The Flora & Features
Here are some things to look for as you go.
Please stay on the mapped trails in mossy areas, if disturbed or destroyed it takes literally decades for the moss to recover.
Falls Trail: larkspur, rockcress, round-leaved alumroot, star-flowered false Solomon's seal, ocean spray, Douglas-fir, moss (exceptional variety)
The falls trail takes you through a beautiful mossy section of the woods that is on a north face of the hill. The humid air created by the long, cascading falls nourishes the moss beds in this special area. The flowing water is a natural 'negative ion generator' which creates a very refreshing negative ion zone. This is physically relaxing and replenishing to the human body. It is a very good place to spend some time in quiet meditiation because of the calming effect.. The moss beds help to maintain the humidity there and are nourished by it.
Marsh Trail: poison ivy, star-flowered false Solomon's seal, cattails, chocolate lilies, horsetail, chokecherry, willow, alder
About the marsh area:
The water that flows down out of Marron Lake past the dam feeds the core habitat found below the dam which starts as riparian forest. The forest then gradually transforms into a wetland which forms one end of the cattail marsh. The marsh water eventually drains into the Marron River under the Canyon Valley Road and on down through the mountains to the farms towards Kaleden. Marshes are vital in eco-systems due to their natural water filtering and purifying characteristics. The marsh is also the favourite watering hole for many species in that area including geese, various songbirds, coyotes, bears, frogs and many other critters. You can see many kinds of animal tracks in the animal trails that lead down to the marsh waterline.
Old Corral Trail: chocolate-tipped desert parsley, hounds tongue (invasive plant), arrow-leaved balsam root, old man's whiskers, stonecrop, bunchgrass, mariposa lilies, scarlet gilia, chocolate lilies, old-species lilac, black currants
This trail get its name from the corral that was built by the early settlers on part of the property that forms the Retreat. The area around this trail was extensively farmed. There is still a primitive footbridge by the black currant bushes that passes over the Marama Creek and if you cross over it, you can see the remains of an old cabin with traces of a fireplace. If you walk up the trail through the trees, you can see some of the old-style culverts used for water distribution made from long, rounded sections of wood wrapped with a heavy steel coil. The culvert next to the footbridge is a larger version of these. The path goes up to the old farm fields which have been allowed to revert back to their natural state. The fields on the creek sides were also farmed.
The huge willow tree across from the corral is responsible for the diversion of the waterfall. When you walk the Falls Trail you can see where the waterfall used to be.
Canyon Valley Trail: douglas maple forest (unusual), water birch-red-osier dogwood forest, burdock (invasive plant but the root is edible)
ponderosa pine, aspen, mock-orange, Saskatoon
Lookout Bluff: ponderosa pine, bunchgrass, lupine, common juniper, sagebrush, and assorted wildflowers.