North Islanders have been trudging out to Lady Ellen Point for donkey’s years for almost as many reasons as there are North Islanders. As mariners make their way down Queen Charlotte Strait, they eventually reach the west end of Malcolm Island, whereby they must decide whether to go to the left of the island and remain within Queen Charlotte Strait until they reach Blackney Passage to get into Johnstone Strait or to keep to the starboard and enter Broughton Strait. If the latter is their choice, they will have Lady Ellen Point on their right. This passage through Broughton is such a narrow seaway that it seems you can touch both shores by simply reaching out your arms. This is what makes Lady Ellen Point so delightful to anyone wanting to watch the traffic of the sea. You are almost in the shadow of the huge cruise ships. Besides being a darn good place to wet your fishing line, it’s a really nice hike for couch potatoes!
Some 20 years ago, Western Forest Products very kindly cut a trail to the ocean from one of its logging roads in the area. Since Lady Ellen is on the flip side of Ledge Point, the peninsula directly across from Port McNeill, the logging road that goes to the Lady Ellen Trail takes off to the left from the Ledge Point road. For years, we used to go to the end of this logging road, where the trail began, and walk down to the ocean through groves of huge spruce, but when you reached the ocean, it was still a hefty two kilometers to Lady Ellen. When the tide was in it was touch and go because we often had to dodge in and out of the heavy jungle that lined the shore. Last summer saw the building of a state of the art hiking trail along this shoreline ending at Lady Ellen but slated to continue until it meets the Ledge Point road and trail. What a magnificent hike that will be! Rumor has it that you will eventually be able to begin this hike at Bear Creek in Port McNeill and circumvent the entire Ledge Point!
This small painting came about when I followed my wife, daughter and grandson on their jaunt to Lady Ellen to try out their luck on the pink salmon run. While they fished, I painted. None of us got skunked!
Gordon Henschel owns an art gallery in Nimpkish Heights.www.henschel.ca