August 19, 2014
by KapteinK
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“The Dangers of the Forest” : a small tale

One of the participants on Saturday’s ‘dog-friendly’ hike to Lake Helen Mackenzie sent the following story, written for his nephew.

The Dangers of the Forest

Once upon a time there was a dog that used to love spending time in the mountains.
photo 1
Today, he is going to Strathcona Park with a group of friends.

We need to pay attention to cougars. There have been sightings of cougars in this area.

photo 2
Look here are the park’s recommendations.

photo 3
Look at this twisting tree. Who has done that to him? Maybe the cougar…

After a while a friend asked: Look at this all water, what is this doing here?
It is only the winter snow when it melts, replied the dog.

After a while a friend asked: Look at this all water, what is this doing here? It is only the winter snow when it melts, replied the dog. Can we go swimming? Let me check it first. Oh, yeah! It is safe. After the refreshing bath, they continue their journey.
Can we go swimming? Let me check it first. Oh, yeah! It is safe.

After the refreshing bath, they continue their journey.

Look at that, there is a frozen big horse head in the bushes? Who has done that? Maybe the cougar…
Look at that, there is a frozen big horse head in the bushes? Who has done that? Maybe the cougar…

Look at this, there is a frozen dancer without the upper part of her body! Who has done that? Maybe the cougar…
Look at this, there is a frozen dancer without the upper part of her body! Who has done that? Maybe the cougar…

Oh look, here it is the cougar! But it is frozen. Who has done that? The frozen waters of the winters! Be careful my friend.
Oh look, here it is the cougar! But it is frozen. Who has done that? The frozen waters of the winters!
Be careful my friend.

Thanks Gabriel for this great story!

August 17, 2014
by KapteinK
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Upper & Lower Myra Falls

A great group of participants from the Comox Valley, Campbell River & Victoria enjoyed the hike to Upper Myra Falls at Buttle Lake yesterday, with a visit to Lower Myra Falls at the end of the day. Access to the trails is within Strathcona-Westmin Park – unusual in that it incorporates a working mine, separated out of Strathcona Provincial Park in 1965 and designated as a Class B provincial park.

Upper Myra Falls Trail

Upper Myra Falls Trail


The trail to the Upper Falls travels 4 km through old-growth forest with large boulders amid redcedar, Douglas-fir and western hemlock, with just about 150m of cumulative elevation gain.

Upper Myra Falls

Upper Myra Falls


Upper Myra Falls drops 60m into a turquoise pool below.

Queen's Cup

Queen’s Cup


We spotted several varieties of berries including the unique single blue berry of Queen’s cup . An exception to the usual rule of thumb that blue berries are edible – this single berry is considered mildly toxic.

False Solomon's Seal Berries

False Solomon’s Seal Berries


The spotted pale red berries of false Solomon’s seal are also unusual, and not palatable.

Bunchberry

Bunchberry


More common were the bright red clusters of bunchberry, which are edible.

Lower Myra Falls Pool

Lower Myra Falls Pool


While the Upper Myra Falls are pretty, the Lower Myra Falls are spectacular – with several terraces of basalt & limestone rocks alternating with turquoise pools.

Buttle Lake View From Lower Myra Falls

Buttle Lake View From Lower Myra Falls


From the lower viewpoint, views of Syd Watts Peak & even the southwest shoulder of Mt Albert Edward can be glimpsed beyond Buttle Lake to the northeast.

Uppr Myra Falls Upper Cascade

Uppr Myra Falls Upper Cascade


From a higher viewpoint, the upper terrace waterfall also spills into a beautiful aquamarine pool. The total loop trail is only 1.2 km.
The Strathcona Wilderness Institute 2014-2015 calendar features a beautiful photo of Lower Myra Falls by photographer Ron Otsu.

August 15, 2014
by KapteinK
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Weekend Updates

One of the participants in last weekend’s Mt Becher hike sent some great photos capturing the views from the peak.

Eagle Over Comox Lake

Eagle Over Comox Lake


Everyone had an eagle’s-eye view!

Overlooking the Beaufort Range

Overlooking the Beaufort Range


Thanks Sarah for the photos!

Hikers reported a cougar sighting in the Park: “a cougar sighting about 1 km past Helen Mackenzie Trail on the way to Kwai Lake. (about 11 am Aug. 13)”. A notice has been placed at the trailhead signboard. A link to BC Parks info on cougars is here.

Several Strathcona Wilderness Institute programs are on the schedule for this weekend. The hike to Upper Myra Falls in the Buttle Lake area tomorrow is full, but hikers (and dog-walkers!) can join the 3 hr hike to Lake Helen Mackenzie in the Paradise Meadows area. Meet at 10 a.m. at the Wilderness Centre, no pre-registration is required.

On Sunday August 17 there is a choice of two activities. For hikers, Julian Brooks will guide an outing to Panther Lake. Pre-register at coordinator@strathconapark.org for this 20 km, 8 hr. hike. Space is limited to 16 participants, no pets please.

Scarlett

Scarlett


For bird lovers, Mountainaire Avian Rescue returns with their charismatic ambassadors for a presentation at 1 p.m. at the Wilderness Centre . MARS Educational outreach worker Reg Westcott and Summer Student Volunteer Ashley will present “Dimorphism in Birds of Prey” with Ambassadors Scarlett and Horus- two Red-Tailed Hawks. Reg is staff with Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) as wildlife care supervisor. Join them at the Paradise Meadows amphitheatre from 1 to 3 pm for a presentation on these amazing birds and how they are affected by human interactions and don’t forget your cameras!

For all SWI activities, dress for the weather, wear proper footwear, bring lunch or snacks, water, bug spray and sun protection. All SWI activities are by donation, $5-10 suggested.