Saturday, June 30, 2018

Wrack Zone Break Away Event

... sunrise at Arbutus Cove ...
The choice for the Friday afternoon session of the Wrack Conference was a trip to the Royal British Columbia Museum, a bus ride around de-colonized Victoria, or a walk up Mt. Pkols.

I selected the middle choice. 

How interesting does that sound? 

A ride and a story told as I look through the windows of a bus riding up and down the streets of Victoria.

 But that was trip cancelled so I opted for a walk up Mt. Pkols, with a little bit of hesitation on my side. Rebecca took on the job of meeting the people who walked Mt Pkols (formerly known as Mt Douglas) at the top of the hill to tell the story of the renaming of that site.

She was adamant that she didn’t have time to walk up again, but she would meet people up at the top with her car.

The walk would be good for me, but that last time I took it, she walked along side me. There are some points along the way where I need to just put one finger on the side of someone for balance. I should probably purchase those walking sticks which would work for the same purpose.

...  a small stream making its way through the Wrack Zone ...
She dropped me off with the group of people at the bottom of the hill. In fact she took the first part of the walk, for we went down to the ocean to see that part of the Wrack Zone.

I was curious about the water, for the guide told us that what we were seeing was the Salish Sea.

How many times have I read that in a book, but never felt the reality of the water there.

I was curious about the barnacles on the stones, more there than I had seen at our little Arbutus Cove.

The Mt Pkols area is a site where the salmon come on their journey to spawn. People want to know why the huge logs are left at the edge of the beach. Couldn’t they be taken away to aid the salmon on their journey?
... the rack of a deer beside some sea weed ...

“The logs float up when the tide come in; the salmon swim under the logs and go upstream. The otters are prevented from following, since the space there is too small for them to slip through.” For me a storied journey at the sea side is more fun.

... two crows at Arbutus beach ...
... well, 3 counting me ...
Three guides from The Friends of Mt Pkols were at the base of the mountain, one of them saying that he would take one group up the trail that showed how stream reclamation had been going on. Two thirds of the people wanted to go in that group. They didn’t wait for the pitch from the other two guides. Off that group went with our guide saying telling us that he would show us amazing things deep in the forest. My left leg hasn’t got the strength it used to have. The spare guide (Claude, a retired architect who has been with the “friends” group from the early ‘90’s) told me he would give me a hand in those places that might be difficult so I joined those who walked up the mountain.

The walk goes through three growing zones: the Douglas Fir, the arbutus and the Gerry oak zones. I should have said the first zone is through the towering Douglas fir zone. I have to touch someone’s shoulder when I look up, since the look is up and then tossing my head way back before I can even see where the limbs of the fir tree start.


... the sun glints off of the water ..
That is the key. The size of the boles of the tree seems gigantic to a prairie person like me. The people in this group are asking questions about the ecology, environment, biology, geography, all of them are making their livelihoods in these fields so the questions are quick and detailed. Our young guide tells us he knows only a little about a lot of things. I think he is good in the forest. He stops to name all of the birds whose habitat this is. Then he talks about the animals, telling people to notice that the deer aren’t here. They like the meadows and gardens of the people in Victoria more than having to work to get a meal on the mountain.

That makes me laugh for people in Victoria have to drive slowly. They are likely to see at least one or two deer on any journey, and none of these animals use the cross-walks, so they may be in front of you at any minute, with two of the tinniest fawn I have ever seen, trailing along behind.

He points to a depression in the walk just to the side of us calling it a vernal pool. Others seem to know what he is talking about, but I have to ask. I want to see the camus under the Gerry oak, but he explains they are like tulips. After they flower, the foliage goes away, but he says he will show me a meadow of them on the way up, if he remembers. When the hike is over, someone asks him, “Didn’t we pass a camus meadow. I was wanting to see one as well.”

I needed Claude’s help a couple of times. He remarks to me, “You aren’t needing much help. You only seem to need the gentlest touch of my hand to go over some of these ridges.”

 He is right, but I still need that. He remarks on how I can quickly scramble over many of the ledges. 

“Yes, I am a mountain goat,” I say, and then I bleat.

 That makes the person behind him laugh and say, I was thinking the same thing. That person is behind us because someone along the way has had to stop for a panic attack. That can happen in the mountains when not knowing where you are going, or wondering where the trail gets steeper.

We stop to look out over the Salish Sea again taking note of an island that is contested right now. The island belonged to the Nation that is close by it. Even knowing that, the government sold it in a private sale. Now it is up for sale again, and the Nation is asking for the government to return it. Goggle tells us which nation we are talking about. There is an answer to every question along the trail.

... the tide begins to recede ...
At the top both groups meet Rebecca who tells how this mountain was renamed, and then send people up one last stop to the highest pinnacle where there is a 360 degree view, the mountains of Washington so close on one side, and the UVic Campus stands out on the other side.

Rebecca gets in conversation with a classmate whom she hasn’t seen since they were in law school together. The woman recognizes Rebecca’s voice as she speaks.

 Reconnection was good for both woman.

 The hike up Pkols was good for 2 groups of conference go-ers.