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Friday, October 28, 2011

Ammonite Falls - Nanaimo's best kept secret

                                                  ***  BLAST FROM THE PAST ***
                                         Feb 2010 article published in Take 5 Magazine

Ammonite Falls, Nanaimo, BC Vancouver Island

A few things concerned me when we first started researching Ammonite Falls.  All reports kept mentioning a steep hill with ropes as well as difficulty finding the actual falls.  Was this really an adventure I wanted to take the kids on?  It was going to challenge the kids (and me mentally) with the ropes and use our orienteering skills to get us to the falls. 

The falls are located in the Benson Creek Falls Regional Park and there are two trailheads to choose from.  Duomont Road or Jameson Road.  We chose Jameson Road and started the 5 km hike on an old logging road.  The terrain is your basic fir forests with mossy outcrops. 

There are small patches of older growth Douglas fir that sure do make the kids look small.  Shortly after you enter the forest, sounds of the nearby road fade and nature takes over.  The kids complaints of hunger and fatigue never really fade, but I have learned to tune it out.  My trusted guide (husband) had us keep right at the y intersection and shortly after that we took a right on to a single track trail. Every new trail sparks life in the kids.  They bound eagerly ahead to see what is awaiting us.  It only lasts for a few minutes but it gets us going where we need to go.




The one common activity that happens on all our outdoor adventures is eating.  This is my favourite part of the adventure.  Logs as chairs, rocks as our table and with 360 views of flora, eating anything that comes out of the backpack makes life seem so simple.  The kids are usually running around laughing and having fun.  Stories of our adventure thus far are discussed along with what lies ahead.  A moment that is never duplicated, nor do I want it to be.  We came across a pile of brush doubling as a tent and camp that we stopped to admire.  Kept an eye out for squatters but decided it was probably a hangout for local kids.  It was a good enough spot as any for a snack break and made for some great story telling.


 Continuing along the trail we came upon a steep section, but no ropes.  Is this what all the reports were talking about?  A little bit further and finally, sound of water.  We approached Ammonite Falls from above.  Then we saw ropes, at least 50 ft of it with knots placed about every 2 feet acting as handles.  I must admit I was a bit unsure whether or not I wanted to go down, let alone the kids.  I stood there discussing with a girlfriend whether to let the kids go only see them half way down already.  It had been raining for days, just before a record amount of rain fell in November, so the ground was a slick mudslide.  The kids just hung on to the rope and sort of slid down until they got to a knot, took a rest, and then kept going.  There was nothing to worry about.  Even if they lost their footing, it was not a cliff so they were not going to fall.  They would probably slide for 10 feet and be covered in mud.  Plus one of the “guides” went down first to break the fall.   I too went down the rope.  There was not a lot of creek side space after all the rain, so mid way down I took a few pictures of the roaring 80 foot waterfall and then back up I went.  Kids did great climbing up and were very proud of their efforts.  And they should, a great accomplishment for a 4 and 2 year old. 

The afternoon outing was successful.  We found the falls and experienced our first rope climbing adventure with the kids.  There is one thing that I must go back for.  Ammonites, or snail like creatures, are located in the sedimentary layers of rock surrounding the water fall.  I think July or August, when water levels are much lower, would be an ideal time to test out our archaeology skills.  What kid would not want to play archaeologist for the afternoon, I know I do!

 
How to get there
Driving on Jingle Pot Road, turn onto Kilpatrick Road, then the first right onto Jameson Road. At the end of Jameson there is a paved sideroad to the right but keep going straight on Jameson and park near the yellow gate. 
 
Check out these links for a map of the trail.
 

Have Fun!
 

10 comments:

  1. So i went there today love the place. But there's weird stuff going on down there, sketchy people and i found a dead decaying dog:'(

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  2. Interesting comment, "Anonymous". Makes me wonder what your motive might be for making it.

    I went there yesterday -- just 2 days after you apparently did -- and found no dead decaying dog and certainly no sketchy people ... just families and other nature enthusiasts like ourselves enjoying the lovely, sunlit woods and the cool green grotto of the falls.

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  3. Thank you Anonymous 2, for the update.

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  4. Could someone tell me if this is a dog friendly park? I read about the ropes, and although my dogs are skilled hikers lol, I find it hard to imagine them holding onto a rope and dropping down (I could however see them stealing the rope for a game of tug-of-war) lol

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    1. Sorry I missed this comment. As far as I know dogs are fine. Only rope section would be down to the falls but plenty to explore around the area. Can still see falls from above. Hopefully you and your dog have made it to the falls already. Thanks!

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  5. Watch the signs and where you park! Tow trucks were there this weekend removing cars!

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  6. NO PARKING/TOWING signs enforced on Jameson Rd. Use the parking lot 200m down Creekside Place. Don't get towed - enjoy the 2-minute walk.

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  7. Your 2 year old climbed the rope?.. I would love to take my girl there. She is just two... not a rope climber just yet.

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    1. She did with help from Dad. She had done some rock climbing prior to this but it all depends on your level of safety as to whether or not you would try. It was more of a slid down the mud while holding the rope kind of climb :)

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