There is a presence in old growth forests that is quite indescribable; a fulfilling experience that defies words. To stand there and know that the living thing beside you is probably five hundred years old, or more, that it was a sapling when Columbus was doing his thing, isnt what Im talking about. The presence here has nothing to do with age and has everything to do with all the right things happening the way Mother Nature intended, and wonderfully, for me, there is a sense of belonging in the knowledge that I am a part of that eternal cycle. The soil here is alive and well and imparts the same feeling of wellness to anyone in its surroundings.
For many years I passed by this lovely grove of trees, not knowing they existed, in spite of the sign on the highway promoting the Demonstration Forest that had been created there by the good people who work for Western Forest Products. Since I had seen similar trails before I felt that it probably didnt offer anything paintable. I was in for a surprise when one day this spring I decided to check it out.
This trail is now called The Beaver Lake Forest Trail and, on a sign at its start, tells us that it is a combined effort between Western Forest Products and the B.C. Government. What is so surprising about this trail is not only how tastefully it was done and how physically attractive and stable it is, but also its location. How in the (logging) world did Western find this spot that literally had, within a square kilometre, every conceivable kind of forest in such a central place? It lies almost at the intersection of the Port Alice and Number 19 Highways, directly across from popular Beaver Lake and its parking lot.
Having recently discovered it, we now take our visitor friends there. Last week it was our friends from Palm Springs, California who expressed amazement at this gem of a trail so close to the highway. As we walked the now familiar trail, two dogs from Port McNeill came along towing a couple of humans. The dogs explained to us that they did this at least once or twice a week on this very trail. The humans nodded in agreement, adding that they were indeed lucky to have these canine friends take them out so often to this lovely spot.
Two days ago we did it again with two old buddies from Kamloops who were heading up to Prince Rupert on the Queen of the North. We have set a pattern, so to speak, in that we walk this trail on our way to one of our favourite North Island restaurants. By the time we get to the restaurant we are usually ravenous and tend to over-indulge, so perhaps, in the future, we should reverse the procedure since my belt seems to be getting a little tighter.