Strathcona Wilderness Institute

Super Hot

The BC Day long weekend is traditionally the busiest for visitors at Paradise Meadows, and this year was also the hottest weekend of the season! The temperature was reading 30 degrees in the shade outside the Centre. Visitors came from several countries but the majority stopping into the Centre were from BC: notably other areas of Vancouver Island (both north & south) and from nearby islands.

Mt. Alexandra seen from the Wilderness Centre

Lots of hikers went up Mt. Albert Edward as well – no difficulties or full campsites were reported.  In fact the Lake Helen Mackenzie campsite was reported to be only 1/3 occupied. Several hikers were going to the Cruikshank Canyon lookout & the trail was reported to be mostly free of snow.

Five-leaved Bramble (Rubus pedatus)
The berries are small & were not usually collected by coastal indigenous people.

It might have been too hot for the Saturday hike up Mt. Allan Brooks, but the ethnobotany talk on Sunday was well attended & enjoyed by a wide range of ages. Alison Maingon of Comox Valley Nature gave an excellent indoor talk for about 40 minutes followed by a 2 + hr. walkabout around the boardwalk.

Sitka Burnet (Sanguisorba canadensis)

Several new plants signs were placed out in the meadows, and a few brought in, as some flowers were finished blooming. Globeflower, marsh marigold, fern-leaved goldthread and bog-laurel are finished, and the heathers and shootingstar are past their peak in the meadows. Now there is an abundance of subalpine daisy, sticky false asphodel, and Sitka valerian in the meadows, with Drummond’s cinquefoil, Sitka burnet, common butterwort, sickletop lousewort and narrow-leaved cottongrass underway. Orchids are blooming and we found a few northern starflower and five-leaved bramble. A flower I hadn’t noticed before in the meadows is the third lousewort there: bird’s-beak lousewort.

Bird’s-beak Lousewort (Pedicularis ornithorhyncha)
The Latin species name is very descriptive: ‘ornitho’=bird; ‘rhynchus’=beak

A Hairy Woodpecker was making lots of noise on some snags but was too quick to photograph well. Steller’s Jays have also been rather noisy lately. Hikers reported goldeneye, which nest in the subalpine, on Battleship Lake. Salamanders were reported in the lakes but not enough information to identify exactly.

Hairy Woodpecker

The wheelchair was appreciated by several visitors this weekend including a 99-years-young grandmother visiting with her family. Hikers appreciate the water available at the Centre also, especially on this hot weekend. Donations for water bottle refills are always welcome, as Strathcona Wilderness Institute pays for all utilities at the Wilderness Centre (including water).

Donations in general are welcome! as the Centre is entirely staffed by volunteers for SWI – our mandate is to provide information and inspire appreciation for Strathcona Provincial Park.

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