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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Is that a search and rescue operation?

We had limited time this morning for a hike, but we still wanted to get out somewhere before my Osteopathic appointment in Comox this where should we go? I was looking on ‘All Trails’ and I couldn’t find a hike that would be short enough for us to do in the vicinity of Comox, that we haven’t already done. Good thing we have the Vancouver Island Adventure guide I had bought before we left home, as I was able to find a Provincial Park we had not explored, just north of Comox.

Kitty Coleman Beach Provincial Park is located about 22 minutes from downtown Comox on the Salish Sea/Strait of Georgia. We could see from the beach across the water to Powell River, on the mainland of B.C. The Park is a ’Class C’ Provincial park meaning it is run by a local 7 member volunteer community board, instead of the provincial government. The provincial park was first established on November 14, 1944 and was named after Kitty Coleman, a local First Nation member from the Cape Mudge tribe who left her tribe early to marry a white man.

The park actually was a community park for 95 years before it became a Provincial Park and by 1919 most of the area which belonged to the Dominion of Canada, had been logged.

The upgrades to the 10 hectare park are paid by boating and camping fees. An expensive shoreline erosion project took place at the park, which took about 5 years to complete.

The shoreline erosion project was completed in 2014 by installing woody debris ballasted with large boulders to mitigate shoreline erosion, while maintaining key natural systems processes, safe public beach access, and a new a more natural aesthetic than conventional riprap armouring (loose stone used to form a foundation for a breakwater or other structure). I’m learning a lot about shoreline erosion, which may be able to help us back in Fort Erie when we arrive in there in the spring. There is definitely many ways to prevent erosion on the shoreline!

The logs look like they just rolled up there, but they are strategically there to prevent the grasses from being washed away on the shoreline.

We realized that most of the Kitty Coleman Beach Provincial Park was the 65 vehicle accessible campsites, with fire pits. The set up was quite neat, with the deep, no hookups campsite on one side of the gravel road, and the fire pit strategically placed directly overlooking the water. I’m sure this place is “hopping” in the summer time with people who bring their tent, Coleman stove and want to ‘rough it’ for the weekend. There are no showers. Just “go huts” for facilities. I think I will stick to “roughing it” in Newman!

Campsites behind Richard, each with their own fire pit at the beach area.

We saw some workmen were using tools to dig up the rotting logs, which separate the campsite area from the roadway. We asked how frequently they have to change out the logs and they told us every 20 years or so.

Quite a nice set up having a fire pit on the water after a day of camping.

We had heard that this park had an old growth Douglas Fir that was over 500 years old and we wandered around until we found it. It was massive!

For perspective - the old growth Douglas Fir up close.

Look how small Richard is compared to this huge tree!

Shooting up to the sky on this beautiful old Douglas Fir. I really want to get to Cathedral Grove if it ever opens to be able to see a stand of these old growth Douglas Fir trees. I hear that Cathedral Grove is amazing and I would hate to miss it while we are here!

That really is one humongous tree!

Kitty Coleman Beach Provincial Park also has a salmon habitat enhancement project in the works on Coleman Creek which runs through the park. Riffles, pools and large woody debris structures were re-created in this erosion-prone section of the creek, providing more resiliency against high flow events, providing additional spawning platforms and large refuge pools for rearing or out-migrating salmonids.

Coleman Creek running through Kitty Coleman Beach Provincial Park

Coleman Creek restoration project.

Coleman Creek emptying into the Salish Sea/Strait of Georgia.

Pausing for technical difficulty! My memory card was full and the camera was making a clicking noise, but the image wasn’t saving. I have two memory cards in the Fuji X-T4, but I guess they were both full. Luckily I always have a backup memory card handy, so I formatted the memory card and we were back in business!

As we were leaving the park to head back to Comox, we were trying to figure out what we were doing for lunch. It was tricky to try and eat before my appointment, and we don’t like going to ‘fast food‘ restaurants. Just then we saw a sign!

Richard drove right by this place and I said “Turn Around! Let’s go see what they have!” So we did a “U“ turn and headed inside to see what they were making here.

Making corn tortillas.

Making some fresh Mexican food.

An large assortment of fresh and refrigerated nacho chips/corn tortillas and sauces. We bought some fresh spicy mango salsa and some gluten free spicy corn chips, as well as some enchilada and mole sauce. Looks like I will be making Richard some homemade enchiladas in the near future. One of his favourite dishes of all time! Another serendipitous find today on our travels!

After a great treatment with the osteopath in which she commented I’m definitely getting stronger, we headed home. We picked up our mail at the Post Office in Union Bay and the gift certificate from Tigh-Na-Mara Seaside Spa Resort from Josh and Alicia had arrived! Now we can book our stay/spa treatment and treat ourselves! We are definitely looking forward to a little pampering!

We saw what we thought was a helicopter hovering very low over the water and some smoke coming off the water, just down from Union Bay. I said to Richard “Is that a Search & Rescue operation going on?” We pulled over to take a closer look and I put the zoom lens on the camera to be able to see what was going on.

It looks like the coastguard were practising their manoeuvres as the coast guard ship kept moving ahead so the helicopter pilot could follow the ship. It was still very unusual to see a helicopter that low over the sea, for an extended period.

We have had a great week and not sure what we are doing tomorrow! We had planned on waiting around for the Viper Fuels truck, but now we just found out they won’t be coming until Monday or Tuesday. Our propane situation is ’ok’. We are just under 1/2, a tank since we have been using the ceramic baseboard heaters. We have rain coming tomorrow afternoon, so we will have to get out early if we want to take advantage of the day tomorrow.

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