Walking the Wilds of Valhalla Grove

It was a warm summer’s day in mid July, as Greg and I trekked our way up a steeply rugged road in the remote reaches of the Alberni Valley. Earlier in the summer, we had been discussing the forests of Vancouver Island, when he had presented me with an idea. Was I interested in exploring one the most idyllic and impressive Yellow Cedar groves he had ever seen? The answer, naturally, was an emphatic “Yes!”

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Scuffling for Tulameen

It was summer of 2009, and the goal was Tulameen Mountain, a significant 2285 metre summit in the Coquihalla region’s Bedded Range.  Daylight broke as Chris and I drove the Coquihalla Highway, turning off at the Sowaqua Creek Forest Service Road. He’d heard of a new approach to the mountain using the southwest ridge, and I was naturally intrigued. Continue reading Scuffling for Tulameen

An Audience With The Alberni Giant

This year, I’ve been generously introduced to the wonders of the Nahmint River Valley, an irrepressible wilderness to which I have grown increasingly attached with each successive visit.

The location of the Nahmint Valley. The closest town is Port Alberni, on Vancouver Island

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The Harris Creek Spruce

Picture in your mind an ancient coastal temperate rainforest, undisturbed by man. Moss laden branches reach high into the canopy from the massive trunks that anchor them to terra firma. Home to considerable biodiversity and abundant wildlife, places like these are among the finest examples of nature at work. Everything is purposeful, from the smallest cone, to the chattering of the Red Squirrel, to the fallen giant decaying quietly amidst the ferns.

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Protecting Ancient Trees in British Columbia

Earlier this year, a concerned citizen happened to photograph a loaded logging truck on Vancouver Island’s Highway 19 near Nanaimo. On its sturdy deck was a sizeable log , somewhat less than three metres in diameter. The photo swiftly went viral, and that log ended up raising quite a furor in British Columbia, where many people are currently rallying to protect ancient forests. Truthfully though, you might be surprised or even unaware that countless trees of similar size are routinely cut down here in this province.

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The Surprising Kinkade Creek Fir

If you’re an aspiring tree hunter, or if you’re just looking for something to explore, there are times that new discoveries have a way of staring you in the face. What I mean by that is that on your quest for other objectives, whether well known or obscure, you might just encounter something interesting along the way. That was the case yesterday, when I decided to investigate a sizeable Douglas Fir that I had noticed a couple of years ago.

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Wandering Seymour Valley’s Old Growth Trail

When the topic of Seymour Valley’s big trees comes up, as it often does in my world, one of the first places I recommend visiting is the Old Growth Trail. Set deep in the heart of the valley near the Seymour Dam, and surrounded by the North Shore Mountains, it has a magic you won’t find anywhere else! 

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An ancient forest of the Old Growth Trail is always a captivating experience

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The Unheralded Stoney Creek Fir

Nearly nine kilometres along the Seymour Valley Trailway, in North Vancouver’s Lower Seymour Conservation Reserve (LSCR), stands a distinctively towering Douglas Fir. It receives thousands and thousands of visitors every year, standing as it does, alongside a popular recreational trail.

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The Return Of The War in the Woods: A Call to Action

When talk turns to the logging of ancient forests, unfortunately, time has proven that the more things change, the more they remain the same. 28 years ago, a heated battle to preserve Clayoquot Sound began on Vancouver Island. It was called, most appropriately, The War in the Woods. In 1993, concerned citizens joined forces to form a series of blockades to protest the clear cutting of old growth forests in Clayoquot Sound. This was to culminate in a movement that saw over 900 people arrested, and is acknowledged today as the largest act of civil disobedience in the history of British Columbia. In that fateful year, an estimated 11,000 thousand individuals arrived to take part in those protests.

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A Remnant of Yesteryear: The Kitty Coleman Fir

There was a time that the east coast of Vancouver Island was home to countless stands of ancient Douglas Fir trees that numbered among the finest British Columbia had to offer. While it’s well documented that most of them fell to the crosscut saws of the colonial era, there are, if you take the time to search, some remaining gems to be seen. One such tree is the one I call the Kitty Coleman Fir. Reputed to be the largest remaining tree in the Comox Valley by some accounts, it rests in a quiet clearing in its namesake park, just as it has for centuries.

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Travels and adventures past and present, from camping to hiking to searching for B.C.'s remaining old growth trees, and treks to the mountains