Family and a bit of getting outside
Mount Douglas City Park make
significant part of the view out of my parents window. While most
people used every available moment to explore the interiors of Malls
(tis' the season), My Dad and I took the youngest out to the park to
play. Mount Doug has a few different parks - at the bottom
is a beach access, grassy fields and a kids playground - all
hits. I especially like the beach - it's not particularly sandy,
but it does have a stream (not a drainage outlet) merging with the
The second part of Mount Doug is the road up to the viewing platform at
the top of the mountain. Mount Doug covers at least two
different types of ecologies - west coast rain forest (dominated by
Cedar trees) at the coast line and rare Oak and Arbutus meadows at the
top of the mountain. The day was just about expired when we got
to the top so I was quite happy to see a few Oak trees poking through
The top of the mountain has a 360 view of the southern most part of the
island (including many of the Gulf Islands) and is surrounded by fairly
gentle rock bluffs that can be fun to scramble on (I'm sure the moss
isn't amused). Surviving a beach and a playground,
the kids were well behaved.
They even managed to nap on the brief car ride back to Mom's
house. Thanks Mom!
A second common tradition is
to visit my Grandparents
for Boxing day and a few days following. (It helps keep the crazy
boxing day spending under control). There are many
great outdoor activities in the Comox area, it's good to get out for an
afternoon stroll. My Dad and I took a walk to see the Medicine
Bowls - a small and fast canyon in the Brown River. In the
summer, there are a number of excellent swimming holes. It
reminded me of the Sooke pot holes or parts of the Capilano River in
Denman and Hornby Islands
year, for a bit of additional fun, I decided to
take a day trip (really a half day - I had to back by 4pm) trip to
Denman and Hornby Islands. The two islands, about 15 minutes
south of Courtney, between Vancouver Island and the Mainland, have a
long history of farming and independence. I caught the 8:20 am
first island you arrive on is Denman (you have to cross the island to
get to the Hornby Island ferry terminal). As much fun as a
morning ferry ride is, I held off on my second ride to explore Boyle
Point Provincial Park on the far eastern tip of Denman. It
has two great view points - the first is Eagle Island
Just past the Eagle Island outlook, is a view of
Chrome Island which is dominated by the manned lighthouse. It's
funny to be on a remote Island that you can walk from end to end in a
minute, but have power from the mainland.
I didn't have a particularly long day so I caught the next ferry over
to Hornby. Hornby is smaller and less populated but it is gifted
with a number of natural wonders. Most of them seem to be
concentrated in the eastern end at Helliwell Provincial Park.
After a short walk through an established forest you come out to the
bluffs overlooking the Georgia Straight. The exposed bluffs are
like nothing else I've seen in the Gulf Islands.
I have a love hate relationship with trees - while I love trees, I
really am without the means to take a good picture of them.
(Trust me, I've tried). Hornby has the only Arbutus Forest I've
even seen. Arbutus trees generally have a hard time here (they
flourish much further south and only exist here because of the
confluence of weather found in the Gulf Islands area), and generally
are only found near the shore fighting with other trees for a good
hold. At the tip of Hornby, they were the only species - like
they truly belong here. Walking back from the beach you
pass through a section of unlogged old growth forest with a number of
massive Douglas fir trees. Again a real treat.
Unfortunately, my time was running out so I had to make the two ferry
trip back to Vancouver Island. Hornby and Denman are well worth
the time to visit.
Tags: coast(8), gulf island(8), tree(4), Mount Douglas(3), silhouette(3), waterfall(2)
From: John Harvey Photo > Pictures of People > Christmas 2004
Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 01:00:03 Edit
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