Francis Point Provincial Park 3 – 2014

The Trail Back

The light at Francis Point. Navigational lights on the coast flash at different frequencies and lengths which correspond to notations of navigational charts. This helps boats determine where they are though this is all changing with the advent of GPS.

The light at Francis Point. Navigational lights on the coast flash at different colours, frequencies and lengths which correspond to notations on navigational charts. This helps boats determine where they are though this is all changing with the advent of GPS charting.

A dead cone

A dead cone

A fir tree growing up through a crevasse.  The base of the tree is 30 feet below these branches.

A fir tree growing up through a crevasse. The base of the tree is 30 feet below these branches.

A wild sedum

A wild sedum

Another Douglas fir fighting up through the granite

Another Douglas fir fighting up through the granite

A fishing boat returning home through Malaspina Strait.  Texada Island is in the background.

A fishing boat returning home through Malaspina Strait. Texada Island is in the background.

A young arbutus tree

A young arbutus tree

A pair of Barrow's Goldeneye near where the trail leaves the ocean.

A pair of Barrow’s Goldeneye near where the trail leaves the ocean.

Francis Point Provincial Park 2 – 2014

Though the trail to Francis Point isn’t very long, when we walked it there had just been a period of heavy rain.  This made the trail very slippery and it was somewhat tricky to walk.  We were rewarded when arriving at the point with a magnificent grove of arbutus trees (Arbutus menziesii).  These unusual trees  are Canada’s only broad-leafed evergreen tree.

Arbutus are known for their distinctive red peeling bark.

Arbutus are known for their distinctive red peeling bark.

These trees have suffered some damage and are trying to heal themselves

These trees have suffered some damage and are trying to heal themselves

More damage but interesting textures and patterns

More damage but interesting textures and patterns

Reaching for the sun

Reaching for the sun

A mix of hemlock, Douglas fir and Arbutus with salal undergrowth

A mix of hemlock, Douglas fir and Arbutus with salal undergrowth

Remnant of an old tree

Remnant of an old tree

My wife (of 36+ years), best friend and budding photographer with a background of arbutus

My wonderful wife (of 36+ years), best friend and budding photographer, with a background of arbutus

Francis Point Provincial Park 1 – 2014

This past weekend we hiked in the Francis Point Marine Park which is located about 30 km (18 miles) north  of us.  The park consists of 72.8 hectares (180 acres) of parkland and an additional 9.2 hectare (22.7 acre) ecological reserve. More tomorrow.

Francis Point Park 1_watermarked
The land was once privately owned and was sold to the Provincial government in 2001 for parkland.  The property had never been developed and remained virtually untouched.  It is considered an excellent example of the Very Dry Maritime Subzone of the Coastal Western Hemlock biogeoclimatic zone. A low elevation forest where its diverse and rare plant communities are found only on the eastern side of Vancouver Island and limited areas on the Sunshine Coast (where we live). The small ecological reserve has restricted access to protect the delicate vegetation. 

There are basically only two trails in the park. One goes to a viewpoint and the other is a 1.24 km trail to Francis Point. It is a bit minimalist as it travels almost entirely over granite shoreline and was made to have little impact on the vegetation.

There are basically only two trails in the park. One goes to a viewpoint and the other is a 1.24 km (4000 ft) trail to Francis Point. It is a bit minimalist as it travels almost entirely over the granite shoreline and was made to have little impact on the vegetation.

At the start of the trail is bay with some small driftwood filled beach areas.

At the start of the trail is a bay with some small driftwood-filled beach areas.

Thick lichens, mosses and succulents are everywhere

Thick lichens, mosses and succulents are everywhere

Lichen and Arbutus

Lichen and Arbutus

The predominant trees growing right out of the granite are pine and arbutus.  These shown the signs of struggle to try to survive in such difficult growing conditions.  Roots cross the path on top of the rock looking for soil and moisture. During the Summer the southern exposure makes the entire area tinder dry.

The predominant trees growing out of clefts in the granite are pine and arbutus. These show the signs of struggle to try to survive in such difficult growing conditions. Roots cross the path on top of the rock looking for soil and moisture. During the Summer the southern exposure makes the entire area tinder dry and Winter winds hit full force due to the open exposure to Malaspina Strait.

Lichen and Dead Pine

Lichen and Dead Pine