Whimsical Wednesday: Mayne Island part 4; Mount Parke Park
October 26, 2011, 9:01 am
Filed under: blessings, british columbia, love, nature, Parenting, travel | Tags: , , , , ,

Whimsical Wednesday Mayne Island part 4; Mount Parke Park

I bring you back to my hallowed island in British Columbia.  This magical place where memories are made and shared and cherished.  I have shared our cabin, the Japanese Garden, the dock area, and now the annual hike in Mount Parke.

 From the official parks guide:

Located on pastoral Mayne Island, in the southern Gulf Islands, this 47-hectare park is a perfect place to appreciate nature. At 255 metres, Mount Parke is the highest peak on Mayne Island. Visit the viewpoint (185 m) for spectacular views of the Gulf Islands and Lower Mainland. You may see a variety of wildflowers and birds while hiking the ridge and slopes.

The Past

These lands were thrust out of the sea 40 million years ago by the earth’s shifting tectonic plates.

Ancient sites indicate the first people to live on Mayne Island, as early as 3000 BC, were the Coast Salish. Attracted by the mild climate and varied food supply found in sheltered bays, they fished, hunted sea mammals and gathered plants from nearby forests.

European exploration began in the late 1700s, when the Spanish left their names on Galiano Island and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The British arrived soon after. Mayne Island is the only Gulf Island Captain Vancouver landed on, in 1794.

Mount Parke is named after Lieutenant J.J. Parke, a US Army topographical engineer on a survey ship that mapped the area in the 1850s.

The Present

You can be a modern explorer in this small park, which is rich with plant and animal life. Follow the winding woodland trail through a forest dark with western red cedar and red alder. Giant swordfern glistens in the shadows, and Oregon grape hangs lush with fruit. The trail leads to the ridge and panoramic views of the Gulf Islands and sea below. Listen for ravens arguing overhead or, at dusk, the haunting call of barred owls.

In spring, wildflowers cling to the slope: blue-eyed Mary, early saxifrage and spring gold are just a few. Share the skies with the majestic bald eagles or turkey vultures circling in the wind.

As far back as I can remember whenever we go to the island, we climb up the mountain now established as Mount Parke.  Before it was an established park Gramma and Granpa would take us to the old dirt road that led to the path up, up, up, to the top of Maine Island.  When I was a child it felt like it took forever and my little legs and big mouth would complain.  If I was lucky my dad might give me a piggy back ride for a little bit but granpa would frown on this and tell me to ‘buck up’.

The view from the top is crazy beautiful.  The air clean and everything seems to come into perspective as you lean over the cliff and watch an eagle below you.  There is a hollowed out tree trunk that is along the path.  I have taken my kids picture in it every year since I discovered it.  They roll there eyes as they barely fit in it and try not to be grossed out by the spiders.  It is yet another tradition and family legacy this wonderful island gives me.  The pictures below are all taken by me or someone in my family and are just a glimpse of the heavenly place this high point is.

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