It was made all the more interesting that it was on a steep and weakly made slope of old fines and stones, plus a layer of stones and dirt laid over the tarp to help hold it down that acted rather like ball bearings, so once we started to slide it was hard to stop! Rocks and stones tumbling down the hill made it too difficult to work above one another so we spread out in a line and used some scissors to cut holes where the plants were bulging up under the tarp. The tarp was acting like a cloche – the Japanese knotweed was thriving under it, if rather twisted and lank with the occasional decaying stem. The tangled stinky masses were sprayed and stem injected where large enough. Then the crew set off for a hike up the Trans Canada trail which was accessed just a few yards beyond the works yard, to inventory and treat any small infestations of anything invasive we found. On the way up to Ravens Ridge chair lift – perhaps 3-4km away - we found the invasive plants appeared to be confined to the BC Hydro ROW area which was close to where we had started out, and the landing stage/chair lift area around Ravens Ridge at the end; the usual suspects being curled dock, broadleaf plantain, creeping buttercup, oxeye daisy and St John’s wort. But on the way back, thanks to looking the other way, our crew lead noticed a small, isolated infestation of orange hawkweed near a bridge. So we treated that too, and headed back to the truck.
Off to Mount Seymour Provincial Park next, to check out a report of an isolated infestation of orange hawkweed near the Goldie Lake trail. By now the weather had closed in and we drove up through the cloud base. At the summit the fog was pretty thick – we spread out to transect the ski hill area but we lost sight of one another very quickly, and knowing there was a bear in the area there was no way would see it unless we fell over it . So the crew leader hollered for us all to regroup and as we did so, somehow or other, we stumbled over the orange hawkweed. What were the chances of finding it in the fog? It was only a small patch maybe 5m across, growing very close to a pylon supporting the Lodge chair lift. We checked around for any more but didn’t see any – but then it was still only about 5m visibility - but we did find two sprigs of Japanese knotweed just emerging from the new construction work underway on the Goldie Lake trail head. So those were treated too and we reported back to the ParkRanger’s office to be on the alert for any more that may appear as these construction works continue. (pic is of a deer trying to graze among the Orange Hawkweed and Knotweed on Grouse Mountain)