Monthly Archives: August 2014

Marble Meadows

Marble Meadows, just a short boat ride and a mere 1400m of steep switch backs and you will arrive at your destination. Approach challenges aside Marble Meadows promised spectacular alpine views into the heart of Vancouver Islands mountains and Strathcona Provincial park. While the approach was as grueling as expected the views did not disappoint.

We started off by making the 1km journey across Buttle lake to spend the first night at the Phillips creek before starting the seemingly never ending uphill battle to our campsite at Limestone lake in the morning. The area around Phillips creek was stunning and was a welcome surprise and other than the many mice around the camp site is was one of the nicer ones I used considering the relatively easy access.

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Looking down Buttle lake from the mouth of Phillips Creek

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Looking down Phillips Creek towards Buttle lake

The next day it was an early start to tackle the 5.5 hour grind up to out campsite at Limestone lake. We gained about 1400m of elevation but until you get to the meadows you really don’t get any rewarding views other than the switch back just above and below you. Limestone lake is one of 3 lakes in the general area and like most alpine lakes was quiet beautiful. As soon as we dropped our packs it became immediately apparent that we traded the amazing views for an unbelievable number of bugs who from what I could tell have never eaten before. Bugs aside it was a stunning place and after camp was setup it was time to take in our surroundings for the next few days.

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Reflections in a nearly calm Limestone lake

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The last of the sun touching lighting up the ridge above camp

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Twilight tones outline the mountain ridges surrounding camp

The following morning we decided to tackle Marble Peak that over looked our campsite. This involved a number of increasingly exposed scrambles but with each one the views of the area only got more spectacular.

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Scrambling up a small gully on Marble Peak

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One of the more rewarding views on the way up Marble Peak

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Another exposed scramble with the 3 lakes in the background, Limestone lake is the smallest one on the left

Not one to sit around camp, especially with all the bugs around it was time to do a bit more exploring before the sun set. While it seemed we missed some flowers there was still some colour left in others.

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The sun slides behind a stand of trees by camp with a small patch of wildflowers in the foreground.

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Golden light illuminates the stalks of wildflowers

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Looking down onto another group camped at Globe Flower Lake

One of the more spectacular things to see when in the alpine is the stars. Away from the lights of the city you get an unobstructed view of the stars and it always blows me away just how bright they are. If you get the chance to spend a night or two in the alpine away from the glow of artificial light do yourself a favour and get up to take in the all night sky has to offer.

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Home under the stars

The following day we spent some exploring the limestone area we had seen from the trip up Marble Peak. While it was fascinating to explore the area and examine the various rock formations and fossils it was not overly conductive for photos. Fortunately we had another nice evening to take in the surroundings near camp.

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The sun sets over Marsh Marigold Lake with the Golden Hinde in the background

The following day was a relatively quick (and easier than the approach) hike back to Phillips Creek and a nice boat trip back across the lake while it was still nice and calm unlike the journey over.

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Boating back from the Phillips Creek trail head

Marble meadows like all the hikes I have done in the alpine of Strathcona provided some spectacular views but it certainly makes you work for them. It seems that Marble meadows is really just a hint of all the other adventures that are hiding just over the next set of hills. Looking into the heart of the mountains  in Strathcona is both alluring and beautiful, it tends to draw you further in the more time you spend exploring the never ending adventures it seems to offer.

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Supermoon

Last night there was a so called “supermoon“, a supermoon is when the moon is (slightly) closer to earth due to the shape of it’s orbit in conjunction with it being a full or new moon. While not totally uncommon this phenomenon only occurs about once every 14 months.

To take advantage of this I went down to Pipers Lagoon as I figured it would offer some of the best views in Nanaimo. It seems that a number of other people had the same idea and there where a number of other people and photographers who had the same idea.

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The moon rises over horizon.

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As the moon rose the tide receded leaving exposed rocks behind.

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Once up the moon continued to dazzle

 

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