Posted on 08/26/2014

Photo taken on July 25, 2014

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Trees Trees


Haida Gwaii
Queen Charlotte Islands
rain forest

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The Great Forests of Haida Land, 1976, page 3

The Great Forests of Haida Land, 1976,  page 3
Continuing the story of a trip into a rare climax temperate rain forest in British Columbia, almost 40 years ago, before it was clearcut.

The going-in felt odd. You stepped out of the brilliant breezy air of the shore, into almost-darkness created by the dense canopy of tree branches far above you. Not a single shaft of sunlight. Suddenly the air was moisture-laden, quiet and very still, like a tropical rain forest. Breathing was not so pleasant and our packs felt heavier.

It did seem like the tropics without the heat. But except for the trees there was no exuberance of plant species. Instead, the highly simplified end of ancient, ferocious competition. Huge, tall, straight spruce trunks wherever you looked. Perfect masts for ships of the line after the Napoleonic Wars.

You didn’t feel any tension in nature there; just a feeling of hush and stillness. Is this why people call natural places like these “cathedrals”?

No odors of mildew (like the Hawaiian mountain forests) or rot. Few mosquitos. No rustlings of small animals. Absolutely no bird calls. An occasional high-bush cranberry shrub, without fruit. Where was the salal? The devil’s club?

Our planned route through the forest looked easy when traced on the air photos. But once we got into the dense bottom-land forest, we felt frustrated and “blind.” Maybe the easy route is just over there. Maybe it’s not. Which way is west?

To see other pages of this photo story, check out my album "The Great Trees of Haida Land" .

Tim Hanko, John McKay, Don Barrett (aka DBs travels), Don Sutherland have particularly liked this photo

Don Sutherland
Don Sutherland
Great shot.
4 years ago.
Judith Jannetta
Judith Jannetta
Loved the story, you really conveyed how it must have felt
4 years ago.