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lcometto
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PostTue Nov 19, 2019 6:40 am 
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There are two hard-to-find books from the 1990s by legendary big tree hunter Randy Stoltmann that describe the some of largest trees in Canada as existing in the forested perimeters of Cheewhat Lake in southern Vancouver Island. So I took advantage of the weekend to explore and photograph them as part of a project to document the giant tree hikes on the Island: http://www.lucascometto.com/cascadia-vancouver-island

My mission was to photograph the behemoths around this incredible lake and find the first, third, and four largest trees in the country. For reference, Cheewhat Lake is tucked into the southern portion of Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.

Cheewhat Lake, Vancouver Island
Cheewhat Lake, Vancouver Island

The lake is largely trail-less but a few of the largest trees grow on the eastern end and can be accessed by the short Cheewhat Lake Cedar Trail. The trailhead is very easy to miss unless you know to look for it. As of last week, there are a few bits of flagging tape on both sides of the road and a small cairn to mark the entrance. Though not officially recognized by Parks Canada, the trail is worn and fairly easily navigated. After initially dropping a few hundred feet to lake-level, hikers encounter several giant trees, both standing and fallen.

Cheewhat Lake, Vancouver Island
Cheewhat Lake, Vancouver Island

The short path weaves around the ancient forest through enormous trees and terminates at the world’s largest know western redcedar, the Cheewhat Lake Cedar (picture one, above). The girth of the Cheewhat Lake Cedar is measured at an astounding 18.34 meters (60 feet) and reaches a height of 55.50 meters (180 feet); containing 450 cubic meters of timber volume. The small grove near the Cheewhat Lake Cedar is perhaps the most striking with several redwood-sized specimens (pictures below).

Cheewhat Lake, Vancouver Island
Cheewhat Lake, Vancouver Island
Cheewhat Lake, Vancouver Island
Cheewhat Lake, Vancouver Island

The books I referenced earlier also point to another absolutely giant tree north of the lake as well. The trailhead is even harder to find than the Cheewhat Lake Cedar. Essentially, you take Roseander Main north, turn left towards Doobah Lake, turn again at your second left, and drive a few kilometers to a barely flagged entrance. The rough trail leads to the north Cheewhat shore but to reach the tree, you need to bushwhack slightly east. This definitely primordial-looking western red cedar is likely a result of fusion between two independently huge trees hundreds of years ago.

Cheewhat Lake, Vancouver Island
Cheewhat Lake, Vancouver Island

Cheewhat Lake is an absolute gem and rarely visited. I’m sure there are other giant trees that surround it but it would take carefully planned bushwhacking to see them all.

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Portfolio: www.lucascometto.com
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Backpacker Joe
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Joined: 16 Dec 2001
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PostTue Nov 19, 2019 8:09 am 
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Static MONSTERS!  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Awesome.

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"If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide."

— Abraham Lincoln
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Kascadia
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PostTue Nov 19, 2019 9:17 am 
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lcometto wrote:
This definitely primordial-looking western red cedar is likely a result of fusion between two independently huge trees hundreds of years ago.

gemels - inosculation

Thank you for your pictures, some of them bring tears to my eyes.

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It is as though I had read a divine text, written into the world itself, not with letters but rather with essential objects, saying:
Man, stretch thy reason hither, so thou mayest comprehend these things. Johannes Kepler
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cascadetraverser
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PostTue Nov 19, 2019 9:33 am 
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Those are huge!!! Thanks for posting
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lcometto
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PostTue Nov 19, 2019 12:03 pm 
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Backpacker Joe - lol couldn't have said it better myself!

Kascadia - good to know the technical term. I've been wondering about that process. It's so prevalent in the old growth forests. Thanks for the kind words!

Cascadetraveler - they sure are huge! Some of the best trees that we still have.

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Portfolio: www.lucascometto.com
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