Walking away from the visitor’s centre, we turned down a path and found the river that runs through the park. We had been warned that things get pretty busy during salmon season and as we approached the water, it was clear the run had started.
Although, I was wholly unprepared for the amount of dead fish I saw!
There had been a lot of rain the week prior which meant the river was higher than normal. As the water level dropped, a lot of fish had been stranded on the bank. They were easy pickings for the seagulls – the juiciest part are the eyes!
We even found some eggs!
A volunteer (tasked with the wonderful job of pushing the dead, beached fish back into the water) told me that these Pacific salmon differ from the Atlantic species in that the vast majority will die on their journey. Atlantic salmon have the sense to turn around and get back to the ocean once they’re done spawning but the Pacific species… get stuck.
But it’s okay. The tons of salmon that are left over are valuable food sources for many creatures in Goldstream including bobcats and bears!
By this point in the day, it was lunchtime and we were all getting hungry. We continued down a path to a nature hut that overlooked the off-limits area around the start of the ocean cove. We couldn’t see much wildlife from the observation hut but we got a fantastic view of Mount Finlayson in the sunshine.
After lunch, we explored the park’s incredible forest.
These trees were enormous!
|The group for scale|
I had heard a rumour of something very special on the western side of the park, but it involved getting across the highway. Once we discovered a tunnel underneath, we found ourselves in a dry riverbed blanketed in leaves.
Continuing down the ‘river’ we found Niagara Falls!
Not quite like the larger waterfall back east that it’s named after but still impressive. I haven’t been up close to many waterfalls and I was amazed how windy it was!
|© Kristian Tyse Nygård|
Obligatory group shot!
But the waterfall wasn’t the special thing I had been told about! We hiked up and beyond the waterfall and its canyon, way, way up into the beautiful forest until we reached this! An old, abandoned railway trestle!
…which of course, we just had to cross. There was a lot of quiet screaming from all of us as we slowly made our way over the gorge.
It was a long way down.
To make matters worse, I kind of have an irrational phobia of bridges… I know logically and scientifically they’re safe but they still make me uncomfortable, which gave me an extra boost of adrenaline.
|© Kristian Tyse Nygård|
But we couldn’t resist dancing with death a little further and lying down on the tracks! Unfortunately, one of my friends discovered when we stoop up that her phone had dropped between the sleepers into the gorge. Whoops!
Despite all we had seen, we had covered only about a third of what the park has to offer by the time light was fading. All the same, I had a fantastic day out at Goldstream even if I was frantically studying for a midterm on the bus there and back!