Waiatt Bay, Quadra Island. August 25, 2012
10 September 2012
Photo: Old growth stumps among second growth trees next to a trail across Quadra Island.
From the Broughtons we sailed, then motored, south down Johnstone Strait to anchor that night in Otter Cove, planning to transit Seymour Narrows the next day. But when the day started beautiful and sunny, we changed our minds. Why not take an extra day and go through Okiskollo Channel and Surge Narrows instead? We could stop at the Octopus Islands and Drew Harbour before heading on to Comox as planned.
We timed our trip through Okiskollo to arrive at Upper Rapids with the last of the flood. At Octopus Islands, we motored through the anchorage. Boats were anchored in every little nook imaginable, most with stern-ties to shore. Not wanting to be that close to other boats and not having a long enough stern line, we motored on into Waiatt Bay, a large shallow bay with views of mountains to the east - and only a few other boats. We anchored near the head of the bay. I had heard there was a trail there that led across Quadra Island to Small Inlet on the island’s other side.
We prepared for our hike as we usually do in Alaska and northern BC. Steve wore his XTRATUF boots and his Carharrts with a T-shirt. I wore my usual jeans and yellow Viking sea boots. It was warm but I wore a shirt over my T-shirt to protect from mosquitoes.
We landed the dinghy on a beach scattered with clam shells from a nearby midden and found the trail in a gap between the trees. The first surprise was the trail: it was well-maintained and dry. No mud! We had hiked only a short distance when two men and a boy passed us going the other way. They all wore sandals, T-shirts and shorts. I suddenly felt silly in my boots. We weren’t in northern BC anymore! There weren’t even any mosquitoes!
The trail led through a thick forest of hemlock and fir, all extremely tall and close together. Then we came to some very large stumps. The contrast between the living trees and stumps was startling. The stumps were so much larger and farther apart. Yet, the live trees were mature second-growth forest; fallen trees were already serving as nurse logs and a good undergrowth of ferns and Oregon grape grew among the trees. Anyone curious about the difference between an old growth and second growth forest, should walk this trail.