Always a delight, especially after a couple of months of mostly urban walks. Today was a good day to return to Lighthouse Park, despite the rain, as the forest flowers were blooming nicely. If you want peace and quiet, go early on a dull, rainy day but even then expect more people to show up after about 10 am.
The park is open again, after being closed for a time due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Getting an early start on a dull, rainy day meant we had no trouble parking up and exploring without encountering too many people.
The trails were a bit muddy here and there but mostly dry. Be aware that the rocks and roots will be slippery in the rain. I think a few of the unofficial side-trails have become more obvious in recent years (due to increased foot traffic) as we had to stop and check where we were going on at least two occasions. Our route took us down the Valley trail, then over to Eagle Point on the Arbutus trail before returning the same way and picking up Valley again. After a quick stop at West Beach we followed the Shore Pine trail to the junction with the Juniper Point trail, returning to the car on the Juniper Loop.
The forest flowers were blooming, and may be peaking about now. We saw western lily-of-the-valley, starflower (lots!), redwood sorrel, coralroot, Nootka rose, fringe cup, large-leaved avens, foamflower, Columbia lilies, Saskatoon berry, a few salmonberry flowers, trailing blackberry, salal, arbutus, trumpet honeysuckle, death camas, streambank spring beauty, an unknown saxifrage in bud, the seed pods of fawn lilies, the leaves of skunk cabbage, fresh sword and deer ferns. Douglas firs were sprouting fresh green cones.
Birds we recognized included Pacific wrens, a pair of bald eagles, crows, ravens, spotted towhees, flickers, robins, chickadees, Anna’s and rufous hummingbirds. Add to that at least another 3 or 4 calls that we recognize but haven’t yet been able to identify.
Distance: 4 km
Elevation gain: 150 m
Duration: 2 hours