On July 29, 1910, the birth of British Columbian Parks started with ascent of Crown Mountain in Strathcona Park by Price Ellison and his team. The expedition started in Campbell River to Crown Mt. and through to Port Alberni. Last year, the “Strathcona Centennial Expedition” followed the same route of 1910. Presentations about the Park are taking place this year in various locations on Vancouver Island. Check out Strathcona Centennial Expedition 2010 Trailer.mov by Wildisle Media or contact the centennial event coördinator Philip Stone.
I have driven through Strathcona Park a few times. A couple of years ago, I stopped at some of the sites to sketch ” en plenair”. My travel route started in Port Alberni, and then to Campbell River and through the Park. The first sketch of Elk Falls on the outskirts of the town is en route to Strathcona Park. The falls are impressive and the trail in the forest is easy to moderate. Further along the highway, long before entering the gates of the Park, is Upper Campbell Lake. Higher elevation at the gates provides a viewpoint of Upper Campbell Lake from a cliff.
Buttle Lake is the most popular recreation spot. My sketch is a view towards the west. Over lunch, I sketched Puzzle Mountain aptly named by the way the snow lies on the mountain in shapes reminiscent of puzzle pieces. Crest Creek Craggs has an extensive trail system and moss on the creek rocks inspired an abstract design sketch.
The closest town to the Park is Gold River. Muchalat Bay is at the base of an ocean inlet nearby the town and the river by the same name as the town runs along the western border of Strathcona Park. Travelling on from here, I headed towards Tahsis reachable by vehicle on a gravel road. The first place I stopped on that road was at the Upana Falls and Cave. Definitely a place worth visiting.
A note about the booklet that I have created to celebrate the Park’s anniversary. “Strathcona Park & North Vancouver Island ” is the outcome of a sketching tour beyond Strathcona Park to Port Hardy and Cape Scott. Categories in the booklet are Rivers, Lakes, Falls,Ocean Inlets Mountains and Trails.