Hiking, Vancouver Island

Day 20: Richard’s Marsh, Cinnabar Valley, Nanaimo

Distance Walked: 7.35 km
Walking Time: 1 hr, 45 min
Trail Rating: Easy (with options for moderate and more challenging hills to up your game)
Location: 9 Ranchview Road (one of several access points)

An incredible oasis, with seemingly endless paths to explore, it’s easy to forget that neighbourhood subdivisions closely encircle Richard’s Marsh.

An abundance of wildlife call this marsh home. Great blue herons, virginia rails, pacific tree frogs, red-tailed hawks, piliated woodpeckers, mallard ducks, little brown bats, river otters, voles, beavers and long-toed salamanders are examples of some local residents. Fun fact: many marsh birds have extra long toes that give them the ability to walk or run on the surfaces of wetland plants. I would never have guessed this.

Also commonly found here are cattails, reed canary grass, salmonberries, western hemlocks, sword ferns, and, of course, dragonflies. (Source: Richard’s Marsh interpretive signs.)

Wetlands currently cover six percent (8.6 million square kilometres) of the earth’s surface. This figure has rapidly declined over the years. Fortunately, increased awareness is now causing more wetlands to be conserved, restored and recreated.

Freshwater marshes are one of the most productive ecosystems. They are incredibly nutrient-rich; thus, they sustain diverse plant and wildlife communities. Marshes are also extremely effective at cleaning polluted waters. Marsh replicas are now used to treat wastewater for farms and industry.

Imports - 1 of 1 (3) Richard pointing out that this marsh bears his name. Unfortunately, we do not know the history behind this.

Following this hike, I joined up with some girlfriends to explore Hamilton Marsh and revisit French Creek Harbour. While Hamilton Marsh was fairly quiet, we did spot a juvenile bald eagle, and orcas playing at the harbour. What else could you ask for on a Wednesday afternoon?

Imports - 1 of 1 (1)

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37 thoughts on “Day 20: Richard’s Marsh, Cinnabar Valley, Nanaimo”

  1. Hi Donna – we have an area like this (not quite as large though) called “The Big Swamp” which is a wonderful wetlands area with walk paths, but also surrounded by housing. When you’re walking you feel like you’re in a completely different environment to where you started from when you drive through houses to get there. Loving your consistency with the challenge – great effort to keep the blogging going each day too!

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    1. Thanks, Leanne – Your are right about the two distinctly different environments. We began our hike in the forested section and then looped around to the boardwalk section. Just before we reached the boardwalk, surrounding homes where literally within touching distance. It was surreal!

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  2. I am enjoying your descriptions, Donna, versus just the facts. Although, I also like reading the specific information. “Incredible oasis” within neighbourhoods are true gems. Great photos, again. I love Richard’s glowing healthy smile.xx

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      1. We were just talking about that today. We’ve done all 4 of our Caminos in the summer heat, but despite high temperatures, it never seemed too bad. We usually started early, finished fairly early, drank lots of water, wore cool max clothes and made frequent rest stops. And the amazing scenery also helped to take our minds off of the heat, and the extra walking! 😀

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  3. Hi Donna – love the Richards Marsh area … aren’t the wetlands wonderful … and obviously it is fully used by nature and wildlife. Those explanatory boards are always so useful – so glad local governments are using them more often to inform us. Brilliant – loved it … take care – Hilary

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  4. What a gorgeous area and another great walk Donna! You are really selling it me. I really wanted it to have some connection to your Richard, although he does look very happy in your photo 🙂

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    1. “Orcas playing in the harbour?!!!” was exactly my reaction too!!!! This would seriously elevate the “spectacular quotient” on any hike!!! The only thing I can immediately think of that could top this would be watching orcas playing in the harbour while I’m sitting in a kayak at water level!!!

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