Nature’s Riot of Life after Forest Fire: Marble Canyon Park, British Columbia

Vivid evergreen wild trees against backdrop of the burnt skeleton forest due to a 2003 forest fire. Marble Canyon Provincial Park, British Columbia 2014. Photo by J. Chong
Vivid evergreen wild trees against backdrop of the burnt skeleton forest due to a 2003 forest fire. Marble Canyon Provincial Park, British Columbia 2014. Photo by J. Chong

I got to visit Marble Canyon Provincial Park again, after wondering for the last 15 years if I had only dreamt of it.

Marble Canyon Provincial Park in southwestern British Columbia, is now rejuvenating after a forest fire ripped through the area in 2003. I had been there just the year before the fire, when we were driving enroute across Canada from Toronto to Vancouver, with my furniture and possessions.

Tucked in Gorgeous Corner of Wilderness Parks
Marble Canyon is tucked in by Kootenay National Park and near Yoho National Park.  Yes, this whole huge area by the British Columbia-Alberta border is a wonderful patchwork-swath of fantastic wilderness parks. Most foreign tourists are probably bedazzled and drawn just north, by the equally deserving splendour of Banff, Lake Louise and the Canadian Rockies.

We were in a hurry to hike through this lovely little gem because it was already late afternoon in October, just after the Canadian Thanksgiving. At this time of year, it felt like less than ten people along the gentle hiking trail that hugged the canyon lip — a good thing.

Baby Trees Sprouting Higgley-Piggley Like Children
Even after over 15 years, there was still a large upper mountain swath of skeleton forest burnt out and denuded.

Looking up the canyon cut towards recent green tree sapling growth against white skeleton tree line burnt forest. Marble Canyon, BC 2014. Photo by J.Chong
Looking up the canyon cut towards recent green tree sapling growth against white skeleton tree line burnt forest. Marble Canyon, BC 2014. Photo by J.Chong

However, just below the ghostly grey skeleton forest, were brilliant green, jaunty evergreen baby trees jumping up amongst limestone rocks. These trees were like a crowd of happy children tumbling out and scattering gleefully down the rocky mountainside. Their uplifted stubby branches were thick and especially luxuriant after a light rain a few hours before we arrived.

Soaring Mountains, Ghostly Denuded Forest and Living Surge of Nature
While hiking along the canyon perimeter, we marvelled over Nature’s ethereal juxtaposition of life and death in the vistas all around us.  Soaring mountains overlooked a thundering turquoise river below that pushed through the canyon rock cut like a linear pulsating heartbeat, a relentless source of life that wore down eternal rocks. Lichen, wildflowers and bushes clung along the canyon lip and walls in a riotous jumble for sunshine, water and soil foothold.

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All we could hear, was the breath of Nature—churning glacial waters from the mountains, twittering birds and a light wind caressing the leaves and grass.

It’s a comforting thought this spot of beauty will live forever, with forest fire relics of petrified wood, fallen timber beside surging waters and emerald glistening plant life that will overtake and find home among the broken old trees.

Descending down gentle walking path along edge of Marble Canyon. 2014. Photo by J.Chong.
Descending down gentle walking path along edge of Marble Canyon. 2014. Photo by J.Chong.

 

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30 Comments Add yours

  1. The green of the water is stunning. Even post-fire, the canyon is beautiful. What will it be like in another 15 years, I wonder?

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    1. Jean says:

      Hi, jbw. I’ve hiked through other forest fire-struck wilderness areas which weren’t as “beautiful” in terms of colours, diversity of vegetation and glacial turquoise waters running through the area. It felt like walking through an area that was visibly healing with the help of Nature.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Mabel Kwong says:

    Beautifully written, Jean. I could see the canyon-park right before my eyes along with those photos. The emerald-colour water looks magnificent – so clear and unpolluted, and I’m assuming it wasn’t polluted at all. In a hurry to hike? That’s not a way to hike at all but since you’re running short on time, what can you do 😀 I hoped you made your way all through and around. What a beauty.

    Natural bushland like this are still abundant in Australia. Only takes a few hours drive to the rural parts of the state to see something like this.

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    1. Jean says:

      Great to experience the wilderness in our own respective countries, Mabel. I wish you a great 2015 year ahead with more things to learn and to be in awe of.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jean I love BC and your pictures sure do it justice! Thanks for sharing them. ❤
    Diana xo

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    1. Jean says:

      Diana: Wishing your 2015 will have every day beauty, goodness and health.

      Like

      1. Thank you Jean, I wish you the same!

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  4. Sue Slaght says:

    A wonderfully eloquent post Jean. Amazing to see how long it takes for the foreat to recover. Beautiful even with the skeleton of the doreat remaining.

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    1. Jean says:

      Would recommend a visit to this area, Sue. It’s prettier than some other burnt-out forested areas ..ie. the forest near Kelowna/Myra Canyon after that horrendous fire about that burnt the historic trestle rail-bike bridge..8 yrs. ago. Has been rebuilt since.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. livelytwist says:

    I like the photos Jean, but I enjoyed your descriptions even much more. Things die, others take their place . . . a cycle.

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    1. Jean says:

      A cycle of life-death-regeneration that we hope will never end. And always regeneration with goodness.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. diahannreyes says:

    This is really beautiful. I really admire how active you are. For awhile, I was doing quite a bit of hiking- in part because the ex- was an avid outdoorsman- and seeing these photographs makes me want to craft some time to rekindle that interest. You seem to have a very present relationship to nature, Jean.

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    1. Jean says:

      Maybe you’ll find/already have some hiking friends. In true wilderness areas…where there are bears wandering around, I hike with someone else. This is why I also like biking since I can go off into large urban park areas on my own instead of walking/jogging through which I would feel more vulnerable. You never know about taking those photos ..just have a camera ready even in the city.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Lani says:

    Stunning, crisp and heart-warming photos. How I miss hiking in parks and national forests. Nothing like it in the world. Some folks like the city, but not me, take me outside away from the noise 🙂 Thanks for the share!

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    1. Jean says:

      I like hustle-bustle of the city when there’s interesting architecture and shops to see in a compact area, not wandering for many kms through suburbia or industrial work parks. Like you I love trees and miss lots of them here in the prairies. I suppose Thailand’s wilderness areas are rainforest-like or tropical. Does the country value its preserved wilderness areas? Do locals hike much?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Lani says:

        I like walkable cities and cities that have carefully planned for parks and functional public spaces. Another reason to miss the “western” world….there are some lovely cities out there.

        Thais hate walking. Although Thailand has national parks. I see more cyclists than hikers and I’m sure there are exceptions out there. Overall though, I think it’s safe to say that Thailand does really plan or care for the pedestrians. There is a bit of a hierarcy with cars at the top of the tier and you can guess who is at the bottom here.

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        1. Jean says:

          When I was in Hawai’i, I just found it very hot (to me) to walk around for long distances. Meaning several km. So maybe some Thais just get tired of slumping along in the heat… I didn’t realize how much easier it was to walk long distances in temperate northern climates until I travelled abroad.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Lani says:

            Very true. And you must be a true Northerner because Hawaii is NOT hot to me. Hahahahhaa. Just humid on days the winds aren’t blowing. I find the weather to be quite lovely, actually. Whenever I’m asked about the weather in Hawaii, I always say, “It’s perfect.” 😛

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            1. Jean says:

              Alas, a true Northerner I probably am forever. I consider Vancouver weather spring-early fall, “perfect”.

              Liked by 1 person

  8. Love the last shot esp. But are you all right???! Worried me!

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    1. Jean says:

      My recovery will take awhile but at least my vision, speech and hearing was not affected. The blog post was composed over 2 months ago. So upcoming blog posts for next few months will be all posts already in the hopper and prescheduled. Thank goodness for this blogware feature! Yea, soup is a great thing to have. All these lovely pics remind one what it means to be mobile, also how much we rely on our brain not only to think, see, articulate, write but for every single movement we make with our limbs, appendages.

      I can walk but just need someone to accompany me for awhile.

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      1. Goodness. Take it easy, J.

        Xxx
        D.

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  9. Girl Gone Expat says:

    A beautiful area! Love all the clear, bright emerald colour from the water and the green growing between the burnt trees. We have done some hiking in the Kootenay NP, that has also seen forest fires and this area is also beautiful:)

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    1. Jean says:

      One of the biggest differences between hiking in B.C. mountain areas (and some parts of Alberta), are the glacial turquoise water colours vs. the colour of rivers and lakes in Ontario and Quebec.

      Of course, that also depends on the sunlight conditions also,

      Like

  10. What a superb idea for a post, Jean! Most of us have made trips to parks in flourishing conditions, but I’ve never been to one that’s springing back to life from a fire or natural disaster. Your photos are stunning. They show so clearly that it’s very hard to catch Nature on an “off-day.” Kinda reminds me of hikes I’ve taken in late November. There’s a very special beauty to woods and mountains under stark conditions. Your post is an excellent reminder than we need to open our eyes and be fully awake. Beauty is truly all around us in the great outdoors.

    Thanks for sharing, hope your new year’s off to a good start! : )

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    1. Jean says:

      Very true, not many people deliberately visit a forest fire ravaged area. We were unaware before going that there had been a fire awhile ago. Keep in mind, British Columbia gets forest fires annually like many large wilderness/mountain areas in North America. It was a great chance time especially when the summer tourist crowds were gone.
      Happy 2015 Mark!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Rita H. Azar says:

    Wow! What an amazing place and absolutely breathtaking pictures.
    We went to a national park last year for camping and part had been ravaged by fire a few years before. But, it was just amazing to witness the recovery of the forest.

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      This was the 2nd wilderness park up close, where I saw forest regeneration ..though mind you, recovery in blog post photos is after 10 years a wildfire ripped through the area. The lst wilderness forest park with fire ravaged trees, was in the Myra Canyon area just outside of Kelowna in interior south British Columbia. It’s shocking to be walking amongst blackened trees, ashes on ground. How we must treat our land swaths of Nature with reverence.

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  12. forestine says:

    Gorgeous photos! That’s right near my hometown. Geez, do I miss the mountains.

    Like

    1. Jean says:

      I miss the mountains also in sight of home, since I did live in Vancouver previously, forestine. As you know, on certain praririe bluffs in Calgary, one can see mirage-like ridge of Rocky Mountains faraway. But that’s 100 km. away. Hope you get away to the mountains soon this year!

      Like

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