In our Backyard
Right across the street from the Sunshine Coast Health Centre extends miles upon miles of untamed backcountry forest. Thanks to a multi-decade effort by local outdoor groups, the networks of trails and hiking opportunities are nearly limitless. For many of our clientele, this is the first time they have ever seen a west coast rainforest, so the experience is usually a powerful one.
Throughout the summer months, hikes typically lead us to a pristine lake to enjoy a swim in crystal clear waters before returning home recharged and refreshed. While the arrival of Fall might make swimming a less enticing proposition, there are still plenty of other spectacular hikes that can revitalize and reinvigorate us in different, yet equally awe-inspiring, ways. Here are two hikes that help us forget summer altogether.
Behind the community of Wildwood on the north side of Powell River sits Scout Mountain. The hike starts out from the back of Sunset Park and allows hikers’ legs to get warmed up as the path gently ascends through stands of towering douglas fir and cedar trees. Along the way, remnants of an old growth forest can be seen as massive stumps bare springboard notches that signify a technique used many years ago to topple these towering giants with hand saws.
After 10 minutes of walking the warm-up is over and the path begins to switchback up the side of the steeply ascending mountain. The elevation change soon sees towering trees exchanged for moss-covered bluffs and exotic, ornate-looking Arbutus trees. After 45 minutes, the summit is revealed and the views from atop extend 270 degrees out over Powell River and the Malaspina straight. The panoramic view is certainly worth the grind to the summit that sits 1500 ft above sea level.
After only a few minutes travelling north up Highway 101, a right on to Duck Lake Road leaves the pavement behind and unveils a vast network of logging roads. Like most of the other logging roads in the area, it is open to the public and allows us to access a variety of great hikes throughout the backcountry. Five minutes after passing calm Duck Lake and the rushing Lang Creek, the cinder block marking the trail comes into view.
The beginning of the trail is a wide, gradually ascending path in which chanterelle mushrooms can often be found mere steps off the path this time of year. Within a kilometer, a lush forest appears with bright green moss carpeting both the ground and tree trunks alike. This is a true coastal rainforest and the vibrancy of colours is nothing short of surreal.
After 25 minutes, the trail comes alongside Blackwater Creek. Descending down towards the creek from the hill above reveals a freshly crafted wooden bridge and walkway that showcases Kelly Falls as it gushes down from a chute that’s been carved into the canyon over thousands and thousands of years. Another half a kilometer up the trail is yet another falls even bigger with a viewing platform that sits immediately under David Lamm Falls, misting anyone who ventures down to take a closer look at the massive cascading falls.
While these two top the list of favourites, there are many more that I’d place right below. With options like this so close to our fingertips, it makes saying goodbye to summer just a little bit easier.