided photography hike today I found myself (the leader) at the back of the pack, probably because I was walking slowly and admiring the fall colours and keeping an eye out for the small and interesting. Five-leaved bramble (Rubus pedatus) is one such plant. A member of the Rubus, or raspberry clan, this small …

Gray Jay

Gray Jay | Perisoreus canadensis One of the more common and frequently seen birds in the sub-alpine is the whiskey jack or gray jay (Perisoreus canadensis). In Paradise Meadows these social birds gather at places where hikers stop for lunch and commence aggressively begging for food. Unfortunately, many people give in to the begging either to “help” the bird out …

Crowberry

Crowberry | Empetrum nigrum At this time of year the berries in the sub-alpine are prolific. Crowberry (Empetrum nigrum) is one that is often overlooked or assumed by many non-botanists to be a blueberry. It is a low-creeping plant with needle-like leaves that somewhat resembles heather and produces berries that are a dark blackish/blue in colour. A quick consultation of …

Fall Colours in Paradise Meadows

White-flowered Rhododendron | Rhododendron albiflorum With the cooler weather in the sub-alpine meadows in Strathcona Provincial Park many of the shrubs are starting to turn to their fall colours. White-flowered rhododendron (Rhododendron albiflorum) and many of the blueberries (Vaccinium sp.) are getting better every day. Today was a gray, wet day and that seemed to make the colour pop a …

Summer on the Wane in the Sub-alpine

Menzies’ Burnet | Sanquisorba menziesii Subalpine Daisy | Erigeron peregrinus The last two days up at Paradise Meadows (located in Strathcona Provincial Park, BC) have definitely had a hint of the fall in the air. While this makes for good hiking weather (cool but not cold) it’s also a sign that the late summer bloom is nearly done and that …