Wood and Water

One of the perks of having company is having an excuse to be a tourist in your own territory. Normally, I don’t go visit the waterfalls near Qualicum or Cathedral Grove, the forest of huge trees at MacMillan Park. It has been two years since my last long-term guests were here and I had a reason to make this wonderful combination trip of wood and water.

I parked the car and before we even started our walk, I looked up and saw two interesting sights. A huge arbutus tree (on the left) showed off its beautiful barkless trunks and evergreen leaves. To the right, a burl had grown on a Douglas fir. Because a burl has a lot of knots and gnarly growth patterns, it is often cut into slabs and used as a top for a small table. The knots in the grain make a beautiful design and you’ll see these tables lacquered or varnished to give the table a high-gloss finish.

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But follow me down the path into the woods and let’s go see Little Qualicum Falls.003

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From the middle of Vancouver Island, when you drive from the east coast of the island to the west coast, you’ll come to Cameron Lake, a very deep lake next to a winding road that can be treacherous in the wintertime. Little Qualicum Falls is a camping area on the east end of Cameron Lake and if you wind your way beside the long, long lake to the other end of it, you’ll come to MacMillan Park (or more commonly called Cathedral Grove by the locals).

One of the trees in this park is over 800 years old. A sign says that when Columbus came to North America in 1492, this tree was already about 300 years old. It is taller than the famous leaning Tower of Pisa.

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The trees cling to any grip they can find to keep their feet firmly on (and in) the ground, so watch your step.035But sometimes in a big windstorm, some unfortunates may topple and their roots will reach up, wondering where the ground went. This tree root has been filled in by sandy soil from the blowing dust of many years, and possibly tamped down by many a footstep. I would guess that the footsteps have been made, in large part, by  children needing to go up to see the lizard-like creature face to face. Do you see him standing up on the right of the sand-filled roots?029Last but not least, I must show off my very sweet 93-year-old mother-in-law as she investigates the hollow cedar tree. If she went into the hollow of the tree, she would disappear inside – it is that big.

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The Cathedral Grove trees never fail to impress.

36 thoughts on “Wood and Water

  1. This was such an exciting park to take us along the paths. Anneli, your 93 year old mother in law looks great! I liked your telling us how burls make beautiful table tops. I have heard of burl oak, now I can envision pine burl. I love all waterfalls, Anneli. Maybe it is the thrill of the racing or rushing water or it could be the rocky and treacherous path the water passes over. This was a great combination of photos with words.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh your photos were so beautiful! I miss being out there on a day hike now and again. I just have to find a local day hike group around here. It really soothes your spirit and makes all your troubles and worries disappear. Thanks for taking me along as well through all the descriptions and photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are a lot of big ones in that park. Nothing like the ones in California though, I’m told. And there was a redwood forest we drove through in Oregon one time that was pretty impressive. But for a little forest close to home, this one wasn’t bad.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. i wasn’t receiving notifications of new blogs for a while, and just found this one that I had missed by chance. How awesome. That path looks so inviting. I love waterfalls and rushing creeks. Your MIL looks so happy and healthy. Thanks for taking us along.

    Liked by 1 person

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