Dutch Creek Hoodoos
The Dutch Creek Hoodoos are one of the most recognizable landmarks in the Columbia Valley of British Columbia. I had seen them from the highway on numerous occasions, but on our last vacation our hosts suggested we take a Hoodoo Hike.
1. There's a sign in the parking lot, alerting us to what birds, plants and animals we may encounter on our hike. The 10,000 acre property is owned by the Nature Trust of BC.
2. Our hike began with a few moderately steep sections, but soon levelled off. It's a relatively easy 2.9 km walk, with only a 95 meter elevation gain.
3. We were there in early spring. The vegetation tends to be suited for the hot, dry summers.
4. We hadn't gone long before we were alerted to a ruffed grouse, "hidden in plain view" at the side of the trail. (We were too busy visiting to really pay attention.)
5. I believe he deliberately led me into the underbrush, perhaps to divert our attention from a nearby nest. I crouched under the dead branches and followed him a few feet off the trail.
6. This was my reward for my persistence.
7. You don't want to know how many pictures I took of these yellow flowers that were every where. Fortunately, I have a very tolerant and patient sister-in-law, who waited while the men carried on ahead.
8. Many clumps were past their prime, but I was determined to find the perfect patch.
9. At the opposite end of the spectrum, I stopped for more than one dead tree along the way as well.
10. Our fearless leaders took a wrong turn, but we doubled back and finally saw a glimpse of the hoodoos in the distance.
11. On the edge of our first hoodoo. Hoodoos generally form when wind, rain, and snow wear down the soft sedimentary rock while a top layer of harder stone protects the entire formation.
12. Highway 93/95 snakes along far below us. Look carefully and you'll see a pile of debris near the highway--you'll see it again later.
13. The Dutch Creek Hoodoos are made mostly of sand and silt and were created through different rates of erosion, leaving large spires protruding out of the edges of sandy cliffs.
14. Guess what--there were more of these flowers right beside the path at the top of the hoodoos.
15. In fact, the freshest looking bunch of the day was up there, fully exposed to the elements.
16. The path leads from hoodoo to hoodoo.
17. We were thankful that there were a few trees along the edge; they offered shade on a lovely warm afternoon.
18. I like the hole in the wall. This was my favourite spot on the trail. There was an other-worldly feel to the place--each formation was uniquely interesting. They were so close and yet so out of reach.
19. I was surprised by the amount of fine soft sand on the paths, right along the edges of 120-metre cliffs.
20. The vista was memorable--sand, cliffs, mountains, the valley, and the highway below.
21. Even the trees have been shaped by the harsh elements they're exposed to.
22. The Columbia Valley with Columbia Lake.
23. The views "over the edge" weren't the only ones worth paying attention to. Here, I turned my back on the valley and lake.
24. Still, the urge to look down--way down--can't be denied. This view gives the expression "falling through the cracks" a rather visual interpretation.
26. A new campground is under development in the valley. The guys decided to review the sites from the log where we stopped to have a snack.
27. Like a kid in a candy store, I kept spinning around and taking in the many breath-taking views.
28. The resort town of Fairmont Hot Springs as seen from the hoodoos.
29. Eventually we had to make our way back to the parking lot.
30. After being at the top, I really wanted to see the hoodoos from the highway.
32. There's that pile of debris I pointed out from the top of the hill.
33. Nobody else had bothered to get out of the car, so I grabbed one more shot with a car in it (to give a sense of scale). Then we turned around, crossed the bridge, and headed to our hosts' for a pot of coffee.
It was a wonderful way to spend the holiday weekend afternoon.
Thanks for joining me in a vicarious journey through a geologically fascinating landscape.
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