The drive up and down the Island Highway from here to Campbell River is, for me, always a delight in almost any kind of weather, with at least a dozen beautiful places that I have painted at one time or another.
The scene in the painting shown here is no exception except it is special in more ways than just as a beauty spot.
To call it a landmark is no exaggeration.
I did a sketch of this scene and painted a finished watercolour from it just lately.
The day had been one of those dreamy, early October days when the sun was still trying to keep the mists off the Nimpkish River.
There are few colourful leaves on North Island in autumn but along the stretch of the Nimpkish about ten kilometres down the river from Woss Lake there are some Poplars and Rock Maple showing off.
Using some of the oranges and yellows on my palette to warm up the scene is a delight reserved for this area.
This view should be familiar to most North Islanders unless you are one of the few that take me totally by surprise in calling the drive from here to CR “boring”.
It is the first view the motorist gets of the Nimpkish River after leaving the bridge at its estuary near the Beaver Cove turnoff.
Maybe that’s what makes this spot so picturesque.
As you pass Nimpkish Camp the views of Nimpkish Lake disappear and you travel for many kilometres without seeing any vistas until you come downhill, pass under a railway trestle, squeal around a huge bend and there is the Nimpkish Valley and the river stretching away into the distance.
One of the unique familiar sights within the Nimpkish Valley at this point is the striking mountain on the left.
I was careful to get it into the picture because it is so recognizable.
After I had painted it, I realized that I had forgotten its name, so I called the Woss Lake Western office to inquire about it.
I was not to be disappointed for a very friendly and helpful person gave me not only its name but also why it was named so.
It is called Lookout Mountain.
What a lovely, exciting name!
There had once been a forestry tower there with a lookout person manning it every summer during the fire season.
This hasn’t been a practice for some years and the tower was eventually removed, although, she said, there was still a good trail up there, one which she and friends has used more than once.
On my next trip to that part of the valley I want to hike up to the top of Lookout and have a gander at what the valley looks like from there.
To get there, driving from here to Woss, you turn off the highway just this side of Gold Creek.
Go down the road leading from there up to the railway, park your car and walk to where the edge of the mountain begins and look for a trail.
This may be the toughest part; finding the trail.
In any event, if you’re interested, perhaps I’ll meet you up there!
Meanwhile, nothing’s changed for Lookout Mountain and me.
Going down-island I will see it as a landmark over the beautiful Nimpkish Valley.
Coming up-island, it will appear in the distance, long before I ever get to Woss and, like a breath of fresh North Island air, welcome me home.
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