When I return from a trip, my friends often remark,”Nice photos, but where are the people?” Alas, I have an eye for nature but less so for my traveling companions. In late summer of this year, my wanderlust took me to lower British Columbia with my boyfriend and another friend. We made our way by ferry from Vancouver City to Vancouver Island, and then drove to Strathcona Provincial Park in the island’s center. Little did we know that the park was so rugged, there were few trails. To experience this park the right way, you need topographical maps and a hand-held GPS. We had neither. The day before our backpacking trip up the Elk River Trail, we explored the park’s main road which wraps like a hook around the park’s central sliver of a lake. At its terminus, we found a large industrial mine. Apparently, the park had excised a central portion of its land and either leased or sold it to a private company. Visitors must drive past the mine to get to the southernmost trail head for Phillips Ridge. To our greater surprise, we also crossed an unnaturally flooded valley which appeared to lay just south of Buttle Lake’s sliver-shaped tip. We walked out across the spongy mud of the valley, and I snapped this picture of a chopped-down tree’s stump, which was more than 36-inches in diameter. (See pic-1.) More stumps are visible in the distance. We were not sure of the exact species, but the surrounding area had many Douglas firs, Western hemlocks and Western red cedars.