Spring


Awaking of Nature in and around Fauquier

Photos by Peter Klopp

Wooden sentinel keeping a watchful eye the Arrow Lake
Wooden sentinel keeping a watchful eye over the Arrow Lake
Oregon grapes blooming high above the lake
Oregon grapes blooming high above the lake
Juniper berries in their second year of development
Juniper berries in their second year of development
Remnant of a Distant Past - an old logging ramp
Remnant of a Distant Past – an old logging ramp
A driftwood choir singing 'Ode to Joy'
A driftwood choir singing ‘Ode to Joy’
Catkins ready to pollinate the tiny red flowers of a hazelnut tree
Catkins ready to pollinate the tiny red flowers of the hazelnut tree
Tiny, yet so beautiful - thousands of these violets blooming on our yard
Tiny, yet so beautiful – thousands of these violets blooming in our yard
Birds announcing the arrival of spring on every tree
Birds cheerfully announcing the arrival of spring on every tree
Crocuses receiving their first spring guest in their floral abode
A crocus receiving its first spring guest in its floral abode

Hiking in the Spring

Taite Creek Trail

Today I start with a recreational theme on hiking. There are many wonderful hiking trails in and around Fauquier that are waiting to be discovered. Also there is no better time to explore the awakening of spring than by a walk through the woods along the rushing waters of a creek. Even if one was blind and could not see the beauty, the fresh aromatic air swirling about one’s face and the melt waters thundering at a distance would be enough to make you feel in tune with Mother Nature.

View onto the Lake at Taite Creek Campground
View onto the Lake at Taite Creek Campground

This afternoon after a heavy rain during the night the sun was shining brightly. So Biene (Gertrud) and I felt like driving down on Applegrove Road to our favorite spot at Taite Creek. We were lucky. We had the lake, the beach, and the campground all to ourselves. After our customary game of boccia and some home-made cake and coffee, which I brewed on our camp stove, I went for a hike, while Biene enjoyed the peace and quiet in the warm sun to do some knitting.

A Tree half uprooted by a Storm forms a beautiful Arch
A Tree half uprooted by a Storm forms a beautiful Arch

More than ten years ago a sports-minded father created with axe and chainsaw a challenging dirt bike trail for his teenage son. We discovered it by chance and since it had been abandoned by father and son it turned out to be one of our favorite hiking trails.

IMG_5512
Last Look at the Lake before Turning Left

For the first 500 m it runs parallel to the lake until it reaches the mouth of Taite Creek. Then turning left it follows the creek for about one km before it moves away into dense forest. Old overgrown logging roads crisscross the area creating a veritable maze where you could get easily lost. Luckily the boy’s father had carefully marked the path by tying yellow ribbons onto tree branches. Near the end the trail changes direction and crosses an old growth forest area, where in the fall I find some of the choicest mushrooms for our dinner table.

Wild Wilderness at its Best
Wild Wilderness at its Best

Everything except for the trail is wild around here. This is perfect wilderness and nature at its best. One must often climb over a tree trunk that a violent storm had blown over across the path. Canada geese nest near the lake. The air is filled with the high-pitched voices of the osprey. And if you are lucky, you might see the king among the birds of prey, the bald eagle, soaring high above in the sky.

Trees Stretching to the Light
Trees Stretching to the Light

The trail ends at the bridge on Applegrove Road. If you are ambitious and don’t want to return to camp by the same route, you can extend your beautiful walk a little by turning it into a full circle tour. From the bridge you walk a few hundred meters in the direction of Fauquier, until you see the campground access road, which will lead you back where you started. There will be more posts on hiking trails in the near future on this blog.

IMG_5513

Adventure into the Backcountry

The ‘Pin Creek Trail’ is actually a logging road. But logging trucks rarely use it at the present time. It is is quite a pleasant way to explore the back country of Applegrove south of Fauquier. To get there, you start at the Arrow Motel in Fauquier and travel 7.6 km south on the Applegrove Road. I recommend you park your vehicle at the fork and start your hike from there. There is a sign warning you about road safety and it advises to use extreme caution. Any car with a low clearance will have trouble crossing the water bars.

Start of Pin Creek Road with Warning Sign
Start of Pin Creek Road with Warning Sign

The hike will take quite a bit longer than going on the Taite Creek loop as described in Part I. The destination is a 70-year-old cabin that used to house the loggers of long ago (see earlier post on Like-minded People of Applegrove Road). During my teaching years at the Fauquier Elementary School I would take my intermediate students up there for a history lesson in logging and mining in our area. To keep them occupied with a meaningful task on their way up, I asked them to collect leaves, cones and bark pieces for later identification of larch, western hemlock, cedar, pine, fir, spruce and birch trees. The distance is about 2.5 km one way and is quite steep in some places. The closer you get to the cabin, the more the road will level off. Then Pin Creek, a tributary of Taite Creek, will soon announce its presence through its waters tumbling down in the ravine to the right.

Deer Posing for a Portrait
Deer Posing for a Portrait

At approximately 2 km up the mountain side, a smaller road branches off to the right and leads you directly to the creek. But don’t get sidetracked, continue on the main road and enjoy the break from the strenuous climb in the lush green of the dense forest all around you. Once you are at the cabin, it is time to have a snack and something to drink, before you do some exploring around the cabin.

IMG_5659
Beauty wherever you go on Pin Creek Road

My students went inside to satisfy their curiosity. In its state of utter dilapidation, much of the roof has succumbed to decades of rot and decay. But the walls are still standing. If you are lucky to find any of the bits and pieces of newspaper wedged in between the walls for insulation, you might get to read the latest news from 1946.

Cabin where Loggers once Slept away from Home
Cabin where Loggers once Slept away from Home

If you really want to enjoy your hike, plan on a minimum of altogether two hours of hiking to the cabin and back to your vehicle plus half an hour at the cabin. There are also a few places, where you can climb down to the creek and listen to the calming sound of rushing waters.

A Log across the Creek creating a tiny Water Fall
A Log across the Creek creating a tiny Water Fall

Some other time you may wish to add three expansions to the itinerary, for which you should plan at least half a day to fully enjoy it. Forestry people told me that the side road, which I mentioned earlier in this post, takes you over a bridge to a number of cut blocks at a much higher elevation. Once there you will enjoy fantastic views into the valley below and the mountains on the Edgewood side across the Arrow Lake. You could also continue on the Pin Creek road, which will take you to Heart Creek. It provides the drinking water for Fauquier below. There used to be a bridge. In the spring of 1985, the creek swollen by heavy rains and melt water completely destroyed the bridge.

Serene Atmosphere at Pin Creek
Serene Atmosphere at Pin Creek

But the most exciting experience requiring an adventurous spirit and quite a bit of courage on your part would be a visit to the nearby abandoned silver mine from about a hundred years ago. For this adventure you need to bring along a flashlight and a pair of gum boots. At the cabin across the road on the left you will find a partially overgrown trail that is quite steep. Make sure to stay on the trail until you come to a path to the left that leads you to the entrance of the mine shaft. You would be well advised to have someone come with you. How the early miners managed to dig a hole so deep into a mountain with only the simplest of tools is quite amazing.

View from the Look-out onto the Arrow Lake
View from the Look-out onto the Arrow Lake

When you drive home, don’t forget to stop at one of the look-outs about half a km from where you parked your vehicle. There on the left you will get a fantastic view of the Arrow Lake. Ah, before I forget, take your camera with you to capture all these memorable moments.

A Walk around Fauquier, BC

 In February I tried very hard to show beauty on a foggy and drizzly day. But this time in the middle of a gorgeous spring, I don’t even have to try. Nature has fully sprung into action. With its dandelion-speckled meadows, the fragrance of apple blossoms in the air, birds twittering in the cedar trees,  with its glorious presence Nature is creating a more joyful mood. Today I suggest a more leisurely walk around our beautiful community. If you take the time to stop often to look at the landscape and listen to the birds chant their cheerful songs, you will need about 40 minutes to complete the loop.

IMG_1047
Google Earth Map of Fauquier with the red dot marking the starting and end point of the walk around the loop

01We start our walk at the General Store, where a bed of tulips adds color to the country store.

02Going west on the commercial street, we walk past a colonnade of trees.

03At the motel we turn left and begin a gentle climb.

05The St. John the Baptist Church looks beautiful any time of the year, but especially now in springtime.

06There is hardly a house in Fauquier that does not have trees and shrubs to beautify its yard.

10The trees have grown so tall you cannot see our house on Google Earth any more.

12A neighbor farther up the hill is completed surrounded by shrubs and trees.

13After you have reached this large property on the left at the top of the loop, the road begins to level off.

14Now it is going downhill with a wonderful view of the Arrow Lake down in the valley.

15You walk alongside a murmuring brook, where the first shoots of wild mint are emerging from the water.

17Turning around under a flowering chestnut tree, you look back on the hillside road you’ve just come from.

18Turning into the opposite direction, you see the Fauquier Elementary School, where I have been teaching from 1976 to 2000. It is now closed and houses the Fauquier Communication Centre.

19You now cross Highway 6 and savor the fantastic view of the lake across the Fauquier golf course.

20Taking the pathway parallel to the highway, you complete the loop by going past the club house.

A Pleasant Walk from the Fauquier Boat Dock to Detta Beach

At the intersection of Highway 6 and Starlite Road you go down to the Fauquier boat dock.

1

2 3Looking north to Ingersol Mountain you can see across the bay the sandy beach of Detta Beach.

3aTo reach Detta Beach you go back up the hill and proceed on Starlite Road,

4past the Fauquier Creek,

5dense growth of skunk cabbage and giant leaves of the devil’s club,

6picturesque old orchards from the time before the flooding of the Arrow Lakes in 1967,

7pastoral scenes complete with ewe and lambs resting in the grass,

9until you reach the junction at a private sawmill operation. There you turn left and walk down to the beach passing a house under construction to the left and another farther down to the right.

8The beach looks deserted now. But in July and August it attracts sun-seeking people from all over the province and even as far away as Alberta. It is perhaps the only place along the shores of the Arrow Lakes, where you can enjoy a sandy beach at low and high water levels. There you can go swimming in the refreshing water, boating, sun bathing, playing games or just lazing away the hot summer days with your friends and family.

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