Saturday, January 5, 2013

Flow: tracing a stream to the sea

Mossy slopes and fallen trees at Indian Point

At Indian Point during this wet time of year the land cannot contain all the rain that is falling upon the steep rocky hillside, the cedar and fir forest and the mossy Garry Oak meadows. Much seeps deep into the rock crevices high on the dome of Reginald Hill to be slowly released to the vegetation through the summer dry period, but now the extra creeps downward through the moss covered slopes or springs to overflow at the base of the mountain either above the ocean beach or in the underwater canyons and cliffs that stretch down to the deep floor of Fulford Harbour.

The stream finally reaches the sea
A little stream exits the forest above the gravel beach, runs swiftly down the last slope to the dam of tangled driftwood at the high tide line where it then filters the final distance to the sea through the beach gravel. I have often wondered where this stream begins and decide to start higher up in the cedar forest and see if I can trace it to the sea while the flow is at its peak and the leaves are off the deciduous trees and bushes. I look for a defile above where the stream should run and walk across the slope through fallen trees and deep salal until I find water oozing out of the ground. Bingo! But then, this is not enough in itself to account for the brisk flow of water at the beach end. I struggle back to the path and soon discover another spring right beside me. I must have crossed it often but only with my specific focus do I now recognize it for what it is. I have found another source and can assume now that my stream has many tributaries that well up in the undergrowth from cracks in the bedrock and combine with the general surface flow.

A spring on the upper path is one of several that feeds the stream
I follow the downward trend of the slope, ease carefully over dead-falls that criss-cross the little valley and see the beach up ahead. The stream slides past a fallen moss-covered tree trunk and then winds away beneath a last dense mass of salal. I make my way around this and meet the now brisk flow of water from the beach side.

Close to the end of its short course, the stream is about to slide under some salal.
Not a grand adventure in the scheme of things, tracing the short path of this minuscule stream, but I now have a larger view of Indian Point. The rocky mountain above, the underground seepage that pushes to the surface at its base and the myriad threads of water that join to form the stream that finally meets the sea.

Rainy weather 

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