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Hiking through History by Teresa Burton

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First and Second Creek Trail
Map of Trails (resolution 1540x942x96dpi - 70,029 bytes)

Round Trip 3.2 km/1.98 miles - Allow 2 Hours

The name may not be dazzling, though of interest it came from a reference used long ago to guide people to Dr. Bavis' home on the river. Dr. Bavis was a Port Renfrew practitioner who lived by the river for 37 years. From the start of Bavis' wagon road it was as far to the first creek as it was to the second creek and the same distance again to his home. And in describing it, the people would say, "You know, where all the lilies grow." As tradition goes, the locals still use this name today. This land is now in process of becoming a Provincial park so is under the jurisdiction of BC Parks.

The reasons we considered this trail for the Hiking Through History project are for the grand displays of Pink Fawn lilies in early spring and for enhancing the access into a locally regarded area, although the access will be seasonal and limited to periods of low rainfall.

The trail branches off from the main road while on route to the river so that you can see the surrounding forests and avoid the mud holes found along the road in early spring. There are fir plantations from the '70s, neatly rowed and forming a canopy. These are dark places and great shelter areas for robin nests. The forest surrounding these areas and edging the creeks are Sitka spruce, Red alder and Broadleaf maple with a forest floor hosting some of the most beautiful wildflower displays of Coast trillium, Pink Fawn lilies and Western bleeding hearts. All flower in early spring when access to the area requires waterproof boots. Following the growth of these are a variety of plants such as horsetail, yarrow, lady fern, cow parsnip, colts foot, salmon berries and many more that fill virtually all available space.

Reaching the gravel bar along the shores of the San Juan River on a sunny day can be relaxing and the cool water refreshing. The trail runs parallel with the water systems and so during the infrequent west coast downpours, when it rains between 9 and 10 inches in one day, the land becomes a flood plain with sheets of water running over it. In most cases, the erosion is minimal because of the holding roots of wild flowers and native bushes.

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