Elephant Lake old-growth
by Lois Bridger, 28 July 2018.
Getting to the old-growth took some doing!
There were 29 of us in a convoy of vehicles driving up to an elevation of 900 metres. Nancy and Tom led the hike along part of the Sunshine Coast Trail. We were fortunate to also have a few knowledgeable foresters along on the hike who were happy to provide us with additional information. We also had some visitors from Alberta and Iceland and crossed paths with some happy Sunshine Coast Trail hikers from Penticton.
We stopped at various locations as Nancy pointed out the various old-growth trees found at this elevation. With tape measure in hand we measured a particularly large Yellow Cedar and estimated it’s age at 1500 years. At higher elevation trees don’t grow at the same rate as they do lower down. We learned about Sika Alders, Mountain Hemlock, Western White Pine and Pacific Silver Fir to name a few. We saw some unusually large bracket fungi.
We paused for lunch at a flat estuary on the shore of Elephant Lake with great views of one the few remaining high elevation old-growth forests in this area. As we dined several colourful dragonflies provided an aerial display. In the shallows close to shore we discovered some rough-skinned newts and were entertained by their response to us. When feeling threatened they twirl over and over displaying their bright orange underbelly.
On our return journey we took a different route offering some fantastic, albeit hazy, views of the Saltery Bay area. A great end to a wonderful outing.