Posted by: Kate | January 22, 2010

From the Photo Archives

May long week-end, 2007. Ralph River, our favourite campsite in Strathcona Park. Looking south.

We try to get out to Ralph River at least twice, and more like three or four times, every year. It is by far our favourite place to camp, somewhere we feel completely at home. Buttle Lake (along with the Upper and Lower Campbell Lakes) are part of our water supply as well as part of BC Hydro’s water system, so the levels can be adjusted based on the amount of water released from the dam further down water. In the late spring the levels are usually very low in the lakes, I think because they have the dam quite wide open to allow the spring melt to flow. (I’m not sure about this really, and why the lake is so low when in the winter we have flooding, I couldn’t tell you. I just know it is usually lower in the spring.)

As you can see by all these stumps that are exposed here, Buttle Lake was once narrower, pre-dam era, and was well logged. These stumps are massive and quite eerie to walk among on a still morning. They make a great wind break for the breezy days you can get out there in May, and also are a fun place to play for an exploring boy. In the summer the water is usually above them, and we have to avoid them with our kayaks/pontoon boats or we swim out to them and dive off them. But in the spring they add to the beauty of the area, and serve to remind us that many people have stood here. What must it have been like when these were logged, if it seems so remote and wild even today?



  1. This looks like a beautiful, peaceful place to camp. Lucky you! I sit looking, amazed by the huge tree stumps. After looking for a bit, it starts to remind me of an ‘elephant graveyard’, all those massive tree stumps. Maybe it’s just me? It’s sad but in a good way (I hope you understand my drift). What must it be like in the still morning? My guess would be profoundly spiritual/peaceful. It would be the perfect place to unwind.

    • kim – i really like your elephant graveyard analogy. and i agree this spot looks both profoundly spiritual and peaceful.

  2. beautiful photo.
    i have decided i want to live in your photo archives.

    • Yes, yes, me too, please! We could set up our own beautiful little knitting camp ;-)

      • I do lots of knitting there, it wouldn’t be out of place at all :)

  3. I saw this photo and thought I was seeing an area we pass frequently on the way to Seattle…it looks so similar. I’ve always been fascinated by the stumps and by how/when the water level is adjusted…but mostly by the stumps. The width, the number, and just the mental image of what was there before. Thanks for sharing…seems like the perfect location and I’m now dreaming of swimming to a stump and diving off of it!

  4. I remember camping at Buttle Lake many times in the early 1960s. The water was so clear and cold, you could see the bottom of the lake as though it was only a foot or two away…when in reality it was over my head! Just a gorgeous spot, full of memories for me.

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