Garibaldi Park Whistler A to Z: NunatukSurprisingly often in Whistler's forests you will find a tree growing on an old fallen tree or out of a decaying tree stump. Decaying logs and stumps in the forest actually give new trees some interesting survival advantages. Though a tree stump or log appears to be an inhospitable place for a new tree to grow, the opposite is actually true for a bunch of not so obvious reasons. Known a nurse log or nurse stump the fallen or cut down and removed tree opens some of the forest canopy and allows more sunlight in.

Whistler & Garibaldi Hiking

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On the forest floor there is a lot of competition to get sun exposure and an elevated tree stump is a considerable advantage over the crowded forest floor.  Also, a fallen or cut down tree transforms, with the help of microbes, fungus and insects, into a tremendously fertile soil which retains moisture extremely well.  A tree lucky enough to grow on a nurse stump will almost certainly have more sunlight, less competition, and better soil to grow in than its ground level neighbours. One of the most convenient places in Whistler to see a nurse stump is in Florence Peterson Park behind the Whistler Library. Many huge and decaying tree stumps cut a century ago can be found in the dark little forest, and almost all of them have one or more trees growing out of them. Though this little forest in Florence Peterson Park is wonderfully thriving with trees everywhere, it is surprisingly dark.  Even on a sunny day, the sun is almost completely blocked by the tree canopy above.  Even with the big trees cut down decades ago and the big pond in the middle of the park, the sun only gets through to the ground in a few places.  It is no wonder this little forest is home to such interesting displays of survival ingenuity.

Nurse Stump in Whistler Village

Nurse Stump Florence Peterson Park

Florence Peterson Park

Whistler Public Library

Spectacular Nurse Log in Tofino

The trees you find in Tofino and Clayoquot Sound on Vancouver Island are hard to beat for examples of nurse logs. This amazing nurse log pictured below is found on the trail to Schooner Cove in Pacific Rim National Park.

Nurse Log Schooner Cove in Tofino

Tofino is home to some incredibly enormous trees. This monster western redcedar pictured below possibly started its life nearly a thousand years ago on a nurse log which would partly account for the cavernous base and sprawling roots. western redcedars have a strong and wonderful aroma that comes from a natural preservative in their outer sapwood that prevents decay. This preservative contributes to their wonderful longevity. The lack of this preservative deep within the trunks also partly explains why old western redcedars are hollow at their base. Some remarkably beautiful and old western redcedars found in Clayoquot Sound near Tofino are so enormous and hollow at their base that several people can fit inside. This huge western redcedar shown below is located near Tofino at Kennedy Lake and is a good example of this.

Western Redcedar at Kennedy Lake

More Interesting Trees in Whistler

Looking around Florence Peterson Park you will spot another interesting tree feature called a gemel, or more formally an inosculation. Inosculation is the technical name for two or more trees that have fused together into a single bizarre looking tree. They are colloquially known as gemels, a name derived from the Latin word gemellus which means "a pair" or "twin". Gemels are a natural phenomenon where trees of the same species grow close enough to rub against each other. Gradually the bark where the two trees contact each other wears away and exposes the cambium. Once you start noticing gemels, you find them everywhere in Whistler. This beautifully symmetrical one is found along the Valley Trail between Lorimer Road and Rainbow Park.  Wonderfully bizarre and so well defined that you can't help but circle around it and marvel at how strangely beautiful and evidently common gemels are.

Gemel on the Valley Trail

More Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking A to Z!

Glacier Window: the cave-like opening at the mouth of a glacier where meltwater runs out.  Glacier windows are often extraordinarily beautiful.  A blue glow ...
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Mountain hemlock is a species of hemlock that thrives along the west coast of North America from Alaska to California. In Whistler and Garibaldi Park you ...
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The Roundhouse Lodge is the centre of activity on much of Whistler Mountain.  It is where the Whistler Gondola drops off and next to where the Peak 2 Peak ...
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Wedge Creek cuts through the valley that separates Wedge Mountain and Blackcomb Mountain and empties into Green River near the north end of Green Lake.  ...
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When you hike in the alpine in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park, you will often encounter unbelievably hardy and sometimes mangled looking trees.  ...
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Green Lake is the marvellously vivid, green coloured lake just north of Whistler Village.  Driving north on the Sea to Sky Highway, Green Lake appears ...
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Whistler spruce is a hybrid of the Sitka spruce and the interior Engelmann spruce. Sitka spruce trees thrive in the rainforests of the Pacific Northwest ...
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The Cordilleran Ice Sheet covered most of north-west North America for much of the last 2.6 million years.  At the Last Glacial Maximum during the Last ...
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Amazing Hiking Trails in Whistler

The Best Whistler & Garibaldi Park Hiking Trails!

The Sea to Sky Trail is a 180 kilometre multi-use trail that runs from Squamish to D'Arcy. The trail is still under construction in many parts, however, the amazing route through Whistler is finally in ...
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Jane Lakes are a very remote feeling set of lakes in the beautiful wilderness near Cheakamus Crossing.  Consisting of three lakes, West Jane Lake, East Jane Lake and Little Jane Lake, they have a great ...
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The trail to Whistler Train Wreck is an easy, yet varied route through deep forest, across a great suspension bridge over Cheakamus River, to a stunning array of wrecked train cars. The trail from your car to ...
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Joffre Lakes Provincial Park is a gorgeous park with extraordinarily coloured lakes, waterfalls, stunning mountain peaks and ominous glaciers pouring into the valley.  Joffre Lakes is one of those incredible ...
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Whistler & Garibaldi Park Best Hiking by Month!

May is an extraordinarily beautiful time of year in Whistler. The days are longer and warmer and a great lull in between seasons happens. Whistler is fairly quiet ...
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June is a pretty amazing month to hike in Whistler and Garibaldi Park. The average low and high temperatures in Whistler range from 9c to 21c(48f/70f). ...
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July is a wonderful time to hike in Whistler and Garibaldi Provincial Park.  The weather is beautiful and the snow on high elevation hiking trails is long ...
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August hiking in Whistler definitely has the most consistently great, hot weather.  You can feel the rare pleasure of walking across a glacier shirtless and ...
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Free Camping Gear Delivery to Garibaldi Park

Explore BC Hiking Destinations!

Whistler Hiking Trails

Hiking in Whistler is spectacular and wonderfully varied. Looking at a map of Whistler you see an extraordinary spider web of hiking trails that are unbelievably numerous. Easy trails, moderate trails and challenging hiking trails are all available. Another marvellous ...
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Squamish Hiking Trails

Squamish is located in the midst of a staggering array of amazing hiking trails. Garibaldi Provincial Park sprawls alongside Squamish and up and beyond Whistler. Tantalus Provincial Park lays across the valley to the west and the wonderfully remote Callaghan Valley ...
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Vancouver Hiking Trails

Vancouver is surrounded by seemingly endless hiking trails and mountains to explore.  Massive parks line up one after another.  Mount Seymour Provincial Park, Lynn Canyon Park, Grouse Mountain, Cypress Park and the enormous Garibaldi Park all contribute to Vancouver ...
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Clayoquot Hiking Trails

Clayoquot Sound has a staggering array of hiking trails within it.  Between Tofino and Ucluelet, Pacific Rim Park has several wilderness and beach trails, each one radically different from the last.  The islands in the area are often Provincial parks on their own with ...
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Victoria Hiking Trails

Victoria has a seemingly endless number of amazing hiking trails.  Most take you to wild and beautiful Pacific Ocean views and others take you to tranquil lakes in beautiful BC Coastal Rainforest wilderness.  Regional Parks and Provincial Parks are everywhere you turn in ...
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The West Coast Trail

The West Coast Trail was created after decades of brutal and costly shipwrecks occurred along the West Coast of Vancouver Island.  One shipwreck in particular was so horrific, tragic and unbelievable that it forced the creation of a trail along the coast, which ...
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