Carrington Bay, Cortes Island, British Columbia

Light filtered between the needles of the conifers and splattered the trail with random patterns. Here and there an imprint in a muddy pool told of wildlife that had passed before; a raccoon, deer, squirrel and bird. Eyes meandered from a rock to mosses and ferns carpeting the edges with green. Leathery leaves of salal shrubs glistened in the understory. Branches of white pine and western hemlock entwined in an embrace. The lacy foliage of Western red cedar held hands with friendly feeling flattened needles of Douglas fir high above our heads. A stroll in the woods offered an understanding of community relationships among plants. At the edges of the terrestrial world a different assemblage grew. Smooth white trunks with paper thin peeling bark narrowed to twisted stems, each adorned with clusters of magnolia-like leaves. The presence of madrone (Arbutus) reminded us of the uniqueness of this location where rainforest fingered with rain-shadow, arid land-loving vegetation. Gliding silently in colorful kayaks we were part of the sea as we examined the shore.