Tag Archives: Vetter Falls

Highway 16 Book Tour – Nisga’a Lava beds.


1c lava bedsThe Nisga’a Lava Beds are the apparently “barren” area across the river in this shot.  They stretch for miles.  This site describes the volcano that caused them.  Here is the story from the Nisga’a nation.1a lava story 1

1b lava story 2I stayed three nights at Terrace, thanks to wonderful hosts, and one of those days was partially sunny.  But everything was dripping wet.1a forest puddle terrace1b lichen, terraceThe day we went north to the lava beds – a 100-km drive – it rained.

Until recently, the rocks had been naked, but now they are covered in lichen on the exposed sides,3 c edge of lava 2

4 lichensAnd moss on the shady, north sides.2 b edge of lavaOne of the first stops is the Vetter Falls.5 falls“Phantom” fish are supposed to lie in the pool below them.6 phantom fish explanationNext to the river, the vegetation can find enough moisture to thrive.7 dripping forest

8 stump near fallsThe Nisga’a Nation provide guides, but my host had a friend who was also a certified guide (and oddly enough, he and his wife had been to a slide show of mine, so we almost knew each other) and he showed us many interesting places.8b walking on lava beds uA lot of it was sheet lava that had collapsed and cracked.8a lava rockWhere the hot magma reached the river, rope lava was formed.  (This is not a tree root but a piece of free-standing lava.)9 rope lavaIn another place, basalt columns had formed in a rose formation.9a lava rock shape river bank vI of course was fascinated by the plants that managed to survive on the most exposed beds.  A bonsai hemlock.10 bonsai hemlockThere are several places where BC Parks and the Nisga’a Nation have made trails to view certain aspects of the lava beds.  But there is one precious site that is sacred to the Nation, and only selected people are allowed to see it.  Legend has it that several virgins were trapped by the lava – inside the hole that formed, one can feel the places where their fingers were inserted.  However, a more prosaic explanation involves tree molds.11 log mold explanationSmaller ones were scattered about the lava beds – some had trails to them.  This one had no trail: walking across the lava was very difficult for an old lady with two poles and bummed knees! You can just make it out to the immediate left of the front person.10 heading to tree ring wIt was extraordinary. I had no idea that such things could happen.  The inside is probably a metre across.11a tree ring z

12 tree ring x
13 tree ring yThank you so much Lavina and David for taking me to this fascinating place.  It was the most interesting day of my whole trip.

(Lavina was also responsible for by far the best-attended slide show of the tour at the Terrace library!  I wish there had been more Lavina’s along the route.)