You need special shoes for hiking – and a bit of a special soul as well.Terri Guillemts
So the other weekend I was once again taking pictures from what has become my favorite dock, which is at Battleship Lake in Strathcona Park. One of the provincial parks here on Vancouver Island. As usual, I was out early to try and catch the sunrise, and per normal, it was cloudy with mist rising from Battleship Lake, Yup I’m getting used to clouds, mist, and fog. I now look forward to this type of inclement weather as I can incorporate into my photography.
After the photo-shoot, I decided to hike the Battleship Lake, Helen MacKenzie loop, which is about an 8K trail which should take about 2 hours. However, this trip would take a lot longer as it was September long weekend and everyone and their dogs were at the park.
Now! I’m not complaining. It’s just that I met so many interesting hikers the trip took 5 hours, not 2. I turned into a Chatty-Kathy. We’ll start with a lady called Winky, yup “Winky” how cool is that name. Well, it turns out that Winky was from the Comox Valley Photography Society and was just out for a morning walk (without her camera, “Heaven for Betsy” :-)). We had a lovely chat she recognized me from my TV show “2 Photo-Nuts.” We must of talked for about 45 minutes, everything from how to program your Sony Camera, yup another Sony shooter, to our favorite photographers.
The next person I spoke to was awesome and knew a lot about the trail. Bob Bock was his name, Bob and I meet at Piggott Lake as I was stumbling through the muck trying to find the perfect spot for my next picture, Ah-hum, I never did locate the “spot.” 🙂 Bob and I talked for awhile, and I gave him one of my business cards. A few days later I received an email and after a few emails back and forth I discovered Bob knew the gentleman who designed and installed the dock at Battleship Lake, how cool is that? I emailed and sent a picture to Andy Smith who is the Strathcona Area Supervisor and he responded with the following email about how the dock came about, which I thought I’d share.
Yes, the dock and all the new improvements were a vision of mine in trying to make Strathcona a bit more accessible to those who are mobility challenged. After spending many years first developing the Paradise Meadows Centennial loop trail as a barrier-free experience so families with strollers, seniors, and disabled visitors could experience a bit of the park, I then set my mind to expanding the opportunity elsewhere. That lead to the purchase of the TrailRider which as you have seen, is the mobility unit that can transport someone almost anywhere with the help of a few volunteers. After getting that program started, I then sought funds to enhance Battleship Lake to make the poor, dilapidated area a nice destination for those using the TrailRider and of course the rest of the Strathcona visitors. I felt strongly that part of the experience should include a closer connection to the lake and that is what lead to the dock. It really is a highlight of a TrailRider trip to wheel it out on the dock and let the visitor enjoy the scene and atmosphere. I funding through the provincial Freshwater Fisheries Society who supported the effort to enhance fishing opportunities. The society actually may be interested in funding one additional section on the dock to move it out a bit further. Another thought was to look into the possibility of acquiring a small landing craft type boat to allow for the TrailRider visitor to actually tour the lake using a small electric motor (just a thought at this time).
With Battleship finished, it is now easy to get someone to HM Lake campsite to provide the mobility challenged a camping experience.
Something you may also be interested in at Battleship is my other new viewpoint which we just completed last week. We constructed a small deck on the top of the rock bluffs which next year will act as the “kick-off” location to my “Yellow Chair” program. I adopted this idea from National Parks “Red Chair” program. The idea is to place two Adirondack Chairs in various vista locations in Strathcona Park and encourage people to seek them out, photograph themselves in them and let social media do the rest. While I got the small deck built it was too late in the season to worry about installing the chairs – look for them next Spring.
In conclusion, I want to thank all those that took the time to stop and say Hi as I was out taking pictures, especially to Winky and Bob it was great to meet you both. Big thanks to Andy Smith, Strathcona Park Area Supervisor for the incredible story about the Dock.
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