A Weekend Around Nanaimo
Andrea's Parents are in town
After a short ferry
ride over from Vancouver and lunch at a Dutch deli we drove up to Rathtrevor
, just south of Parksville. The park is about the beach, but
there are a few fields around that would be perfect for a picnic or sports.
Between the parking lot and the beach there is a large grassy area
that the park is trying to recover. They have put up wood rail fencing
to keep people out and the ground seems to be recovering.
This park is locally
famous for the Brant Festival held in April (the weekend before we arrived.
We didn't see any Brant's when we were there but it's been a pretty strange
spring weather wise.
The beach is very flat - the high tide and low tide area's are perhaps
600 meters apart. Right at the top of the high tide area (storm serge
area) stuff has collected. The huge stump must have been blown up in
a storm. Some area's have built up huge rafts of kelp.
We walked out towards the beach
watching the ground life. Every patch of ground is unique. Andrea
noticed all these trails and then (to her delight discovered the snails.)
We found three different types of snails. First are the long snails
most often found in the sand. (I have a few books and I couldn't find
any of these snails). The carve these small trenches and sometimes congregate
in small groups. The other type of snail (more often found in the rocks)
is a bright orange shelled snail.
like the snails - I liked the sand dollars. More often than not, you
see just the shells. This one was bleached on the rocks.
Walking back, we passed this patch of wild flowers and
drift wood. I really like this picture.
One beach right to the next. Qualicum is a sandy beach and is much
shorter. We walked (measured later with the car) 1.8KM - walking until
sunset. I really liked the sand. It changes with the lighting,
it changes with the water, it changes with where it is on the beach.
The sand also makes a great background for ocean life. As I
said before, I really liked the sand dollars. Both of these dollars
are deceased. I particularly like the crashed space ship type sand dollar
- it's the merger of two very different organic shapes.
When I looked at these
rocks, I thought they would be a great for a black and white shot.
Nice stuff to play with (I need a lens wider than 28mm) but the contrast
just wasn't there. I'd love to know how these rocks got there - they
are the biggest things on the beach. To make it full circle - here
are some small rocks on their way to becoming sand.
The next morning we went on our two falls and a forest tour. We started
with the Englishman
- it's between Nanaimo and Parksville about 10km off the main
roads. The park itself has some nice plants growing by the path.
From the main parking lot, it's a short walk to the top set of falls.
There is a long suspension bridge that gives you a close panoramic view of
the falls. The water starts on a fairly wide plain and falls down a
crack that might be a weakness in the rock.
After the falls there is a short walk down to the next set of falls.
The bottom set of falls are farther away, but still very nice. I'm
sure that pool would be lovely (but cold) for swimming in.
We walked back to the car and grabbed lunch at Coombs. After a great
international lunch (and a little shopping) we drove to Cathedral Grove.
Our next stop was Cathedral Grove (part of MacMillan
). Cathedral Grove is a patch of old growth rain
forest that straddles the highway up to Port Alberni. The forest is
very lush - every surface is covered in moss and most of the floor is strewn
The forest was stuck by tragedy in 1997 when the "New Year’s Day" wind
storm knocked down many of the giant trees. In many places you can see
fallen or off vertical trees. Some of the largest trees are the ones
on the ground.
One of the cool details of the grove is all the moss. There are many
different varieties that live on pretty much every surface.
We stopped at the largest tree (the one in the background) for some snaps.
The tree is 76meters high, 9 meters in circumference, 9 feet in diameter.
We had the waterfall, then the forest, now it was time for the waterfalls
again. We drove back towards Qualicum and stopped in at Qualicum falls.
Little Qualicum Falls
We walked Little
backwards - we started at the bottom and then walked up
to the top. The river does have as much volume as Englishman,
but it's carved deeper canyons. Like Englishman River, swimming would
probably be deadly, but there are some beautiful pools.
The top of the waterfalls
start in a big pool and then pound through a tight gorge. Without anything
to give you a sense of scale, it's difficult to distinguish between a small
stream and the moderate river, but hearing the crash of the river gives you
a sense of the power involved.
Walking back down, you can in some places decended into the canyon.
It was getting closer to the end of the day and the light was definitely challenging.
After a pleasant walk we returned to Nanaimo for Dinner. Before dinner
we went for a short stroll.
After our two falls and a forest tour we had a little walk around downtown
Nanaimo. There is a nice (and quite) harbour with lots of fishing boats
and pleasure boats. Nanaimo seems to be trying to reinvigorate it's
The bastion (it's small) is a
neet piece of history to go along with the harbour. It was built to
protect the Hudsons bay employees and their families from attacks.
Nanaimo Rhododendron Garden
The next morning we got ready for our trip down to Victoria and to meet
my parents. We didn't get out of Nanaimo before we stopped again -
this time at the Rhododendron
in Bowen Park in Nanaimo. The park isn't huge and April is
a bit early for Rhodo's, but it is quite nice for a short stroll.
After a small car problem (torn muffler) we got on the road down to Victoria.
Goldstream is yet another provincial
. We went for a short walk to the nature house which highlights
many of the local bird species. This valley is lush.
It's April and prime tulip and dafodil season. The quality of the
plants are all of highest quality. Most flowers are free of blemishes
and of uniform size.
Two aspects of the gardens make the Buchart Gardens stand out. First
is the rare plants - flowers I've never seen before. I've never seen
these double tulips and double dafodils before and I was certainly impressed.
The second high point of Butchart gardens is the presentation. Many
plants are presented together to bring out the colors and highlight species.
The gardens can be appeciated on so many levels. The gardens used
to be a rock quary so there are pits and walls that have become fountains
and beds. The flowers themselves are well arranged, and at the smallest
level, the flowers are in pristine condition.
The Japanese Gardens
I've always had trouble photographing the Japanese Gardens. It's hard
to get a single focal point and the garden is often very busy. I didn't
see a garden like this when I visited Japan
but I think the garden is built using Japanese themes. These are a
few photos I do like.
The Butchart gardens have flowers year round.
And then we drove to the ferry and drove back to Vancouver. Thanks
for the weekend!
Tags: flower(22), garden(19), beach(15), waterfall(9), moss(6), tree(6)
From: John Harvey Photo > A Weekend Around Nanaimo
thanks for taking the time to display your pictures. I really enjoyed seeing them
Saturday, January 10th, 2009 at 07:48:43
beautiful pictures, just wondering where the Japanese gardens where?
Friday, September 25th, 2009 at 19:54:12
The Japanese Gardens are a part of the Butchart Gardens, just a little North of Victoria (Saanich Peninsula).
Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 00:27:49 Edit
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