Water & Woodland

3 October 2019 – We’re in Stanley Park, that 400-hectare bulge of West Coast rainforest where False Creek swells into English Bay, Burrard Inlet and beyond that the Strait of Georgia, all of it part of the Salish Sea.

I get dizzy trying to grasp all that, but I don’t have to. We’re firmly on land, in the Park, and we have a more-or-less plan: Seawall for a while, then up onto Merilees Trail where we can overlook the Seawall and Burrard Inlet, then … ummm … then probably forest trails around & back down.

Which is pretty well how it works.

Fresh, breezy fall day, bright sun, sparkling water, then into the forest. It is terrific.

Somewhere past Second Beach, heading towards Fergusons Point, this circle of stones in the water. Not a random act of nature; too deliberately placed for that. Perhaps someone’s tribute to Don Vaughan’s Waiting for Low Tide installation in False Creek?

From mute, stationary stones to a noisy, busy dog. He is splashing furiously through the water just off Third Beach to chase — yet again! — the stick thrown — yet again! — by his patient owners. Another, lazier dog watches from the shore; we watch from our viewpoint high on Merilees Trail.

We stick with the trail, thank you, despite the passing (male) hiker who crisply informs us it is “boring” and we should immediately drop back down to the Seawall. Our choice rewards us, and eventually, with a bit of hacking about, here we are at Prospect Point Lookout.

We can look down-down-down to the water, and we do. We can look up-and-to-the-right to Lions Gate Bridge, and we do. We can also look straight overhead to watch a seaplane arc through the sky.

And we do.

Now we turn inland, away from ocean views to follow first Prospect Trail and then the Bridle Path, curving down through the heart of the forest.

It is quite, quite magic.

Nurse logs everywhere, their decaying old growth feeding voracious new growth in the forest’s endless cycle of regeneration.

They come every which shape. Sometimes a craggy island of stumps, rising from a sea of forest litter all around …

Sometimes a single shoulder-height remnant of trunk, silver-tipped …

Sometimes horizontal instead, smothered in mossy green …

with luminous white mushrooms glowing nearby.

Oh… I don’t know they’re mushrooms. Maybe they’re toadstools? I wasn’t rude enough to tip one over and check its gills (brown-to-black in a mature true mushroom, still white in a mature toadstool).

But maybe it’s just as well we keep our ungloved hands to ourselves. Later on, one online photo of Death Cap mushrooms — now proliferating in Vancouver, reports tell us — looks suspiciously like our guys. Though maybe not: Death Cap seems to have a silky smooth cap; ours are ruffled.

So I don’t know, and I don’t much care, because I think they’re beautiful, and all I want to do is admire them, not eat them. (Still, if you can identify them, please do.)

By now we’re obsessed with nurse logs, playing spot-the-hidden-nurse-log as we walk.

And look, there one is. A huge mound, a long-buried nurse log surely, with its new growth, now mature trees, rising triumphantly above.

There is a whole lot of “rising triumphantly” going on in this forest.

What’s the scale? you ask; how high would a human being rise against that vee?

This high.

Getting pretty far down the Bridle Path by now, soon we’ll hit Lost Lagoon and begin to rejoin urban bustle.

One more soaring tree before we go  …

and we finally emerge from the trails into the noise and parking lots — but also the amenities — where city streets butt up against parkland near Second Beach.

Into a brew pub! And into big bowls of clam chowder.

 

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5 Comments

  1. What a great walk! I like the stone circle, barely showing, and that water view is gorgeous. The silver-tipped trunk has a kind of moss on it, I believe, that has that strange habit of sending out long “feelers.” Very pretty! As for toadstools, I always thought of that word as just a derogatory term for certain mushrooms, never as a technical term. A mushroom is a mushroom….and I don’t know what yours was, but it was wise to just photograph it, and not get too intimate. 🙂 But I just found this beautifully illustrated guide to identifying death caps, if you want to take a look:
    https://www.wikihow.com/Identify-a-Death-Cap-Mushroom
    Love the hat at a rakish angle!

    Reply
    • Yes, that silver moss was long lacey feelers. I only discovered the gills thing re true mushroom vs toadstool afterwards, in online research. Your death cap site supports what I also found: its caps are smooth, but my mystery guy had all those ruffles… Oh and yes, that Tilley is always at an angle!

      Reply
  2. it is a great walk…and Stanley Park is a gem…enjoy your walks Penny ☺️🤓

    ps. I also like what Lynn writes…lovely to learn more about flora for me too 🤓 thank you!

    Reply
  3. Lovely walk and photos but I kept coming back to that mushroom photo. Poisonous or not? Hmmm. We generally like to put a name to our new discoveries on a walk – but now realize why I haven’t bothered with mushrooms: overconfidence with a little knowledge could be deadly. Yes, step back and admire. Then walk away.

    Reply

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