Surprise Visitor Beneath the Beautiful Arbutus

Surprise Visitor Beneath the Beautiful Arbutus
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Uploaded by Barbara Levy on Dec 21 2019 in Salt Spring Island

In the south end of Salt Spring Island here in British Columbia, there is a special place (described in BC Parks as, “...one of the most beautiful parks in the Southern Gulf Islands”) where I decided to go for my birthday hike this past June. Ruckle Provincial Park was established on June 18th (which happens to be the day I was born!) in 1974 thanks to the great foresight and generosity of Henry Ruckle (an Irish emigrant, who first homesteaded on this land in1872) and his wife, Ella Anna Christensen, who donated their land to BC Parks. There is so much wildlife to be seen in Ruckle Park, “...with its 7 km of rugged shoreline, rocky headlands and tiny coves and bays…”, but I wasn’t expecting to see this White-tailed fawn with his antler-sprouts while hiking along one of our favourite trails. I was so entranced by this fairytale-world we’d entered—the elegance of cinnamon Arbutus trees spiralling and reaching out towards jade waters and the soft, light brushing moss-covered rocks in the quiet of the morning that the usually familiar sound of branches snapping under hooves startled me. Then I heard Michael cautioning me to go slowly as there was a young buck heading my way. So, I waited and watched as this sweet forest dweller—with his lovely coat which blended in so well with the landscape—nibbled his way around a rocky mound until he climbed up and stopped to peer at me. I had already taken quite a few photos of him as he was foraging, but, for me, this particular image really captures the feeling of this island where the wild ones live and where I’m also so blessed to be!

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