Water on Three Sides

What are you looking at here? Let me help you get your bearings.

The hills in the distance, and beyond them the mountains you can’t see because of the low cloud cover, are on the mainland of British Columbia, just north of Vancouver. I am standing on Vancouver Island. You can deduce from that, that the city of Vancouver is not on Vancouver Island. In this photo we are looking to the east.

I’ve climbed up a hill a little way and am now looking to the south. You can see a spit of land that reaches out from the land’s end. The spit has been formed by a gazillion years of wave action swishing the sand along and dropping it to form a giant finger of sand. All the land you can see in this photo, including the mountains, is on Vancouver Island.

Looking to the west, you can see the sheltered water on the inside of the spit, and the harbour of Comox in the distance. Those toothpicks sticking up are the masts and trolling poles of fishing boats and sailboats in the marina. The two boats at anchor in the foreground are getting free moorage.

A few weeks ago, the Captain and I went for a walk that took us to the inside of the sheltered bay. You can see part of the spit in the distance on the far right horizon.

On the way to the trail we noticed the run-off from the excessive amount of rain we’d had. This is not a year-round creek, but a temporary run-off creek. I feel sorry for the large tree that has its feet in water, day and night. It may soon go the way of the broken off tree trunk in the photo below this one.

It may be broken off, but this tree is still serving a useful purpose. It is making many birds happy. Nuthatches and woodpeckers will make holes in the trees to nest in,  and the bugs they find in the trunk help give them strength to continue their work and to feed their babies.

Farther along, we came to the boardwalk. I love this scene. You see the run-off creek completing the water cycle as it brings the rainwater back to the sea. It’s great to have the boardwalk and not have to wade through the creek.

The trees along the water are mostly deciduous types. They are probably cottonwoods and a few poplar or alder types mixed in. My guess is they are cottonwoods because those grow taller than the others, and these are a good size.

Even in the cool weather, you can have a great day going for a walk around your neighbourhood.

Trees, Trees, and More Trees

I suppose one of the reasons I’m so drawn to the trees in eastern Montana is because most of the land is treeless prairie or grain farms, so trees become pretty special.

The morning sun made the golden leaves on this black cottonwood (If that’s what these trees are) even more impressive.

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The trees below are like tall characters with many arms, having animated discussions, gesticulating wildly, talking with their hands.

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The tree in the photo below is growing in the side of the riverbank. Probably it was far from the river’s edge at one time, but as the river has flooded and eroded the banks, the tree found itself closer and closer to the water’s edge.

DSCN2613Many a gallon of water has swished past the tree’s roots, taking more and more soil away. Seems like some part of the tree has already succumbed to nature, as you can see from the broken piece lying beside it, and more parts of the trunk, if not the whole tree, are in imminent danger of being washed away if the river comes up high next spring.

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Another tree had chicken wire wrapped around the lower part of the trunk. I wonder which chewing, gnawing beastie was meant to be deprived of a meal of bark. A porcupine? A rabbit?

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 This tree was not so lucky. If only it could talk and tell us its story.
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But those who remain healthy certainly provide a beautiful canopy of protection for us as well as for the vegetation that lives beneath its shelter.

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Tree Survival

In the harsh winter conditions of eastern Montana, it must be hard for any living thing to survive out in nature. The trees in this region are so beautiful, especially in the fall when the leaves change colour, and so I paid particular attention to them on my walks through the fields with my camera.

One type of tree that is prevalent here is a huge poplar type whose name I’m not sure of. It might be a cottonwood type. Perhaps there are readers out there who can tell me what the proper name of these trees is.

I stood under this tree and listened to the wind rustling its leaves. It was such a beautiful sound that I did a very short video of it just to record the wind in its leaves. Unfortunately I can’t load the video here, but I can show you the tree and you can imagine the sound.

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Nearby, another of its type  showed signs of a history of major trauma. Was it wind, or snow, or bitter cold, or a combination of these conditions that broke the tree so badly? But look at its survival instinct! A new shoot is growing from the old broken trunk.

DSCN2517Yet another damaged tree is clinging to life in a few small branches. The broken branches on the ground tell of the terrible winds and possibly blizzards that worked the tree over.

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The same is true of the tree below. It clings to life desperately but appears to be losing the battle.

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There must be strength in numbers. Here they are like a little city of trees in a park along the Missouri River.

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There is something noble and grand about a tree. These survivors beautifying the river’s edge are a treat to see.