Union Bay Coal Hills

Large chunks of black rock on the beach at Union Bay are remnants of the area’s historic use as a coal shipping terminal between 1888 and the 1960s. Pilings are other evidence of historic industrial activity at Union Bay. I’ve lived in the Comox Valley for some time now but have never walked out into the coal waste hills at …

Lions in the Dunes at Goose Spit

The sand dunes at Goose Spit are a small and remarkable place to visit in the Comox Valley. It is easy to miss this unique dune ecosystem located about mid-way from the last parking area at the gates of HMCS Quadra and the end of the spit. Yellow Sand-verbena (Abronia latifolia) can be found in the dunes at Goose Spit. The dunes …

Awe Inspring Avatar Grove

The main attraction at Avatar Grove, an ancient gnarly western redcedar. Avatar Grove is an awe inspiring grove of old growth western redcedar and huge Douglas-fir trees. It’s hard to describe the feeling in this quiet forest near Port Renfrew. The trees are immense, towering over a forest floor covered with a chaotic jumble of fallen moss-covered wood, deer fern, …

Rossiter Lake Ramble

I’ve been meaning to hike down to Rossiter and Divers Lake for some time but they’re a bit off the beaten track and access is essentially in and back. Both of these gorgeous lakes were added to Strathcona Provincial Park back in 2003. Rossiter Lake Access to Rossiter Lake (the first lake in the chain) is via logging roads. I …

Bravery Needed at Bonnell Creek

Two of the three main drops at Bonnell Creek Falls. Some waterfalls are challenging to get to—Ammonite Falls and the Trent River Falls are two good examples. Both of these require a rope assisted descent down a fairly steep slope. I’m not fond of heights and have visited both of these locations several times without problem. Bonnell Creek Falls are just a …

Return to Rosewall Creek

I like the hike up Rosewall Creek—it’s fairly easy going and the walk doesn’t take much more than 45 minutes to get to the first view point of the main falls. At this time of year, the water levels are high and accessing good view points for photography is challenging. Rosewall Creek flows through lush west coast forest. Today I …

Radar Hill Beach

Remote Radar Hill Beach is a challenging destination in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. It’s definitely off the beaten track in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and takes a little effort to get to but the Radar Hill Beaches are spectacular. The trail down to the beach is not maintained by Parks Canada and the going is fairly rough—there are …

A Helleva lot of Velella

One of the early arriving Velella velella last week on Wickaninnish Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. It’s like some ill-conceived, poorly planned invasion on the shores of the west coast of Vancouver Island. In the last week, small blue jellyfish-like creatures have been landing on the beaches of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in the millions—large swaths of …

Cassin’s Casualties

I usually find interesting things washed up at the high tide line along Wickaninnish Beach in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve—fresh bull kelp is common, as are various types of shellfish and moulted dungeous crab shells. Sometimes the odd sand lance silvers in the sand, and once I found a dead seal. Birds are much more rare. A couple of …

Serene Schooner Cove Sunset

Looking west at the setting sun at Schooner Cove in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Yellow Sand-verbena (Abronia latifolia) in the foreground amongst the drift logs. Schooner Cove in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is one of my favourite places on the west coast of Vancouver Island to visit. It takes a little longer to get to (about 30 to …