Local jems, hidden in plain sight.

Rosewall Creek.  I’ve driven by it a hundred times.  The trailhead is easy to miss, but so is a city bus if you’re not looking for it.

Clear and cold.  No swimming for me.

What is the story of this old sentinel?

Nope, wrong way.  I wonder where it goes, though.  Probably nowhere, but then again…

A cathedral entrance for some ambitious squirrel.  Or maybe Narnia is through there.  Prove me wrong!

Almost to the falls.  In case you didn’t know, I LOVE WATERFALLS.

Dang sun.  Still, kind of a neat ‘effect’.  Just my opinion.   The sound of the water is music, as I have tinnitus that I don’t notice when I’m out here.

There is some serious stone here.  That’s my sweet wife on the big roller.

Didn’t know trees had lips, did you?  This one is smiling, and I hope the joke isn’t on me.

We forded across here rather than go back on the sketchy path behind the big rocks.  It’s not deep, but very cold.  The girls dipped under, but came up gasping.  It pays to be older and wiser (and warmer and drier!:>).

Circlet lake – almost missed it.

The usual ‘here’s the rotten trail – aren’t I epic’ photo.    This part is actually quite nice for forest views, you just can’t look at them and walk at the same time.  Tripping hazards as far as the eye can see!  You know what I mean.  This is near Helen-McKenzie lake.

Castlecraig mountain, on the left.  Part of Mount Albert-Edward.  I want to go there next year.  I need to get in better shape for that one.

That’s Albert-Edward on the right – the pointy one.  The usual approach is to camp at Circlet lake and do a day trip to the top.  it’s only 5 km, but it’s all UP.  As it is, this hike to Circlet will probably kill me.

I didn’t take this pic.  I included it to show that THIS is epic.  I think so, anyways.  And me with a queasy tummy for heights!

Circlet lake.  This is taken from my lunch spot.  Very quiet, fresh, peaceful.  Well worth the 10km hike in.  I almost went right passed it.  The signage was funky, and I found myself heading up to Albert-Edward.  After turning around and doing a little bushwhacking (in shorts) there it was.  That water is unbelievably clean.  A waterfall on the other side of the lake provided beautiful background music.

This little jewel was next to my lunch spot.  I love waterfalls of ANY size.  The tinkle from this one was so delicate.

Meadows everywhere.  I never get tired of rock / tree / grass / water arrangements.

Graffiti on stone near the road on the way back down.  Appropriate if not laudable.  In the weeks following, before the snow flies or I expire,  I hope to go to Moat lake and Amphitheater lake.  There’s more but my memory has deserted me.  Again.

Thoughful spot.

End of the road for us.  That rocky bit is wide enough for my 4runner, but there’s no room for error.

A bit of a washout, I’d say.  Quads, bikes, and wildlife can make it through, but I’m not interested.  Here’s why.

The truck wouldn’t stop until the bottom, which isn’t that bit there.  The bottom is 300′ farther down, ending in a river.  No thanks, we’ll walk.  My hiking buddy is good with a map.  He has backroad maps that are ‘fairly’ accurate.  Passable on a map is not necessarily passable on the ground.  I’m sure you’ve all found that out a time or two.  So we walked up, around,under, etc. and almost walked by the lake we were looking for.

I couldn’t believe how peaceful this spot was.  I could only hear a small, musical, twittering and the gentlest breeze.  My hiking buddy went looking for caves, so I had this to myself for a bit.  A little earlier I heard a weird warbling that turned out to be geese way up, heading south.  All the effort is sure worth it.  Kind of a life-metaphor thing, I guess.  I wonder why the walk back is always shorter than the walk in?  Cheers.

I have the best office.

Lazy layabouts.  Noisy too.  Seals know how to lounge, kinda like a cat.

I work as a service tech and get around a lot.  Sometimes you just have to stop and look around you, and yes, smell the roses.  I’ve smelled a lot of roses, but this post is NOT about roses.

Waterfront living on Quadra Island.  I’m sure the view is great and the taxes deadly.  I’ve done the waterfront thing, and mostly it’s windy and cold.

I drive around a lot and spend a buncha time outdoors.  My office is varied and huge.  And sometimes wet and cold.  Goes with the territory.  This is another man’s office.  I think I would get squirmy spending too much time in this small space with no way to get out of it except drowning.

These workhorses spend a lot of time going nowhere these days.  I think fishing, while not quite kaput, is definitely not what it used to be.  The tug I’m not sure about.

A couple of pleasure boats.  I had a smallish boat once.  A hole in the water into which you throw money and watch it sink.  Sigh.

There’s interest all around.  Sometimes it’s hidden by the smallest change in perspective.

This old timer is definitely in retirement.  I’ll bet there is some starry-eyed fool who sees nothing but potential in that ol carcass.

I always want to know what’s around the next corner.  Unfortunately, we’re not going that way and it’s doubtful that the skipper of the ferry would listen to my suggested change in course.

Interesting, but I’m not sure why.  Feel free to wonder at my grasp on sanity, but I’m happy, so there.  This was taken on the same trip.

Wow! And yet not…

Here we go, past the ‘tourist’ loop (Helen McKenzie Lake) and on to the next level.  Not hardcore, but not ‘a walk in the park’ (sorry, bad pun) either.  No groomed trails here, but a trail nonetheless.  By the way, yet another meadow!

There is so much water up here it borders on ridiculous.    The waters are so clean and clear.

Entering alpine country.  This pic was intended to show the intense green for the water, but didn’t quite work out.

Croteau Lake with snow peaks in the background.  The whiskey jacks were here and cheeky as ever.  From here it’s DOWN to Murray Meadows and then UP to Kwai lake.

Murray Meadow, north end.  This place is stunning.

North end.  Pictures just don’t do justice.

A section of ‘trail’.  This show the level of ‘maintenance’.  The trail varies so much in quality and makeup, but never disappears.  There’s no chance of getting lost unless you really want to.

Kwai lake.  One of the few areas where camping is allowed.  There were many tents here this day.  Our destination is a little under 2 km from here.  I don’t relish the thought of camping up this high; too cold.

Kwai facing south.  Again, clean and clear water.

Beautiful.  No, that’s its name.  Lake Beautiful.  No sandy beaches here.  Rock, and more rock.

The final leg to the viewpoint.  We’re right on top of the mountain.

The view!  Looking south.  This cliff is shear.  I’m not going near the edge.

Unlike my fearless hiking buddy.

Looking across to where Moat lake is, just behind the smaller ridge.  Many waterfalls to be seen, and sound of them carried across the valley.

And now the long hike back.  We were both hurting a bit at this point.  Only 9.5 km to go!  By the time we got back to the truck, we were walking a little funny, but we made it.

I’ve never seen such a fresh-looking fungus before.  This was a great trip.  The next one is to Circlet lake.  When my legs stop hurting, that is.  If you’re wondering about the title of this post, it’s this.  There’s a cost to embracing life (in this case, a ‘little’ discomfort), and this is but a shadow of what is to come.

Paradise (Meadows)

This is one of the many maps in this beautiful park.  We started from the parking lot (why do I think of Joni Mitchell when I say that?), the “P” in the lower slightly left of center.  The lake in the pics is the one pointed by the “YOU ARE HERE” label.  It’s about 3 hours of easy hiking, and well worth the effort.  Strathcona Park is apparently the oldest park in BC.

There are many meadows with many sculptures executed in living trees by a creative Hand.

 

This little creek is the outfeed for Helen McKenzie lake, taken from a small bridge.  The view on the other side was better, but my camera skills were not up to the task and the shot was a failure.

 

It isn’t readily apparent in this shot, but the trees formed a really neat progression from tall to short.  Very striking.

 

A different set of trees, guarding or pointing the way to the lake access.

 

The lake.  My dear wife goes swimming here, although not this year as it was chilly.  However, the water is cold anytime of the year, and last year, while she was in the water, I couldn’t help wonder at the snow on the opposite shore!  In August!!!

Ever present whiskey jacks.  Feathered moochers, but endearing.  Not rude like crows.

 

Interesting patterns done in stone over a great deal of time by no human hand.

 

Flowers show up anywhere and everywhere.

 

Fascinating texture and color mix.  I don’t know what they are and don’t care.  I just like looking at them.

 

This survivor looked dead until I realized that the living branches weren’t from a tree behind, but from the ‘dead’ trunk.

Meadow after meadow up here.

 

Those trees are firmly rooted in bare rock, or so it seems.  That dark mass is one huge rock.  This is a great place with lots to see.  It would take days to walk all the trails.  There are lots of camping places for those hardier souls.