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Hiking through History by Teresa Burton

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Lens Creek Trail
Map of Trails (resolution 1540x942x96dpi - 70,029 bytes)

Round Trip 3.8 km/2.35 miles - Allow 2 Hours

The beginning of this trail is a driveable road, but you should park at the entrance because of a washout a little way down. The trail leads straight to the San Juan River. This initial forest is 40 year old hemlock, spruce, fir and cedar. Like much of our lowland riversides, this trail will lead you to big, ancient trees, touched only by nature. Look for a sign saying "Chester's Grove". A giant Western red cedar, Western hemlock and Sitka Spruce crowd together where the trail enters the gravel bar. Reminders of the "tree-mendous" size our long-ago logger sought, and which he easily found in this rich, temperate valley of the rain forest.

After you've finished marvelling at the first grove of trees along the bank, take a walk on the gravel bar and visit a couple of record-size Black cottonwoods. They will be about 40 meters upstream on the bank to your left, towering over maple trees. Typically, at 100 years, the trees are 3 feet in diameter, but at 5 feet 10 inches, your imagination wonders.

Returning to the trail, take the route going downstream along the shores of the San Juan River. This will be about a 15 minute journey to a more beautiful sandbar, with a deep pool for swimming. Along the way, you will see large trees of hemlock, fir and spruce before you enter into a spectacular grove of giant Sitka spruce. Between 8 and 13 feet in diameter, these spruce seem at home on an old flood plain of the river. Requiring high humidity and enjoying the warm Pacific winds, the Sitka spruce can grow to enormous sizes, up to 180 feet high and up to 15 or more feet in diameter. This spruce grove is truly a tremendous display and enhancing the beauty even more is the presence of vine maple growing in crowded patches and the sword ferns with their long fronds that fill the forest floor.

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