On Monday morning, St. Catherine’s hiking group enjoyed a glorious day for our first hike of the season, West Vancouver’s Whyte Lake Park.
We met at the trailhead off Westport Road, followed a gravel road under the highway, and quickly warmed up on a short steep section. After that, the trail hugs the banks of Nelson’s Creek through a moss-laden grove of Western Red Cedar and Douglas fir trees, including several old growth sentinels. Interpretive signs along the way explain the importance of Cedars to indigenous history.
The Coastal Salish peoples have a beautiful creation story of the origin of the mighty tree. The story goes that "once there lived a good man who always gave his belongings and food to others. The creator recognized the man’s kindness, and declared that once the man dies, a Red Cedar will grow where he is buried, and the tree will continue to help people.”
A walk along this trail makes one appreciate the sensitivity of our coastal ecosystem and the role a thousand-year-old tree might play both through life and death. After an hour’s hike, we arrived at Whyte Lake, a small, tranquil lake offering a mirror image reflection of the surrounding forest and rimmed by a marshy wetland. A wooden dock allows access from the shore to the lake, and while we lingered there for a spell, a curious duck paddled over to make his acquaintance.
Though small, the lake provides a habitat for many birds and the threatened Westslope Cutthroat Trout, a species that's reached critical levels in population due to habitat reduction and introduction of non-native species. Again, one cannot overlook the value of this eco-sensitive area. After that, it was time to follow the trail to the sunny side of the lake, where the dogs took a dip while we enjoyed our snacks before returning back.
Thank you everyone for coming out! Looking forward to our next hike!
message from Kim Mead