A Pineapple Express!
I woke with the wonderful sound of a pump running right under my bedroom window at 8am this morning. With the excessive amount of rain we have had over the past two days, the road behind Newman had flooded. Last year we had a lake behind Newman most of the time we were staying here at Lighthouse RV Park in Fanny Bay, but over the summer, it seems that a gas pump was installed to alleviate the lake forming behind us and blocking the roadway.
The lake behind Newman from all the rain we’ve had.
Dave who runs the RV park for Matt (the owner) is running the gas pump at 8am this morning!
The weather forecast this morning was calling for a ‘Pineapple Express’ which is a non-technical term for a meteorological phenomenon characterized by a strong and persistent large-scale flow of warm moist air, and the associated heavy precipitation both in the waters immediately northeast of the Hawaiian Islands, and extended northeast to any location along the Pacific Coast.
I guess a ‘Pineapple Express‘ is an appropriate term for the weather we are experiencing!
The good news for us, if there is any good news to 3 solid days of heavy rain, is that we were above the ’red zone’ in Fanny Bay, which meant that the North Island, of Vancouver Island, was not going to get as much rain as Victoria, or Vancouver. The 7,000 residents of Merritt, B.C. which is directly west of West Kelowna had to evacuate as the roads were flooded and the sewage was backing up because they had to abandon the sewage treatment plant. Those poor people in Merritt! The residents of Merritt had to evacuate this summer due to wildfires and now they had to evacuate because of flooding. The Coquihalla highway is also closed south of Merritt because of a mudslide across the highway, and the road has been destroyed. That means the folks from Merritt only had 2 options. Go to Kelowna or go north to Kamloops. The road from Hope, B.C. towards Vancouver was also closed due to flooding with 240mm of rain! The other bad news is the Coquihalla is expecting 15-20 centimeters of snow overnight too! Chilliwack, BC has cars underwater on their roads too. Thank goodness we are already on the Island, because this time last year we were still heading towards the Island! It can always be worse right?
We were closely watching the weather forecast today, because we had seen that there would be a break in the weather, and when that happened, we wanted to be out as quickly as we could to explore somewhere we had never been before.
In the meantime, I had a big workout this morning, baked some oatmeal chocolate chip, walnut muffins and made some beef vegetable soup for lunch.
Yummy, beef vegetable noodle soup made with our delicious leftover baron of beef from last evening.
We had our delicious hearty soup for lunch and then saw that the radar said the rain would be stopping at 1:30pm or so, so we headed out around 1:15pm to head to a very special spot.
The roads were very wet and the skies were still quite grey, with fog hanging around high on the mountains.
Cameron Lake, B.C.
On the road to Port Alberni, B.C. on the Alberni Highway.
We were very excited about our destination today, since the place we wanted to visit had been closed the entire time we were here last year due to Covid. The officials in B.C. did not want crowds gathering at this special spot, so unfortunately we couldn’t visit last time.
We are finally visiting ‘Cathedral Grove’ in MacMillan Provincial Park. MacMillan Provincial Park is located 25 km west of Qualicum Beach and 16 km east of Port Alberni, B.C. The park is a 740acre provincial park nestled on the western shore of Cameron Lake and it protects the delta of the Cameron River. The park is home to a famous 390 acre stand of ancient Douglas fir, known as ‘Cathedral Grove’. The park provides the only highway-accessible protected old-growth Douglas -fir forest in B.C. In 2007, Cathedral Grove made the short list on CBC televisions competition Seven Wonders of Canada (Just so you know what the 7 Wonders of Canada are and to recollect how many of these you have seen: the Sleeping Giant, Niagara Falls, the Bay of Fundy, Nahanni National Park Reserve, the Northern Lights, the Rockies and the Cabot Trail).
We were both really excited to visit Cathedral Grove today but a lot of the park was closed due to flooding.
Entering Macmillan Provincial Park. It was a little slippery on the wooden walkway, but if you notice I’m wearing my goretex hiking boots today and they sure came in handy as we hiked around the park.
The pictures don’t do it justice! These old growth trees are humongous!
The moss definitely thrives in this rainforest environment on Vancouver Island.
A Nurse Log. What is a nurse log you ask? When a tree falls to the forest floor we may see only its death, but this death is the beginning of new life and the natural cycle of a forest. These fallen giants begin to decay, the spongy wood absorbs rainwater and supplies nutrients for plants like mosses, ferns, salal, huckleberry and young hemlock trees. The dead tree acts like a nursery, providing a place for young plants to grow above the shade of the plants on the forest floor. In this way, the old wood is recycled as it nourishes the new forest. Isn’t that neat?!
Another nurse log.
The roots on this old growth tree were huge!
The roots of this old growth tree were so big, it is hard to understand how this tree could have fallen!
‘The Big Tree’ as this tree is known in Cathedral Grove. This tree is over 800 years old, 76 metres tall and 9 metres round. It was 300 years old when Christopher Columbus came to North America in 1492. Douglas fir is one of Canada’s oldest living tree species and can live to be over 1000 years old. By comparison, the Leaning Tower of Pisa is 58 metres high and ’The Big Tree’ is 76 metres tall! Isn’t that nuts?
I also had to have my photo taken with ‘The Big Tree’.
I couldn’t get the whole ‘The Big Tree’ in the photo, but this photo gives you some indication of how tall ’The Big Tree’ is!
After visiting Cathedral Grove, we crossed over to the North side of the road to try and walk the path through the rest of Macmillan Provincial Park. We knew the trees on the North side of the road were not as big as on the South side.
As we started walking down the walkway, Richard had to stop walking. He didn’t have waterproof boots on and the walkway had a puddle about 5 inches deep.
I walked down the walkway by myself as I had waterproof goretex hiking boots on.
Walking through the North side of MacMillan Provincial Park was like walking through a swamp! I couldn’t believe how much water was covering the forest floor!
The ferns are usually on the forest floor, not under water!
The roots of these trees are in the middle of a huge swamp!
I only got so far down the path and then I saw this in front of me. The steps down to the path were flooded under about 3 feet of water, where the flooding had come up over the walkway. There was no way I was going to continue walking down this path, which meant I had to turn around and back track along the path I had already walked down.
The forest swamp leading out to Cameron Lake.
When I got back to Kramer, the Kona, Richard had gone back to the car because it had started to rain again and he didn’t want to wait for me on the pathway in the rain.
You can see that my boots are soaking. There were quite a few sections of the path that I had to walk through about 5 inches of water which came up and over my boots.
We were very happy we finally got to Cathedral Grove despite the flooded conditions, which had closed off sections of the park.
We started back towards Qualicum Beach and then saw the signs for Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park. I asked Richard to please pull into the park so we could have a bigger hike and to see how big the waterfalls were today, with all of the rain we’ve had over the past 3 days.
We hiked first to the Lower Falls at Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park. We couldn’t believe how big the falls were when we finally got to the water’s edge!
The Lower Falls were more of a deluge than a falls today! One of the locals who we were standing near said, the section of the falls that usually is flowing, was completely obliterated with so much flow, because of the recent 3 days of very heavy rains.
Walking up to the Upper Falls.
The water was roaring today at the Upper Falls.
Richard watching the Upper Falls. The force of the water was incredible!
The water was splashing up at the top of the rocks. It was incredible how high the water level was today!
This is a photo of the Lower Falls taken in March 2021. You can actually see there are waterfalls at the Lower Falls!
And a photo of the Upper Falls from March 2021. You can see there are a lot of rocks visible in this photo.
Photo taken today on the Upper Falls bridge. The same bridge you can see in the picture above. That’s a lot of water and definitely no visible rocks today in the river!
After hiking through Cathedral Grove and Little Qualicum Falls today, it was time to head into Qualicum Beach.
As we drove into Qualicum beach we looked straight down the Main Street to see that a beautiful rainbow had formed over the Salish Sea.
We pulled in beside the 3rd green at Qualicum Beach Memorial Golf Course so I could get out of Kramer and take some photos of the rainbow! Again we have hope! There is no rain in the forecast for the next two days and we may even see the sunshine tomorrow!
There is a lot of standing water on the golf course, but most of it is on the driving range which is good, because we have a tee time tomorrow afternoon and we’re hoping we can play without really soggy conditions!
We listened to the local news from Vancouver this evening and we are so glad that the North Island was spared with the past 3 days of rain. There are a lot of people though stranded in their vehicles on roads on the mainland with this Pineapple Express weather we’ve had. The vehicles are being abandoned, with the coast guard rescuing people with helicopters. At Vancouver airport today they had a record amount of rainfall for November 15th, and November is a rainy month here (if you haven’t already surmised this from being a loyal blog reader!). We were very happy we were still able to get out today and at least make the most of the few hours we had without rain, and we hope that everyone will be ok on the mainland with the flooding.
Tomorrow Richard will be back up on Newman’s roof as there is a small section that is leaking. Our neighbour Owen has offered to help Richard which is great, so hopefully once this small di-cor job is done, the roof won’t leak anymore. We have Newman tipped from front to back, so I’ve been feeling kind of dizzy with the severe slope we have inside Newman!