VI = Vancouver Island Carmanah Valley - The Island's Old-Growth Paradise - ClubTread Community

User Tag List

 4Likes
  • 3 Post By lcometto
  • 1 Post By cjstepney
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of (permalink) Old 12-10-2019, 09:48 AM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
lcometto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Seattle, WA
Interest: Landscape photography, backpacking, camping
Posts: 17
Default Carmanah Valley - The Island's Old-Growth Paradise

The Carmanah Valley in Vancouver Island is one of the greatest old-growth valleys in the entire Northwest. As an avid hiker of old-growth forests, I’m consistently blown away by its prehistoric feel. Last weekend, I decided to photograph the Carmanah’s Valley Mist Trail and the Upper Valley Trail as part of my years-long project to document the giant trees of the entire Island: http://www.lucascometto.com/cascadia-vancouver-island

Valley Mist Trail
The drive to the Carmanah Valley parking lot is a long, bumpy and only suitable for vehicles with good tires. The drive crosses almost the entire Island and starts near the western coast where the mouth of the valley meets the ocean. Much like the major rainforest valleys of Olympic National Park, constant rain filters into the valley permitting giant trees to grow.

There are two sections of a long trail that the park map acknowledges. The first is the Valley Mist Trail, which starts by dropped down a few hundred feet from the parking lot to a trail that follows the Carmanah River. This 1.6-mile trail is filled with absolutely titanic trees. In the early 1990s, this remarkable valley served as ground zero for the conservation movement resulting in the boardwalk trail that still exists today. Through its short length, the Valley Mist Trail follows the river closely, penetrating rain-soaked landscapes that are optimal for Sitka Spruce old-growth. A huge spruce at the beginning of the trail called the Coast Tower confirms this fact (picture one).

The southern section of the Valley Mist Trail leads to both the Randy Stoltmann Commemorative Grove (picture two) and the interestingly-shaped “Heaven Tree” (picture three). The Soltmann Grove commemorates one of the most important conservationists in Vancouver Island’s history, whose relentless advocacy saved this and other valleys from destruction. The memorial is appropriate, as this grove contains the greatest concentration of titanic Sitka Spruces in the entire valley.

Upper Valley Trail
The approximately 10-mile Upper Valley Trail is a long day-hike alternative. It begins north of the boardwalk section and leads upstream through lush old-growth forests of primarily western hemlock, amabilis fir, and, of course, spruce. Several sections of the trail are lined with grove after grove of huge trees.

Because the trail is not maintained north of the Valley Mist Trail, hikers must navigate significant blowdown. Currently, there are many trees on the trail and several sections require following flagging tape around the deteriorating path. However, it’s nothing too extreme and is easily navigable for the average fit hiker. Though this slows the hiking, the overgrown feeling of the trail’s northern portion provides an unrivaled sense of adventure.

Several overnight backcountry camps, including Grunt’s Grove and Mystic Hollow, are accessible deep in the valley, and remove hikers far from civilization. Near its end, about six miles from the parking lot, the trail reaches a stunning swimming hole of deep turquoise water named Paradise Pool. The landmark is an appropriate turnaround for day hikers. Further on, the trail fords the Carmanah River and connects to the Upper Caramah Trail. Here, the upper reaches of the valley offer hikers incredible solitude and true unspoiled wilderness. My hope is to return and hike the Upper Carmanah one day to experience all of the beauty this incredible valley has to offer.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	1.jpg
Views:	51
Size:	3.13 MB
ID:	272564  

Click image for larger version

Name:	2.jpg
Views:	83
Size:	3.20 MB
ID:	272566  

Click image for larger version

Name:	3.jpg
Views:	82
Size:	3.30 MB
ID:	272568  

Click image for larger version

Name:	4.jpg
Views:	84
Size:	3.11 MB
ID:	272570  

Click image for larger version

Name:	5.jpg
Views:	63
Size:	3.12 MB
ID:	272572  

Click image for larger version

Name:	6.jpg
Views:	80
Size:	2.94 MB
ID:	272574  

Click image for larger version

Name:	7.jpg
Views:	82
Size:	3.17 MB
ID:	272576  

Click image for larger version

Name:	8.jpg
Views:	71
Size:	2.87 MB
ID:	272578  

Click image for larger version

Name:	9.jpg
Views:	67
Size:	3.39 MB
ID:	272580  


Last edited by lcometto; 03-02-2020 at 11:59 PM.
lcometto is offline  
Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of (permalink) Old 01-13-2020, 12:46 PM
Off the Beaten Path
 
howesound's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Bowen Island, BC, Canada.
Interest: Backcountry skiing, Hiking, coping with fitness issues associated with aging
Posts: 632
Default

lcometto, that's a beautiful report. Thanks!
howesound is offline  
post #3 of (permalink) Old 01-13-2020, 06:11 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
lcometto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Seattle, WA
Interest: Landscape photography, backpacking, camping
Posts: 17
Default

Thank you, howesound! The Carmanah rivals some of the major giant tree rainforest valleys of Olympic National Park but is much more off the beaten path so it offers much more solitude.
lcometto is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 05:48 PM
Scaling New Heights
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: Chicago
Interest: Hiking, backpacking, kayaking
Posts: 84
Default

lcometto,
Those are beautiful and deeply inspiring photos.
Thank you for noting camping spots in your blog posts. I am putting together a (perhaps aspirational) trip plan for September to include some extended randonnees on Vancouver Island, a place I have never visited. The map begins to fill in.

Last edited by ColdBrook; 01-14-2020 at 05:50 PM. Reason: sp
ColdBrook is offline  
post #5 of (permalink) Old 01-14-2020, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
lcometto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Seattle, WA
Interest: Landscape photography, backpacking, camping
Posts: 17
Default

ColdBrook, that's great! You'll love the Island. If you have more than a couple days in the Port Renfrew area, I suggest hiking in the Walbran Valley of Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park. If you're curious about the trails and what it is like, I wrote about it here: www.lucascometto.com/cascadia-vancouver-island
lcometto is offline  
post #6 of (permalink) Old 03-02-2020, 06:55 PM
Hittin' the Trails
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Location: Saanich, BC
Interest: Photography, backpacking, hiking, Nordic and Alpine skiing, drawing, game development, mapping.
Posts: 21
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by lcometto View Post
[FONT=&quot]There are two sections of a long trail that the Canada Parks acknowledges.
I need to point out that Parks Canada (or "Canada Parks" as you spell it here) has absolutely nothing to do with Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park. The governing body responsible for the park is the British Columbia Ministry of the Environment, and the people who maintain the park are K2 Cowichan Park Services Ltd. Once again, Carmanah Walbran is a Provincial Park, not park of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve of Canada. As you are sharing your photos here and elsewhere, please ensure that the information you share with them is accurate and well researched as these areas are very susceptible to damage and Parks Canada and BC Parks follow very different rules and maintenance regimes (I've worked with both).

I also need to point out that as of a couple of years ago with a washout on the southernmost accessible meander of the river, Randy Stoltmann Commemorative grove is closed to the public. Several of your photos also include shots of people standing at the base of trees. BC Parks specifically asks for all users of the lower valley trails to remain on trail at all times due to the sensitivity of this habitat. Again, with the responsibility of protecting the things you are photographing, please respect these rules.

Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park is currently closed to the public in its entirety. A landslide occurred at the end of January cutting off the road to the park. It's questionable when or if this road will be repaired any time in the near future as there is no active logging anywhere close to the park entrance.
Kokanee75 likes this.
cjstepney is offline  
post #7 of (permalink) Old 03-03-2020, 12:05 AM Thread Starter
Hittin' the Trails
 
lcometto's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2018
Location: Seattle, WA
Interest: Landscape photography, backpacking, camping
Posts: 17
Default

Alright, fixed. Yeesh, take a breather, my friend.
lcometto is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome
 

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1