Sarita falls part II

By Nicole Webster

For Part I see here

Once you get to the stump, turn right, and follow along the cliff edge. You’ll walk above the first water fall.

View of the first falls from the trail Credit: N Webster

Just past the falls, there will be a rope to help you descend into the stream bed, where you can walk along to the second falls. Be warned this part of the trail is tricky, having to scramble down and between fallen logs – All part of the fun!

View down to the stream bed. Credit: N Webster

Wandering up to the second waterfall. Credit: N Webster

There are two ways to get past the second water fall – the wet way and the dry way. The dry way – Climb up into the wood on the left side of the river (heading upstream) and walk along until you are past the falls and climb back down.

The wet way – climb up the waterfall from the pool. Kudos to Kat and Suz who braved that path. Credit: N Webster

Downstream view. Credit:N Webster

We then took a short biology break:

A rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa). Wikipedia says I’m glad I didn’t lick it – not that I was planning to. Credit: N Webster

A presumed T. granulosa tadpole with a caddisfly (Trichoptera) in the various pools of the stream bed. See how the pine needles are all nicely arranged on the casing with pebbles dorsally? How cool is that! Credit: N Webster

A better view of the caddisfly with some tadpoles in the background. Credit: N Webster

Then we came to the third waterfall, which was easy to scale. There’s a great tree with a pool to jump into up top.

Gorgeous roots – who’s your hairdresser? Credit: N Webster

Suz showing off. Credit: N Webster

We didn’t travel any further, but I’m sure you could if you wanted an adventure.

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Sarita falls part I

By Nicole Webster

Credit: N Webster

If you are tired of looking at the ocean, and that salt water that eats everything, or you just yearning for some freshwater ecology, head to Sarita Falls.

It’s about a 30min drive down the logging road, the turn off is just after the 54km sign. Don’t turn right where the sign points to Sarita, stay on the road to Port Alberni. Just after the sign you will see a large tree with the trunk sticking into the road a bit, turn left onto the side road just across from the tree. It’s a lumpy bumpy road, no worse than the logging road, but a few ditches in the road make it a bad idea for low riding cars (Note: I was there in August, the road might be messier at a wetter time of the year). You’ll come to a rocky cliff, if you aren’t sure of your car, park there and walk. Otherwise drive to the end. Where the road ends there’s a path off into the woods. Take it!

The trail is not really groomed, but there is flagging tape to mostly mark the trail. As you get to the cliff, you will find a distinct stump:

The distinctive cross-roads stump. Credit N Webster

If you turn left, you’ll find a nice path down to the water below the first water fall, a nice place to snorkle:

The waterfall itself Credit N Webster

A freshwater sculpin under a rock, probably Cottus sp. Credit: N Webster

A Freshwater mussel (likely Western Floater – Anodonta kennerlyi) Credit: N Webster

These two species are apparently often found together as the sculpin acts as a dispersal agent for the mussel. Freshwater mussels have a neat, parasitic larval form called a glochidium, which hooks onto a fish (the sculpin in this case) to spread the mussels.

A Fish! Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) Credit: N Webster

This is what most people (the Leys lab) come here for! A sponge – Spongilla lacustris. Look at all those happy oscula sticking up like stalagmites! Credit: N Webster

So to end this part of Sarita falls, another mystery. While snorkeling, we found these green roundish blobs. They have the thick, jelly consistency like a jellyfish, but no tentacles, and no motion, never mind there’s only one freshwater jellyfish. They were all sitting on the bottom, but weren’t attached. They had a greenish tinge, with no disinguishing anatomy. My best guess in Algae. Yours?

A mystery! What are those green blobs? Credit: N Webster

The transparency and internals Credit: N Webster, Hand model: L Webster

A close up green blob – Algae? Credit: N Webster

 

And Part II – The waterfalls