This hike took place on unceded, ancestral Nuu-chah-nulth territories (Hupač̓asatḥ, Ts’ishaa7ath, Huu-ay-aht). This land is currently managed under the BC Provincial Park system. Here’s their website with information about this park: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/bcparks/explore/parkpgs/fossli/. Here’s a link to the ACRD’s trail brochure (we used this map): http://www.acrd.bc.ca/cms/wpattachments/wpID221atID643.pdf
The Alberni Valley is littered with abandoned homesteads. It’s not unusual to come to the end of the trail to find some old timey industrial waste or the foundation of a house that is more than 100 years old. Sproat lake’s Stirling Arm is home to Fossli Provincial Park, an original Alberni Valley homestead (1910s) gifted to the BC Government in the 1970s to be used as a provincial park. While this beautiful, short hike through the woods down to the lake shore is on the map, it lacks expected Provincial Park signage, though is still easy to find.
I am grateful for my friend, Angela, who took us down Stirling Arm Main (read: logging road) in her little car so we could do this hike with kid and dog in tow. The walk down to the lake was a bit technical, loose shale rocks (aka dry creek beds), roots, slippery rock steps, trails that narrow super quick. Both me and the Ang’s pup are terrified of suspension bridges, but the one on this trail is stable and well maintained. The beach was rocky with a nearby outhouse and meadow (and picnic table!). This park isn’t used very often, but its quaint trails along the creek are well developed. The maple trees are high and covered in mossy burls. There’s even a gigantic rhodo down by the beach (a relic of the old homestead). The neatest part was walking along the giant, dry creek bed listening to the water that disappeared into the rocks and gravel beneath our feet. And the shoulder high ferns. I’ll do anything for a mossy, crisp walk through shoulder high ferns. ❤