Trip Report by Jane Srivastava
Sometimes it’s good to slow down and look at what’s at your feet.
On April 26, eleven of us enjoyed an easy walk to see many delicate wildflowers and other delights along the chain-link shaped trails on the bluffs in the northwest portion of Whytecliff Park in West Vancouver.
We met in the overflow parking lot. Then, passing red flowering currant in full bloom we followed a path from the far end of the parking lot, climbing up through the forest, and further up worn stone steps to – a fire hydrant! Bearing left, we proceeded to a bench higher still with magnificent water views, then on to an open area where human or perhaps fairie children had built shelters of fallen branches. Fresh green shoots of sword fern were beginning to unfurl along the path.
The trail topped out on a rocky bluff where Saskatoon berry bushes were in bloom, and abundant licorice ferns were crowding out some of the spring flowers we’d come to see.
A few fawn lilies, with their delicate stems and small nodding heads, and myriad chocolate lilies and blue-eyed Mary bloomed just off the trail. After a break for picture taking and a snack we followed trails on the eastern side of the park, through dark woods and past tall trees to the northern end of the trails, at the end of Hycroft Road. We then returned along the western edge of the bluffs, along much more light and open trails, with fine views of Howe Sound, back to the lily field for more picture taking.
Walking back east, below the lily field, we passed a large amanita mushroom thriving in the shadows, and arrived at a smaller bluff to the south, where we found a few death camas, some in bud, some almost in bloom, and then proceeded down through a short rocky canyon (built to lay a water pipe to the fire hydrant, we surmised) past a small bunch of chickweed monkeyflower clinging to the wall. On our way back down the steps to the parking lot we were intrigued by the methodical borings of a sapsucker in the bark of a felled tree.
Some stayed on in the park for lunch on the cliffs at Whytecliff Point, just off the main parking lot. This is a great spot to look out at Howe Sound, Bowen Island and the distant Tantalus Range. A raft of surf scoters swam and dove in the ocean below us and, then…. two orcas swam through the strait in front of us… then three more.
It was reassuring – and exciting – to see orcas still surviving in our waters.
Jane Srivastava is a long-time member of Nature Vancouver who enjoys learning about the natural world from fellow members.