A Brush with Henschel: Second beach

“The road to Cape Scott leads off the main highway just before entering Port Hardy.”

One of North Island’s more magnificent beaches, just far enough from mainstream traffic to remain pristine, lies in San Josef Bay in Cape Scott Provincial Park. For those locals, who by some strange quirk of fate haven’t experienced this bay and for first-timer visitors, it is a “must-see”.

The road to Cape Scott leads off the main highway just before entering Port Hardy. To enjoy the journey on well maintained gravel road, give yourself an hour and a half to the beginning of a forty minute trail that is itself a unique experience through a variety of forest including old growth as well as salt marshes. This trail is well enough groomed to be wheel chair worthy but forbids bicycle travel; so being run over by a “bike jock” is not a concern.

With nearly two kilometres of beach, sand lovers and parents will be delighted with a hardly noticeable changing gradient. You need not worry about your five-year old suddenly disappearing in an abrupt undulation. For surfers a west wind provides some fairly decent wave action but does require getting way out there, particularly at low tide.

San Josef Bay has two very distinct beaches. The trail enters along the San Josef River on to the eastern beach. The hiker will see camping sites in the trees along this portion but if you camp here you will need your own water supply because the river water is usually brackish (mixed with sea water). For an extended stay a hike to the western beach is recommended, where a small creek with good drinking water enters near its eastern end. Hiking access to the western beach can be a problem if you’ve arrived at mid to high tide. The headland between the beaches does its separating job really well and you must get ready for wet feet or climb the steep trail, complete with rope and all, that leads over the abutment.

Like many North Island residents, San Josef Bay is one of those places I keep returning to, sometimes just for a day hike and a few quick sketches and, sadly, less often to camp and paint. Although I love walking the beaches barefoot and get salt water and sand between my toes, more often than not I am attracted by the variety of rock formations, the most familiar and famous are the hoodoos at the west end of the first beach. Often I arrive too late for easy access to the west beach so I end up painting these strange and lovely upright forms.

This painting, which I call “Second Beach, San Josef”, was done just at the beginning of the second beach while digging my nose into the cliffs and small caves that make up this part of San Jo. I got there by going around the headland at low tide without taking my boots off but got busy for too long on the other side and had to take the high trail over the top to get back home!

Comments e-mail: ghenschel@shaw.ca, or website: www.henschel.ca

Just Posted

Authorities call for calm as fires burn near Zeballos

Authorities are asking residents not to panic as several wildfires burn near… Continue reading

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Port Hardy Fire Rescue knocks down wildland fire

PHFR members responded to the scene, located the fire, and contained it to the immediate area.

Second annual Port McNeill & District Chamber of Commerce golf tournament

Golf Holes #2 and #6 are Hole-in-One opportunities, each with a cash prize of $25,000!

No taxes paid by Neucel, Doug Bondue Arena in Port Alice closes

“Neucel owes us a million dollars and it’s pretty hard to stay status quo when you’re short a million.”

Interim GoFundMe payments approved in Humboldt Broncos crash

$50,000 to be given to each of the 13 survivors and each family of the 16 people who died

Altidore nets 3 as Toronto drubs Whitecaps 5-2

Vancouver falls 7-4 on aggregate in Canadian Championship final

Ottawa intervenes to get B.C. ball player, 13, to Little League World Series

Before immigration issue was resolved, Dio Gama was out practicing the game he loves Wednesday

Pet goldfish invades small B.C. lake

Pinecrest Lake is located between Whistler and Squamish

Mounties deployed to help B.C. communities affected by wildfires

RCMP officers heading to places particularly within central, northern and southern B.C.

Quebec sets aside $900 million for companies hurt by U.S. tariffs

Premier Philippe Couillard says his government will make $863 million available over five years

B.C. company patents Sasquatch, the country’s first homegrown hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, Sasquatch hops are being grown commercially for the first time in B.C.

Farmers ponder impact of alternatives to pesticides being banned

The nicotine-based pesticides scientists have linked to a rising number of honey bee deaths will be phased out of use in Canada over a three year period starting in 2021.

Most Read