Strathcona Provincial Park on Vancouver Island has numerous excellent hiking trails. From Lupin Falls to Upper Myra Falls, there are several to chose from that skirt around gorgeous Buttle Lake and are easy hikes for those looking for a way to enjoy the park in just a couple of hours.
On Sunday, my friend Teresa and I hiked the Karst Creek trail and were pleased to re-discover its unusual attributes. At one point along the trail, the sound of rushing water is evident, but you can’t see it! Further along, a gorgeous waterfall gushes down from the rock face only to disappear underground.
Giant cedars have fallen down over the trail, but didn’t impede progress as they have been cut through and the trail is well maintained. Many more trees show signs of having been burnt. This time of year, wild flowers are blooming along the trail and the scene is rich with the contrasting colours of green moss, gray rocks and purple blooms.
The trial is aptly named, as the meaning of karst is ‘an area of irregular limestone where erosion has produced fissures, sinkholes and underground streams’. Across from the trail in the parking area on the lake side, day trippers can picnic and enjoy the grander vistas of Buttle Lake surrounded by mountains. On the day we were there, the lake was particularly calm and produced a mirror like effect of the towering mountains and clouds above.
Other highlights of the area include Strathcona Park Lodge, http://www.strathcona.bc.ca/ just a few kilometres before the entrance of the park, which is open for lunch and dinner, and a great place to stop for an afternoon refreshment.
To find out more about Strathcona Park’s numerous trails, visit BC parks website http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/strath/trails.html
Christine Scott put together a great little booklet called ‘Nature Strathcona’ (2007) that describes the park’s trails and is available at many outlets in Campbell River.