Saturday, September 22, 2012

Retallack Old Cedars Trail

Retallack Old Cedars Trail
Distance: 1.05 km (0.6 mi).
Route type: Lollipop loop
Suitable for: Walking, running
Elevation change: 35 metres up, 35 metres down
Technical difficulty rating:  
Navigational difficulty rating:  

This short walk is a must-do for visitors any time from late spring to mid-fall. The trailhead is easily accessible right off Highway 31A, about 2 kilometres east of Fish Lake, or about 15 km from New Denver. There's a prominent sign in the midst of a straight stretch of highway marking the turnoff for Retallack Alpine Resort. Turn in at the sign, cross the bridge and park immediately after the bridge on the right. The trail is right there.

 Follow the trail beside the creek. After about 200 metres there's a fork. We usually travel counter-clockwise around this loop, so we take the right-hand fork. From here you're in the thick of the grove of old-growth cedars. One of our favourites fell this year: it's almost more impressive toppled on its side than it was standing. But gosh, the standing trees are amazing too. The undergrowth is sparse in the depths of the forest. Closer to the creek you'll find huckleberry, thimbleberry and devil's club.

At the double-back point at the western-most extent of the trail, you'll find the path climbing a couple of metres up over the roots of a large cedar that leans a little bit over the creek. Be sure to take a good look into the bear den in the base of this tree. Don't worry: it will be empty during any weather that's amenable to hiking on foot! The den is quite amazing. We've been able to fit 8 or 9 children at a time inside it. Brave children!

We love the peaceful stateliness of the Old Cedars forest. It does feel quite ancient. The ground has the springy resonant feel of terrain made of little more than centuries of cedar needles, mushroom mycelia and old air.


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