A couple of successful hikes today – a ‘dog-friendly’ hike around the Lake Helen Mackenzie Loop, and a moderate hike/nature walk with CV Nature up Wood Mountain in the southeastern part of Forbidden Plateau. The Helen Mackenzie hike attracted three dogs & twice as many people, on an enjoyable outing around the 8.5 km loop.
About a dozen naturalists hiked 2 km up Wood Mountain to about the 940 m elevation level. Several interesting flowers were blooming along the old road , and various berries are starting to emerge!
One of the first little flowers to catch the eye was the delicate Scouler’s harebell (Campanula scouleri).
Along the way were patches of pretty twinflower (Linnaea borealis) , the favourite flower of Swedish botanist Linnaeus who is considered the ‘father of taxonomy’.
The rocky outcrops were examined for some of the more unusual plants.
The botanists on the hike were excited to find one of the grape ferns (Botrychium sp.) which derive their common name from the grape-like cluster of sporangia borne on a fertile frond separate from the sterile, vegetative leaf .
More showy plants included several flowering red columbine (Aquilegia formosa).
A tall cluster of tiger lily (Lilium columbianum) was even more eye-catching.
Views of the Comox Valley increase higher up Wood Mountain. It was low tide in Comox Bay with extensive mudflats inside Goose Spit.
Wild strawberries (Fragaria virginiana) were tiny but abundant all the way up the hill.
Western tea-berry (Gaultheria ovalifolia) is related to salal (Gaultheria shallon) and the berries were quite tasty.