My map of the Incomappleux basin here, with help from my imagination. What this map cannot record is the quantity and persistence of the rain that fell during my trip into the heart of the valley to see the old trees. What the map does record is the relative quantity of remaining, untouched old growth. Across the Interior Rainforest where I live, only about 1% of old growth remains. While this valley still holds up to 10% of its original stands, most of the rest of the region is not so lucky.
And, I might add, 10% survival is nothing to crow about. As a culture, we could have done better.
An 8-foot diameter tree can sequester all the carbon an average inhabitant of the ‘first’ or industrialized world could produce. The heart of the Incomappleux basin is an oxygen-rich wonderland where rain, rivers and a cedar-hemlock forest conspire to sweeten and cool the air. I was told recently by a climate scientist that this particular river valley is part of the ‘wettest of the wet’ valleys in the Inland forest. Temperate forests are incredibly valuable in this, our intemperate era.
The Incomappleux River really is a rich, cloudy mineral green, much as the map shows. Water isn’t necessarily blue. All the ice fields and rugged mountains east of the river somehow carry the dusty green colour down from up high.
Ten days later, I have dried off completely. I am back to a normal life at my desk. But I can tell that I left a piece of my own wild heart in this raw, instinctual place. Long may both survive.