Old growth green

“To make a bigger parking lot, they should cut down some of these trees. Then there would be more visitors!”

It was quite an effort, but I managed to pretend I didn’t hear this. The would be park ranger was correct, and following his logic, hiking in the mountains would be less strenuous if we levelled a few – and the view would be unblocked.

DSCF6969A few weeks back, I stopped our Big Muddy Taxi at Cathedral Grove, a small patch of old growth forest located a few minutes east of Port Alberni on Vancouver Island. Whenever we pass through, the time has never been quite right to make a stop. A ferry to catch, it is dark, the rain is heavy, or the small angled parking lot by the side of the road is full. This trip, I’d left time for the ferry, the rain had stopped, and there was a space for the car.

DSCF7002What a beautiful spot! A glimpse into what Vancouver Island must have looked like before it was logged. A lovely place, MacMillan Provincial Park is not a particularly large park, but the spot that makes up Cathedral Grove is full of enormous Douglas firs and huge Red western cedars. A “tree museum” without charge, and a reminder to appreciate what we have…

Dense and green – so green! Mossy and dank, a complex ecosystem full of life, and one I couldn’t capture accurately with a camera. I settled for choosing a few details to try and convey the majesty of this special place. The greens in the photos aren’t as vivid or strong as those I was seeing, but they give an idea.

DSCF7014Next time, we’ll try and visit early in the morning, on a dry day when the sun rises high enough to penetrate the valley and start burning off the mist. I drove through on a morning just like that one October, in a hurry to catch a ferry. Looking back, I wish I’d stopped, not worrying about missing the ferry. There’s always another ferry, but perhaps there won’t be another morning quite like that? It can’t hurt to hope.

DSCF6988If you get the chance, and have the time, stop at Cathedral Grove to wander under the mighty trees and wonder at the beauty of it all. Get there early, and you’ll find a parking spot – no need to suggest making the lot larger at the cost of cutting down some of the giants. If that is what you think, maybe keep it to yourself, keep your voice down…

Old growth green – I feel all spruced up just looking at it. We don’t really want to be paving paradise, do we? I bet you were humming this already:

Big Yellow Taxi

Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend!


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I am a would be outdoorsman - that is if I had more time, skills and knowledge. When I can, I love being outdoors, just camping, hiking, snowboarding, xc skiing, snowshoeing, paddling a canoe or trying something new. What I lack in ability, I make up for in enthusiasm and having a go. I'd never really survive for long out there in the wild, but I enjoy pretending I could if I had to...

21 thoughts on “Old growth green”

  1. Yes, I was humming the song. It came into my head as soon as I started reading. Those giants are absolutely a living museum and so beautiful. Let’s hope they stay that way. Have a wonderful weekend PC. 🙂🌳


    1. Thanks, Miriam! Catchy tune, but I hope it wasn’t an ear worm for you! These stands of old growth are a bit few and far between, so we do need to look after them, that’s for sure.
      Hope your weekend is going well!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great post. I have stopped there only once it was beautiful. I remember when there was a debate about cutting trees to make room for parking lot. How stupid that sounds. Glad I found your blog. Following. Cheers from the east coast.


  3. Wow, what a forest you brought to us. It is easy to see the majesty here, pc, love all the moss and such mighty trees. I can’t imagine what I would’ve done if I would have heard anyone saying that…yikes. I am glad I had Joni Mitchell in my very youthful days to live by her logic my whole life. I played the song, and was reminded, in her lyrics, of the days when folks were fighting DDT. Excellent post, my friend, always a pleasure.


    1. Thanks, Jet! Joni Mitchell’s a great songwriter – I tend to prefer the early folk leaning material, full of stories. Her voice has such range.
      Yikes indeed on the tree-cutting comment. It was so unexpected, I think that saved me from making the situation worse! Or I’m growing up.
      I hope you and Athena have a wonderful weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Margaret! Our weekend was pretty good, with lots of warm sunshine and disappointing hockey play-offs!
      If you make another visit to Vancouver island, you would love Cathedral Grove.
      Have a good week!


  4. Wondrous photos and suggestive commentary. Very prescient of you to think I might be humming Joni’s tune before I got to the end and, of course, I was! Sadly, some guy always wants a bigger parking lot or roadway through the old growth, as if he could get a better handle on the beauty of it all, but hopefully, common sense prevails. Thanks Plaid.


    1. Thanks, Walt! Glad you enjoyed the post and the tune (I’m assuming you like the tune!) and yes, isn’t always the case some fool thinks we need a bigger parking lot? Bigly.
      I’ll go along with your hopes for common sense prevailing.
      Hope you’re enjoying the rivers and streams as much as you can, now that the weather is more favourable. That seems a very sensible way to keep it together in the current climate…


  5. Beautiful photos of the “tree museum” and wonderful song selection! It’s amazing that the green is more vivid than what you captured. Thanks for the laugh over “all spruced up” and a glimpse of the beauty of Vancouver Island.


    1. Thank you, and I’m glad you enjoyed this one! Of course, it could be my memory playing tricks, but when I was immersed in the grove, it was so, so green!
      Hope your week is off to a good start. I see the Golden Knights are marching on, and I must check in with the Capitals in a moment – might be all over…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Cathedral Grove is a great spot! If you were to look from above with a drone you’d see that the forest has been thinned so dramatically that it’s more a facade to road travellers than anything else. The Douglas Fir stand close to the roads shoulder warning drunks not to venture too far!


    1. Sadly, this beautiful remnant really is little more than a tree museum…
      Yup, you need to keep the car off the shoulders through that section – they really encroach!


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