Rivers, Lakes and Ronnings Gardens all on the way to San Josef Bay and the Sea Stacks

Guided Tours        Overland to Gold River        Alice loop trip          San Josef Bay

This tour will be open from Saturday, April 27, 2019 to September 29, 2019  

San Josef Bay, Photo By Bud Logan
San Josef Bay, Photo By Bud Logan

We leave Sayward first thing in the morning (7:00 am) and head toward the north island. There are great mountain views as we head toward Woss. Not far past Woss we begin to drive along side the Nimpkish river, we cross the river just north of the Telegraph turn off. We head another few km’s up the road where we come to the Port McNeil turn off, further up we see the Port Alice rd and then we reach Port Hardy where we will stop to eat and fuel up before heading out on the Holberg road. This is an active logging road and we will meet up with very large logging trucks and this is sometimes quite exciting to those who are used to this.plenty  of  wildlife  can  be  seen  here.

 

Barred Owl, Ronnings Gardens, Photo By Robert Logan
Barred Owl, Ronnings Gardens, Photo By Robert Logan

As we travel along make sure you keep an eye out for the shoe tree, this is where those who hike the north island trail leave their shes that were destroyed on that trail.

The Shoe Tree, Holberg, Photo By Bud Logan
The Shoe Tree, Holberg, Photo By Bud Logan

Once we reach Holberg, we will take a few moments to see the village before heading out on the Holberg road. On this road is the ronnings gardens. The gardens were started in 1910 by Bernt Ronning who was attracted to the region by its beauty and of a promise by the government to build a road that would connect Port Hardy to Cape Scott. The road was never built and many settlers pulled up stakes and left the area, but not Bernt Ronning, he continued to live on the property until the early 1960’s.

Trail Into Ronnings Gardens, Photo By Bud Logan

Trail Into Ronnings Gardens, Photo By Bud Logan

Bernt cleared over 5 acres of land and planted a beautiful wilderness garden on these acres. He created this garden from seeds and clones of exotic plants and trees that he ordered from all around the world.

He earned his living working as a fisherman and trapper, even sometimes as a camp cook. But his passion was his garden which later became known as Ronnings Garden. As the years past, the garden continued to grow in size and variety. Often people would stop in to visit while on route to Cape Scott or Raft Cove just to marvel at the garden.

Ronnings Gardens, Photo By Bud Logan
Ronnings Gardens, Photo By Bud Logan

In the 1970’s, Bernt passed away and the garden was left unattended, years of neglect allowed the west coast brush and trees to grow over the gardens. Eventually the hundreds of flowers shriveled away and Ronnings Garden almost disappeared. Then Ron and Julia Moe realized what was happening to the garden and took up the challenge to bring the gardens back to live again. This was 37 years ago and they are still at it, thanks to this wonderful couple, we can still visit Bernt’s incredible gardens.

Now the gardens are beautiful again, the trails are all cleared and Bernt’’s legacy is thriving. Check the gardens out when you visit here and think of the work that was put in to create this wonder.

Ronnings Gardens, Photo By Bud Logan
Ronnings Gardens, Photo By Bud Logan

After Bernts place its a straight run to the the San Josef Bay trail head. It takes about 45 minutes to hike in on a well build fairly level trail. The trail wanders through old growth forests and its a very pretty walk. You can view quite a variety of plants and birds as you travel along this trail and then you see it, the bay, what a beautiful place. One time, there were small communities here, San Josef Bay was one of them.

The first European settlers began arriving to this area in 1897 and attempted to build farms in what is now the provincial park. They had a difficult time trying to work the rocky land and left after a few years. They left behind cleared patches and fields that are now semi-wild as well as many place names, including Hansen Lagoon, and Nissen Bight. You can find fruit trees growing in many places and sometimes see the remains of settlers cabins that have for the most part, returned to the land. Most of the original settlers eventually moved to Malcolm Island where they create a better life, building farms and communities like Sointula.

San Josef Bay History, Photo By Bud Logan
San Josef Bay History, Photo By Bud Logan

The Cape Scott Provincial Park itself is a wondrous place, a real jewel that can be found at the north west end of Vancouver Island and contains many fascinating bays and beaches. One of the more noticeable bays is San Josef Bay with its sea stacks. Many people visit the bay just to see these formations. The area has had a first nations presence here for some time. Middens and other remains of settlements serve as evidence that they have been using the area for many thousands of years.

San Josef Bay Sea Stacks, Photo By Bud Logan
San Josef Bay Sea Stacks, Photo By Bud Logan

The sea stacks at San Josef Bay are beautiful. Water surging through the sandy passages at high tide has slowly eroded the softer outer rock, leaving behind these harder formations. They can only be found in San Josef Bay on Vancouver Island. They are quite beautiful. A Dutch traveler was completely taken by these formations, as we stepped out onto the beach he stopped and all he could say was “wow” and that statement pretty much sums up the whole area.

Trail To San Josef Bay, Photo By Bud Logan
Trail To San Josef Bay, Photo By Bud Logan

As part of Cape Scott Provincial Park, San Josef Bay is easily accessible on well maintained trails and boardwalks. From the nearest parking lot and trail head, there is a three kilometer hike. Its an easy hike on level ground, the trail could easily handle a buggy or even a wheelchair.

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This tour will be open from Saturday, April 27, 2019 to September 29, 2019  

 

Guided Tours        Overland to Gold River        Alice loop trip          San Josef Bay

 

Have a question or a comment, contact us here. askbud@gohiking.ca

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